Mighty Change of Heart

I’ve encountered several different explanations about what the mighty change of heart is, ranging from the peace you feel after confessing a sin all the way to receiving a divine dose of charity such that you have unconditional love for everyone. The phrase is only used a few times in the Book of Mormon. Let’s see what it says on the topic.

Alma 5:7 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God.

Alma 5:13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God.

Here the preaching of the word initiates this change and the effect is an awakening unto God, where we humble ourselves and put our trust in God.

Mosiah 5: 2 And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Alma 19:33 And it came to pass that when Ammon arose he also administered unto them, and also did all the servants of Lamoni; and they did all declare unto the people the selfsame thing—that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil.

In both these references, the effect of this change of heart is no more desire to do evil. At this point we want to be obedient, which causes us to search the scriptures so we know what God expects of us. Then we align our will with God’s will and move forward. It’s summed up nicely by Samuel the Lamanite:

Helaman 15: 7
And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as :
• are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers,
• and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written,
• which leadeth them to faith on the Lord,
• and unto repentance,
• which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them.

The first step is coming to the knowledge of the truth. Not only is this learning the correct stuff, but identifying and discarding the incorrect (wicked and abominable) stuff we have inherited. Truth is the knowledge of things as they really are (D&C 93:24), not as we would like them to be or have always been taught them to be. We need to test everything and reject the bad and embrace the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).

Once that process begins, we then need to believe the holy scriptures. Notice it doesn’t say believe IN the holy scriptures, it says believe the holy scriptures. That means a very literal reading of the words, in context. Which can really be uncomfortable. When God says, “If you don’t do A, then I won’t do B but rather I will do C,” and we don’t do A, God really won’t give us B, and if we think we have C we are deluding ourselves.

Samuel also tells us we need to believe the prophecies of the holy prophets. He doesn’t say any old prophet, there are plenty of them. We need to believe the prophecies of the holy prophets and ignore the others. Fortunately, the scriptures give us guidance on how to discern. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and 18:21-22 for starters).

Those activities, learning truth, rejecting error, and believing the scriptures and prophecies, lead us to faith and repentance. This isn’t the “I’m sorry I yelled at the guy on the freeway, please help me not yell next time” type of repentance, but the “God, I’m sorry my will is not aligned with your will. Please help me get in line, learn your will, and do it.”

When we have that kind of faith, and that type of repentance, then we receive the change of heart. Because at that point we have no more disposition to do evil. We want to do what’s right.

This mighty change doesn’t require angelic visitations or heavenly visions. It doesn’t require forty-day fasts or dedicating every spare moment to acts of service. All of this begins with coming to a knowledge of the truth. Man cannot be saved in ignorance. Until we come to this knowledge of the truth, we are asleep. God and his holy prophets are ready to help rouse each one of us from our deep sleep and awake unto God.

We each need to ask ourselves, are we ready to wake up, or do we want to hit the snooze button?

Advertisements

The laborer is worthy of his hire

In searching the scriptures this week, the topic of how the Lord’s ministers are to provide for their temporal needs came up. As I pieced together the different references throughout the scriptures, a fairly clear picture emerged of how the Lord wants his servants to provide for their temporal needs.

The phrase “the laborer is worthy of his hire” has been used to justify providing church leaders with salaries, cars, and health and retirement benefits. There are definite advantages to a salary system: both the payer and the payee can easily forecast and budget with a fixed salary system. Regardless of what work you do, knowing that you’ll receive your paycheck on a consistent schedule brings a fair amount of security. Once a salary system is in place, there is plenty of opportunity to discuss an appropriate compensation level and how much is too much. But rather than argue compensation levels, we should really ask ourselves, is a fixed salary system what the Lord authorized?

D&C 70
12 He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things;
13 Yea, even more abundantly, which abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestations of the Spirit.
14 Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.

