Treatise—who is God of the Saints
Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
J15 [JONES, Dan.] Traethawd yn egluro pwy yw Duw y Saint. (Treatise clarifying who is the God of the Saints.) Merthyr Tydfil: Printed and published by D. Jones, 14 Castle Street, Merthyr, .
24 pp. 17.3 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 75.
In late 1852, after nearly three years in Utah, Dan Jones received a call from President Brigham Young to return to Wales. Following a year of proselyting in various parts of Wales, Jones was called to preside over the missionary work in Wales once more, replacing William Phillips. Jones also assumed the editorship of Zion’s Trumpet, replacing John Davis. Four years earlier Phillips and Davis had taken Dan Jones’s place to permit him to emigrate to Utah.
John Davis had purchased his own press shortly before becoming editor of Zion’s Trumpet in 1849. As this periodical began its sixth year of publication its new editor, Dan Jones, purchased Davis’s press. Jones finally owned his own press as Joseph Smith had encouraged him to do over nine years earlier. No longer was it necessary for him to rely on a borrowed press located nearly fifty miles from Church headquarters. This precious proselyting tool was now located just a few minutes from Jones’s residence in Merthyr Tydfil.
Treatise clarifying who is the God of the Saints is Jones’s first pamphlet of his second mission. It first appeared in serial fashion in Zion’s Trumpet under the title “Y Duw a addolir!—Pwy yw?” (The God who is worshipped!—Who is he?). In the five-line introduction to this treatise in Zion’s Trumpet, Jones openly states that his source is Orson Pratt, a credit not given in the pamphlet.
The contents of the pamphlet are entirely doctrinal in nature.
Who is the God of the Saints
The eternal happiness of man depends on the correctness of his worship—worship that binds man to his God; this, as close as it can be, the purest in the world, will be the happiness of the worshiper; it is, therefore, a great privilege for us to be such worshipers. The correctness of his worship depends on the correctness of his ideas with respect to the object of his worship, together with the correct way of worshiping him; for the Son of God said,—”they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” The misunderstanding which due to false accusations has been created in our country with respect to the “God the Saints worship,” together with the apparent difficulty in understanding the scriptures on this topic, is what has prompted this booklet in which I endeavor to enlighten the reader about them.
According to what we understand, all the revelations of this last dispensation, and everything we read in the scriptures of the Old Testament and the New, co-testify that God is the only true and worthy object of worship for every creature, in heaven and on earth. Up to this point, then, there is no difference concerning who is the object of worship, between the Saints and the sectarians of every kind, any more than there is between them and all the Papists, the Muhammadans, and the Pagans we have ever seen. They all recognize that it is God they endeavor to worship. But concerning who God is, or what kind of being he is, there are many different opinions, that appear to contradict each other. The majority of the Protestants believe, as the Athenasian Creed says, that God has no “body, parts or passions.” But the Saints claim there is a God, yes, “Gods many,” and that each one of them has his “body, and parts of the body,” and “passions” as well. Because of this belief the Saints are accused of worshiping a person or persons, and degrading God, into “being in the image of corrupt man;” this is called “blasphemy,” although it is a scriptural quotation: and it is claimed that we deny the omnipresence, the omniscience, and the omnipotence of God. But we endeavor to prove that all the above accusations are completely baseless and false, although in so doing, we prove many of the characters and titles of those who claim considerable infallibility for their truthfulness, such as “Priests,” “Reverends,” “Editors,” and “Authors,” to be mendacious.
In the first place, we assert that we believe and worship one God, and only one, and that he is omnipresent, omniscient, “the only true and living God,” who has been throughout all eternity, and who will forever be without beginning and without end, immutable in and of himself, Creator and Keeper of all people and of all things; the invisible God who fills every place at all times. This is the kind of God that the Saints worship!
