THE SECOND COMING
OF JOSEPH SMITH
When one considers the doctrine of reincarnation his mind would naturally wonder what the previous lifetimes were of some of the early brethren in the church.
It’s quite possible that their incarnations on the earth began even before the days of Adam for Hyrum Smith said: “There were prophets BEFORE Adam, and Joseph has the spirit and power of all the prophets.” Millenial Star Vol. 23:Pg 406.
Orson Hyde also said: “The world was peopled before the days of Adam as much as it was before the days of Noah.” J.D. 2:79
It is true that the ancient continents of Atlantis and Lemuria did exist and some of the more recent prophets also struggled as teachers of mankind back at that ancient time.
We see from the scriptures evidence of the past lives of some of the early brethren. For instance, there is a strong indication that Oliver Cowdrey was Aaron. Oliver was told: “You have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold it hath told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God, and you shall hold it in your hands.” D&C 8:6-8
This scripture is even more striking when one considers that a very important word here has been changed. The first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants read “rod of Aaron” instead of “gift of Aaron”. The word “gift” does not make sense because Oliver was told he would hold it in his hands. It is not a coincidence, then, that Oliver was given a Rod just as Aaron was, and his Rod generated power just as Aaron’s did.
It is also ironic that Oliver was the first with Joseph to receive the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist and he was the first one in this dispensation to be ordained in an earthly ordinance to this priesthood by another mortal, namely Joseph Smith. Oliver was told that he was “called and ordained even as Aaron.” D&C 27:8
Edward Partrigde was told that “he is like unto Nathanael of old, in whom there is no guile.” D&C 41:11 Could this be the Lord’s way of hinting at his identity in a previous lifetime?
Many of the brethren were conspicuously called strange ancient names in various revelations. No logical explanation of this has ever been given by the church. Again, was the Lord hinting at past identities?
Hyrum was Hyrum, King of Tyre from the Old Testament. Brigham Young was King Solomon. Just as King Solomon built the temple without the sound of a hammer (I Kings 6:7) so did Brigham construct the tabernacle in Salt Lake without hammer or nails. Furthermore, Solomon has sculptured lions on both sides of his throne and ornamenting his house just as Brigham had two of them guarding the entrance to his home he named “The Lionhouse”. Brigham was often referred to as “the Lion of the Lord”. You will also notice that many of Brigham’s sermons sound amazingly like the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes written by Solomon.
The Lord identified Joseph Smith in a dual manner. He said: “Thou art Joseph, and wast chosen to do the work of the Lord.” D&C 3:9 Which Joseph was the Lord referring to? Was this his method of telling him that he was Joseph who was sold into Egypt? Was this why Joseph of old, when prophesying of the mission of Joseph Smith, wrote of him: “He shall be like unto me.” II Nephi 3:15 Was he really writing of his own future mission?
Why did the Lord say that Joseph was “called and chosen to WRITE the Book of Mormon”? D&C 24:1 We know that, as Joseph, he did not write the book, but translated it. If the word of God is literally true then Joseph had to have been Mormon, for Mormon wrote the abridged book. Was this why, when describing his unusual traits as a young boy, his mother said: “During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He could describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and animals upon which they rode; their cities; their buildings with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, AS IF HE HAD SPENT HIS WHOLE LIFE WITH THEM.” Lucy Smith Biographical Sketches; Pg 85.
It is interesting that Mother Smith was speaking of Joseph as a young boy before he had any revelations. It sounds as if he was merely recalling his past life experiences just as numerous young people do today in increasing degrees.
Of course, Joseph and the other brethren had many other lives that are too numerous to mention here, but more interesting than their past lives are their possible future ones.
Many of the brethren were quite surprised that Joseph and Hyrum were killed because of certain things the Prophet told them. For instance, he said: “I prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot overthrow or overcome this boy, FOR I HAVE A PROMISE FROM THE ETERNAL GOD.” DHC 5:554
Because God had promised Joseph he would overcome all of his enemies he was very confident in expressing it. A reference is found in the scriptures: “I feel like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, AND WILL DELIVER ME FROM HENCEFORTH; for behold, and lo, I SHALL TRIUMPH OVER ALL MY ENEMIES, FOR THE LORD GOD HATH SPOKEN IT.” D&C 127:2
Joseph indicated that this overcoming all of our enemies is essential to obtain salvation: “Salvation is nothing more or less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet IN THIS WORLD, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, THEN we are saved.” DHC 5:387
According to this then, Joseph was not saved for he did not triumph over his enemies “in this world”, but they overcame him and took his life.