Here the Lord tells us those who administer spiritual things receive a spiritual remuneration, not financial. The “abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestations of the Spirit.” As Alma Sr. is setting up the church of Christ he follows this same principle:

Mosiah 18:26
26 And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God.

The Lord pays these spiritual laborers with a spiritual paycheck, not a financial paycheck. It creates a beautiful positive feedback loop: as they teach, they receive a greater portion of the Spirit, which allows them team teach with more power and authority, which allows them to receive an even greater portion of the Spirit, etc.

That’s nice…but what are they supposed to eat? At the end of the day, we all need to pay for food, clothing, and shelter. How did Alma solve this?

Mosiah 18:24
24 And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support.

Alma 1:26
26 And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.

Alma 30:32-34
32 Now Alma said unto him: Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people; for behold I have labored even from the commencement of the reign of the judges until now, with mine own hands for my support, notwithstanding my many travels round about the land to declare the word of God unto my people.
33 And notwithstanding the many labors which I have performed in the church, I have never received so much as even one senine for my labor; neither has any of my brethren, save it were in the judgment-seat; and then we have received only according to law for our time.
34 And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren?

Alma consistently applied the principle of church leaders supporting themselves. He did not exclude even himself from this, even though his church position required many travels. The only priests who were to receive money from the people were those who were too poor or too sick to support themselves. In which case, they would be treated just as the rest of the poor and sick.

Mosiah 27:5
5 Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the grace of God.

Mosiah 18:27-28
27 And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.
28 And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul.

Now we have a conundrum. Alma makes it very clear that no one in the church he oversaw was to be paid for their labors in the church. But he also makes it clear that no one, including himself, devoted his full time to that church calling. Whereas Alma’s leaders were part time ministers, Warren Cowdery in D&C 106:3 was called to devote his whole time to his calling. What guidance do the scriptures give for those who are called to preach the gospel full-time?

When Christ called his twelve disciples in the Book of Mormon, he made it clear they would not be provided a regular, predictable living stipend.

3 Nephi 13
25 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
29 And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.

They were to take no thought for what they shall eat or drink or wear, but rather trust that the Lord would provide what they needed when they needed it. There is no wiggle room here for budgeting and planning, or waiting until payday. This is the same command he gave his Apostles in Jerusalem.

This wasn’t without precedent. Alma Jr. and his cohorts, when faced with the daunting task of preaching to the Zoramites, were recipients of this same care from God.

Alma 31:35-38
35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.
36 Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
37 And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on.
38 And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.

We see a similar pattern in Alma 8 when Alma entered the city of Ammonihah and approached Amulek:

Alma 8:19-21
19
And as he entered the city he was an hungered, and he said to a man: Will ye give to an humble servant of God something to eat?
20 And the man said unto him: I am a Nephite, and I know that thou art a holy prophet of God, for thou art the man whom an angel said in a vision: Thou shalt receive. Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food; and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house.
21 And it came to pass that the man received him into his house; and the man was called Amulek; and he brought forth bread and meat and set before Alma.

The Lord will provide for his servants so that they do not hunger or thirst. The Lord makes it clear that the church (i.e. the members, D&C 10:67), are to provide for the Lord’s servants through free-will offerings. Just as Amulek knew he would be blessed for feeding Alma, the Lord promises us that if we feed and clothe his modern day servants who obey the command to serve without purse or scrip, we will also be rewarded.

D&C 24:18
18 And thou shalt take no purse nor scrip, neither staves, neither two coats, for the church shall give unto thee in the very hour what thou needest for food and for raiment, and for shoes and for money, and for scrip.

D&C 84
77 And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power;
78 For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats.
79 Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire.

Note the Lord is using that phrase, “the laborer is worthy of his hire,” when telling them they are to serve without purse or scrip. He is not saying they are worthy of a salary. They are worthy to have their temporal needs meet through offerings directly from those they meet and receive an increase of the Spirit. In verses 87-91 the Lord will explain how this proves the world. In the meantime, he commands that the modern church is to go without purse or scrip just as the ancient church did.