In the next place, we believe, as Paul says, that there are Gods many, and Lords many, and we believe that all of them, even if without number, are persons made of substance, that Jesus Christ is one of them, and that for him to be a God he has an immortal body, “as his glorified body,” not only a spirit body, but also a “heavenly body,” namely a body of flesh and bones like the body with which he resurrected from the grave, and which was felt by his disciples, and that he walked to the top of the Mount of Olives, and that he was seen ascending to heaven in a cloud. We believe that he will have the same body when he returns, and that the same immortal feet will walk again on top of the mountain, for Zech. xiv says that he will be known by the wounds, or the prints of the nails in his feet and his hands. If we recognize that Jesus Christ is a God, and that he has a body, we recognize the personality and incarnation of one God, and, without elaborating on others, we also allow that others can possess similar bodies and be Gods, because of that fact. Not only can we believe in the personality of many Gods, and worship “THE ONLY true God;” but we also believe it to be impossible for one of those persons, even though they are Gods, to be in more than one place at the same time; neither do we believe it possible for two of them to be in the same place at once, or at the same time; rather each one must, at all times, have space for his person to occupy; and yet we worship a God who fills all space and all time. To us, in all that we believe in this matter, the one thing does not appear to be inconsistent with the other; it is all scriptural. It is said that “God is love;” it is also said that “God is truth,” yet they are not two Gods. Furthermore, it is said that “God is light,” and this is not a third God, but one God; and this is because God is called the fulness of the attributes of Godhood, such as light, love, knowledge, justice, &c. This is the God we worship, and when we talk about an “omnipresent God,” let it be understood that it is to this God we refer. In this sense, then, it is possible to believe that the entire creed of the Saints about God is consistent, while others misunderstand the scriptures “the Only true God,” “I am the true God, and there is no other God but me,” and the like, to deny the personality of Gods, so that his omnipresence can be acknowledged, something impossible for a personality. But we can easily comprehend the possibility of all these attributes dwelling in different persons, and this “Godhood” would make them Gods with respect to their persons, because they constitute a habitation for God; nevertheless, it is not the persons that are to be worshiped, rather it is the perfections that make them Gods. If the possibility were allowed for “God the Father” to be destitute of love, or of justice, then he would not be an object worthy of being worshiped; but because he is perfect in all things, then “he will do no wrong with a man in his affairs,” and he is merciful and gracious; and “full of grace and truth.” One person’s having this perfection does not prohibit another from having the fulness of any attributes in the first, any more than one person’s seeing the light of the sun diminishes the light another sees; or one man’s enjoyment of any truth keeping another man, yes, other men, from enjoying the same truth. If two earthly persons can have the same truth, knowledge, light, and love for one another at the same time, and not keep each other from having them, and if in this manner they can grow in each one, why can all these attributes, in their fulness, not dwell in more than one heavenly person at the same time? If so, since this fulness is God, then this is “Gods many.” Because it dwells in a plurality of temples, truth is not a plurality of truths, but ONE truth, even if it dwelled in millions of places; thus is God one, although he is in everything, through everything, and before everything; and although everything exists in him. The person is seen in God, not because of his substance, his shape or his size, but because of the perfection of that substance. The person is the tabernacle, and Truth is the God who dwells in that tabernacle. One can comprehend that one truth can be in the possession of millions of people at the same time just as easily as one can comprehend the possibility of the fulness of all truth dwelling in millions of perfect persons, and yet be but one truth. Since truth can be omnipresent, then God who is truth is omnipresent. Since one perfect person can know all things, then another can be omniscient, when he knows the same “all things;” and thus countless persons can know the “same things,” without diminishing the knowledge of one another; and thus, several persons who possess the fulness of Godhood do not constitute more than one God; in fact, it is entirely opposite: for, since there is one truth, there is no more than one light, one perfect love, one justice, &c.; therefore, there is but one God. Because this God dwells in several temples he will speak to us as if he were several Gods; this is true when reference is made to the number of his dwelling places, or temples, or persons he dwells in; but it cannot be true in any other sense. Wherever there is a fulness of these attributes dwelling in a person, there is God; and though there be millions of them, yet they are all equal to each other in power, not because they are all together omnipotent, but because each one of them is omnipotent. They are equal in knowledge, not because all of them together know everything, but because each one knows everything that the other knows and that all of them know, and everything that can be known. Therefore, again we say, they are all one God, because all these attributes are one.
This God has neither “body nor parts nor passions,” for he is not a person. Understand that we are not suggesting that these attributes are substances; for it would be as entirely impossible for any substance, even in the smallest particles, to be omnipresent—two of the smallest particles of substance, even if spiritual substance, cannot exist in the same place with each other at the same time—as it would be for two or more persons of substance, spiritual, heavenly, or earthly, to fill the same space at the same time.
The above are effects, or attributes (which are of equal meaning), pertaining to, and originating from substance; and their power is proportionate to the perfection of the substances that cause them. Where there is no substance to love, there is no love; yet, love is not substance. Without substance to understand there is no knowledge, any more than there can be power without substance to show it. Motion is not substance, rather the effect of substance in motion. Because spiritual substance is in the perfection of that, existing everywhere, since eternity, self-existent and immutable, the effects of this being the above, God in this sense is everywhere and always, for this is God. Christ proves this when he says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John iv, 24.) In the previous verse, Jesus says that his Father, with reference to his Godhood as a person, is the object of worship of the true worshipers. Here we see proof of the principle that there is spiritual substance, the attributes of which are called God; and because the fulness of this perfection is in his Father, he is God. He does not say to worship the person of the Father, rather to worship him because there is in his person a fulness of the God he calls a “Spirit.” He does not say that this Spirit which he calls God is a being or a person in and of itself; even though a person is thus called; and he does not suggest that a Spirit is not substance.
This Spirit, the one who is frequently called the “Spirit of God,” the “Holy Ghost,” the “Comforter,” &c., is substance. He is without beginning, made up of small intelligent particles, throughout all of space, that which holds and which is the life of all things. Life is not substance, but an attribute pertaining to substance. The fact that he is frequently personified, with terms such as “He,” and “Him,” does not prove, as in the case of the persons of the Father, and the Son, and everyone in which this Spirit dwells, that it is to his person the above refer; for it is said of the Saints, that they are temples in which the Spirit of God is to dwell. If what is meant is a person of substance, we repeat that he could fill but one place at one time; but concerning this Spirit, it is said that he can fill all places at once. To this the Psalmist referred when he said, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence,” &c. It is impossible to worship God properly with out possessing this Spirit’s influence on our spirit, for without this it will not be true worship; for this is the spirit of truth; “in spirit and in truth,” says Christ. This Spirit must be substance, for him to influence or cause effect, namely, the truth on our spirit. To the extent that he influences, he brings our spirit to his image, which is to become like God; and thus he compels the children of God to cry out “Abba Father,” and this is because “both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one [God].” Because they were children, He poured out his Spirit, [not in person, but] abroad in their hearts. The foregoing is sufficient for the present purpose, namely, to prove the omnipresence and the nonpersonality of this Spirit.
