Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Return of Sidney Rigdon.. part 2

The Return of Sidney Rigdon, Gods Spokesman
"This is the testimony last of all that WE give of Him.."
Tribute to Sidney Rigdon by Onewhoiswatching Part 2

Lets begin part two of our tribute to Sidney Rigdon, by reviewing the foundational concept that we covered in part one.

According to section one of the doctrine and Covenants, Joseph and Sidney will both be returned to he earth in the 3rd watch to fulfill their 2nd commission from the Lord, however, the following distinction was made between the calling of Joseph and Sidney;

Joseph is to bring forth the word while Sidney proclaims it to the ends of the earth! In fact, Sidney is the one that has been commissioned to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the gospel of salvation.

Keep this distinction in mind as we continue connecting the dots in the scriptures to identify who Sidney is and evaluate the profile that God gives us of him.

Sidney had already become relatively famous as one of the great Bible scholars and Orators in America. But this type of fame had not brought wealth. Sidney and his wife Phoebe had been through a prolonged state of humble circumstances as the life of a preacher was not highly remunerated.

A local congregation had finally built the Rigdons a home to live in when shortly after moving into it, messengers brought them a copy of the Book of Mormon.

Once he was convinced by the power of God that it was true, he asked the following question to his wife Phoebe:

My dear, you have followed me once into poverty, are you again willing to do the same?”

Pheobe had been observing the change that had come over Sidney as he devoured the Book of Mormon . Her answer came without hesitation:

I have counted the cost, and I am perfectly satisfied to follow you, it is my desire to do the will of God, come life or come death

Sidney was older, much more experienced in dealing with people and in leading congregations and more doctrinally knowledgeable than Joseph. Sidney now had achieved a notable amount of notoriety and he had a large following. Joseph was young and in need of a mentor and a counselor. He also needed credibility, the Lord, in his infinate wisdom had prepared and provided Sidney Rigdon to provide a credible voice to bear testimony of the work that was starting to come forth.

With that in mind, we will, in part 2 of our tribute to Sidney review the first 6 of the 12 revelations that we are using to create a profile of Sidney Rigdon beginning with section 35.

As you ponder section 35, remember, that this revelation was given on the first day that Joseph and Sidney first met each other and that Sidney had only been a member of the Church of two or three weeks;

Section 35

Sidney Compared to the Baptist
The Greatest Prophet the ever lived

"Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me, and before Elijah which should come, and thou knewest it not."

We marvel at the "Thus Saith the Lord" revelations received by Joseph Smith that were written down and canonized, but is there not a high and holy place in the kingdom for those who can go about doing the Lords work, following the dictates of the Spirit without even being conscious of the fact that they are doing a very specific work for the Lord?

Sidney had been sent by the Lord to prepare the way just like John the Baptist had prepared the way for the ministry of Christ.. and Sidney didn’t ever realize that he was specifically doing the will of the Lord as literally as he was… “.. and thou knewest it not”.

What an honor to be compared to John the Baptist, who, according to Christ, was the greatest prophet that had ever lived. As I have pointed out in previous posts, the JST of the Bible informs us that there were to be two prophets that come in the spirit of Elijah, one was to be a preparer, even John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way of Christ.

The other Elijah was to be a restorer, one who would come and restore the priesthood and the truth. He was to restore the tribes of Israel to their lands of inheritance and prepare them for the Second Coming of the Savior.

It appears that Joseph Smith is Elijah the Restorer... and Sidney Rigdon was foreordained from the foundation of the world to prepare the way for Elijah the Restorer. In return, Elijah the restorer would identify Sidney as one how holds the priesthood by right.

So how important was Sidney's work in preparing the way for the restoration of the priesthood by John the Baptist and the restoration of the church by the Prophet Joseph Smith?

It is important to remember that before the Prophet Joseph Smith was very well known, Sidney Rigdon had established himself as one of the premier gospel scholars in America. Rigdon was not just a Bible Scholar, he was also one of the most capable and renowned orators of the day. Sidney Rigdon had a large congregation striving to have all things in common and to live in a united order before Joseph Smith even received a revelation about it.

There are numerous accounts of how compelling Rigdon was in his sermons. He was able to take people from laughter to tears within seconds as he held his hearers spellbound with his discourses. Thousands of converts asked for baptism after hearing the compelling words of Sidney Rigdon.

Section 35 continued

Sidney Rigdon Prepared for a “Greater Work”
Sidney Rigdon shall do great things

"I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work. Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things"

Because of the inspired efforts of Sidney Rigdon a large congregation of people had been prepared to receive the Gospel in Ohio. Nearly 1,000 people converted within a very short time largely because of the efforts of Brother Sidney, yet the Lord informs him that he has been prepared for an even greater work… he shall do greater things!

We will see as we proceed that he did in fact do great things in the 2nd watch during the foundation movement, however, the greater things the Lord was referring to primarily has to do with the 2nd commission that God was going to give to Joseph and Sidney in the 3rd watch!

Section 35 continued

God accepts Sidney’s Baptisms
Sidney shall bestow the Holy Ghost
even as the Apostles of Old

"Thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost; But now I give unto thee a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, even as the apostles of old."

Thou didst baptize by water..” That is the same calling that John the Baptist had during the Saviors' ministry! As previously mentioned, it is quite an honor for the Lord God of Israel to compare Sidney Rigdon to the greatest human prophet that ever lived up until the rime of Christ!