80 And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.
81 Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.
82 For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these.
83 For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.
84 Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.
85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
86 Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.

There’s no exception here. Every person is to serve without purse or scrip. Not only is this a test of faith to those being sent out, but the Lord reveals that it is a divine method of finding his elect:

87 Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come.
88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
89 Whoso receiveth you receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money.
90 And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money, shall in nowise lose his reward.
91 And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples.

Just as Amulek received his reward, those who receive the Lord’s servants will also be blessed. Those who don’t receive them, feed them, and clothe them, demonstrate that they are not Christ’s disciples.

If there are Twelve Apostles on the earth today, and they have the same mandate that both the ancient Twelve Apostles and the Twelve Disciples had, they should be serving without purse or scrip. No living stipend, no church provided cars, and no church funded health care plan. And because D&C 84:86 applies this standard to everyone who is called of God unto the ministry to proclaim the gospel, that would also include the entirety of the Seventy, all the mission presidents, and all the missionaries. (That used to be the case, but somewhere along the way things changed without a published revelation).

If that’s the standard the Lord has set in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, why does D&C 42 say that the bishop and his counselors are to have their families supported and receive a just remuneration for all their services?

D&C 42: 71-73
71 And the elders or high priests who are appointed to assist the bishop as counselors in all things, are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the bishop, for the good of the poor, and for other purposes, as before mentioned;
72 Or they are to receive a just remuneration for all their services, either a stewardship or otherwise, as may be thought best or decided by the counselors and bishop.
73 And the bishop, also, shall receive his support, or a just remuneration for all his services in the church.

The first thing to notice is that today’s practices are the opposite of what the scriptures say. The scriptures say the bishops and their counselors are to be provided a remuneration, whereas the Apostles and Seventy are not. Yet today’s church pays the Apostles and Seventy and makes the bishops and their counselors fend for themselves.

Setting that aside, what’s going on in Section 42? Remember that Section 42 is the law of Zion, which includes the law of consecration. According to the 1833 version of this revelation (published while the church was actually living these laws), everyone joining Zion “[shall] consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto the Lord”. After which, they would receive a stewardship according to their needs. And if through their industry they produced more than they needed, that too was consecrated. By definition, they wouldn’t have excess money to support bishops and their counselors. So in this case, it makes sense for the bishop and his counselors to receive their own stewardship. In fact, in D&C 41, the Lord calls Edward Partridge to be a bishop and “to leave his merchandise and to spend all his time in the labors of the church.”

It should be noted that the role of the bishop is temporal, not spiritual, in the scriptures. He was to collect the consecrations and divide them fairly. No worthiness interviews. No counseling members struggling with sin. No leading sacrament meetings.

D&C 70:12
12 He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things;

D&C 107:68
68 …for the office of a bishop is in administering all temporal things;

Bishops, back then, administered in temporal things and received a stewardship for doing so. (A great question to ask is, where in the scriptures did God authorize the current, expanded role of a bishop?).

In the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph made significant changes to Section 42 (and other sections) to reflect the different status of the church. In this case, the church had failed to live the law of Zion and had broken the covenant and were no longer living the law of consecration as originally commanded. Joseph made changes (in blue) to accommodate the modified law of consecration the church was then living.

1833 Book of Commandments 1835 Doctrine and Covenants
(D&C 42:70-72 today)
The priests and teachers, shall have their stewardship given them even as the members; and the elders are to assist the bishop in all things, and he is to see that their families are supported out of the property which is consecrated to the Lord, either a stewardship, or otherwise, as may be thought best by the elders and bishop.

 

 

The priests and teachers shall have their stewardships, even as the members, and the elders, or high priests who are appointed to assist the bishop as counsellors, in all things are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the bishop, for the good of the poor, and for other purposes, as before mentioned; or they are to receive a just remuneration for all their services; either a stewardship, or otherwise, as may be thought best, or decided by the counsellors and bishop. And the bishop also, shall receive his support, or a just remuneration for all his services, in the church.

