Subject: Heavenly Ascent in Freemasonry Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 23:12:38 -0700 From: Joe Steve Swick III
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To: LDS History List In recent offline conversations, I have again been asked to provide evidence that there was/is such a thing as "heavenly ascent" in Masonry in the days of Joseph Smith. I have indicated to those who have asked that I am preparing a brief article addressing this and related issues (actually I am preparing a book, but that is a much larger project). However, here are a few references on hand that I thought our circle might be interested in reviewing. Your comments are always appreciated. ___Mephistopholes___ I'd sincerely like to see specific texts from English Masonic ritual from pre-1844 that talk about how the Masons ritually ascend into Heaven and enter into the presence of God through their rituals. ----- The ritual itself is clear enough on this point, and I suggest that a careful review of that ritual may be helpful. While I do not wish to provide that in this place, I will make some brief comments on the three areas in Masonic ritual where the concept of "heavenly ascent" is most obvious. I will not address these in chronological order. THE FELLOWCRAFT DEGREE As I mentioned to Dr. Hamblin in our original conversation, the Second, or Fellow-crafts' degree, unambiguously illustrates the theme heavenly ascent. Here, the degree details the candidate's ascent of a flight of winding stairs and "entrance into the Middle Chamber of the Temple" and "the objects that attract his attention there" (Sherer, The Masonic Ladder, 1872, p. 59). It is in this place that on the day of rest the workman recieves his wages, and encounters that particular Masonic symbol so emblematic of the Deity. In his 1855 work, "The Book of the Lodge," Joseph Smith's contemporary and influential Masonic author George Oliver wrote of the winding staircase and Middle Chamber in these words: the Middle Chamber, with its approaches by the winding staircase being on the right side of the house adjoining the walls of the Temple, these pillars were not visible from thence, being placdd at the entrance of the porch which opened into the Holy Place. The winding staircase closely tiled remains unaltered. It consists of fifteen steps, which alone might afford a series of useful and entertaining speculations to complete OUR PROGRESS ALONG THE MYSTICAL ASCENT...THEY ALSO REPRESENT THE SEPHIROTH, or mysterious ladder of the Jews, consisting of seven steps, CROWNED BY THE SACRED TRINITY" (189-90). Oliver discusses this same subject in earlier of his works, which are (and were) easily available to the diligent Masonic student. William Preston wrote of what Masons found in the Middle Chamber in his lectures, in about 1774: "to what was their attention principally directed? The figure which first struck their attention at the entrance was the sacred sign, richly emblazoned, and surrounded by a glory. In this figure the holy name of God was inscribed in letters of gold. Where was it placed? In the centre of the chamber. Why? To REPRESENT THE SUPREME JUDGE OF THE WORLD... What w3as the consequence of beholding this figure? Beholding this venerable figure, struck with the sublimity of the object, prostrate on the ground they fall, in humble and profound adoration..." (Dyer, Colin. William Preston and His Work, Shepperton: Lewis Masonic, 1980, p. 253). THE ENTERED APPRENTICE DEGREE Oliver also wrote concerning Jacob's Ladder, which is another prominent Masonic symbol found in the first degree (again, Oliver followsan earlier treatise by him on this same topic): "The Theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, each with its appropriate symbol, and the former with her foot upon the Holy Bible, occupy the most prominent stations on the ladder, to intimate that the only true ROAD TO HEAVEN is through three gates, of which they keep the keys. No one can ASCEND even the first step without the assistance of Faith; neither can he pass the centre of the ladder unless he be supported by Hope. The sumit is under the guardianship of Charity, to show, that although the Christian may have passed through the two gates, yet he must possess a still more benignant and efficacious virtue, if he would master the STEEP ASCENT, and ENTER THE EVERLASTING LODGE ABOVE. The Mason who is possessed of this latter virtue may justly be deemed to have ATTAINED THE SUMMIT of his profession; figuratively speaking, an ethereal mansion veiled from mortal eye by the starry firmament" (186-7). Oliver further notes: "Matthew Henry says that 'this ladder is Christ. The foot on earth symbolises his human nature, the top in heaven his divine. We have no way of getting to heaven but by this ladder; if we climb up by any other way, we are thieves and robbers" (187). It appears that Oliver here affirms what the anti-Masons of the previous decades had declared: that the ascent of Jacob's Ladder is the goal of Masonry -- and that the summit of that Ladder is the very Throne of Grace, and the Presence of Deity. Whether that ladder is CHRIST, as Masonic apologists of the day were wont to argue, or specific WORKS, as their critics were inclined to believe, the theme of the ascent of the individual into the presence of Deity by means of this ladder is attested to over and over again in Masonic writings both early and late. Note, for example the following remarks by William Preston, and how well they accord with Oliver's comments. Remember that Preston wrote the following in about 1774: "[Q.] How do we arrive at the summit of the building? [A.] By meas of a ladder consisting of many but strengthened by three principal steps. [Q.] What is their proper situation? [A.] The proper situation of those three principal steps are at the bottom, in the middle, and at the top of the ladder. [Q.] To what do they refer? [A.] To three religious virtues. [Q.] Name them. [A.] Faith, hope and charity. [Q.] Explain them. [A.] Faith in one Supreme, Omnipotent Being; Hope in the favour and protection of that Being; Charity to all mankind, or universal benevolence. [Q.] Where does the ladder reach? [A.] TO THE HEAVEN. [Q.] On what does it rest? [A.] On the sacred law. [Q.] Why so supported? [A.] Because by that law our faith in the Supreme Being...is strengthened. This enables us to ... ASCEND THE FIRST STEP OF THE LADDER. [Q.] How do we then proceed? [A.] Our faith being well grounded, to the second step we proceed, which is carefully guarded by hope.... [Q.] Where do we next reach? [A.] To the third step of the ladder.... [Q.] What counsel ... [do we there receive? A.] ...dispense to others the blessings you have shared; ENTER THE MANSION WHICH HAS BEEN PREPARED FOR YOUR RECEPTION, AND ENJOY YOUR REWARD in ETERNAL felicity. [Q.] What is that reward? [A.] The reward is; the possession of a Mansion, not built by human hand, VEILED FROM MORTAL EYES BY THE STARRY FIRMAMENT; the receptacle of the virtuous, which existed before the world began; and will to eternity endure. [Q.] How shall we describe the firmament? [A.] BY A REPRESENTATION OF THE HEAVENS....