It appears to me that during Sidney's preparatory mission, before joining the restored church and being ordained to the Priesthood, God was accepting his baptisms that he was performing as he was preaching to the congregations in and around Ohio.

The above verses are curious given the fact that Sidney had only been an ordained member of the Church for probably less than a month before this revelation was given.

Let me state this again in case you missed it.

It therefore appears to me that the Lord was accepting the baptisms Sidney performed even prior to his priesthood ordination.

In the revelation to Sidney, it seems doubtful that God was referring to the handful of baptisms he might have performed during the previous few weeks that he was a member of the Church, more likely he was referring to the incredible missionary work that Sidney had done before joining the Church when hundreds flocked to be baptized by Bishop Rigdon.

Notice the following account of his preparatory ministry when “he accordingly commenced to baptize like John of old, there flocked to him people from all the region around about

Here is an account of the amazing work that Sidney did when he “was sent forth even as John to prepare the way”:

The churches in which he preached which had heretofore been filled with anxious hearers were now filled to overflowing the poor flocked to the services and the rich thronged the assemblies.

The doctrines he advanced were new but at the time were elucidated with such clearness and enforced with an eloquence altogether superior to what they had listened to before that those whose sectarian prejudices were not too deeply rooted who listened to the deep and searching discourses which he delivered from time to time could not fail of being greatly affected and convinced that the principles he advanced were true and in accordance with the Scriptures.

Nor were his labors and success confined to that township alone but calls were made in every direction for him to preach which he complied with as much as he possibly could until his labors became very extensive and spread over a vast extent of country.

Wherever he went the same success attended his ministry and he was everywhere received with kindness and welcomed by persons of all classes.

Prejudice after prejudice gave way on every hand opposition after opposition was broken down and bigotry was rooted from its strongholds.

The truths he advanced were received with gladness and the doctrines he taught had a glorious ascendency wherever he had the opportunity of promulgating them.

His fame as an orator and deep reasoner in the Scriptures continued to spread far and wide and he soon gained a popularity and an elevation which has fallen to the lot of but few consequently thousands flocked to hear his eloquent discourses.

When it was known where he was going to preach there might be seen long before the appointed time persons of all classes sects and denominations flocking like doves to their windows from a considerable distance The humble pedestrian and the rich in their splendid equipages might be seen crowding the roads.

The churches in the different places where he preached were now no longer large enough to contain the vast assemblies which congregated from time to time so that he had to repair to the widespread canopy of heaven and in the woods and in the groves he addressed the multitudes which flocked to hear him. Nor was his preaching in vain It was not empty sound that so closely engaged the attention of his audiences and with which they were so deeply tested but it was the truths which were imparted the intelligence which was conveyed and the duties which were enforced.

Not only did the writings of the New Testament occupy his attention but occasionally those of the ancient prophets particularly those prophecies which had reference to the present and to the future were brought up to review and treated in a manner entirely new and deeply interesting.

No longer did he follow the old beaten track which had been traveled for ages by the religious world but he dared to enter upon new grounds called in question the opinions of uninspired men showed the foolish ideas of many commentators on the sacred Scriptures exposed their ignorance and contradictions threw new light on the sacred volume.

Particularly those prophecies which so deeply interest this generation and which had been entirely overlooked or mystified by the religious world cleared up scriptures which had heretofore appeared inexplicable and delighted his astonished audience with things new and old proved to a demonstration the literal fulfillment of prophecy the gathering of Israel in the last days to their ancient inheritances with their ultimate splendor and glory the situation of the world at the coming of the Son of Man the judgments which Almighty God would pour out upon the ungodly prior to that event and the reign of Christ with his saints on the earth..

These important subjects could not fail to have their weight on the minds of his hearers who clearly discerned the situation in which they were placed by the sound and logical arguments which he adduced and soon numbers felt the importance of obeying that form of doctrine which had been delivered them so that they might be accounted worthy to escape those things which were coming on the earth and many came forward desiring to be baptized for the remission of sins.

He accordingly commenced to baptize and like John of old there flocked to him people from all the region round about persons of all ranks and standings in society the rich the poor the noble and the brave flocked to be baptized of him.

Nor was this desire to individuals or families but whole societies threw away their creeds and articles of faith and became obedient to the faith he promulgated and he soon had large and flourishing societies throughout that whole region of country He now was a welcome visitor wherever he traveled his society was courted by the learned and intelligent and the highest encomiums were bestowed upon him for his biblical lore and his eloquence.

The work of the ministry engaged all his time and attention he felt deeply for the salvation of his fellow man and for the attainment of which he labored with unceasing diligence During this state of unexampled success the prospect of wealth and affluence was fairly open before him but he looked upon it with indifference and made everything subservient to the promotion of correct principles and having food and raiment he learned therewith to be content.

As a proof of this his family were in no better circumstances and made no greater appearance in the world than when he labored at the occupation of tanning His family consisted of his wife and six children and lived in a very small unfinished frame house hardly capable of making a family comfortable which affords a clear proof that his affections were not set upon things of a worldly nature or secular aggrandizement.

After he had labored in that vicinity some time and having received but little pecuniary aid the members of the church which he had built up held a meeting to take his circumstances into consideration and provide for his wants and place him in a situation suitable to the high and important office which he sustained in the church.

