Iron Rod 102 – Ether 7-15
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Secret combinations, faith and miracles, and the destruction that comes when the Spirit of the Lord ceases to strive with man.

D&C 105:18-19

1 Peter 1:5-7

2 Corinthian 12:7

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12 comments on “Iron Rod 102 – Ether 7-15

  1. Spence Nov 17, 2020

    You mentioned verses in the inspired version that clarify the polygamous activities of David and Solomon. Could you provide them? Thanks!

    • Ranae Nov 18, 2020

      For clarity, start back with Deuteronomy 17:14-20 which contains God’s specific instruction for the kings that will be set over the people. He is not to multiply horses, or return to Egypt to multiply horses, NEITHER SHALL HE MULTIPLY WIVES TO HIMSELF THAT HIS HEART TURN NOT AWAY; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. He is also supposed to write a copy of the law from Levite’s book and read it all the days of his life that he might learn to fear the Lord and keep all he words of the law and the statutes to do them.

      (Here are the verses with changes from the KJV)
      JST 1 Kings 3:1 And the Lord was not pleased with Solomon, for he made affinity with Pharoah, king of Egypt, and took Pharoah’s daughter to wife, and brought her into the the house of David until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem all about. And the Lord blessed Solomon for the people’s sake only.

      JST 1 Kings 3:3 And because the Lord blessed Solomon as he was walking in the statutes of David his father, he began to love the Lord, and he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places, and he called on the name of the Lord.

      JST 1 Kings 3:14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways to keep my statutes, and my commandments, then I will lengthen thy days, and thou shalt not walk in unrighteousness, as did thy father David.

      JST 1 Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, and it became as the heart of David his father.

      JST 1 Kings 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, as David his father, and went not fully after the Lord.

      jST 1 Kings 11:33 …and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and my statutes, and my judgments, and his heart is become as David his father; and he repenteth not as did David his father, that I may forgive him.

      JST 1 Kings 11:39 And for the transgression of David, and also for the people, I have rent the kingdom, and for this I will afflict the seed of David, but not forever. (in this last instance, it appears the specific transgression of David was the killing of Uriah, because that is something he could not repent of. However, when we go back to the original instructions given to the kings from Deuteronomy, we see that both kings failed to follow the commandments. David repented and Solomon did not.)

      • Spence Nov 18, 2020

        Thanks for your efforts, Ranae. I followed every scriptural reference you provided and checked against the Inspired Version. None of them seem to prohibit multiple wives. The closest prohibition is in Deuteronomy, though it specifies wives unto himself (seeming to mean not approved of the Lord) and with the conditional phrase that his heart not turn away. The other references in Kings address some sins of David without specifically mentioning multiple wives. The infamous transgression of David (Bathsheba and Uriah) occurred after he had multiple wives. Of course, I’m sure the king sinned in other ways as well, and turned his heart (or had his heart turned) away from god. I think there exist clear scriptural instructions about having a single wife, as Searcher and MD have outlined in past episodes, but remain unconvinced that this is one of them. I also replied to Searcher below.

        • Ranae Nov 19, 2020

          The phrase “unto himself” is an addition due to translation. It is the same phrase used regarding multiplying horses in the previous verse. Are you implying that he can only buy more horses than he needs if God approves the purchase? Here is how Google Translator interprets the Hebrew text:

          וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה־לּוֹ נָשִׁים וְלֹא יָסוּר לְבָבוֹ וְכֶסֶף וְזָהָב לֹא יַרְבֶּה־לּוֹ מְאֹד
          And he shall not multiply wives, neither shall his heart be troubled, neither silver nor gold shall he multiply greatly.

          If you want another verse related to marriage, what about Gen. 2:24?
          Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

          If nothing else, the outcome of David’s family ought to be a warning against what he did in his personal life. Looking at his kids, one son raped his half-sister. Her older brother, Absalom, killed him two years later when he had the chance. He then fled to live with his grandfather on his mother’s side for safety (non-Israelite) until he was brought back to Jerusalem with a promise his life would be spared, but David ignored him to the point that he burned Joab’s fields (David’s captain who arranged the return) just to get enough attention to send a message to his own father. Later Absalom won the favor of the people took the kingdom. He was killed for it. Later, when David’s 4th son Adonijah was about ready to have himself crowned king prior to David’s death, Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet maneuvered Solomon into the position instead. Adonijah begged for forgiveness, but Solomon saw his half-brother as a threat and had him killed shortly afterward. Using David and Jacob as examples, I would say the practice of polygamy is not conducive to harmonious family life, nor something that God condones in scripture.

          Out of curiosity, what other sins do you think the JST might be referring to, when the changes were made regarding David and Solomon?

