To All the Kings of the World: Chiasmus in the 1845 Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles

12apostles_april1845_lds-dot-org
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1845 (lds.org)

On January 19, 1841, Joseph Smith received a revelation from the Lord commanding him to “make a solemn proclamation of my gospel … to all the kings of the world” (see D&C 124:1-14). Before he could fulfill this commandment, the Prophet Joseph suffered martyrdom in June 1844. Nine months later, on April 6, 1845, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—the highest governing body in the Church at the time—published a proclamation addressed:

“To all the Kings of the World;
To the President of the United States of America;
To the Governors of the several States;
And to the Rulers and People of all Nations”.

The proclamation of 1845 is considered “one of the great prophetic utterances of the last dispensation” and “covers some of the preparations that are expected to be made throughout the world as a preface to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to reign on the earth.” A major purpose of the proclamation is to present a bold call-to-action to the kings of the earth to assist the Latter-day Saints with their divine mission. Particularly striking is the clear timeline it presents, “outlining as it does future developments of the Kingdom of God in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres,” including a detailed description of the Battle of Armageddon and the glorious destiny of the indigenous peoples of North and South America (James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 1:252).

ppratt_johnpratt_dot_com
Parley P. Pratt (johnpratt.com)

Authorship of the proclamation is attributed to Parley P. Pratt, a prolific writer and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1835 to 1857. A list of “Church Publications for the Period [1845]” cites Parley P. Pratt as author and Wilford Woodruff as publisher of the proclamation (see Doctrinal History of the Church 7:558). Additionally, a letter from Brigham Young to Parley P. Pratt dated May 26, 1845 states, “We have today in relation to your proclamation that we approve of it….”

The 1845 proclamation later influenced Ezra Taft Benson to issue his own proclamation, “A Message to the World,” at the October 1975 General Conference of the Church. (For a discussion of chiasmus in the 1975 proclamation, see “Nations Cannot Endure In Sin: Chiasmus in Ezra Taft Benson’s ‘A Message to the World.’”)

Both the commandment to “make a solemn proclamation” and the 1845 proclamation are chiastic. This article presents a diagram and detailed analysis of D&C 124:1-14, followed by a less detailed analysis of several chiasms and parallelisms from the 1845 proclamation.

[Note: Thanks to Ron Read at the Church History Library for directing us to sources that clarified authorship of the 1845 proclamation.]


D&C 124:1-14

This revelation directs Joseph Smith to “make a solemn proclamation of my gospel … to all the nations of the earth scattered abroad” and provides instructions for what to include in the proclamation. Chiasmus in this revelation reinforces and clarifies the purpose and content of the proclamation and how it would be received by the nations of the earth. A study of this revelation helps in understanding the content and tone of the 1845 proclamation.

A: [1] Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments, which you have made; for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth. [2] Your prayers are acceptable before me; and in answer to them I say unto you, that you are now called immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel, and of this stake which I have planted to be a cornerstone of Zion, which shall be polished with the refinement which is after the similitude of a palace.
B: [3] This proclamation shall be made to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof, to the honorable president-elect, and the high-minded governors of the nation in which you live, and to all the nations of the earth scattered abroad. [4] Let it be written in the spirit of meekness and by the power of the Holy Ghost, which shall be in you at the time of the writing of the same; [5] For it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befall them in a time to come.
C: [6] For, behold, I am about to call upon them to give heed to the light and glory of Zion, for the set time has come to favor her.
D: [7] Call ye, therefore, upon them with loud proclamation, and with your testimony, fearing them not, for they are as grass, and all their glory as the flower thereof which soon falleth,
E: that they may be left also without excuse [8] And that I may visit them in the day of visitation, when I shall unveil the face of my covering,
E: to appoint the portion of the oppressor among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth, if they reject
D: my servants and my testimony which I have revealed unto them.
C: [9] And again, I will visit and soften their hearts, many of them for your good, that ye may find grace in their eyes, that they may come to the light of truth, and the Gentiles to the exaltation or lifting up of Zion. [10] For the day of my visitation cometh speedily, in an hour when ye think not of; and where shall be the safety of my people, and refuge for those who shall be left of them?
B: [11] Awake, O kings of the earth! Come ye, O, come ye, with your gold and your silver, to the help of my people, to the house of the daughters of Zion.
A: [12] And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Robert B. Thompson help you to write this proclamation, for I am well pleased with him, and that he should be with you; [13] Let him, therefore, hearken to your counsel, and I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings; let him be faithful and true in all things from henceforth, and he shall be great in mine eyes; [14] But let him remember that his stewardship will I require at his hands.