They resolved upon erecting him a suitable residence where he could make his family comfortable and accommodate his numerous friends who visited him A committee was appointed to make a purchase of land and to erect such buildings as were necessary.

The committee soon made a purchase of a farm in a beautiful situation in that township made contracts for erecting a suitable dwelling house stable barn etc and soon made a commencement on the house and had a quantity of the building materials on the spot He being held in the highest respect by that people they entered the work with pleasure and seemed to vie with each other in their labors of love believing it a duty to make their beloved pastor and his family comfortable.

His prospects with regard to temporal things were now brighter than they ever had been and he felt happy in the midst of a people who had every disposition to promote his welfare Under these pleasing circumstances and enjoying this full tide of prosperity he hardly thought that for his attachment to truth he would soon see the prospect blasted and himself and family reduced to a more humble situation than before.

At this time it being in the fall of AD 1830 Elders Parley P Pratt Ziba Peterson Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer called at that town on their way to the western boundary of the State of Missouri testifying to the truth of the Book of Mormon and that the Lord had raised up a prophet and restored the priesthood Previous to this Elder Parley Pratt had been a preacher in the same church?” Sidney Rigdon by Wagoner Pg 40 also see HC pg 136

Why is it that others in modern revelation who had previously been baptized into Protestantism without the proper priesthood ordination and told that their baptisms did not count, yet the Lord simply acknowledges that Sidney's baptisms simply were not accompanied with the gift of the Holy Ghost?

If my above speculation is correct, that the baptisms that he performed prior to joining the church were accepted by God, Sidney Ridgon must have been of a special lineage, perhaps a literal descendent and first born of Aaron and had a special calling and mission similar to John the Baptists in order to baptize without being ordained. Yet, in addition to the patriarchal priesthood that he held, the Lord promised him that he would also go forth in power bestowing the Holy Ghost like the apostles of old.

This special lineage might explain why the Lord gave Sidney special privileges instead of to Joseph, such as ordaining people, dedicating the temple spot in Jackson County and giving the primary discourse at each cornerstone and Temple dedication and most major occasions, etc.

It is important to understand that Sidney had broken away from all of the apostate creeds of the reformation as he;

devoted himself to the work of the ministry, confirming himself to no creed, but held up the Bible as the rule of faith, and advocating those doctrines which had been the subject of his and Mr. Campbell’s investigations, viz. Repentance and baptism for the remission of sins.”

I further believe that if Sidney had been endorsing any of the apostate protestant creeds or baptizing people into them, then the baptisms could not have been honored.

My supposition does not necessarily mean that those previously baptized by Sidney did not get baptized again when accepting the restored church.

A precedence for this may be found in the Book of Mormon wherein God appears to be honoring the baptisms of the prophet Nephi and those he ordained five years before Christ visited the Nephites, yet, when Christ did visit the Nephites, Nephi and others were ordained again to baptize and all who had been baptized were baptized again... does this presuppose that perhaps there is a preparatory baptism?

The other declaration of significance in the above portion of section 35 is that Sidney Rigdon shall bestow the Holy Ghost upon others just as the Apostles of old did.. but notice the following promise associated with this declaration:

God’s promise to Sidney that he will go forth in power as an Apostle continues as follows, indicating that Sidney plays a very important role in the 3rd watch when the folly of the Gentiles is made manifest in the eyes of all people:

Section 35 continued

Sidney ordained to do a greater work
which takes place in the 3rd Watch
when the folly of the Gentiles is manifest

"..And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all people. For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracle, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name. And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk."

As I have mentioned in previous posts, once you understand the distinction between the 1st commission in the 2nd Watch vs. the 2nd commission in the 3rd Watch, the Doctrine and Covenants really comes alive with meaning because you are able to see when the Lord jumps back and forth when speaking about the current dispensation of the last times and the future dispensation of the fullness of times. (For more on this click here)

The following is a chart showing the distinction between the 2nd and 3rd Watch:

Notice that the dispensation of the fulness of times is contained within the dispensation of the last time even though it does not begin at the same time. Members of the LDS Church have been indoctrinated to believe that the the dispensation of the fulness of times began with the restoration of the Church in 1830, however this is clearly not accurate.

In an epistle to the church known as section 128, given twelve years after the legal restoration of the Church, Joseph Smith makes it clear that the dispensation of the fulness of times was just beginning to open up.

Section 124 and other statements of Joseph Smith make it abundantly clear that the opening up of the dispensation of the fulness of times was predicated on several things including the Saints repenting and coming out from under the condemnation they were under, the completion of the Nauvoo Temple and the restoration of the priesthood that had been lost when the Saints defiled the Kirtland Temple and fled from Kirtland and the redemption of Zion.

Section 35 mentions the great work that Sidney will play when the folly of the Gentiles is manifest.

The literal primary fulfillment of the great work in the land among the Gentiles when the whole world shall see the folly of the Gentiles was not back then at the time of the LDS restoration movement, it is now!

The great folly of the Gentile nation that has rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ is beginning to take place before our very eyes.

We are currently seeing the preparatory events that will usher in the Marvelous Work and a Wonder. The whole world is in awe right now as they look at the folly of the Gentiles.