Lest we were not understood with respect to the personality and omnipresence of God the Father; and since it is of great importance for us all to understand the object of our worship, and whom we worship, we shall add from the revelations that were given to Joseph Smith, of whom it is said denied the omnipresence and the eternal nature of God, and also the New Testament revelations on this matter; if the two are in agreement, this will be sufficient to prove his accusers, either knowing or unknowing liars; and if the latter, that their ignorance about God makes them without God in the world, and not only incapable judges of others, but also deprived of eternal life; for “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” In the foregoing quotation, Christ proved that his Father is a person, and also that God is a Spirit who is omnipresent. Next, we shall prove that he, namely, the Son of God, like his Father, is a personal God, and yet is omnipresent, in the same sense as his Father. It was revealed to Joseph the Seer in the following manner:—”Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;” * * * “but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning” (Doc. and Cov., sec. x, ver. 1—8. Again by the same:—”Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever. I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.” Language could not prove more clearly that there is no beginning to Jesus Christ. It is impossible for there to be a beginning or an end to Him, since there was no beginning and there will not be an end to His works. There was never such a thing as His first work. There is no beginning to an “eternal round!” Who can comprehend a beginning or an end to a ring? And Paul adds his witness to this in Col. i. After thanking the Father in verse 12, for moving him to the kingdom of the Son, in verse 16, he says that “by him [the Son] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Verse 17) “And he [the Son] is BEFORE all things, and BY HIM all things consist.” (Verse 18) “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the BEGINNING, the Firstborn from the dead.” Paul testifies here that Jesus Christ is the Firstborn from the dead, which thing could not be were it not for his personality. In verse 15, he says about the same person,—”Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature.” As a born “creature,” he was not “before all things and in all things;” yet he says this same “born person” was “before all things;” then if he means his person, and if “all things” suggests that there was nothing that was not included, then he was before that from which he was born; which would be impossible to be true! To deny the divine personality of Jesus Christ is to deny his Godhood also; but those who acknowledge the substance of his person must, in light of the above, acknowledge his omnipresence at the same time; before all things could BY him consist! Paul is in the same error with Joseph Smith, according to the sectarian wise men now! In one place he says that Jesus Christ is the “first BORN of all creatures,” namely, with respect to his Spirit in heaven, and thus that there was a beginning to him; at the same time he teaches that He was “BEFORE all things,” in heaven and on earth! He makes him a God and a man,—that he had a beginning, and yet was without beginning, a creature and a Creator of all things visible and invisible! Is this not a contradiction? Yes, it is considered thus when it is said by a “Mormon,” such as Joseph Smith; but completely consistent, when it is said by his brother by the same Spirit, namely, by Paul! And they can never be reconciled, nor can scores of similar revelations, except by believing the creed of the Saints about the personality, and yet the omnipresence of God, yes, all Gods! Paul brings the matter to the fore by saying, “For it pleased the Father that in him should ALL FULNESS dwell.” This is the key to everything, namely, that Jesus Christ, the person, received the fulness of truth which his Father possessed; the fulness of love, of light, knowledge and every attribute that his Father possessed; who is the GOD without beginning, who created all things and is in all things. At the same time he says that there is a beginning to his person; that he was born in the spirit from the Father of the spirits “the firstborn among many brethren,” before this world was: that he was born after the manner of the flesh from Mary and from his Father also. Thus was the beginning to organize his spirit person, and the beginning of his earthly body, while the substances from which he was made eternal were before his Father was; thus also all the attributes which endowed him with Godhood existed before all things and by all things. When he was born into the world he could not claim to be before all things, or that it was he who created all things, for at that time he could not count himself among the Gods, because he did not possess the fulness of truth, which alone could make him a God. “He was called the Son, because he received not of the fulness at the first,” says revelation. “It pleased God to perfect the Prince of our salvation by sufferings,” says yet another. After Jesus received the Holy Ghost, according to the witness of John, he came to understand correctly with respect to who he had been, and the purpose of his present coming to the world; for it is said, “In his subjection, his judgment was taken from him,” namely, his remembrance of his heavenly home; and soon afterwards, we hear him boldly proclaim himself the Son of God; yes, saying, he who has seen me has seen the Father, for I and the Father are one. He frequently said that the Father was in him and he in the Father: that is, that the attributes that made his Father a God were in him; and if numberless millions were to possess the same fulness of truth which made them gods, and those on millions of worlds, yet there would be but one God, and that one omnipresent.
Jesus Christ proves, not only that he had existed in the Spirit as a born person, but also that he had come to understand this through knowledge revealed to him by the Holy Ghost in his prayer to his Father; “Glorify me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was,” he said. In his subjection before being revealed from heaven, and before he enjoyed “every fulness,” or before “it pleased God to cause to live in him bodily all the fulness of Godhood,” he could not call himself “Alpha and Omega,” an omnipresent, and omniscient, or omnipotent God; only after being personified with the fulness of attributes of Godhood, was it appropriate for him to call himself an omnipotent God, becoming one more God to call himself thus, because they are all equal to each other in every attribute. They are all completely perfect, with no room for improvement in any one of them; but one God in all and through all.