Under this dumbed-down law of consecration, the priests, teachers, and bishops were now entitled to receive just remuneration for their services, because the church no longer had all things common, so there were no stewardships to be given to them. We can see several implications of this change elsewhere in Section 42.

1833 Book of Commandments 1835 Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 42:29-31 today)
If thou lovest me, thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments; and behold , thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, with a covenant and a deed which can not be broken; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church, and two of the elders, such as he shall appoint and set apart for that purpose.

 

If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments. And behold , thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support, that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken-and inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me-and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church and his counsellors, two of the elders, or high priests, such as he shall or has appointed and set apart for that purpose.

Notice how in 1835 the members are told to consecrate of their properties to support the poor. Why weren’t the poor mentioned in the 1833 version?

Moses 1:18
18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

D&C 70:14
14 Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.

When living the law of consecration, there are no poor to support. Everyone is equal. Everyone gives up everything they own, and in return receive what they need. Only after the members failed to live the true law of consecration did provisions have to be made for the poor, when members were only giving OF their properties and all things were not common. In this case the bishop’s role shifted from seeing that all families are given appropriate stewardships to seeing that the poor are provided for out of the storehouse.

In summary, under a scriptural system  only the bishops and their counselors who are handling the temporal affairs of the church are be supported by the people. Under the law of Zion by receipt of a stewardship, and outside of the law of Zion by a “living stipend” or just remuneration. Regardless of whether the church is living the law of Zion or not, the Apostles, Seventy, and missionaries are to travel without purse or scrip and rely on the Lord, through the generosity of those who are the Lord’s disciples, for their food, clothing, and all else of which they have need. That standard is congruent with the teachings of the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants. Quite a bit different from how things operate today.

Addendum

Here are a few other excerpts from the scriptures on paying ministers.

King Noah “laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed…and all this he did take to support himself, and wives and concubines, and also his priests and their wives and concubines…and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms.” (Mosiah 11:3-6)

Nehor taught that “every priest and teacher ought to become popular, and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people.” (Alma 1:3) Nehor later acknowledged that “what he had taught to the people was contrary to the word of God.” (Alma 1:15)

Samuel the Lamanite warned the Nephites that “if a man shall come among you and [not testify of your sins but say you shall not suffer], ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet. Yea, ye will lift him up and ye shall give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaks flattering words unto you, and he says that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.” (Helaman 13:27-28) In the next verse, Samuel then asks, “How long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?”

 

 

Will the real Jehovah please stand up?

Having grown up in the LDS faith, there are a lot of things I just accepted without much thought. They were repeated frequently enough as statements of fact that I never asked to see the facts. Once I started looking for the facts, what I thought was a rock solid foundation turned out to be quite sandy. The identity of Jehovah is one of those topics.

In the third Lecture on Faith, we are told that “a correct idea of [God’s] character, perfections, and attributes” is necessary to exercise faith in God. It also states, “we are indebted to the revelations which he has given us for a correct understanding of his character, perfections, and attributes; because without the revelations which he has given to use, no man by searching could find out God.”

Mormons are taught that “when one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to; that is, Elohim. All mankind are His children. The personage known as Jehovah in Old Testament times, and who is usually identified in the Old Testament as LORD (in small capitals), is the Son, known as Jesus Christ, and who is also a God.” (Bible Dictionary, “God”). The temple ceremony teaches this, but do the scriptures? Is it possible we are mistaken on something as fundamental as the real identity of God?

Old Testament

Elohim is an English transliteration of the Hebrew word אלהים, but that word is translated into several different words in the English Bible—Elohim does not actually appear in the English translation of the Bible. To keep it simple, whenever the scriptures use  אלהים, I will use ELOHIM.