A=A: “[M]y servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering … you are now called immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel” is complemented by “let my servant Robert B. Thompson help you to write this proclamation, for I am well pleased with him.” The Lord is “well pleased” with both Joseph Smith and Robert B. Thompson. Thompson, who had joined the Church in Canada in 1836 and moved with the Saints from Ohio to Missouri to Illinois, was Joseph Smith’s personal scribe at the time this revelation was given. Unfortunately, he died of a “severe lung infection” a few months after this revelation was received in August 1841. This element of the chiasm shows the value of having a faithful scribe to assist with sacred writings. In addition to approaching the assignment with the proper spirit, a faithful scribe can make inspired grammatical and structural suggestions. In light of this, it would be interesting to know if Parley P. Pratt used a scribe in writing the 1845 proclamation.

B=B: “[K]ings of the world” equals “kings of the earth.” Addressed to the “nations of the earth,” the proclamation would invite government leaders to financially assist the Saints in fulfilling their divine commission. In doing so, the proclamation would prophetically describe the Lord’s will “concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befall them in a time to come.”

C=C: “I am about to call upon them to give heed to the light and glory of Zion” corresponds to “that they may come to the light of truth, and the Gentiles to the exaltation or lifting up of Zion.” In calling upon world leaders “to give heed to the light and glory of Zion,” the Lord would “visit and soften their hearts, many of them for your good, that ye may find grace in their eyes.” As a result, Zion would be “exalt[ed]” and “lift[ed] up” and serve as a “refuge” in preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord.

D=D: “[Y]our testimony” corresponds to “my servants and my testimony which I have revealed unto them.” The testimony contained in the proclamation would be that which the Lord would reveal to “his servants” the Twelve Apostles. In writing and disseminating the proclamation, the apostles should be “loud” and “fear[less],” drawing the attention of the nations of the world to their testimony and message and not being concerned with whatever hostile response might follow, “for they are as grass, and all their glory as the flower thereof which soon falleth.” The nations of the earth enjoy a temporary glory, the decline and ending of which is foreknown by God.

E=E: “[V]isit them in the day of visitation” is complemented by “to appoint the portion of the oppressor among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth.” The proclamation would be boldly written and disseminated throughout the world to make the leaders of nations accountable for their actions in relation to the Saints. At the time of the Lord’s Second Coming, they would be left “without excuse” if they “reject” the apostles and their message. As a result of their deceptive lip service, they would be “appoint[ed] the portion of the oppressor among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth.”


1845 Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles

#1: This chiasm clearly defines the “kingdom of God” that has been “prayed for in all ages” and announces its establishment “in these last days.” It also explains how the Lord, through “open visions” and “the great and eternal High Priesthood,” speaks “from the heavens” and “communes with man upon the earth.”

A: Know ye:—That the kingdom of God has come: as has been predicted by ancient prophets, and prayed for in all ages; even that kingdom which shall fill the whole earth, and shall stand for ever.
B: The great Eloheem [sic] Jehovah has been pleased once more to speak from the heavens; and also to commune with man upon the earth,
C: by means of open visions, and by the ministration of HOLY MESSENGERS.
C: By this means
B:the great and eternal High Priesthood, after the Order of his Son, even the Apostleship, has been restored; or, returned to the earth.
A: This High Priesthood, or Apostleship, holds the keys of the kingdom of God, and power to bind on earth that which shall be bound in heaven; and to loose on earth that which shall be loosed in heaven. And, in fine, to do, and to administer in all things pertaining to the ordinances, organization, government and direction of the kingdom of God. Being established in these last days for the restoration of all things spoken by the prophets since the world began; and in order to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man.


#2: This chiasm describes the preparation needed for the Second Coming of Christ, which is “near at hand.” This preparation centers around the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel—faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The central focus of this chiasm is a description of the blessings that come as a result of having the gift of the Holy Ghost.