Much has been explained that proves beyond doubt that God the Father possesses a body, parts, and passions, and that he is an object of worship; and also that God the Son possesses a body, parts, and passions, and yet they are omnipresent, because of the fulness of the “Spirit” of God that is in them; that the one and the other are omniscient, because of the omniscience that is in the omniscient Spirit they have; that they are omnipotent through the omnipotence that is in this spiritual substance. For they understand their laws that he obeys in all things; such as, for example, when he moved on the face of the deep in the beginning, and he organized all the elements through him, for “he is in all things, and through all things,” until the Lawgiver proclaimed that all things were “very good.” Like this he “upheld all things by the word of his power.” Thus, if millions of beings were all Gods, one could worship all of them without worshiping but one God. Our previous statement of believing the personality and omnipresence of God, proved the existence of these two united Gods; and it is seen that the Saints worship the true and living God, while their opponents worship “that which they know not,” or “the unknown God.”
Next, we shall venture to prove that the destiny of all the earthly sons of God, who are men clothed with corrupt flesh, is to arrive at being perfect, omnipotent, and omniscient Gods. It is reasoned that this is impossible, since man has “finite powers,” and the finite cannot ever become infinite. But we do not allow that man’s powers are finite. Whoever saw a man who could believe one truth, without believing the second, and the third, and the fourth. The difficulties that come along the way toward additional belief do not prove his incapability; for let the obstacles be removed, and he will believe all the more. If there is human power in him, which is proved by his believing the first truth, we do not comprehend why he cannot increase from truth to truth, until he arrives at all that any being has. Who can remember a period or a circumstance, when he could no longer believe one thing? Who says when, or under what circumstance, that perhaps he will exist, so that he will be unable to receive any additional knowledge, this side of arriving at the fulness of all knowledge that God possesses? We see, then, that it is not the powers that are finite, but the knowledge we have that is finite, yet increasing toward the infinite with each addition to it. The belief of the finite nature of human powers causes the theologians to teach that it is impossible for man ever to attain a fulness of knowledge, or consequently, that he can ever become a God; but it is seen that human powers are not only eternal and infinite, and that he is able to receive all knowledge that is taught to him, but also that he is such that he can never be satisfied until he is perfected with omniscience. We have already proved that the knowledge of the Son of God increased, from truth to truth, line upon line, until he “was filled with all the fulness of God;” this is proof of the increase of finite knowledge of one until infinity. Next we shall have scriptural proof, not only that the finite nature of every man can attain infinity; but also that by the following sayings we can understand that God, either purposefully created powers in man, and intends for him to attain infinity at some time, or that the prayers of Jesus Christ to his Father were in vain, when he wished for all his brethren who believed in him, to be one in him, just as he was in the Father, namely, in knowledge and power, so that they could ALL be ONE in him in every fulness that He possessed. If the Saints are not to increase to the omniscience, power and perfection of God, we ask to what purpose is religion intended? What else is the purpose of the plan of salvation? How can God be man’s savior, until He perfects man like unto himself in all things? Since He is the standard of perfection—since his purpose and aim in it all is to make his children perfect—since his Holy Spirit is the perfecter or the sanctifier; and since Jesus Christ commands them to be perfect, as their Father in heaven is perfect; then, he who denies the possibility of understanding the present finite nature of his children increasing toward infinity, accuses God of commanding them to obey the creative impossibility of his own work. If human growth to infinity is not possible, then Paul exhorted the Ephesians to accept the impossible, when he said in chapter iii, 18, 19,—”That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Will they not be as infinite as any other divine persons, when they are “filled with all the fulness of God?” Then they will be infinite, although they will have human powers while in the flesh. This God is the fulness of the perfection of the attributes which we have already mentioned. And when he dwells in the Saints, no matter how many of them there may be, each one will know all things that the Father and the Son know. There will be nothing that one knows that all of the Gods do not know, and that every one of the Saints have not come to a knowledge of also. John clearly co-testifies with us in this, in 1 John iii, 2,—”Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Not “like him” with respect to our bodies only, but with our knowledge and our power also; for it is said in Phil. iii, 21,—”Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” At that time they shall be perfect, as their Father is perfect, pure as he is; then they shall know as they are known, since they will be omniscient; they will see as they are seen, for they will be omnipresent, possessing all things, for it is said in Rom. viii, 16, 17, 30,—”The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Also, it is said, “For all things are yours, and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” All things will not be theirs before their finite powers increase, as the finite powers of their elder brother increased to the fulness of the infinity of Godhood. We see no more impropriety in believing that the powers of the youngest brethren are to increase to infinity, than there was for the eldest brother; nor do we see any more inconsistency in believing that others of his children, after becoming Gods, will possess all things, than for one of the others who have attained the fulness of Godhood before them, to possess all things; for, all of them did all things and in all things, in the same meaning, and thus they shall possess all things.
At that time, it will be just as appropriate for all the Saints to say that they were “before all things,” from eternity to eternity without beginning or end for them or their works, as it is for Jesus Christ, the Father, or any other God to say that. At that time, one will say to the other, I am in thee, and thee in me, just as appropriately as Jesus Christ said that to his Father; and it will not be true or possible as persons; but with respect to the GODHOOD that is in them, it is just as appropriate for the one as it is for the other, if there is another; for they will be one God, although different persons. In 2 Cor. iii, 18,—”But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” By the time the “Spirit of the Lord” brings them all “into the same image,” then they will enjoy the same glory with Him, and with each other.