[Q.] What is the Grand Moral?[A.] From this clause we are instructed, that the source of all knowledge will ever be auspicious to the view of the contemplative mason; and enable him to SURVEY FROM THE SUMMIT OF HIS MANSION the blest effect of his labours on the morals and manners of men; IN THE MORE IMMEDIATE PRESENCE OF A BEING WHOSE RADIANT BEAMS PREVAIL EVERY CIRCLE and rivet the affections of man to man [i.e, in the presence of Deity -- jsw ]" (Dyer, pp. 194-5). While it may not be clear from this excerpt, it seems rather clear from the full passage that Preston equates the second step of the ladder with the "middle chamber" associated with the Fellow-craft degree, which would tend towards the idea that the three degrees together symbolize a heavenly ascent along the ladder with three principal rungs. THE MASTER MASON'S DEGREE In his influential work, _The Spirit of Masonry_, which was first published in 1775, William Hutchens describes the Master Mason's degree in these words (I have somewhat modernized the spelling): "The MASTER MASON represents a man under the christian doctrine, saved from the grave of iniquity, and raised unto the faith of salvation. As the great testimonial that we are risen from the state of corruption, we bear the emblem of the HOLY TRINITY, as the insignia of our vows, and of the origin of the Master's order.... As Moses was commanded to pull his shoes from off his feet, on Mount Horeb, because the ground whereon he trod was sanctified by the presence of the Divinity; so the mason who would prepare himself for this third stage of masonry, should advance in the naked paths of truth, be divested of every degree of arrogance and come as a true ACACIAN [Masonic symbol of eternal life --jsw], with steps of innocence, humility, and virtue" (1775, pp. 162, 167-8). ROYAL ARCH DEGREE As a High Priest of a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, it is my privilege to be able to authorize the conferral of the degree of the Holy Royal Arch. This degree appears to have developed from a portion of the Master's part, which was initially omitted from the working by the first Grand Lodge. While it has long been worked as a separate degree, this was not always so, and even today, those who recieve the Holy Royal Arch are told: "You may, perhaps, conceive that you have this day received a fourth degree in Freemasonry, but such is not the case; it is the Master Mason's degree completed." As I mentioned previously, this degree has many interesting features which are meaningful to Latter-day Saints, including prayer surrounding an altar, and a ritual which has long been known as the Rite of Exaltation. That this masonic "exaltation" is a heavenly ascent is entirely without question, for the allegorical meaning is directly alluded to within the degree itself. Note the following words of one Royal Arch prayer, as found in Jeremy Cross' "True Masonic Chart, or Heiroglyphic Monitor" (1820) and still repeated in many jurisdictions today: "May Holiness to the Lord be engraven on all our thoughts,words, and actions.... May we share the blessedness of those who hear the sacred word, and keep it. And finally, O merciful Father, when we shall have passed through the outward veils of these earthly courts, when the earthly tabernacle shall be dissolved, may we be admitted into the Holy of Holies above, into the presence of the Grand Council of heaven, where the Supreme High Priest for ever presides, forever reigns" (106,7) I have not been careful to provide the earliest or even the best references to heavenly ascent, and the means by which Masons "hope to pass through the ark of redemption into the presence of Him Who is the great I Am...the first and the last" (Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch Ritual, In Use in the Standard Chapter of Instruction No. 176, Bedworth, Warwickshire: Toye, Kenning and Spencer, p. 42). This information is available to anyone who cares to investigate the issue for themselves, and to be quite frank, I don't want to give all my best references before I've finished my article. Since some listmembers have exhibited interest in over Kabbalistic themes in Nauvoo-era Masonry, I would point out to you that several other works by George Oliver discuss the Tree of Life, and other relevant themes as they relate to the Fraternity and perhaps indirectly to Mormonism. Warmest Regards, Joe Steve Swick III Subject: RE: Perspective Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 02:25:29 -0600 From: Kerry Shirts To: "email@example.com" , "MCGUIREA@a1.bellhow.com" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , "JSWICK@mindspring.com" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , Yeah, just so you know, I was not trying to be a snot about it at all.............I was just observing..... Kerry ---------- From: Beth Quick[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 1999 12:36 PM To: email@example.com; MCGUIREA@a1.bellhow.