    • Searcher Nov 18, 2020

      Sure Spence.
      Look at 1 Kings 11:4
      KJV: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.”
      JST: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, and it became as the heart of David his father.”
      Two verses later we get another change.
      KJV: “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.”
      JST: “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, as David his father, and went not fully after the Lord.”
      See also JST 1 Kings 3:14, and JST 1 Kings 11:33.
      Joseph made consistent changes that condemn King David instead of praise him.
      I’m not sure if these changes were included in the LDS version of the scriptures, but they are in the original published by the Community of Christ.

      • Spence Nov 18, 2020

        Thanks for taking time to reply, Searcher. It seems that these verses condemn Solomon and his wives for turning towards idolatry. It seems clear that David also turned his heart from the Lord. I do not find any scripture that specifically identifies the sin in question as having multiple wives. Otherwise, I recall arguments you and others have made that all polygamy is evil, including that of the ancient patriarchs. This could be; I just do not find such a prohibition or correction in the Inspired Version verses listed. Maybe I am missing something.

        • Which of the ancient patriarchs, other than Jacob who was defrauded into marrying two wives, practiced polygamy?

          • Spence Nov 19, 2020

            Hmmm MD, a bit off topic, but I’ll bite. My interest was in learning more about the specific condemnation of multiple wives for Israel’s golden age kings, which does not appear to exist except in the case in which they were not given/approved by/of god.

            The short answer to your question is: many whom we know, perhaps many more of whom we don’t. Of course Laban was guilty of fraud, but would Jacob the righteous patriarch try to correct one sin with a second? I think not. Allowing is different from recommending, but it seems god at least approved the multiple wives in this case, and Israel was not condemned, not even for Bilhah or Zilpah. (I’m familiar with your arguments regarding his concubines.) Simple searches reveal multiple men, clearly wicked and clearly otherwise, who had more than one wife at a time, even though the Book of Mormon’s Jacob gives a clear prohibition against doing so. The Law of Moses and advice from the New Testament make the topic a bit touchy, but all in all I would say polygamy was exceptional more than regular. This does not make it prohibited in the case of David and Solomon.

            How many wives were had by Enoch, or Melchizedek, or Job? Sometimes it is hard to tell because our scriptural record is silent or incomplete, tainted or misunderstood. God’s ways are after all, his, and our comprehension is not always a match, even with the word being clear in so many vital instances. The topic caught my ear during this podcast, and I was hoping to clarify. I am satiated.

            • Thanks for taking the bait!

              I think what you’re saying is that, other than Jacob, there is no scriptural record of any patriarch practicing polygamy. If you’re going to ask how many wives Enoch had, you might as well ask how many Ferraris he had. If we’re going speculate about things that aren’t mentioned in the scriptures, no where does it say that patriarchs didn’t drive Italian sportscars. Heck, they may have even had Gulfstream jets! 😉

              The scriptural record shows that Jacob was a tragically flawed individual. Only in the LDS tradition do we think he was a paragon of righteousness throughout his life. He, like us, made good decisions and bad decisions. Trying to claim every decision Jacob made was righteous is to ignore the scriptural record of his life. I think it’s also erroneous to think that if God doesn’t “condemn” a person for a bad decision, he must not have made a bad decision. Even if God isn’t condemning Jacob, the fact that Jacob continued on with his flawed family doesn’t mean everything was done according to God’s will.

              As for a scriptural injunction against multiple wives for kings, if you just use the Bible I agree that there is some wiggle room there. Maybe they can have a few multiple wives, but not too many. You can even argue that the JST changes don’t necessarily address the fundamental issue of multiple wives but rather being led into idolatry to multiple wives. But once we add in the Book of Mormon which specifically calls out David and Solomon for their multiple wives, I don’t see any wiggle room.

  2. Lee Williams Nov 21, 2020

    I have always been curious about this verse in chapter 12:
    27. And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, for it they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

    This scripture reveals that it is a conscious act by God to endow his children with weakness. So along with a positive spiritual gift, (‘To each a gift is given.’) here we learn that the Lord gives us a not so positive gift of weakness. In scripture the positive gifts of the spirit are listed, (most comprehensively in D&C 46: 14-24) but we have no scripture that lists the gifts of weakness.

    So, how does God’s gift of weakness square with agency? Apparently I am ‘cursed’ or ‘blessed’ by God at the very beginning of my mortal experience with weakness…or in my case, weaknesses. I wonder how did He determine what weakness to give me? What cross to bear in life did he merit me with probably decided in pre-mortality, or right out of the womb? I used to believe being gay was that weakness, but quickly learned I was mistaken.