After men are born of God by water and by the Spirit, a portion of the Godhood, namely, the “ gift of the Holy Ghost,” is planted in them. God expects this to increase in them continually by their refusing evil, and obeying Him, until they are perfected by him, and receive from them an undefiled temple in the first resurrection. Yet, not at this time either, unless a portion of Godhood dwells in them here; for it is said in 1 John iv, 12, 13,—”No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” This Spirit will dwell in them until it brings them to the image of their Father, as Paul says,—”But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” We have proved also that not only are they in his physical image, but they also possess all his perfection in every way, and are joint heirs of all things with him; thus they rule together with him in glory. Then their government will be over all things, for all things will have been subjected to them, and they will be more than conquerers over all things. They will be Kings and Priests to God, and they will reign with him on the earth.” The word GOD will be seen on each one of the numerous host; and not to signify that which they do NOT possess, but all will know that they are worthy of the NAME they will bear, for they will be Gods, possessing the fulness of the GODHOOD. O blessed ones! Who will not consider the pure enjoyment, and not the imaginary or “immaterial,” of perfection, this glory and power, worth suffering all things to obtain? No wonder the children of God in former days gave no heed to the riches of the world, with this unsearchable wealth before them. It is fitting that they can scorn earthly and temporal thrones, after catching a glimpse of these eternal and heavenly ones. To be fit for this lofty company, who will not give proper consideration and strive toward perfection through the sanctification of the Spirit of God? It is a priceless privilege to become adopted children of God; for as many as received him, “to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Great is the duty of those who receive this sublime privilege of being born of this Godhood, to watch and pray, lest they grieve his Spirit in any way; for without it we see that they can never become like unto their Father. Dear Saints, let us cultivate, and nurture this divine nature to the fulness.
By now it is obvious that it pleases the eternal Gods for men to be endowed with powers suitable to progress toward infinity—that their purpose in the creation of men was no less than to make them Gods, to be equal with them in the fulness of Godhood; next, we shall endeavor to prove, ! Free agency was given to every man, to every creature, and to every living substance; their voluntary obedience to the proper instructions given to them, tends only to perfect and make happy the one and the other and the whole of all things seen and unseen, throughout all the creations of the God who presides over them all. He gave appropriate laws to the sun, the moon, and the planets; to the sea and its fish, to the air and its winged animals, to the earth and its creeping animals, and to man also: the laws of all vary according to their abilities, and their understanding to keep them. The perfection of the whole of it, or to have more of the Godhood in them is the objective; and coming closer to God will be the result of the obedience of each one, in every sphere; likewise, on the other hand, a distancing from God, namely, having fewer of the attributes of the Godhood in them, will be the result of all who disobey. With respect to all the race of Adam, it is said, “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Obedience to his commandments in all things, will bring his followers to possess all his fulness, just as he was presented with all the fulness of his Father, by his perfect obedience to all of His commandments. To this point, it is clear how to become Gods; but an important question comes to mind now; namely, what are the special commandments and duties, and how are they understood? We answer that God has made this clear in every messenger he has sent to the world. He taught his servants and then he sent them to teach others in previous dispensations; and in the fulness of time, he sent his Son to proclaim this; he taught the same things he heard from his Father, to his younger brothers and sisters; from their midst some were commissioned to teach others, so that, through all the doings of God, we see that the purpose of the one personal God is to condescend to teach others how to attain his knowledge, while he himself learns from those who are wiser then he; and so on until the one and the other are presented, by their obedience to each other, with all the fulness of God; and every act of obedience to them is considered an act of obedience to the “Only Wise God,” and every act of obedience is counted to them as justice; and they will enjoy more of the Spirit of God, enabling them to obey even greater things. Paul calls these means or persons by various names, which only signifies that while they move in different spheres, the same Spirit is with them all, and that the same purpose is in sight, namely to bring all of them to a “unity of the faith.” Before they can become Gods, one sees that it is essential that they all believe the same things, and are of the same mind in all things; otherwise, there would be the danger of contention, or that the one by mistake would oppose or undo the work of the other. For complete happiness, it is indispensable that there be complete cooperation, which could not be except each one have omniscience. So valuable are all the different church substances then—and lofty their objectives! This is clarified further in Ephesians iv, 10, 11, 12, 13—”He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The divine placement of the above offices to perfect the Saints, proves that they are indispensable. Since Christ’s purpose in placing these offices to teach his children was so that all would someday arrive, even the weakest of them, at knowing everything that He knew, how can one expect to reach this glorious objective, without his guidance through similar means now? Do not think that we are suggesting that it is these persons who bring their brethren to a knowledge of the Son of God, rather they are only instruments in His hand; the priesthood—the divine calling, the fitting, and the sending they received from him to teach others that which He teaches through his Spirit—his angels,—Himself, and several other ways, is the most effective means by which they grow; which shows the necessity there is for revelations from him until the least attains omniscience. Just as the perfection of the members depends on their obedience to the teaching of God through the lowest offices, the perfection of every officer depends on his obedience to the officer higher than he; and so on, to the highest earthly officer in the Church, and he will grow through his association with the “Head of the Church,” who is on the right hand of the Majesty in the highest places, as a blessed God in the eternities. How remarkable the manifold wisdom of God in providing an infallible way for the weakest member who obeys God by instruction, even from his lowest officer, to attain all the fulness of his Heavenly Father, and his “elder Brother!” Who will not rejoice in such remarkable wisdom, such orderliness? Who is so indifferent to his own good, that he will not strive with all his might to obey every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord through his servants, since it is so obvious that the chief objective in all things is his own good? This is not obeying men; rather obeying God is obedience to him through every one of his servants, just as obeying the commandments of Jesus Christ is obedience to Him. And obeying the Father and the Son is not only obedience to the priesthood, but also obedience to, and pleasing to all the numberless Gods which are one in them.