Look at this ridiculous mess that we are currently in. America is in a total state of moral and religious bankruptcy. We are a nation of liars, thieves, adulterers and murderers.

Our entire economy is collapsing around us because of our greed, arrogance and lack of integrity as a people, a nation and as a civilization. Our political system has been overcome by a secret society that wants to destroy our freedom and enslave the world.

Oh how great is the folly of the great Gentile nation of America. We have rejected the gospel when it was sent to us and now we have become deluded and full of pride. We are the laughing stock of the world... except that what we have done is taking the rest of the world down with us...

I could go on and on about the folly we are involved in on many different levels and in many different dimensions but we have a lot of ground to cover pertaining to Brother Sidney.

For now, catalogue in your mind the fact that Sidney Rigdon has been prepared for a greater work that will involve, among other things, the power to go forth as an Apostle of the Lord bestowing the Gift of the Holy Ghost at the time when the folly and abominations of the Gentiles will be made manifest in the eyes of all people.

Notice how the spiritual gifts that will be manifest during the greater work, ie, miracles, signs, and wonders, faith, casting out of devils; healing of the sick; blind to receive their sight, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk" are the same spiritual gifts promised to the apostle in the meridian of time and also to the 12 Nephite disciples.

Several verses that follow the ones noted above identify Joseph and Sidney among those referred to as the weak things of the earth who are unlearned and despised. Sidney is one of the ones God will use in the 3rd Watch to thrash the nations.

According the 1828 Websters, Folly refers to weakness of intellect, imbecility of mind, want of understanding, a weak or absurd act.. an act which is inconsistent with the dictates of reason, or with the ordinary rules of prudence. And absurd act which is highly sinful; any conduct contrary to the laws of God or Man; scandalous crimes; that which violates morals precepts dishonors the offender, criminal weakness depravity of mind..” Sound like the America you know and the predicament we have placed ourselves in?

Section 35 continued

Joseph holds keys to things which are sealed
Sidney is to watch over Joseph
Sidney is to write for Joseph
Sidney is to tarry with Joseph
Sidney is to Journey with Joseph
Sidney to prove modern revelations
Sidney to write the JST of the Bible

"And I have sent forth the fullness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him; And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead. Wherefore, watch over him, [Joseph ] that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things.

And a commandment I give unto thee [Sidney] —that thou shalt write for him; and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect; For they will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep, and shall abide the day of my coming; for they shall be purified, even as I am pure. And now I say unto you, [Sidney] tarry with him, and he shall journey with you; forsake him not, and surely these things shall be fulfilled. And inasmuch as ye do not write, behold, it shall be given unto him to prophesy; and thou shalt preach my gospel and call on the holy prophets to prove his words, as they shall be given him."

In section 35 the Lord commands Sidney and Joseph to work in concert with each other.

  • Sidney is to watch over Joseph!
  • Sidney is to write for him as he translates the inspired version of the Bible!
  • Sidney is to tarry with Joseph!
  • Joseph is to journey with Sidney!

And when Joseph brings forth his prophetic revelations, Sidney is to preach the gospel and to;

prove the words that Joseph utters through the words of the holy prophets.

We find from this and other revelations we will be reviewing that Joseph had the spiritual gift of seership and the gift of prophesy while Sidney had been gifted with great knowledge and understanding in the scriptures.. indeed, as previously mentioned, he was considered a “walking Bible”... one of the greatest theologians of the time. God had prepared Sidney Ridgon to be able to prove the revelations God was giving through Joseph using the Bible!

Joseph and Sidney had been given spiritual gifts that would support, strengthen and compliment each other.

In the words of David Whitmer:

Rigdon was a thorough Bible scholar, a man of fine education, and a powerful orator… Brother Joseph rejoiced believing that the Lord had sent to him this great and mighty man Sidney Rigdon, to help him in the work.”

The Seer and the Scribe became a formidable pair:

Together the two men were so powerful, church historian John Whitmer wrote, that the people who heard them speak were amazed, and trembled, and knew not whereunto this thing would grow [8]

It is interesting to note that Sidney had been described as a “flaming literalist” by Alexander Campbell. This matched the belief system of Joseph Smith who, when asked how Mormonism differed from other Christian church he replied “We believe the Bible”. They were both biblical literalists.

Finally, the above passage in section 35 informs us that Sidney is to write for Joseph while translating the Bible! (Be sure to remember this.. it will be a key in unlocking some hidden knowledge about who Sidney is and the role he plays in the 3rd watch)

We will talk more about the significance of Sidney’s involvement in the Joseph Smith Translation later in this article. If you are not aware of how incredibly important the JSTranslation of the Bible is and how the salvation of the Church is predicated on it being published to the world in the 3rd watch, please read this post. The inspired version of the Bible plays a key role in he Marvelous Work and Sidney is the one who God has commissioned to declare and sent it to the ends of the earth!

The JST inspired version of the Bible has been referred to as the key of Knowledge and it plays a significant role in the Marvelous Work.

Before we move on to the next verse that pertains to Brother Sidney, let me ask a few questions to help you see the dynamics that must have been taking place in the Church.

How do you think the original members of the Church from the New York and other areas felt when they read the incredible promises and responsibilities that were bestowed upon Sidney Rigdon who was an outsider coming into the flock?