    The question: is giving me weakness a gift of God? Romans 12:6 tells us, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.” And we learn in Ether that among those spiritual gifts are gifts of weakness…not developed on my own, but specifically conferred by God for me to profit by.

    D&C 46:11-12
    11. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. 12. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

    Certainly weakness can hardly constitute a ‘spiritual’ gift, but a gift from God nonetheless to be profited by, right?

    But what if we don’t see our weakness – make the grave mistake of being oblivious to it, or even innocent of its existence? God commends the brother of Jared because he recognized his weakness: vs 37: “And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shall be made strong.”
    Am I toast if I’m not seeing my weakness?

    Grace seems to play into this. From the Wayment NT translation of 1 Peter 4:10 “Just as each person has received a gift, serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

    Revisiting Romans 12:6 (KJV) “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.”  Here in the New Testament the Lord clarifies that his gifts are the result of His grace. Back to Ether 12:27 “I give unto man weakness…and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me..” So God’s grace might soften or mediate human weakness—weakness nevertheless being a gift of God but the divine way we move and grow from grace to grace until we receive of the fullness wherein there is no weakness.

    • Ranae Nov 21, 2020

      What about looking at the scripture in the context of a 12-step program, which is really a detailed path for repentance?

      “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness”
      He does not give them the weakness when they come unto Him, but they might be blind to it, and therefore unable to change. As they awaken to their weakness, they need to admit they are powerless to overcome it without God’s help.

      “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble.”
      The next steps are related to believing that a “higher power” can help us do what we are unable to do ourselves, and being willing to trust ourselves to the process God will take us through. The humility is deepened as we take a searching, honest inventory of how fallen we really are and how we have hurt ourselves and others. This also involves being humble enough to enlist other people in the process, to find others who can be supportive as well as call us out when we are starting to slip into old patterns or self-deceptive rationalizations.

      “And my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me.” There is no one who is too fallen or sinful to be saved, if we are willing to go through the process and turn ourselves over completely to God’s path.

      “For if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” By the end of the steps, a person will be different than when they started, so much so that they are able to use their experiences to lift others out of addiction as well. Their past is no longer a source of shame and darkness, but a tool that enables them to also lift others out of darkness into healing and light.

      The gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful to save. But humility is a necessary part of the process. We can choose to be humble, or be compelled to be humble. But for those who are not aware of the extent of their weak, fallen nature they may never even realize the need to be saved at all. This is my understanding of why weakness might be considered a gift – it is what sets us on the path to salvation.

    • I think we make this scripture harder than it needs to be by imposing our modern definition of weakness on it. Does God really give us domestic violence tendencies? No. Does God give us the desire to be a pedophile? No. Does God give us a short temper? Self-centeredness? Indifference? Go down the list of things we consider weaknesses today, and none of them come from God.

      Moroni 7:16-17
      Everything which invites to do good…is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ…but whatsoever thing persuades men to do evil…then ye know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil.

      Webster’s 1828 definition of weakness:
      1. Want of physical strength; want of force or vigor; feebleness;
      2. Want of sprightliness.
      3. Want of steadiness.
      4. Infirmity; unhealthiness;

      Our modern definition of weaknesses doesn’t fit with what the word meant in 1828. God cannot give us 2020-weakness – it would be a violation of his very being. But does God give us 1828-weakness?

      Ether 3:2
      Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually.

      Alma 22:14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself.

      One aspect of our weakness is we’re unable to save ourselves. We can’t even stand in the presence of God without help from him:
      2 Nephi 2:8
      Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

      Alma 42
      6 But behold, it was appointed unto man to die—therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth—and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man.
      7 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.
      8 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.
      9 Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.
      10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.
      11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.
      12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;
      14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.

      Notice it wasn’t expedient (useful or profitable) that we avoid this temporal death. God gave us temporal death for a reason, but I’m not aware of any scriptures that indicate God gave each of us an individual weakness.

      In the “Psalm of Nephi”, he doesn’t blame God for his unrighteous desires, but puts them blame on himself and the devil:
      2 Nephi 4
      27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
      28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

      God gave us this mortal probation, this period of being cut off from the presence of the Lord, this state of weakness, so that we could ultimately be saved.
      2 Nephi 2
      21 And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost because of the transgression of their parents.

      The only way to be saved is to recognize our weakness (being cut off from the presence of the Lord, we are eternally miserable, and the only thing we can do to change this is to plead unto Christ for him to save us). God gave us this weakness as a result of the fall, to help us realize we must rely on God instead of ourselves. Once we recognize our weakness, our utter dependence on God, then God can make our weakness a strong thing by redeeming us and bringing us back into the presence of God through the sufferings of Christ.