It is obvious, then, that it makes no difference who the person or persons are who teach us or who preside over us in the Lord, so long as God placed them in that sphere; our perfection is their objective and service. There is no one who refuses Jesus Christ as his Savior because he did not have a voice or a choice in his assertion; His Father is not unworthy of being our God, because it was not we who placed Him in that lofty sphere; and it would be no more unreasonable for us to refuse one of His servants, in any sphere, because He, and not we, placed Him there. The government of God is not a government of the people, and the government of the people will never make the people Gods. It is not “the voice of the people is the voice of God,” according to the old Roman motto, rather entirely the opposite;—the voice of God is what should be the voice of the people, for obedience to His voice will make us wise to salvation.
Frequently the officers that God has placed in his church are called “Gods,” while in the flesh, and that because of the Godhood that is in them, and the connection they have with deifying the Saints. God placed Moses as a God to Pharaoh. Notice, it was God who placed him, although he had not yet attained a fulness of the Godhood himself. Had Pharaoh obeyed all the commandments of God through Moses, he would have become a God himself at some time. We are taught by Christ in John x, 34, 35,—”Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.” “If HE CALLED,” notice! he had the right to call them whatever he wanted, whether apostles, prophets, pastors, or Gods, or anything else. Our point, clear by now, is that by obedience to the God-hood that will be in the one and the other, the one is presented with a fulness of knowledge of the other, and that by his God, and so on and so forth, until they become “all in one” in the Godhood.
Each one of the divine beings has his own work to do, such as creating or organizing a world as a dwelling place for those which he begat in the spirit, so they may have earthly bodies like the one he had,—to provide the way of salvation for all who obey him, so they may be resurrected in undefiled bodies,—sitting in judgment on, and punishing the disobedient, and purifying or perfecting the corrupt earth from the effects of all transgression, and making it “new,” heavenly and immutable, so that it would be a suitable place on which his undefiled children could dwell with him. All of this depends on the Father, and without this he could not “bring many sons unto glory,” any more than a natural father could fulfill his responsibilities to his children, until after he begets them, nurturing, teaching, and placing them in a position in the world to take care of themselves, to procreate their kind, so they can rear their own children in the same manner. The father is everything to the children; they look to him for sustenance, for counsels, for judgment, and for reprimands when deserved. Nature never limits the time of the sonʼs release from the responsibility of his father; human laws say that the son is free from the responsibility of his father when he is twenty-one years old, because the law of the land claims him as its subject at that time; but if it were his father who formed those laws, and if he had his own kingdom, and lived forever, with no one as subjects of it except his own begotten children, then they would be forever under his authority in every sense. He would be their king, their keeper, their lawgiver, their patriarch, and in a word, he would be their God. They would never know another higher than he in this relationship, although many others could exist, yet, all their associations would be only with their father. In this manner he will teach the doings of our patriarchs, and their generations after them;—in this manner Jesus Christ taught us all the language and examples.—”Thy will O, Father, be done,” was always the earnest desire of his heart. The establishments of God on the earth are but a pattern of heavenly things. We cannot comprehend any right higher than the right of the father who begets his children; he owns them, if he has not forfeited that right by transgression; thus we know of no right or priesthood higher than the Patriarchal right while they behave according to, and subject to their own Patriarchs, and so on and so on. And what do we have at the beginning of the human race? We have Adam as its chief patriarch of this creation; he is the first, the oldest in days, and because of that, he is called the “ANCIENT OF DAYS,” in the scriptures. He received the great first commandment to begin to multiply and replenish the earth with his descendants; and not only that, but also to subdue it and rule over it. How could he rule without being a Lord? There was no way he could. It was his Father who gave him this lofty and eternal right; for he did not tell him to rule until death, rather the commandment is endless. But, one may say, he lost his right through transgression. Concerning his transgression there is more work to defend the character of our first patriarch from the false accusations of his corrupt children, than we can do here; it will be our pleasure to yet do that. At least let the verdict on him be postponed until he can have a fair trial before the court of the truth. But if he forfeited his right, was justice served? And what justice could there be, except he alter the consequences and effect a restoration? If so, then, Adam was placed by his Father to be a Leader, a head Lord over the earth and all its inhabitants. Although it is consistent with the above, one may say, and his patriarchal right was just, it was necessary for him to be the father of our spirits, besides being the father of our bodies! All his descendants readily acknowledge that we are all “children of Adam;” but they say that God is the father of our spirits! How can contradictions such as these be reconciled? Well, if we examine this carefully, perhaps the supposed contradiction can be resolved. What if we were to try this: Who is that God whom we call the father of our spirits? We answer, that that God is yet to judge us in the coming days. Paul says that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is he, 1 Cor. xv, 24,—28,—”Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is obvious that he, who did put all things under him, is excepted. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” We see that Jesus Christ will carry the work of the Father along, as it suited every eldest son to do for his father, until he accomplishes that which his Father gave him to do; here we see that he must reign on this earth, until he puts his enemies under his feet. He will be the king of kings, when all the kingdoms of the earth will belong to our Lord and his Christ. Every tongue will confess him, and every knee will bow. Yet all this will not show that he will be the chief governing “Lord” of this world, rather another according to the first covenant.