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; JSWICK@mindspring.com; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com Subject: Perspective Kerry and Enoch, I am glad to be on these lists for the perspective of others. Thanks for the perspective. SAI/IAO does seem man made in many ways, but it is pretty darn good too for what it is (!) If that's all it claimed to be (inspired vs. commanded/authorized) then I think it would be great but they are making some pretty serious claims about Divine authority and all, which I am sceptical of.....so I continue to ponder and investigate.... I am growing suspicious... Hmmmm.... yes it's too bad... I wish there were somewhere to gather... Beth ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com Subject: Beth-Thanks for the message Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 21:34:01 -0500 From: Rumi007 Organization: Microsoft Corporation To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, "'Beth Quick'" CC: email@example.com, MCGUIREA@a1.bellhow.com, ArtdeHoyos@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com References: 1 Beth, Thanks for your kind message. I have to say that I have only said what I've said about the Sufi stuff because I have high degree of certainty that it is legit. A week ago during our Thursday night english speaking class I found myself sliding into a kind of "hyper-attention" during the practice called "zikr" (remembrance). Afterwards I felt very strange, kind of "hollow" and "transparent" and "electricly charged". As Judy and I sat at a resturant afterwards I found that if I focused in a certain way, I had very peculiar visual flashes, as if a "film" covering my eyes was breaking open for moments and I could "see" reality as it really is. I was getting glimpses of a "mirror like" light, a kind of steely gleam, coming from judy, and the room itself seemed to be "brilliantly clear". It reminded me of a dream I had many years ago in which I "woke up" inside the dream and began to pray to God asking to be guided whoever has the "Keys of the Priesthood". As I prayed I bagan to raise up through a vast darkness towards a tiny light far above me until I popped through it an found myself hurtling high through the air over some kind of jungle scene. I looked down at the jungle below me and what ever I focused on came into sudden brilliant "diamond like" focus, every leaf and pebble shining colors. Thats what the resturant felt like for a few moments. I was then that I realized that THIS WORLD IS ALREADY THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM, but we cannot see. Needless to say, I have redoubled my efforts to follow the path. Ken Shaw Subject: Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 23:23:45 -0400 (EDT) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Don Bradley) To: email@example.com, c_porritt@JAglobal.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, DonBradleySr@cs.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, DonBradleySr@cs.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Stalemouth@aol.com, email@example.com, Subject: Jewish Book of Mormon Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 20:21:28 -0500 From: Rumi007 Organization: Microsoft Corporation To: Rumi007 , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, "'Beth Quick'" CC: email@example.com, MCGUIREA@a1.bellhow.com, ArtdeHoyos@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com In discussing "Jewishness" someone had brought up: Ya'akov (Jacob) 4:14 "Behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. ..." 2Nefi (2Nephi) 25:2: "For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations." 2Nefi (2Nephi) 25:6 "But behold I, Nephi, have not taught my children after the manner of the Jews..." These passages form 2Ne 25 are very confusing because they appear to conflict with 2Ne. 25:1, 5. 2Ne. 25:5 reads: "...The Jews do understand the things of the prophets, and there is none other people that understand the things which were spoken unto the Jews like unto them, save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews. " Does 2Ne. 25:1, 5 contradict 2Ne. 25:2, 6? Is Ya'akov (Jacob) 4:14-17 anti-Semitic? Is 2Ne. 25:2, 6 anti-Semitic? Is 1Ne. 1:19-20 anti-Semitic? Were ALL of the Jews opposed to Lechi (Lehi)? Was Jeremiah? The solution to the apparent conflict within 2Ne. 25 and the apparent anti-Semitic slant of passages like those mentioned above is to be found in the Jewish New Testament commentary: _______________________________________________ Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern On Yochanan (John) 1:19: 19 Judeans. Is the New Testament anti-Semitic? Here, with the word "Judeans" (rather than "Jews" as in most English translations) being used to translate Greek Ioudaioi the first time it is used in Yochanan's Gospel, we must go beyond what is found in Mt 2:2N, 3:7N, 23:13N and Lk 23:3N, and aim for the heart of the subject. The charge usually takes the form of accusing the New Testament in general and Yochanan's Gospel in particular of making statements about "the Jews" that not only are negative, unfriendly, misleading and false, but are intended by the authors to induce dislike and hatred of "the Jews" as a class and as individuals. After all-to use the language of KJV, which is echoed in most later English versions-was it not "the Jews" who "did persecute Jesus" (John 5:16), "sought the more to kill him" (5:18), "murmured at him" (6:41), again "sought to kill him" (7:1), induced people to fear him (7:13, 19:38, 20:19), spoke against him (8:22, 48, 52, 57), "did not believe" (9:18), "took up stones again to stone him" (10:31, 11:18), said that Jewish law required Jesus to die (19:7), and exerted political pressure on Pilate to kill Jesus (19:14)? If the charge is true either Christianity and Messianic Judaism stand condemned, or the New Testament must be discounted as not inspired by God and untrustworthy as a guide to Messianic behavior. The matter cannot be decided by pointing to anti-Semitic acts committed through the centuries in the Messiah's name or claiming New Testament justification, because that assumes what must be proved; but I intend to disprove the charge by showing that, to the contrary, Yeshua and the New Testament condemn anti-Semitism. Nor will I acknowledge that a scholarly commentary asserting or assuming that there is anti-Semitism in the New Testament carries weight if its author's theology and presuppositions have not been examined for anti-Semitic bias or for misconstruction of the relationship between Israel and the Messiah's Body (the Church). As an example of such, consider these remarks of Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976), the distinguished liberal Christian theologian: "The term oi Ioudaioi, characteristic of the