How would you feel if you were David Whitmer or Oliver Cowdery to see some stranger meet Joseph Smith for the first time, and be immediately placed in the second highest position in the Church?

How would you feel if you were Parley P. Pratt who had lived with Sidney and been under his tutelage as a minister in the local congregation? Would there be a tendency for a little jealously if you had the privilege of taking the gospel message to Brother Sidney and upon the first day Sidney and the prophet Joseph Smith meet each other the Lord proclaims Sidney to be the one to work side by side with the prophet and to watch over him and to prove the validity of the revelations he brings forth?

I ask these questions because some of the very people who brought Sidney into the Church would at a later time seek to destroy his reputation and cast him out of the church.

Section 36

God lays his hands upon Edward
Through the hands of Sidney Rigdon

Those who desire to embrace the calling
Must come before Sidney and Joseph

"Thus saith the Lord God, the Mighty One of Israel: Behold, I say unto you, my servant Edward, that you are blessed, and your sins are forgiven you, and you are called to preach my gospel as with the voice of a trump;

And I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom; And you shall declare it with a loud voice, saying:

Hosanna, blessed be the name of the most high God.

And now this calling and commandment give I unto you concerning all men—That as many as shall come before my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun., embracing this calling and commandment, shall be ordained and sent forth to preach the everlasting gospel among the nations—"

Edward Partridge was one of the great noble men of the LDS Restoration Movement. He was called to be one of the first Bishops in the Church.

He traveled with Sidney Rigdon to seek the will of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Edward and Sidney both met Joseph Smith together at the same time. Section 36 is the revelation to Edward.. given the same day that Sidney was given the promises contained in section 35.

What must have been going Edwards mind when his friend Sidney Rigdon who traveled with him to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith for the first time received the incredible promise contained in section 35?

What must have been going through his mind when the Lord promised to lay his hand on Edward through the hand of Sidney Rigdon? This is probably the first reference of this kind to the principle of divine investiture while ordaining someone, in modern revelation. Why didn't the Lord ordain Edward through the hand of Joseph the Seer? A possible explanation has to do with the patriarchal priesthood the Sidney held.

Joseph and Sidney each had special gifts and callings. They were to work in concern in leading the church.

Notice the next declaration of the Lord, "as many as shall come before my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith Jr." ... shall be ordained and sent forth to preach the everlasting gospel among the nations!

Wow! It was not Joseph that would be ordaining and sending forth the messengers of salvation, it was Joseph and Sidney!

This is very significant. If Joseph was called to be the clear singular head of the restoration work, God would have made that point clear. But the Lord is actually making a declaration that Joseph and Sidney are to work together in tandem.

Sidney was to act in concert with Joseph in sending forth the Gospel. We shall see later on that the literal fulfillment of this promise and calling has to do with the 3rd Watch as well as the 2nd Watch. Sidney and Joseph are the ones who will send forth the gospel to the nations when the final call goes forth!

Section 42

Joseph and Sidney are to remain
while the Elders go forth

"Behold, verily I say unto you, I give unto you this first commandment, that ye shall go forth in my name, every one of you, excepting my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon."

As you may know, section 42 is the great forgotten LAW of the Church. The higher law. Referred to some times as gospel law, celestial law, law of
Zion, consecration, etc. In short, it is the law that the Saints, as a collective body failed to live.

Embedded within and intimately integrated into the higher law of consecration, is the celestial principle of monogamy within marriage;

"Thou shalt love they wife with all thy heart and shalt cleave unto none else" (42:22)

I bring this up at this time because this plain and simple concept was not lost on Sidney Rigdon. He understood and never forgot that the higher law of consecration requires a sacred monogamous relationship between a man and his helpmate. As previously declared by the Lord God of Israel, it was Sidney's calling to use the inspired version of the Bible to prove the revelations that Joseph Smith brought forth.

Although the Church at large were never allowed to view the information contained in the inspired version, Sidney was intimately familiar with it. HE WROTE IT. He had to know this information since it was his calling to double check the validity of the revelations Joseph Smith brought forth. It was Sidneys knowledge of the word of God in the Bible and the Book of Mormon that qualified him to become the leading scholar in the church and the designated defender of the faith.

Catalogue this very important fact in your mind, it is going to become a very important issue later on in this tribute to Sidney Rigdon. The time would come when Joseph would receive a conflicting revelation that would teach a conflicting law. Many years in the future a heresy would be taught in the church that you would need to have multiple wives in order to get into the highest kingdom and Rigdon would reject the doctrine and would proclaim that the Bible does not support multiple wives and polyandry within the higher law.

It is interesting that after the fulness of the Gospel and the two priesthoods were given to the church, the Lord commanded them to go to the Ohio to receive this LAW!

It is interesting that there was still a law that needed to be learned and lived even after having received the priesthoods and the principles and ordinances of the fullness of the gospel.

It is fascinating that Joseph Smith and the members of the restored Church are commanded to migrate to where Sidney had been preparing the hearts and minds of hundreds of people.

The Lord had planted Sidney and his followers on the Holy Ground where the Holy Temple was to be built and the law of consecration was being lived.

Joseph and the Church membership in New York were to migrate to where Sidney Ridgon and his congregations were living, in and around Kirtland.

Sidney and his congregation had been prepared for the higher law before the Saints in the restored Church were!