After the Son has accomplished all the work that was given him, then he will give himself, and all that he accomplished up to God and the Father, namely his Father and our Father; he is the same person that will be called God above. By presenting his dispensation up to Him, the Son will acknowledge sublime right to all of it. “The Son himself will also be subdued,” to this Father God; and thus “God will be all IN all.” In other words, the fulness of Godhood, namely omniscience, omnipotence, the fulness of truth and the perfection of love, in every one of the numerous throng in the kingdom; and at that time they will have all these attributes that are called “Godhood,” or God in them all, and all of them in Him; namely this omnipresent God. It is seen from the revelation of John, that it is this God that will be on the judgment seat, when all the dead will be brought before him. Rev. xx, 11—15,—”And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Let us compare this with that which Daniel says in chapter vii, 9, 10, 13, 14,—”I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one which shall not be destroyed.”
The same glorious person called God by John, “God the Father” by the Son according to the foregoing quotation, is here called the “Ancient of Days.” The great work that he will do, that of judging the world, proves that the same time period is referred to by the one and the other; also, the fact that there will be but “one judgment day,” proves that the judge will be the same although he is called “God the Father,” by the one, and “the ancient of days” by the other. Also this kind of subjection of the Son to the “Ancient of Days,” according to the vision of Daniel, which is, according to Paul, to “God and his Father,” proves that the two were referring to the same person. God is also identified in the two visions by the similarity of “government” and the lifting up the Son received. The two thrones coincide with respect to their fiery nature—the large number of those present and the remarkable nature of the characters that are judged, namely the “beasts” as they are called; besides the singularity of the “judgment day,” the victory that is assured, and the eternal enjoyment of the kingdom by its worthy heirs, all prove that it is the same period that is referred to; and thus that it is the same person who will fill the same glorious throne in judgment, although under two different names. But lest any doubt lingers about whether the “Ancient of Days” and the God whom Jesus Christ calls “Father” are the same, let us take note of the saying of the angel Gabriel to Mary, His mother, in Luke i, 32, 33,—”He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Here is the testimony of the second greatest angel in heaven, to prove that the “Highest” crowned his Son Jesus with the eternal kingdom, and with an endless reign; and we received the testimony of Daniel, which he received, most likely from the same Gabriel, who was with him several times, which proves that it was the “Ancient of Days” who gave the same “reign” to him; and thus, more than likely, the “Ancient of Days” was simply another name for the “Highest,” his “Father,” &c. After using scriptural fact to establish the divine conception of the Son with respect to his Spirit from God in heaven, one sees the consistency of the conception of his body by the same Father in the womb of the Virgin. Since Jesus is considered our brother, does that close relationship obligate him to be born of the same Father as we; although that Father can be both God and man; both God and man at the conception of either one? If our statement, that the “Highest,” relating to this world; namely, the Father of Jesus Christ is the Father of our spirits, is true,—if we have proved that he and the “Ancient of Days” are the same, then the “Ancient of Days” is the Father of all our spirits. Lest we have not provided sufficient and clear proof that he who is called the “Ancient of Days” and he who is called “Adam” are the same person, let us add that it was revealed to Joseph the Seer; if so, he who is the original Father of our earthly bodies is the same as he who was the father of our spirits; thus, he is our spiritual and corporal Father; and our “elder brother” will be the fair and gracious judge of us all, in the day to come. Is that not more consistent than the popular idea that the one is the Father of our spirits, and the other is our original earthly father? Also, if it is thus, we ask which of the two will be our Father, if we have the privilege of having part of the “glory of the sons of God,” namely the “resurrection of the body?” or, will our two fathers claim us as children for each one of them? or is it supposed that not all the sons of God will have their father, as it is acknowledged by the “eldest Son?”