Evangelist [John], gives an overall portrayal of the Jews, viewed from the standpoint of Christian faith, as the representatives of unbelief .. The Jews are spoken of as an alien people .. Jesus stands over against the Jews .. Oi Ioudaioi does not relate to the empirical state of the Jewish people [e.g., currently unsaved], but to its very nature." (The Gospel of John: A Commentary, Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1971, pp. 86-87) So, instead of relying on other commentators or on how the Church has historically applied its understanding of the New Testament's "oi Ioudaioi," I will look at the linguistic and historic-cultural contexts surrounding the uses of the word "Ioudaioi" in the New Testament to see if it really means "Jews." A non-Messianic Jewish neurologist named Jack Epstein wrote an article, "Roots of Religious Prejudice" (Journal of Ecumenical Studies 5:4, pp. 697-724), in which he categorizes the 197 instances of the word "Ioudaioi" and 5 instances of cognate words in the New Testament as being used positively 16 times?, negatively 80 times? and neutrally 106 times?. His solution is to replace the word "Jews" in the 80 negative uses by other words-"Pharisees," "High Priests," "bystanders," "moneylenders," "chief priests," "a band" (Ac 23:30), or "old wives' tales" (in place of "Jewish fables," Ti 1:14&N). Obviously the intent of this exercise is to modify the harsh and anti-Semitic sound of the text in the light of modern sensitivities. Its justification is that the opposition attributed supposedly to "the Jews" was aimed at the Jewish man Yeshua and his Jewish followers; thus it could not have been all "the Jews" who opposed them but some subgroup. Epstein compares the attribution of these negative acts to "the Jews" as a whole with speaking of "the whites" as opposing Abraham Lincoln, plotting against him and killing him at the theater: such a misreporting of American history would inflame black-white racial tensions no less than the mis-translating of the New Testament has inflamed tensions between Jews and Christians. A similar rationale seems to underlie the Living Bible's use of the phrase "Jewish leaders" instead of "Jews" at a number of points in John's Gospel and Acts. But Epstein's analysis, though interesting as far as it goes, lacks authority because it does not address the basic question of how the word "Ioudaioi" should be exegeted. Malcolm Lowe, in an article called "Who Were The Ioudaioi?" (Novum Testamentum, 18:2, pp. 101-130), has done the analysis necessary for a reliable answer to this question, and the Jewish New Testament reflects most of his conclusions. Lowe argues that three distinct meanings may be presumed possible for "Ioudaioi" and its Hebrew precursor "Y From Acts 9 onward "Ioudaioi" usually means "Jews" and not "Judeans" or "Judahites," since the context is no longer the Land of Israel but the Diaspora, where the word is used to distinguish Jews from the Goyim-Gentiles, pagans, followers of other religions. For example, at Ga 2:13-15 Sha'ul calls himself, Kefa and the other believers "Jews," not "Judeans" (and certainly not "former Jews"; see notes there). Also, Paul calls himself a Jew even though he was from the tribe of Benjamin, not Judah (Ac 13:21, Ro 11:1, Pp 3:5). The exceptions to this rule occur in Ac 12, Ac 21-28 and the very important case of 1 Th 2:14 (see note there); in these instances the context is the Land, and "Judeans" is the proper rendering. So then, has the locus of difficulty merely been shifted from the Gospels to the latter portions of the New Testament? Are the Gospels exonerated from the charge of anti-Semitic tendency but the Book of Acts and the Letters convicted? For-again using KJV-it is clear that it was "the Jews" who "took counsel to kill" Paul in Damascus (Ac 9:23); in Pisidian Antioch they "were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming" (Ac 13:45), and eventually they "stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts" (Ac 13:50); in Berea "the Jews of Thessalonica . came . and stirred up the people" (Ac 17:13); in Corinth "the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law" (Ac 18:12-13); in Greece "the Jews laid in wait for" Paul (Ac 20:3); in Ephesus Paul himself is quoted as speaking of "the lying in wait of the Jews" (Ac 20:19); and he writes the Corinthians that "Of the Jews I received forty stripes save one" (2C 11:24). These Ioudaioi cannot be only Judeans; they must be members of >am-Israel (the people of Israel), followers of Judaism, Jews. Nevertheless, are they "Jews in general"? or must they be some limited portion of the Jewish people? I don't believe it prejudices my case to admit beforehand that I want to arrive at the latter conclusion, because at the same time I commit myself to do so only if there is evidence for it in the text of the New Testament and not merely in my own wishings. Fortunately, there is such evidence. In the synagogue at Iconium Paul and Barnabas "so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren . and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe .." (Ac 14:1-6, KJV). We see here that it was the unbelieving Jews who caused the trouble (the Greek word translated "unbelieving" in KJV, "apeithe∆santes," may also be rendered "disobedient"). Likewise, although "the Jews" came from Thessalonica to stir up the Bereans, which Jews were they? It was "the Jews who believed not" who, "moved with envy took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar . " (Ac 17:5, KJV); the preceding verse informs us that other Jews did believe. >From the first Diaspora presentation of the faith (Ac 9:20-22) to the end of the book of Acts (Ac 28:24-25a&N) the story is the same: the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah divided the Jewish community, so that some Jews believed it and were obedient to its truth; while other Jews did not believe it and were disobedient, opposing it and its followers. The believing Jews, while still Jews, are referred to as God's people, members of the Body of the Messiah or the Messianic Community (Greek ekkle∆sia, "called-out ones," "church"; see Mt 16:18N). The unbelieving Jews, explicitly called this in Ac 14:2 and Ac 17:5, are elsewhere called "the Jews"; but this term should be taken as a kind of shorthand for "the unbelieving Jews" or "the disbelieving Jews." To apply to New Testament times modern sensitivities concerning statements about "the Jews" produces bad exegesis. It is clear from the New Testament that those who refuse to believe the Gospel, whether Jewish or Gentile, fall under God's condemnation; while those who trust and obey, whether Jewish or Gentile, receive his blessing. For this reason, whenever a negative statement is made about the Ioudaioi and the referent is properly Jews and not Judeans, the JNT adds the word "unbelieving," even when it does not appear in the text; see Ac 9:22-23N for a complete listing of these places. The purpose, of course, is to make clear that the reference is not to the Jewish people as a whole but to a subgroup who opposed the Gospel, and that therefore none of the references to Ioudaioi in the New Testament are anti-Semitic. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, (Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications) 1996._ _______________________________________________ Thus we might better read: "Behold, the Judeans were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. ..." (Jacob 4:14) "For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Judeans; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations." (2Ne. 25:2) "...The Jews do understand the things of the prophets, and there is none other people that understand the things which were spoken unto the Jews like unto them, save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews. " (2Ne. 25:5) "But behold I, Nephi, have not taught my children after the manner of the Judeans..." (2Ne. 25:6) "...the Judeans did mock him..." (1Ne. 1:19) "And when the Judeans heard these things... (1Ne. 1:20) etc. Subject: Quranic Christianity Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 20:31:03 -0500 From: Rumi007 Organization: Microsoft Corporation To: Rumi007 , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, "'Beth Quick'" CC: email@example.com, MCGUIREA@a1.bellhow.com, ArtdeHoyos@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com References: 1 The "True Christians" according to the Qur'an by Fariduddien Rice Who were the "true Christians," by which we mean the true followers of Jesus (peace be with him), according to the Qur'an? Can we identify any historical group as being the true followers of Jesus (p.), according to what we know in the Qur'an? In early Christianity, there were a number of Christian groups - not just the followers of Paul. Some of the beliefs of these Christians were remarkably similar to what the Qur'an says about Jesus (peace be with him). The Qur'an says about Jesus that he was the Messiah (eg. Qur'an 3:45), was born of a virgin (eg. Qur'an 19:20), and of course that he was only a human being, not God (eg. Qur'an 4:171). He also confirmed Jewish Law (eg. Qur'an 5:49). If these claims of the Qur'an are true, you would expect that some of the followers of Jesus (peace be with him) would also have held these beliefs. So, these four beliefs again are that Jesus (peace be with him) was 1. the Messiah, 2. born of a virgin, 3. a human being, not God, and 4. confirmed Jewish Law. Therefore, the true hisorical followers of Jesus (p.), according to the Qur'an, would follow all poinst 1-4. Most present day Trinitarian Christians accept 1 and 2, but they reject 3 and 4, because they believe Jesus was God, and they reject following Jewish Law. Other early Christians, however, believed like Muslims in all points 1-4. According to the Qur'anic account, therefore, it is these "Jewish Christians" who were the true followers of Jesus (p.) The earliest account we have of them is in fact in the New Testament, in the Book of Acts. This was the church established in Jerusalem, and headed at first by the Apostle Peter, and then by James, Jesus' brother. This church followed Jewish Law, according to the Book of Acts. The Gospel according to Matthew in the New Testament also quotes Jesus (p.) as stating that people must follow Jewish Law until the end of time, in Matthew 5:17-20. Jesus (p.) says he will reject those who call on him but do not do the will of "my Father in Heaven," i.e. who do not follow Jewish Law, in Matthew 7:21-23. Here also is what one book says about some of these early Jewish Christians: Within a few decades of Jesus' death, the Christian movement split into two factions: the followers of Paul, who believed that Christianity was a new religion completely separate from Judaism; and the Jewish Christians, who held that Christians should continue to adhere to the traditional religious practices of the Jews. The Pauline party developed into orthodox Catholicism. A group of Jewish Christians, who became known as the Ebionites, survived as a heresy. There were two schools of thought within the Ebionite movement. One group, known as the Nazarenes, claimed that Jesus was the Messiah, born of a virgin. [...] The doctrinal position of the Ebionites overlapped the beliefs of the Jews and orthodox Christians, and caused them to be condemned by both. In turn, the Ebionites regarded the Jews as unenlightened and damned Paul as the first Christian heretic. The sect proclaimed that most of the scriptures the Catholics revered were not authentic. [...] [From "Crimes of Perception: An Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics," by Leonard George (Paragon House, New York, 1995), under "Ebionites."] So, we find that a section of the early Jewish Christians, the Nazarenes, believed that Jesus (peace be with him) was the Messiah, and was born of a virgin. I have read elsewhere that they rejected that Jesus (peace be with him) was God. Therefore, their beliefs seem to be very close to what the Qur'an proclaims about Jesus (peace be with him). The Nazarenes, according to the above passage, considered Paul to be a heretic, and considered that most of the scriptures the Catholics revered (i.e. probably most of the New Testament) were not authentic. By the way, just as a point of interest, if I remember right, the word used in the Qur'an for Christians is "Nasara" (plural) or "Nasrani" (singular), which is very close to "Nazarene." I suggest that, based on what we know in the Qur'an, a section of these early Jewish Christians, who believed that 1. Jesus (p.) was the Messiah, 