Brigham Young was one of those who expected greater things of Joseph: “Yet he (Joseph) will lay a plan to speculate as large as ancient Joseph did; he will have power to buy up all the rest of the world.” DHC 6:16
Also the Lord said: “But a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion.” D&C 122:4
Joseph Smith was also promised that he would redeem Zion. (See D&C 105:26-27,37) He said he would be a witness to the whole world and then the end would come. DHC 6:363
The Book of Mormon tells us that he is the one like Moses mentioned in D&C 103:15-16. (See II Nephi 3:6-17) He said his father in a blessing “anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses lead them in the days of old.” DHC 2:380
Joseph’s patriarchal blessing even makes this promise: “Thou shalt hold the keys of this ministry, even the presidency of this church both in time and eternity…Thou shalt stand on Mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the North, and with thy brethren, the Sons of Ephriam, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ.” OUR LINEAGE (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1933)
We can clearly see then, without quoting further, why the brethren did not expect Joseph to be overcome and killed by his enemies. It was even the Lord’s intention that Joseph and Hyrum escape martrydom for he said: “I…will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through eternity…Behold, I have seen all your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I WILL MAKE A WAY FOR YOUR ESCAPE, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac.” D&C 132:49-50
Just as the Lord prepared the way for the saving of the physical life of Isaac so would the Lord have saved the life of Joseph, and, unknown to most, God fulfilled his part of this promise for the Lord did reveal to him a way to escape.
When all the forces of evil came crushing down on Joseph and Hyrum and it seemed as if there was no way to escape with their lives, the Lord did give Joseph a revelation and told him to cross the Missouri and go west. However, his friends called him a coward for doing so and upon hearing this from a letter sent by his wife he replied “If my life is worth nothing to my friends it is worth nothing to me.”
This decision was his alone for neither God nor the heavens were allowed to interfere. They could only look on realizing the unalterable fate of his perilous decision. Although either choice required great courage, his love for the saints compelled him to return to face martrydom. The setback of his premature death was anticipated, however, and all the promises concerning him will yet be fulfilled.
Joseph was once asking the Lord concerning the time of the second coming of Christ and received the answer: “Joseph, my son, IF THOU LIVEST UNTIL THOU ART EIGHTY-FIVE YEARS OLD, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore, let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.” D&C 130:15
This revelation led Joseph to later say: “I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written, the Son of Man WILL NOT COME in the clouds of heaven TILL I AM EIGHTY-FIVE YEARS OLD.” DHC 5:336
If he would have lived to age eight-five as hoped he would have prepared the way so the Christ could have reappeared and the promise concerning the building of the temple in Jackson County in his generation (D&C 84:4) would have been fulfilled. As it is the promise has been delayed because the saints wanted their prophet to prove he was a hero more than they wanted the words of eternal life.
All the promises made to Joseph shall be fulfilled for he will overcome all his enemies and will yet live in the flesh to the age of eighty-five and see the face of the Son of Man. He will not do it in an immortal resurrected body, but as a mortal walking among us again. Eliza R. Snow, the true author of PRAISE TO THE MAN knew what she was writing when she said: “Millions shall know Brother Joseph again.”
Parley P. Pratt was out of state when he heard of the Prophet’s death. He couldn’t understand why his life was taken before the Lord’s promises concerning Joseph were fulfilled. Wondering how he was going to explain Joseph’s death to the people when he returned to Nauvoo, he prayed: “O Lord! In the name of Jesus Christ I pray thee, show me what these things mean, and what I shall say unto thy people? On a sudden the Spirit of God came upon me, and filled my heart with joy and gladness indescribable; and which the spirit of revelation glowed in my bosom with as visible a warmth and gladness as if it were a fire. The Spirit said unto me: ‘Lift up your head and rejoice; for behold! It is well with my servants Joseph and Hyrum. My servant Joseph still holds the keys of my kingdom in this dispensation, AND HE SHALL STAND IN DUE TIME ON EARTH IN THE FLESH, AND FULFILL THAT TO WHICH HE IS APPOINTED.” Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt; Page 333.