Jehovah is an English transliteration of the Hebrew word יהוה. The KJV Bible has translated יהוה as either the LORD or GOD, in all capitals, to differentiate from other words that mean lord or god. When you see all capitals, you know it is a representation of the name יהוה. Some translations use the name Jehovah. In this post, I will use YHVH whenever the scriptures use יהוה.

Deuteronomy 6:4
Original KJV:  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Modified KJV: Hear, O Israel: YHVH our ELOHIM is one YHVH:

If you use the Mormon names-of-God theory, this doesn’t make sense. Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah? I thought these were two different people? Surely this is just one mistranslated or corrupted verse in the Bible. Let’s see.

Deuteronomy 12:2–4
2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their ELOHIM (gods), upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their ELOHIM (gods), and destroy the names of them out of that place.
4 Ye shall not do so unto YHVH your God.

The Israelites were supposed to destroy the nations that worship ELOHIM? And to destroy the graven images and names of ELOHIM? But to not do that to YHVH? If Jesus is Jehovah and the Father is Elohim, then Jesus is orchestrating a coup d’état and trying to overthrow the worship of the Father.

But we know that can’t be accurate, so we need to question our assumptions. The word ELOHIM is not a name. It’s a noun that can be translated several ways. It is often used to describe God. But it is also used to describe false gods. Or groups of people. Even an earthquake! Here are some examples of ELOHIM being used to describe things other than deity:

1 Samuel 14:15
And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a ELOHIM (very great) trembling.

1 Samuel 28:2  – Saul asks a woman with a familiar spirit at Endor to conjure up the spirit of Samuel.
And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw ELOHIM (gods) ascending out of the earth. 14 And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.

Let’s look at some more scriptures now that we have a different perspective.

Deuteronomy 13:1–5
1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other ELOHIM (gods), which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for YHVH your ELOHIM (God) proveth you, to know whether ye love YHVH your ELOHIM (God) with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 Ye shall walk after YHVH your ELOHIM (God), and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from YHVH your ELOHIM (God), which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which YHVH thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

If Elohim is a name, any prophet that told us to worship the Father (ELOHIM) would be a false prophet, which would make Jesus a false prophet who violated this commandment in Deuteronomy. With this new understanding, we know ELOHIM isn’t the Father, but any god, either true or false, and the command is against any prophet that teaches you to worship any god other than YHVH.

Deuteronomy 28:13–14
13 If that thou hearken unto the commandments of YHVH thy ELOHIM (God), which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other ELOHIM (gods) to serve them.

Exodus 20:1–3
1 And ELOHIM (God) spake all these words, saying,
2 I am YHVH thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other ELOHIM (gods) before me.

Judges 10:11,13
11 And YHVH said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians…
13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other ELOHIM: wherefore I will deliver you no more.

With the old notion, Elohim says his name is Jehovah, and we aren’t supposed to worship Elohim before Jehovah. With this new understanding, God is declaring his name is Jehovah and commanding that no other gods be worshiped.

New Testament

The New Testament sources we have today are in Greek, so we can’t see יהוה or a Greek equivalent to YHVH in the Greek texts. The Greek texts use κύριος, which means lord. So as we compare between Old Testament and New Testament usage, we have to use other clues because the Greek does not use a name, just a title.

Psalm 118:26
Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHVH

John 5:43
I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

Jesus declared the he came in the Father’s name, and Psalms 118 tells us that name is YHVH. Jesus seems be to saying the name of the Father is JHVH.

Deuteronomy 18:15–19
YHVH your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
16 For this is what you asked of YHVH your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of YHVH our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
17 And YHVH said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

3 Nephi 20: 23, 26
Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.
The Father having raised me up unto you first, and sent me to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities; and this because ye are the children of the covenant—

The Old Testament tells us that YHVH will raise up a prophet. Jesus declares that he is that prophet and His Father raised him up. Which means His Father, not Jesus, is YHVH.