Wouldn't it make more sense for the Lord to have commanded Sidney Rigdon and his followers to migrate to where the the restored Church had been established?

Joseph Smith and the Saints were the ones receiving direct revelation, why weren't they the ones who had been directed by the Spirit to settle in the holy place and strive to have all things in common?

I find it remarkable that:

· Sidney Ridgon was inspired to part ways with Alexander Campbell in a doctrinal dispute because Campbell and his followers refused to have all things in common and to accept the ongoing need for miracles and spiritual gifts and manifestations.

· A large portion of believers had been led to the Kirtland area by the hand of the Lord and were impressed to contract with Sidney Rigdon to preach to them.

· Their hearts and minds had been prepared to follow the counsel of Rigdon in striving to have all things in common and to seek after spiritual gifts.

· The Lord commanded Joseph Smith and the small Church membership to leave their homes in the State of New York and to migrate to Ohio to unite with Sidney Rigdon and his followers.

Notice how the above verses in section 42 command the Elders of the Church to go forth doing missionary work EXCEPT for Joseph and Sidney? They were doing administrative things at the time. We are seeing a pattern here.

The Lord was not just leading the Church through Joseph. The Church was being led through Joseph and Sidney.

If you are wondering why you have always been taught that the Church was led solely by Joseph, perhaps it is because you have been taught the sanitized and revised version of the History of the Church.

Sidney was as important to the LDS restoration movement as was Joseph Smith. They had different spiritual gifts and callings but both were crucial. They had a reciprocal and synergistic relationship. They complemented each others attributes and spiritual gifts.

Sidney was receiving personal revelation through the still small voice of the spirit before he ever met Joseph Smith.

As we shall see, his ability to independently receive revelation would make him accountable for his words and actions, there would come a time in the future when he would make prophetic statements to the church and they would need to discern whether he was truly inspired or not. The time would come when the Church would choose whether they wanted to be led by a prophet or a king.

Section 52

The Lord reveals the land of Inheritance
through Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith

"Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders whom he hath called and chosen in these last days, by the voice of his Spirit— Saying:

I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant.

Wherefore, verily I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon take their journey as soon as preparations can be made to leave their homes, and journey to the land of Missouri. And inasmuch as they are faithful unto me, it shall be made known unto them what they shall do; And it shall also, inasmuch as they are faithful, be made known unto them the land of your inheritance."

The land
of Missouri was to be revealed as the land of Zion. Continuing the pattern, Joseph and Sidney are to journey together to this land. Coming up, we shall see the incredible role that Sidney Rigdon is to play in laying the cornerstone for the Temple of the Lord in the land of Zion.

Section 58

God commands Sidney Rigdon
to write a description of the land of Zion

God appoints Sidney Rigdon to
consecrate and dedicate Zion
and the spot for the Temple

"And I give unto my servant Sidney Rigdon a commandment, that he shall write a description of the land of Zion, and a statement of the will of God, as it shall be made known by the Spirit unto him.

And let my servant Sidney Rigdon consecrate and dedicate this land, and the spot for the temple, unto the Lord."

What an incredible honor!

Speaking to all the Elders that were invited to gather on this solemn occasion the Lord said:

"Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you—that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come; And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand.."

Why, of all the people that could have been picked to write a description of the land of Zion and to consecrate and dedicate the spot for the Temple of the Lord in the sacred and holy land of Zion did the Lord bestow this honor on Sidney Rigdon?

If one believes that God knows all things and has all time, past, present and future continually before his eyes, one must believe that God knows which of his servants will be valiant and true and which ones will be unprofitable servants. Not to mention which ones have the right of royal priesthood according to lineage.

Certainly he would pick one of the righteous and valiant ones to consecrate and dedicate the spot for the temple! And to be involved in the dedication and consecrations of all of the temples!

On the 2nd day of August 1831, Brother Sidney Rigdon stood up and asked saying: Do you receive this land for the land of your inheritance with thankful hearts from the Lord? Answer from all, we do. Do you pledge yourselves to keep the laws of God on this land, which you never have kept in your own lands? We do. Do you pledge yourselves to see that others of your brethren who shall come hither do keep the laws of God? We do. After prayer he arose and said, I now pronounce this land consecrated and dedicated to the Lord for a possession and inheritance for the Saints (in the name of Jesus Christ having authority from him.) and for all the faithful servants of the Lord to the remotest ages of time. Amen. "

The day following, eight elders, viz., Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Peter Whitmer, Jr., Frederick G. Williams, Wm. W. Phelps, Martin Harris, and Joseph Coe, assembled together where the Temple is to be erected. Sidney Rigdon dedicated the ground where the city is to stand: and Joseph Smith, Jr., laid a stone at the northeast corner of the contemplated temple in the name of the Lord Jesus of Nazareth. After all present had rendered thanks to the great ruler of the universe, Sidney Rigdon pronounced this spot of ground wholly dedicated unto the Lord forever: Amen." [9]

Section 58 is an amazing revelation having to do with the land of Zion which will become the primary center place of the gathering.

In this revelation the Lord warns that if the Saints are not faithful in purchasing the designated lands with money, it will need to be redeemed with blood!