In answer to this revelation given to Elder Pratt the average Latter-Day Saint, without thinking twice, would merely say it has reference to Joseph Smith coming again in an immortal resurrected body, but an important point he forgets is that an immortal person never does the work of a mortal. After all, why did not Moroni translate the plates? It would have been more convincing perhaps, but it is the decree of God that man must work out his own salvation and resurrected beings do not interfere with that.
The Lord promised Parley P. Pratt that Joseph would again would stand again on the earth and fulfill that to which he was appointed. What was he appointed to do that he did not accomplish? We shall name nine things and point out that they do not fit the works of a resurrected being.
FIRST: He was to achieve salvation by overcoming all of his enemies ON THE EARTH. It would be an unfair advantage with no victory, and contrary to the laws of heaven, for a resurrected being of great power to fight against mere mortals. If he is to overcome his enemies he must return as a mortal and face them on even ground.
SECOND: The Lord indicated that Joseph would live until he was eighty-five old. This he could only do as a mortal.
THIRD: Brigham Young said Joseph Smith would be able to buy up the world as ancient Joseph did. Can you imagine the Lord sending a resurrected being to do this?
FOURTH: Joseph was promised that he would lead his people as Moses. Moses was a mortal so Joseph could not be like Moses if he was an immortal – he would be like Jehovah who was guiding Moses.
FIFTH: Joseph was promised he would be the one to redeem Zion. (See D&C 105:26-27,37) The one who will do this is referred to as the “marred” servant. (See Isa 52:24 and III Nephi 20:44) Does it make sense that Joseph Smith would appear to lead the Saints to Zion in a resurrected immortal body that is also marred? The prophecy of the marred servant would have to concern a mortal man.
SIXTH: Joseph was also promised that he would restore all things. We know that all things have not yet been restored. An example is the golden plates which were sealed. The Lord told Joseph: “I am the Lord thy God, and gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and RESTORE ALL THINGS. Ask what ye will and it shall be given you according to my word…For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make KNOWN UNTO YOU ALL THINGS in due time.” D&C 132:40 & 45
SEVENTH: One of the things Joseph was to restore was the fulness of the record of John: “And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed…And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful YOU SHALL RECEIVE the fulness of the record of John.” D&C 93:6&18
Joseph Smith was faithful wasn’t he? Then where is the fulness of the record of John? Obviously this can only be fulfilled in a future life.
EIGHTH: Joseph is to reveal all mysteries “until”the Lord comes: “And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those 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.” D&C 35:18 Also see DHC 2:32
NINETH: Joseph Smith is to be the “One Mighty and Strong” and “Set in order the house of God”.
Let us expand this final point and quote the reference concerning this Coming One, for it is the most controversial writing in all the Standard Works, misunderstood by orthodox and fundamentalist Mormon alike.
“And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth to SET IN ORDER THE HOUSE OF GOD, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; While that man who was called of God, and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by a vivid shaft of lightening…These things I say not of myself; THEREFORE, AS THE LORD SPEAKETH, HE WILL ALSO FULFILL.” D&C 85:7-8,10
And how does the church explain this powerful scripture? They say that Edward Partridge, the first bishop of the church, was bungling things up, and the Lord was thinking of sending One Mighty and Strong to straighten him out, but Partridge repented and thus the prophesied person did not need to come. Thus the authorities have tried to negate the word of God for this is one prophesy with a promise of fulfillment. It is written: “He (God) will also fulfill…” D&C 85:10
The present day authorities like to think that this scripture cannot pretain to them. They do not like the idea that the church may be out of order and will require a new Moses to be sent to straighten things out.