In the Old Testament, the name YHVH is used 6,800 times. Every Jew knew the name of God was YHVH, so when Jesus refers to the Father’s name, YHVH is the name he is referring to. If he were to preach any other name, he would be violating the commandments (for example, Exodus 20:2-3). Jesus taught repeatedly that His Father was God, that Jesus came in His name, and Jesus declared the Father’s name.

John 5:43
I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

John 8:54
Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

John 10:25
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me,

John 12:49–50
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

John 14:24
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 17:25-26
O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.
And I have declared unto them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.

In the Old Testament, YHVH put his name on the temple. In the New Testament, Jesus says the temple is his Father’s house. Again, Jesus seems to think YHVH is his Father’s name, not his own.

1 Kings 9:3
And YHVH said unto him [King Solomon], I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

Jeremiah 7:11
Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith YHVH.

John 2:16
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

YHVH says he will not give his glory to another. Yet Jesus gives the glory to the Father. If Jesus is Jehovah, he is contradicting himself.

Isaiah 42:8
I am YHVH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Moses 4:2
But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

D&C 19:19
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

Philippians 2:11
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We can even go back to the beginning of Christ’s ministry and see him distinguish himself from Jehovah. In Luke 4, Jesus goes to Nazareth and stands up to read in the synagogue. He turned to Isaiah and read:

Luke 4:18-19
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Here notice what is says in Isaiah 61:1-2

The Spirit of the Lord YHVH is upon me; because YHVH hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of YHVH.

Jesus could not have anointed himself! Nor would it make sense to say Jesus’ own spirit is upon him (don’t we all have our own spirits upon ourselves?). Jesus is saying that the Father, Jehovah, had placed His spirit upon Jesus, and the Father, Jehovah, had anointed Jesus for his ministry.

At this point, if you are ready to accept that the Father is Jehovah, you are going to have to let go of some other false precepts. Mormons have taught that after the Fall of Adam, the Father had little to no interaction with humanity and the pre-mortal Jesus was the God of the Old Testament. The scriptures disprove that. The God of the Old Testament, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and Moses, and Isaiah, and Elijah, etc.) is YHVH, Jehovah, the Father.

Book of Abraham

If we believe that Jesus is the God of Abraham, we have some problems with some of the content of the Book of Abraham. But if we believe that the Father is the God of Abraham, and the God interacting with Abraham, everything is fine.

Abraham 3:19
And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.

First, let’s check this against Isaiah.

Isaiah 45:5
I am YHVH, and there is none else, there is no ELOHIM (God) beside me.

If this is the pre-mortal Christ speaking to Abraham, he is declaring that he is more intelligent than the Father and inconsistent with what he said during his mortal ministry. He is also saying in Isaiah that there is no Father, because there is none else. This can’t be.  Jesus always acknowledges his Father, and always puts the Father as the greatest.

John 10:29
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all.

John 14:28
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

In both the Book of Abraham and Genesis, YHVH/Jehovah spoke with Abraham and made him promises. The God that appears to Abraham is named YHVH.

Abraham 2: 8–11
My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;
And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.

Genesis 26:2–4
And YHVH appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

It’s pretty clear that a God named YHVH/Jehovah made the promise to Abraham that in his seed all the people of the earth would be blessed. The resurrected Jesus, when teaching the Nephites, declares that it was the Father who made that promise!

3 Nephi 20:25, 27
And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

And after that ye were blessed then fulfilleth the Father the covenant which he made with Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed—unto the pouring out of the Holy Ghost through me upon the Gentiles, which blessing upon the Gentiles shall make them mighty above all, unto the scattering of my people, O house of Israel.

Jesus doesn’t say the he (Jesus) made the covenant with Abraham, nor that he (Jesus) spoke to Abraham. He says the Father did the speaking and the covenanting. And the Books of Abraham and Genesis clearly state that YHVH/Jehovah was the speaker. The Father is Jehovah

Book of Mormon

During Jesus’ ministry among the Nephites, he quotes three Old Testament prophets. We can compare the Old Testament version with the version in 3 Nephi to show that the resurrected Jesus declared the name of the Father to be YHVH.