A: And we now bear witness that his coming is near at hand; and not many years hence, the nations and their kings shall see him coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
B: In order to meet this great event there must needs be a preparation.
C: Therefore we send unto you with authority from on high, and command you all to repent and humble yourselves as little children, before the majesty of the Holy One ; and come unto Jesus with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and be baptized in his name, for the remission of sins (that is, be buried in the water in the likeness of his burial and rise again to newness of life, in the likeness of his resurrection), and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the laying on of the hands of the Apostles and elders, of this great and last dispensation of mercy to man.
D: This Spirit shall bear witness to you, of the truth of our testimony;  and shall enlighten your minds, and be in you as the spirit of prophecy and revelation. It shall bring things past to your understanding and remembrance; and shall show you things to come.
D: It shall also impart unto you many great and glorious gifts; such as the gift of healing the sick, and of being healed, by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus; and of expelling Demons; and even of seeing visions, and conversing with Angels and spirits from the unseen world.
C: By the light of this Spirit, received through the ministration of the ordinances—by the power and authority of the Holy Apostleship and Priesthood, you will be enabled to understand, and to be the children of light;
B: and thus be prepared to escape all the things that are coming on the earth,
A: and so stand before the Son of Man.


#3: This parallelism describes the Lord’s twin capitals that are to be built on the earth—Jerusalem on the eastern hemisphere and the New Jerusalem on the western hemisphere.

A: And we further testify that the Lord has appointed a holy city and temple to be built on this continent for the endowment and ordinances pertaining to the priesthood; and for the Gentiles, and the remnant of Israel to resort unto,
B: in order to worship the Lord; and to be taught in his ways and walk in his paths:
C: in short, to finish their preparations for the coming of the Lord.
A: And we further testify, that the Jews among all nations are hereby commanded, in the name of the Messiah, to prepare, to return to Jerusalem in Palestine; and to rebuild that city and temple unto the Lord:
B: And also to organize and establish their own political government, under their own rulers, judges, and governors in that country.
C: For be it known unto them that we now hold the keys of the priesthood and kingdom which is soon to be restored unto them. Therefore let them also repent and prepare to obey the ordinances of God.


#4: This chiasm describes additional requirements placed upon the “kings, rulers, and people of the Gentiles.” They are to use their temporal riches and resources in furthering the work of the Lord, to lighten the load carried by the Latter-day Saints.

A: And now, O ye kings, rulers, and people of the Gentiles: hear ye the word of the Lord; for this commandment is for you. You are not only required to repent and obey the gospel in its fulness, and thus become members or citizens of the kingdom of God,
B: but you are also hereby commanded, in the name of Jesus Christ, to put your silver and your gold, your ships and steam-vessels, your railroad trains and your horses, chariots, camels, mules, and litters, into active use, for the fulfilment of these purposes. For be it known unto you, that the only salvation which remains for the Gentiles, is for them to be identified in the same covenant, and to worship at the same altar with Israel. In short, they must come to the same standard. For, there shall be one Lord, and his name one, and He shall be king over all the earth.
C: The Latter-day Saints, since their first organization in the year 1830, have been a poor, persecuted, abused, and afflicted people. They have sacrificed their time and property freely, for the sake of laying the foundation of the kingdom of God, and enlarging its dominion, by the ministry of the gospel. They have suffered privation, hunger, imprisonment, and the loss of houses, lands, home, and political rights, for their testimony.
C: And this is not all ; but their first founder, Mr. Joseph Smith, whom God raised up as a Prophet and Apostle, mighty in word and in deed, and his brother Hiram, who was also a prophet, together with many others, have suffered a cruel martyrdom in the cause of truth; and have sealed their testimony with their blood. And still the work has, as it were, but just begun.
B: A great, a glorious, and a mighty work is yet to be achieved, in spreading the truth and kingdom among the Gentiles—in restoring, organizing, instructing and establishing the Jews—in gathering, instructing, relieving, civilizing, educating and administering salvation to the remnant of Israel on this continent; in building Jerusalem in Palestine; and the cities, stakes, temples, and sanctuaries of Zion in America; and in gathering the Gentiles into the same covenant and organization—instructing them in all things for their sanctification and preparation; that the whole Church of the Saints, both Gentile, Jew and Israel, may be prepared as a bride, for the coming of the Lord.
A: And now, O ye kings, rulers, presidents, governors, judges, legislators, nobles, lords, and rich men of the earth; will you leave us, to struggle alone, and to toil unaided in so great a work? Or will you share in the labors, toils, sacrifices, honors and blessings of the same?