Hence the parable of the redemption of Zion in section 101 wherein the Lords servant of the vineyard returns with his fellow laborers in the 3rd Watch to tear down the tower of the enemies and avenge the Lord of his enemies... this amazing section is embedded with a cryptic passage of scripture dealing with the two gatherings that will take place in the 3rd Watch... The first one wherein the rich and learned are gathered for a feast... little do they realize that because they chose to fight against Zion instead of to submit to the Gospel of Christ, they become the feast.

They will become a feast for the birds in the heavens.... After the rich and the proud have rejected the gospel, fought against the work of the Lord and been sacrificed unto the fowls in the heavens, the poor and the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come.

Section 63

God chastises Sidney Rigdon and
threatens to remove him from his calling

"And now behold, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, am not pleased with my servant Sidney Rigdon; he exalted himself in his heart, and received not counsel, but grieved the Spirit;

Wherefore his writing is not acceptable unto the Lord, and he shall make another; and if the Lord receive it not, behold he standeth no longer in the office to which I have appointed him."

This is one of the most scathing chastisements the Lord gives to anyone in a published revelation. How humiliating it must have been to have been publicly chastened by the Lord in a revelation canonized for the whole world to review!

I have read the original description of the Land of Zion that Sidney wrote and I have compared it to the second one. The second one was simple, on task and to the point without any... commentary... and without any self aggrandizement.

In hind-sight I understand why the Lord was upset however I would have never known it without it being pointed out. I think I would have made a similar mistake had I been in that situation. This provides us with a great lesson to learn from.

Sidney experienced the refiners fire in many ways. He spent cold nights in jail; he was beat up and dragged across the ground leaving him with a head trauma that possibly irritated him his entire life and he experience countless other sacrifices for the cause of truth.

In this situation he acted arrogant and exalted himself as I think I and many others would have had a tendency to do.

Imagine being told that if you don't do it right the second time you will be discarded from the 1st Presidency.

Sidney was chastened severely by the Lord but he passed the test. The Lord accepted his second offering, forgave his sins, retained him in the 1st presidency and continued to give him additional promises and assignments.

The Lord has told us that "if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons"

There is something deeply ironic about this event in the life of Sidney Rigdon.

Sidney, as one of the Lords anointed servants was eventually commanded to chasten others. Sadly, he was often not taken very seriously by those he chastened. Some of his critics in and out of the Church from that time to the present have rejected his testimony and mocked him and held him in derision.

As we continue to review the word of God pertaining to Sidney Rigdon, it is becoming evident that the Lord viewed Brother Sidney much differently than the world does.

Indeed, we shall see that Sidney Rigdon is one of the Lords anointed servants and all of the blessings and promises given him from the mouth of the Lord shall verily come to pass.

It is heartbreaking to realize that the unrepentant bastards, who refuse chastisement from the Lords servants and choose to malign the Lord's anointed, shall open their eyes in torment.

Section 71

Joseph & Sidney proclaim gospel in 2nd watch
..expound the mysteries out of the scriptures

"Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel, the things of the kingdom, expounding the mysteries thereof out of the scriptures, according to that portion of Spirit and power which shall be given unto you, even as I will.

Verily I say unto you, proclaim unto the world in the regions round about, and in the church also, for the space of a season, even until it shall be made known unto you. Verily this is a mission for a season, which I give unto you. Wherefore, labor ye in my vineyard.

Notice that both Sidney and Joseph are commanded to preach by revelation, according to the portion of the spirit and power given to each of them.

Sidney acted as a prophet and revelator within his own stewardship.

Section 71 continued

Joseph & Sidney are to prepare the way
for commandments and revelations in 3rd Watch

Those that receive the commandments
will be given power

Joseph & Sidney to call upon their enemies
and confound them in public debates

Call upon the inhabitants of the earth, and bear record, and prepare the way for the commandments and revelations which are to come. Now, behold this is wisdom; whoso readeth, let him understand and receive also;

For unto him that receiveth it shall be given more abundantly, even power. Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest. Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord."

There is nothing wrong with a religious debate. It is the process by which doctrine can be tested and listeners may be edified and discern truth from error.. it provides a platform wherein debaters and listeners may learn doctrine.

The important thing is to try to avoid contention. Nevertheless, even when the enemy is contentious, true prophets and apostles don’t back down, they boldly testify of the truth and defend the faith.

God had prepared Joseph and Sidney to proclaim the Gospel, expound the mysteries and confound the enemies of the Church, Joseph Smith the seer and Sidney Rigdon the doctrinal scholar were to call upon the inhabitants of the earth and to confound their enemies.

In section 35, the very first revelation given to Sidney Rigdon, the Lord commanded him to;

“prove the words that Joseph utters through the words of the holy prophets”

As we shall see in a future section, Sidney Rigdon had been prepared to be the great spokesman who proves the words that Gods speaks through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Again, Sidney Rigdon was a "walking Bible".. actually, he was a "walking inspired version of the Bible".

He was clearly one of the great Biblical Scholars of the day. As we continue building this profile of Sidney Rigdon, we shall see how the Lord will put Sidneys doctrinal knowledge and mastery of the scriptures to use in laying the foundation of the work.

Later in this article we shall review how the Book of Mormon reveals that Rigdon was not only to prove the words of God in Modern Revelation and the JST Inspired Version of the Bible, he also had a special mission to testify of their truthfulness.

While Joseph Smith was to bring forth Gods word, Sidney Rigdon the spokesman was to "declare it".