2. born of a virgin, 3. not God, but a man, and 4. who followed Jewish Law, were the true followers of Jesus, peace be upon him. Peace, Fariduddien Rice Copyright © 1996, 1998 Fariduddien Rice. Permission to reprint and distribute is granted only if this notice is included, and the text is not modified in any way, shape or form to alter the intended meaning. Back to index Subject: YHWH-1 Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 23:09:55 -0500 From: Rumi007 Organization: Microsoft Corporation To: Rumi007 , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, "'Beth Quick'" CC: email@example.com, MCGUIREA@a1.bellhow.com, ArtdeHoyos@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com References: 1 , 2 The Pronunciation of the Divine Name -- The divine name is pronounced: ee ah oo eh or ee ah oo ay. "ee" as in "feet," and "ay"5 as in "bay". It is usually spelled consonantly either YHWH or YHVH. The "Y" is pronounced as in "Lily" or "yes". The waw (W) or vav (V) acts as a vowel here, and in fact is a shureq written fully, if we are to express it as YHVH , or a waw, pronounced "oo" as in "boot" if we are to write it as YHWH (. You will notice that all of the consonants are vocalized as vowels, since according to Josephus the divine name was four "vowels."3. Josephus was both a priest and a Pharisee. The fact that the divine name was four vowels shows that the pronunciation "Yahveh" is incorrect, and for those who must argue that "vav" was not anciently "waw," I will say that "vav" only need be rendered as the shureq to turn it into the necessary vowel. The spelling YHVH comes from the German JHWH or JHVH, in which language "J" was pronounced "Y", and "W" as "V"! The "V" sound is in turn derived from the old Latin, in which language "V" and "U" were the same letter, which no doubt is the source of the Ashkenazi confusion. That the "waw" or "vav" is a vowel in the divine name is further proven by the fact that the names of many of the prophets, like Ayliyahu end in a shureq waw. By the way, the accent in the divine name is on the last syllable. That is why there is a short vowel on the first syllable. Clement of Alexandria spelled the divine name Iaoue and Iaouai6 which is pronounced in Greek ee ah oo eh, just as in Hebrew, and ee ah oo ay. Probably the variation "Y ah oo ay" is more correct than "Y ah oo eh." The spelling Iabe found in some places is due to the fact that in ancient Greek b carried the value of the Latin "v" (Spanish uses "b" for "v" also). Strictly speaking, this translation is an error, but since Latin "v" and "u" were the same, we can see why it happened. 1. sec. 102m, Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar. The grammar says that these vowels are "original." 2. For those who might doubt the possibility of this form, you should compare it with Prov. 12:23:. 3. Josephus, Wars 5.5.7 (235f). Josephus is commenting on Exodus 28:36-37, "36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO Yahweh. 37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be." His head was covered by a tiara of fine linen, wreathed with blue, encircling which was another crown, of gold, whereon were embossed the sacred letters, to wit, four vowels. 4. This graphic is the paleo-Hebrew form of the divine name, which was written into texts. The character forms were preserved, even when the way the rest of Hebrew was written changed. It is based on the photo below. "This is a photo of Psalms 119:59-64 in the Dead Sea Scrolls which are a collection of Hebrew Scriptures that date back 2000 years. Note Yahweh's name in the ancient Hebrew script while the rest of the text is in a more modern Hebrew that was used at the time. Also note that each line begins with the Hebrew letter "Heth" which corresponds with it's part in the acrostical 119th psalm." (www.eliyah.com). Note the blue arrow pointing to the divine name, which is written in Paleo-Hebrew. Paleo-Hebrew is the ancient Hebrew writing before the present letters (derived from Aramaic) took over after the Babylonian exile.59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. 60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. 61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law. 62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. 63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. 64 The earth, O, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes. 5. The "ay" is a possible pronunciation of "segol" in Hebrew. See Gesenius Hebrew Grammar, section 8a, "Preliminary Remark." I have had difficulty in deciphering the linguistic values of the phonetic system used by Gesenius, but the segol can be "e" as in "met," (standard) or "a" (Langenscheidt) as in "bad" or "a" as in "bay" (Baumgartner) depending on various factors like tone, and prohibited vowel combinations. For the divine name Koehler/Baumgartner gives: [translated from the German] Yahvay and [the English editor] Yahway, who took the liberty of correcting the German without telling us! 6. According to A.T. Robertson the scribes could interchange ai and e according to personal taste. The pronunciation is really the same, the difference being only in spelling. Subject: Re: Archives Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 20:42:43 -0400 From: proclus To: Andy Mcguire , ArtdeHoyos , Beth any , Dave , Enoch Shemna , Joe Steve Swick III , Kathleen McGuire , Ken Shaw , Kerry Shirts , "Michael J. Pierce" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , proclus , "R. Trent Reynolds" , Randall Shortridge , "Robert R. Black" , Sorry I've been so scarce lately. It's grad school pressures, as usual. I have been reading most of your posts though. I only wish that I had time to study them, excellent as they are. I am still adding them to the archive as well. Beth asked for a listing of the archive. This is something that the rest of you might also like to see. It was easiest for me to make a listing on my home computer, and you can browse them there. If you'ld prefer FortuneCity, here is a example for you to decipher. I expect that the missing files are there as well. discus.html Here is a less incomplete listing from my home computer. I've got a cable modem from RCN now, so hopefully, it won't be too slow. http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus10.