#5: This chiasm proclaims that the latter day effort to “usher in the great millennium” is “the greatest of all revolutions.”

A: Have you not the same interest in it that we have? Is it not sent forth to renovate the world—to enlighten the nations—to cover the earth with light, knowledge, truth, union, peace and love? And thus usher in the great millennium, or sabbath of rest, so long expected and sought for by all good men?
B: We bear testimony that it is.
B: And the fulfilment of our words will establish their truth, to millions yet unborn: while there are those now living upon the earth who will live to see the consummation.
A: Come, then, to the help of the Lord; and let us have your aid and protection—and your willing and hearty co-operation, in this, the greatest of all revolutions.


#6: This chiasm provides a remarkable prophetic warning to the people and nations of the earth. Although the Saints were a tiny minority at the time of this proclamation, they would become “more and more an object of political and religious interest and excitement.” As a result, every individual and community would no longer have the option of standing “as idle and disinterested spectators,” but would reach a point where they would either choose to “aid and bless the people of God” or “fight against God, and seek to destroy his people.”

A: There is also another consideration of vast importance to all the rulers and people of the world, in regard to this matter. It is this: As this work progresses in its onward course, and becomes more and more an object of political and religious interest and excitement, no king, ruler, or subject, no community or individual, will stand neutral. All will at length be influenced by one spirit or the other; and will take sides either for or against the kingdom of God, and the fulfilment of the prophets, in the great restoration and return of his long dispersed covenant people.
B: Some will act the part of the venerable Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses; or the noble Cyrus; and will aid and bless the people of God; or like Ruth, the Moabitess, will forsake their people and their kindred and country, and will say to the Saints, or to Israel: “This people shall be my people, and their God my God.”
B: While others will walk in the footsteps of a Pharaoh, or a Balak, and will harden their hearts, and fight against God, and seek to destroy his people. These will commune with priests and prophets who love the wages of unrighteousness; and who, like Balaam, will seek to curse, or to find enchantments against Israel.
A: You cannot therefore stand as idle and disinterested spectators of the scenes and events which are calculated in their very nature to reduce all nations and creeds to one political and religious standard, and thus put an end to Babel forms and names, and to strife and war. You will, therefore, either be led by the good Spirit to cast in your lot, and to take a lively interest with the Saints of the Most High, and the covenant people of the Lord, or on the other hand, you will become their inveterate enemy, and oppose them by every means in your power.


#7: In this chiasm, the remarkable prophecy continues with a vivid description of armed conflict and a dramatic change in “the whole order of things in Europe and Asia, in regard to political and religious organization, and government.” The “great division” of the people of the world will eventually lead “the nations of the old world” to besiege and attack Jerusalem. In the midst of battle, the Messiah (Christ) will appear as the “defender of the Jews” and “complete their victory.” As a result of this “signal victory,” Jerusalem will become the “capital of the old world,” where the nations of the eastern hemisphere will be required to annually keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