Why was Sidney the one that was chosen to declare the truthfulness of the scriptures brought forth through Joseph Smith?

The answer to this question is answered in a revelation Rigdon received wherein the Lord had stated:

"There was no man living so well qualified to judge of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon as he was . His knowledge of the Lord's manner of writing was such as enabled him to detect it when he saw in and thus it was that he received the book of Mormon" (Stephen Post Collection Section 37)

Is it a coincidence that Sidney Rigdon had at one time been a close associate of the person who would become the most respected and powerful critic of Mormonism?

Alexander Campbell and the movement he was involved in, perhaps had the greatest impact on Christianity in America at the time of the LDS restoration movement.

Because of this Campbell and his associate Scott, were in a position to discredit Mormonism from a doctrinal point of view.

Sidney was the designated defender of the faith and he was none to shy in doing it. When his long time friend and associate Alexander Campbell began publicly ridiculing Mormonism Sidney Ridgon confronted him publicly and said:

The scheme of Messrs. Campbell and Scott is the most barefaced and impudent imposition ever attempted to be pawned on any generation, and those who are stupid enough to continue to follow them, will cast a shade upon the character of this generation as long as the name of it is know among the living..

If it were to be asked why did not the Lord choose Messrs. Campbell and Scott, to lay the foundation of his work in the last days the answer would be, that God who knows the hearts of all living, knew that they were corrupt to the very core, and destitute of that nobleness of soul which would entitle them to this honor.”

He then addressed Campbell in private:

You have lied, Alexander.. you are a child of the Devil, you are an enemy to all righteousness, and the spirit of the Devil is in you… and if you do not receive the Book of Mormon, you will be damned.” (Sidney Rigdon pg 96)

It is not surprising that Sidney became to the primary defender of the faith. When a high profile critic of the Church was publically making disparaging remarks about the Church and questioning the authenticity of the restoration movement, it was Rigdon that was unleashed to do battle.

When Exra Booth, a former Methodist Minister who had converted to Mormonism and then become disenchanted began publically challenging the legitimacy of the restored gospel in a series of nine letters to a friend that were published in the Ohio Star, Joseph and Sidney both preached in the regions round about and defending the faith but it was Rigdon, who was more knowledgeable and was a greater orator that became Booth's principal opponent.

As David Whitmer pointed out:

Rigdon was superior in eloquence and more audacious in debate. Even Jedediah Grant, a caustic Rigdon critic in later years admitted that he was truly a man of talents, possessing a gift for speaking seldom surpassed by men of this age.” [10]

Rigdon addressed "To The Public" a letter to the Ohio Star announcing that he intended to deliver a lecture on the Christian Religion on Christmas Day. He specifically requested that Ezra Booth be present and declared that he would review the letters written by him and published in the Ohio Star which presented an "unfair and false representation of the subject on which they treat". Rigdon also issued a special challenge to Simonds Ryder, another exmormon dissident that had been publically making disparaging remarks about the Church.

Neither of these accusers had the intestinal fortitude to personally meet Rigdon in a public debate but Rigdon continued submitting articles to newspapers and giving sermons addressing the issues brought up by these two and others.

Wagoner observed that “Rigdons harangues, delivered both from the pulpit and in writing, were perhaps the most potent early weapon against forces intent on destroying Mormonism and the credibility of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”

Ridgon was by far the most successful and notable defender of the faith that Mormonism ever produced. But this is not surprising given the fact that he was raised up for the purpose of declaring the word of God and using the Bible to prove the Book of Mormon and the revelations brought forth through the prophet Joseph Smith.

From the revelations given in the six sections of the D&C that we just reviewed we have shown that Sidney had been inspired to do a preparatory work that prepared over a thousand people to accept the restored gospel. Ridgon had prepared these people to accept the law of consecration before the Lord revealed the principle to Joseph Smith. Rigdon then went on to become one of the two human driving forces of the Church.

Rigdon appears to have held the right to the priesthood by right of lineage as well as by ordination as his baptisms had been accepted of the Lord even before joining the church and he was given the privilege of performing certain functions in the church.

Sidney Rigdon was called to lead the Church in concert with Joseph Smith.

The Lord God of Israel compared Rigdon to John the Baptist, the greatest prophet at his time. Sidney had been prepared to lead the church, working in concert with Joseph Smith as the Lord commanded him to watch over Joseph, write for him, tarry with him, journey with him, prove the revelations that Joseph was bringing forth using the Bible.

The Lord laid his hands on Edward Partridge through the hands of Sidney Rigdon.

Sidney was honored to consecrate and dedicate the land of Zion and the Temple Lot. And Sidney became the designated defender of the faith.

The infallible word of the Lord says that Sidney will do great things and has been prepared for a greater work that will take place in the 3rd watch when the folly of the gentiles will be manifest.

I hope you will return to review with me the next six revelations that identify Sidney Rigdon by name and provide further information about his incredible calling in the 3rd watch.

The Return of Sidney Rigdon, Gods Spokesman
"This is the testimony last of all that WE give of Him.."
Tribute to Sidney Rigdon by Onewhoiswatching Part 3

To be continued...

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I know that you have said the corporate church today is the tribe of Judah, but is there anyway the folly of the Gentiles could be the folly of the Gentile church today?