Perhaps some will be frightened by a doctrine that appears so new and strange as is our subject to many; nevertheless, we cannot retreat from the inevitable conclusions of the truths seen in the scriptures; and we cannot comprehend what objection any man has concerning the one who is considered sufficiently good to be our earthly father, to his also being the father of our spirits, while he is God in the heavens;—or why he is not just as suitable as a patriarch, or a God, as he is for one of the two previous relationships. Furthermore, concerning this statement let us reason as follows:—namely, since not one of the children of Adam is considered to be in a condition of perfect salvation, until their bodies are resurrected in an undefiled state, and are “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;” how could the Father of our spirits complete our salvation, without becoming the father of our earthly bodies? Is it because so much is said from the pulpits about the “transgression of Adam,” that he is considered unworthy of the lofty sphere that we are trying to show is his lawful right? But let us remember that he is no more guilty of all the accusations that are brought against him than we are, nor, consequently, accountable to their court. If the character of Adam deteriorates as much in the coming six thousand years, as it was made to do in the past, we do not know how his children of godly image will have a place sufficiently painful to be punished: it is far worse now than it was in the time of Paul, for he said that it was “not Adam who sinned, rather the woman.” And he has not, as far as we know, been proved guilty of an intentional sin, before any just court, although perhaps he loved his wife a bit too much, unintentionally; but more on this later. If this God was sufficiently good to be an object of worship by Jesus Christ, why is he not sufficiently worthy of the trust of all his children? Yet, it is not his person that is in question, rather his Godhood, as we have already mentioned; while he is in complete unity with his Father. Although there are “lords many,” why is he not the chief Lord of his own family in this world? and since “we have but one God,” why is that one not he? Since all the sons of God expect to attain this “lofty objective;” and since it is Adam who has the patriarchal reign, through his begetting us, and since his God will place him to “reign” on this earth forever, why has he not gained back Godhood, before all the rest of them? Although millions of his race have come in the same way, they are no more independent from him, than he is from the great Elohim. Before the will of God can be done on the earth, as it is done in heaven, as Christ prayed, all families must be in perfect obedience to their Patriarch, according to the plan of heaven, with the father of us all as chief almighty patriarch over all, with no one in opposition. If so, there would be no need for any changes except for the perfection of the members, to make earth a heaven, and the human race a godly race with respect to principle. As long as he is obedient to his God, having his essential right to preside over them, together with those who have chosen him as their father; there is nothing but his own transgressions that will deprive him from that, and they are responsible to him, according to the plan of God for all they do.
Joseph the Seer informs us that the “Ancient of Days,” “Michael,” and “Adam,” are but different names pertaining to the same person, about whose greatness and glory the scriptures say so much; another time he is called “Michael the GREAT prince,” and Gabriel called him, “Michael YOUR prince.” The latter’s supremacy over Gabriel, who is Noah, is proved, although he is the leader of the postdiluvian world, as was the other of the antediluvian world, by freeing him on his way from the clutches of a mighty angel, “the prince of Persia,” who kept him prisoner, it appears, for “one and twenty days.” This Michael was our Leader in the early council,—Lucifer fought against him, and He and his armies cast him out of heaven: he will bind him with a “great chain,” and will drive him and the “beasts” who worship him, to the “second death.” If Michael was not the Father of the spirits in that war, who was their father, and why is he not mentioned, or why did he not support his obedient children against the oppression of the traitor? We learn through revelations that the Father asked the spirits in the early council, who would go to give his life for his brethren? His eldest Son responded, “Here am I, send me.” His second son said, “send me.” I shall send the first, said the Father, and the second son was angry, and “at that time he began to be Satan.” According to this, the two brothers were Jesus and Lucifer, sons of the same father,—who was that? If we have proved that the “Ancient of Days,” whom Jesus called “Father,” is the same as he who is called Michael, then Jesus acknowledges that Michael was his Father; if he is his father, and Jesus is our brother, why is this Michael not the Father and the God of all spirits, yes, the father of Lucifer also? Is it strange, then, that he would be a suitable judge of the one, and the God of the others who obey him? If he is the God of the spirits, why is he not a suitable God for them while they are men?
It is worthy of emulation instead of condemnation, if all the works of our “Chief-covenanter” for his family, whom he represented, are properly considered: his first concern for them was seen in begetting bodies for them, without which we would never be able to become Gods, like him; next, he taught them the way of salvation, by words and example; he gave them the Priesthood, which enabled those of them who wished, like Enoch, to “WALK WITH GOD three hundred years.” Although that God is not named, yet it is known that Enoch was contemporary with Adam! He not only showed his great concern for the objects of his “RULE” while he was in the world of the spirits, and on the earth with them; but after his departure his concern was not less, if he is Michael: frequently he sent dispensations following the destruction of the previous ones by his rebellious children,—salvation, present benefit, and eternal glory of his children was his objective in it all. Over the past thousands of years he sent one messenger after the other—his stalwarts and his valiant ones in the early campaign, such as Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and all the prophets—with terms of peace. And in the predetermined time, he sent his beloved Son,—the Lamb that was killed (as promised) since before the foundation of the world, to save his younger brothers and sisters,—his life as a sacrifice he gave at the request of his Father, who was “well pleased” with him. He had sent his servants and the same terms of peace as before, only to meet with the same harsh treatment as their predecessors, and from those whom they sought to benefit the most. Last of all to our midst, for whom the end of the world has already come, he sent his servants Joseph and Hyrum, and other hosts of stalwarts, as he did earlier, with the restoration of the same terms of eternal peace,—”the dispensation of the fulness of times,”—the “eternal gospel,” through which life and purity are brought to light. Proclaiming the gracious message cost them their lives; and, like practically all before them, they willingly sealed their truth with their blood. What else could a Father do for the salvation of his children, besides what He did? Then will his justice shine gloriously in the condemnation of the rebellious and the heedless of such fatherly concerns on their behalf; and thus, his graciousness will be magnified in the saving of his followers to bliss and eternal life.
O! the remarkable wisdom shown in the organization of such a glorious plan, through which an endless succession of the children of Adam can become fathers—patriarchs—GODS!—all, completely independent in their sphere,—all, in unity and peace,—all, Kings, and all subjects, reigning in glory and perfect happiness forever!
Dear reader, rejoice together with the author in such a privilege—let us rejoice in every obedience to our lawful ruler so that we will be received into His glory, when he comes on his fiery throne to judge the living and the dead, according to the testimony of this gospel.