As upsetting as it may be to the present day heirarchy we have definite proof that this warning was not to Edward Partridge as is claimed. Oliver Cowdery stated: “Brother Joseph says that the item in his letter (section 85) that says that the man that is called etc. and puts forth his hand to steady the arc of God, DOES NOT MEAN THAT ANYONE HAD AT THE TIME, but was given for a caution to those in HIGH STANDING TO BE WARE, lest they should fall by the shaft of death.” THE REVELATIONS OF JOSEPH SMITH by Lyndon W. Cook; Page 179; Published By Deseret Book
Furthermore, the prophecy pertains to the redemption of Zion which has not yet occurred and could not have been fulfilled in Joseph’s day. In addition we have a second witness to the Coming One in Isaiah: “Behold, the Lord hath a MIGHTY AND STRONG ONE, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephriam, shall be trodden under foot…The priest and the PROPHET HAVE ERRED through strong drink (doctrine), they are swallowed up of wine, (knowledge); they are out of the way; they err in vision, they stumble in judgement.” Isa 28:2-3, 7
Thus the coming of the One Mighty and Strong is established by two scriptural witnesses, which is discreetfully swept under the rug by those who do not want to be set in order.
Since the One Mighty and Strong will set the house of God in order, then that must mean that it will be out of order. In fact the church was not in order even in the days of Joseph. The Prophet said he planned “to organize the Church in its PROPER ORDER as soon as the (Nauvoo) temple is completed.” DHC 4:604
Unfortunately, he was killed before the temple was completed so he never had a change to set the church in order as he had hoped, and no one since that time has claimed to have had any revelation concerning the setting in order.
Joseph explained that the setting in order would be after the similitude of the parable of the wheat and the tares and that “the corruptions of the church are represented by the tares, which are sown by the enemy.” He said that the tares will be removed when the wheat gets sufficiently strong.
Who is this One Mighty and Strong? Some think it will be Joseph Smith because he said the revelation ‘often times…maketh my bones to quake…” D&C 85:6. But a more conclusive proof is found in another revelation which tells us he will spend numerous lifetimes setting the church and kingdom in order. “and this shall be your business and mission ALL YOUR LIVES, to preside in council, AND SET IN ORDER ALL THE AFFAIRS OF THIS CHURCH AND KINGDOM.” D&C 90:16
Some believe that Joseph will come as a resurrected and glorified personage because we are told the One Mighty and Strong will be “clothed with light for a covering”. D&C 85:7 But they do not understand that all men have some sort of light for a covering for we are all surrounded with a colorful aura which can be seen with sensitive eyes. Also, saints often noticed a light that surrounded Joseph when he was speaking by inspiration. There were those who said his face sometimes glowed as if there were a searchlight in his head. Thus Joseph could be a mortal with light for a covering and will also have the “scepter of power” which will be a rod like unto that of Moses.
Joseph Smith was aware that this was not his last life on the earth for in speaking to the Nauvoo Legion he said: “You have faithfully performed your duty, in preserving the lives of the people as well as mine. You shall be called the first Elders of this church….And your mission will be to the nations of the earth to preach the gospel, and you will gather many people to the fastness of the Rocky Mountains, and many of those who will come in under your ministery because of their learning will seek for position and they will gain eminence over you, and you will walk in low places unnoticed. Yet you will know all that transpires in your midst. Those who are your friends are my friends AND I PROMISE YOU WHEN I COME AGAIN I WILL LEAD YOU FORTH, so that where I am you shall be with me.” LIFE STORY OF WANDLES MACE, By Himself; Pages 131-132
Joseph will keep his promise and come again, for today there are many of the most enlightened saints who are walking “in low places unnoticed” who will be raised up to a point where they can be a light unto the world.
Also that “in life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” D&C 135:3 It is most probable they will be the two witnesses as prophesied by John in chapter 11 of Revelations for Joseph said he would be a witness to the world and then the end would come. In addition they will be the One like Moses and the Spokesman as prophesied in II Nephi chapter three. Indeed, we have glorious events to look forward to in the near future!
There is not time in this short article for more elaboration. That will be given later. The most important thing is to consider the words we have written. Remember that the Lord answers no one who takes “no thought save it was to ask me.” D&C 9:7. So study this out first. Search the scriptures and your heart and then ask God with a sincere heart about the truth of these things and the Spirit will tell you that the principle of reincarnation is a true, holy, and just principle.
We bear witness to the principle of rebirth. We have tested the Spirit and know it is true and we know that he will reveal this and other great mysteries to all true seekers of light.
Let us remember the words of Joseph: “We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.” DHC 5:517