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus11.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus12.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus13.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus14.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus15.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus16.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus17.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus18.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus19.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus20.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus21.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus22.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus23.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus24.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus25.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus26.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus27.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus6.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus7.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus8.html http://medici.penguinpowered.com/radical/discus9.html Have fun. Best Regards, proclus -- Visit proclus' realm! http://www.proclus-realm.com/ -----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK----- Version: 3.1 GMU/S d+@ s:+ a C++++ UULI++$ P L+++(++++) E--- W++ N- !o K- w--- !O M++ V-- PS+++ PE Y+ PGP-- t+++(+) 5+++ X+ R tv-@ b !DI D- G e++>++++ h--- r+++ y++++ ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------ Subject: Re: Mephistopheles speaks Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 14:31:54 -0700 From: Joe Steve Swick III To: Daniel Peterson , email@example.com References: 1 Thanks, Dan. No, he did not send this to me; I appreciate you forwarding it along. I suspect the previous piece I sent to you will provide *some* indication of the kinds of sources I am looking at, although I cannot be responsible for Dr. Hamblin's [lack of] understanding of the actual content of Masonic ritual work. Masons have generally been hesitant to discuss certain aspects of their ritual, as you can easily understand. Consequently, Dr. Hamblin's reliance upon ritual *commentary* rather than the ritual itself for evidence of heavenly ascent is problematic, if understandable. Dr. Hamblin has said that I make assertions with no evidence, but that is not so. I have asserted that the ascent into the MC of KST is a HEAVENLY ascent, and that this is attested to directly in the ritual itself; it is. I have further asserted that the ascent to the middle chamber is in fact related to the ascent of Jacob's Ladder, as alluded to by Preston. I have further asserted and adequately demonstrated that early Masonic commentators --contemporaries of the Prophet, like George Oliver-- directly linked "Jacob's Theological Ladder" to the mystical Tree of Life. The only reason I have not provided my *best* evidence for this, is because I am currently writing on this subject, and giving away all my sources simply wouldn't be prudent -- especially not to Dr. Hamblin, whose past encounters with me have been the teensiest bit hostile and impolite. Reviewing the tenor of his past remarks, even Brent Metcalfe commented that Dr. Hamblin didn't seem to be able to distinguish his friends from his enemies. As for my assertions regarding heavenly ascent in Royal Arch Masonry -- this is a most easy case, as the ritual itself is so clear on the point. I would ask Dr. Hamblin if he has ever *read* the RA ritual, either ancient or modern, English or American? Has he read any commentary on the same? I would have thought that following Homer's piece, that this would have been an item of some interest (although I agree with Quinn that Homer handled some issues --including the concept of heavenly ascent-- poorly). On the other hand, Quinn's observation that unlike Mormonism, Freemasonry's ceremonies are UNNECCESSARY for heavenly ascent, demonstrates his fundamental lack of understanding of what Freemasonry is, and what its symbols represent. I would suggest that Masonry DOES teach that many men who never enter a Lodge ARE INDEED "Masons," and that there is a certain "purity of life and rectitude of conduct" WHICH ITS RITUALS POINT TO as "ESSENTIALLY NECESSARY" for ALL MEN who would "seek admission into the Holy of Holies above" (1st Deg. Rit, 7th Deg. Rit). I admit a small interpretive difference, but Dr. Quinn is hanging a great weight on a very small nail; for, it is but a short step from the Masonic belief in the SYMBOLIC or ALLEGORICAL NECESSITY of a name, sign, token or keyword for ALL MEN to SYMBOLICALLY or ALLEGORICALLY "gain admittance" or "pass through a veil" and the insistence by SOME Latter-day Saints of a LITERAL interpretation of a name, sign, token or keyword as a means of ALL MEN LITERALLY gaining admittance or passing through a veil. As for the relevance of later interpretations of the ritual: applying this same criteria to the Endowment, I think Dr. Hamblin would be quite hard-pressed to find any commentary by the Prophet or his contemporaries directly stating that the Endowment was a heavenly ASCENT (including Brigham Young's oft-quoted definition), although the ritual itself argues for it. I would be much indebted if he would demonstrate what he believes to be the most convincing quotes by the Prophet or his contemporaries, circa 1842 -1846 (the actual framing/shaping of the Endowment and adding of Masonic elements continued under Brigham Young and HCK so this later date is relevant), that the Endowment was a heavenly ascent. Dr. Peterson, I am quite happy that my discussions with you have been more congenial than those I have had with Dr. Hamblin; then again, we have met and spoke on several occasions, which may influence the way I read what you write. I thank you for your courtesies, and wish you the best. I should say that while I most certainly don't view Dr. Hamblin as the devil (which, even if true would have nothing to do with his association with FARMS, mind you), I do believe that he is a bit of a "bull-dogmatist." This may or may not be a bad thing, considering his particular profession. I have reviewed the references I have forwarded on to you in my previous posting, and apologize for the