He quotes from Malachi 3, but prefaces the quotation by stating that it was the Father who spoke unto Malachi:

3 Nephi 24 Malachi 3
1 …Thus said the Father unto Malachi: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. 1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith YHVH of hosts.
6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 6 For I am YHVH, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the fields, saith the Lord of Hosts. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith YHVH of hosts.

If the Father is the one speaking unto Malachi, then the Father’s name is YHVH and he is the Lord of Hosts, or YHVH of Hosts.

Jesus does the same thing with Isaiah, using the Father in place of YHVH:

3 Nephi 20 Isaiah 52
32 Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice, and with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye.

33 Then will the Father gather them together again, and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance.

Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye,

when YHVH shall bring again Zion.

34 Then shall they break forth into joy—Sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem;

for the Father hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem:

for YHVH hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

35 The Father hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father; and the Father and I are one. 10 YHVH hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our ELOHIM.

Here and in the next verse, the Father is identified both as YHVH (his name), and ELOHIM (a title).

3 Nephi 21 Isaiah 52
29 …and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward. 12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for YHVH will go before you; and the ELOHIM of Israel will be your rearward.

Jesus also identifies the Father with YHVH while quoting Micah:

3 Nephi 21 Micah 5
14 … for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots; 10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith YHVH, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:

While quoting three different Old Testament prophets, Jesus replaces the name YHVH used in the Old Testament with the Father. Jesus, both during his mortal ministry and after his resurrection, seems to believe the name of the Father is Jehovah.

Joseph Smith

Even Joseph Smith used the name Jehovah when speaking of the Father.

History of the Church 5:127–128
Thou eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Jehovah… let faith on the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ…

Times and Seasons; Vol. 3, p.358; November 15, 1841
We believe in God the Father, who is the great Jehovah and head of all things, and that Christ is the Son of God, co-eternal with the Father

In Doctrine & Covenants 109, Joseph alternates between addressing God as “Jehovah”, “Lord”, and “Holy Father”. Mormons will say that Joseph keeps changing who he is talking to…talking to the Father for a bit, then Jesus, and back and forth. But the commandment is clear, we pray to the Father. Joseph knew who he was talking to. Incidentally, from the brief research I did, this notion of Jesus being Jehovah didn’t  begin to be taught until the 1880s.

Conclusion

For me, this was an embarrassing discovery. All my life I had ignored the facts in the scriptures and believed the traditions of my fathers. This is one area where mainstream Christianity is more correct than modern Mormonism. We need to repent of our false traditions, and use the scriptures to measure every doctrine. The scriptures are a powerful tool for testing and discerning. We remain under condemnation for taking them lightly and not using them as we have been commanded to.

Our Father in Heaven is not some distant, uninvolved God that has outsourced his children to a caretaker. Our Father, Jehovah, has remained intimately involved with the affairs of this earth and the people on it. The sooner we realize the true identity of Jehovah, the sooner we can begin to develop and exercise true faith in Him.

Raison d’être

“If any man preaches to you doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine & Covenants, set him down as an imposter. You do not need to write to us to know what you are to do with such men; you have the authority with you. Try them by the principles contained in the acknowledged word of God.”
Times and Seasons, April 1, 1844, Joseph Smith, Editor

“It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.”
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation

“He shall be a believer in the Book of Mormon and the revelations I have given unto you, saith the Lord; for that which is more or less than this cometh of evil, and shall be attended with cursings and not blessings.”
Doctrine and Covenants 124:119–120

This blog is simply a repository of my notes and observations as I try to measure various doctrines against the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. I’m confident that I will make mistakes, that my understanding will change over time, and I will be blind to my own false traditions. Be merciful! I don’t claim to be an expert…I’m just trying to measure doctrine against the word of God.