several typos, the formatting errors and the horrible grammar. I promise to do better in my article, which I am quite happy to forward on once they are in shape for publication... with the usual caveats about copying and circulating. Regards, Joe Steve Swick III Grand Poobah, Masonic Cabal, Local #353 ----- Original Message ----- From: Daniel Peterson To: Joe Steve Swick III Sent: Friday, October 15, 1999 10:58 AM Subject: Fwd: Mephistopheles speaks > I assume that Dr. Hamblin sent this to you himself, directly. But > perhaps not. So, to be sure, I'm sending it too. > > dcp > > > >Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 11:19:55 -0600 > >From: "William J. Hamblin" > >Subject: Mephistopheles speaks > >To: 'Daniel Peterson' > >Importance: Normal > >X-Priority: 3 (Normal) > > > > > > > > > > >Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 11:48:46 -0700 > > >From: Joe Steve Swick III > > >Subject: Re: A Response from Dat Ol' FARMS Boy Debbil Hisself > > >To: Daniel Peterson > > >X-Priority: 3 > > > > > >Hello: > > > > > >I happy to know that Dr. Hamblin vaguely recalls our discussion. I will > >also > > >be quite happy to provide Dr. Hamblin a copy of my forthcoming article on > > >this subject once its in shape for publication, together with my piece on > > >Enoch's Pillars, which is also coming along nicely. This should further > > >refresh his memory. > > > >I would be delighted to see these articles. My mailing address is: > > > >323 KMB > >Department of History > >Brigham Young University > >Provo, UT 84602 > > > >I would be happy to reimburse Xeroxing and mailing costs. > > > >Short of THAT, I would suggest briefly that ANTI-masons > > >were making this claim all during the anti-Masonic movement in the United > > >States, which of course preceded 1844 by some years. Quinn's failure to > > >recognize this is a dodge, since circa-1826-antiMasonry represents what was > > >widespread "public knowledge" about Freemasonry --whether RIGHT OR WRONG. > >I > > >don't quite understand Dr. Hamblin's preoccupation with "English Ritual" on > > >this point, since Joseph Smith was most directly influenced by American > > >Freemasonry, as the language and form of the Endowment in particular so > > >clearly demonstrate. (Of course, BY/HCK also added Masonic elements to the > > >Endowment Ritual). > > > >By English I meant language, not state. Thus, I am not looking for items in > >French, German, Latin, Spanish, Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or Coptic (all > >languages in which people have, at various times, claimed Joseph read > >texts). I am also not interested in seeing interpretations of Masonry made > >after 1842, since they are irrelevant to the discussion. > > > > > > >However, on the point of Heavenly Ascent, English Freemasonry is not > > >significantly different than that in the United States. In both rituals, > > >Masonic ascent occurs in the ritual in the 2nd, 3rd, and of course the 7th > > >(or Royal Arch) degree, which is and has always been called the Rite of > > >Exaltation. That this ascent is into the presence of God is quite clear in > > >the 2nd and 7th degrees, as any Freemason who has received those degrees > >can > > >attest. Direct reference to passing through veils into the presence of God > > >has been made in the Holy Royal Arch degree since long before the days of > > >Joseph Smith -- and is and long has been directly mentioned in a prayer > > >recited therein. I have the rituals to demonstrate it. > > > >Here again, you are making a claim, but not presenting a single specific > >source for evaluation. > >Author? Book? Publication data? Page references? Specific text? > > > > >I would also mention in passing that access to the content of nearly 40 > > >Masonic rituals (York Rite, Scottish Rite, and other) was afforded > >residents > > >of Upstate New York by the publication of Bernard's Light on Masonry, which > > >was in its third edition in 1829. > > > >Progress! Could you give me the specific pages (or better, citations of > >specific texts) in this edition which you this refer to the celestial ascent > >in Masonic ritual? > > > >Once again, I seek evidence and analysis, not assertion. > Subject: [Fwd: New Related Link added to The Radical Mormon] Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 13:08:37 -0400 From: proclus To: Andy Mcguire , ArtdeHoyos , Beth any , Dave , Enoch Shemna , Joe Steve Swick III , Kathleen McGuire , Ken Shaw , Kerry Shirts , "Michael J. Pierce" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , proclus , "R. Trent Reynolds" , Randall Shortridge , "Robert R. Black" , This came in as a Radical Mormon link. Have fun. Regards, proclus -- Visit proclus realm! http://www.proclus-realm.com/ -----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK----- Version: 3.1 GMU/S d+@ s:+ a C++++ UULI++$ P L+++(++++) E--- W++ N- !o K- w--- !O M++@ V-- PS+++ PE Y+ PGP-- t+++(+) 5+++ X+ R tv-@ b !DI D- G e++>++++ h--- r+++ y++++ ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------ Subject: New Related Link added to The Radical Mormon Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 15:07:25 +0000 (GMT) From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org There was a new link added to The Radical Mormon () The link is URL: http://www.3-monkeys.com/users/pgraham/MasonicMoroni.htm link_title: The Masonic Moroni link_description: This site explores the relationship between Mormonism & Freemasonry. Contains numerous images, quotes, links to articles, et cetera. Added by email@example.com (Paul C. Graham) Subject: Masonic Moroni Website Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 13:05:13 -0800 From: Joe Steve Swick III To: proclus , Andy Mcguire , ArtdeHoyos , Beth any , Dave , Enoch Shemna , Kathleen McGuire , Ken Shaw , Kerry Shirts , "Michael J. Pierce" , firstname.lastname@example.org, "R. Trent Reynolds" , Randall Shortridge , "Robert R. Black" , rpc man References: 1 Well, it appears that someone has beat me to the punch on a Masonry and Mormonism website. Take a look at: http://www.3-monkeys.com/users/pgraham/MasonicMoroni.htm While my approach is very different, some of this fella's material is still useful. Warmest Regards, Joe Swick Heretic More discussion here!
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