A: To such an extreme will this great division finally extend, that the nations of the old world will combine to oppose these things by military force. They will send a great army to Palestine, against the Jews; and they will besiege their city, and will reduce the inhabitants of Jerusalem to the greatest extreme of distress and misery.
B: Then will commence a struggle in which the fate of nations and empires will be suspended on a single battle.
C: In this battle the governors and people of Judah distinguish themselves for their bravery and warlike achievements. The weak among them will be like David, and the strong among them will be like God: or like the angel of the Lord.
D: In that day the Lord will pour upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication, and they shall look upon the Messiah whom they have pierced.
D: For lo he will descend from heaven, as the defender of the Jews: and to complete their victory. His feet will stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which shall cleave in sunder at his presence, and remove one half to the north, and the other to the south; thus forming a great valley where the mountain now stands.
C: The earth will quake around him, while storm and tempest, hail and plague, are mingled with the clash of arms, the roar of artillery, the shouts of victory, and the groans of the wounded and dying. In that day all who are in the siege, both against Judea and against Jerusalem, shall be cut in pieces; though all the people of the earth should be gathered together against it.
B: This signal victory on the part of the Jews, so unlooked for by the nations, and attended with the personal advent of Messiah, and the accompanying events, will change the whole order of things in Europe and Asia, in regard to political and religious organization, and government. The Jews as a nation become holy from that day forward; and their city and sanctuary becomes holy. There also the Messiah establishes his throne, and seat of government. Jerusalem then becomes the seat of empire, and the great centre and capital of the old world.
A: All the families of the land shall then go up to Jerusalem once a year, to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. Those who refuse to go up, shall have no rain, but shall be smitten with dearth and famine. And if the family of Egypt go not up (as it never rains there) they shall be smitten with the plague. And thus all things shall be fulfilled according to the words of the holy prophets of old, and the word of the Lord which is now revealed, to confirm and fulfil them.


#8: This chiasm provides more detail about the dramatic power shift described in the previous chiasm.

A: In short the kings, rulers, priests and people of Europe, and of the old world, shall know this once that there is a God in Israel, who, as in days of old, can utter his voice, and it shall be obeyed.
B: The courts of Rome, London, Paris, Constantinople, Petersburgh, and all others, will then have to yield the point, and do homage, and all pay tribute to one Great Centre, and to one mighty Sovereign,
C: or, THRONES WILL BE CAST DOWN,
C: AND KINGDOMS WILL CEASE TO BE.
B: Priests, bishops, and clergy, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Mahomedan, will then have to yield their pretended claims to the priesthood, together with titles, honors, creeds and names; and reverence and obey the true and royal priesthood of the order of Melchisedech, and of Aaron; restored to the rightful heirs, the nobility of Israel;
A: or, the dearth and famine will consume them, and the plague sweep them quickly down to the pit, as in the case of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who pretended to the priesthood, and rebelled against God’s chosen priests and prophets, in the days of Moses.


#9: In this parallelism, the scene shifts in this remarkable prophecy “a scene of grandeur, greatness, and glory, far surpassing the scene just described,” which will take place in the western hemisphere. The indigenous peoples of North and South America will “stand forth in manly dignity” and claim their inheritance as descendants of Joseph. They will build the city of Zion, claim their temple blessings, enjoy a personal visit from the Lord, and become a “standard” for the nations of the western hemisphere.

A: While these great events are rolling on the wheels of time, and being fulfilled in the old world, the Western Continent will present a scene of grandeur, greatness, and glory, far surpassing the scene just described. The Lord will make her that halted a remnant; and gather her that was driven out and afflicted; and make her who was cast afar off, a strong nation; and will reign over them in Mount Zion from that time forth and for ever (sic). Or, in other words, He will assemble the Natives, the remnants of Joseph in America; and make of them a great, and strong, and powerful nation: and he will civilize and enlighten them, and will establish a holy city, and temple, and seat of government among them, which shall be called Zion.
B: And there shall be his tabernacle, his sanctuary, his throne, and seat of government for the whole continent of North and South America for ever. In short, it will be to the western hemisphere what Jerusalem will be to the eastern.
C: And there the Messiah will visit them in person; and the old Saints, who will then have been raised from the dead, will be with him. And he will establish his kingdom and laws over all the land.
D: To this city, and to its several branches or stakes, shall the Gentiles seek, as to a standard
E: of light and knowledge. Yea, the nations, and their kings and nobles, shall say. Come, and let us go up to the Mount Zion, and to the temple of the Lord; where his holy priesthood stand to minister continually before the Lord; and where we may be instructed more fully, and receive the ordinances of remission, and of sanctification, and redemption; and thus be adopted into the family of Israel, and identified in the same covenants of promise.
A: The despised and degraded son of the forest, who has wandered in dejection and sorrow, and suffered reproach, shall then drop his disguise, and stand forth in manly dignity, and exclaim to the Gentiles who have envied and sold him: “I am Joseph: does my father yet live?” Or, in other words: I am a descendant of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt. You have hated me, and sold me, and thought I was dead. But lo! I live, and am heir to the inheritance, titles, honors, priesthood, sceptre, crown, throne, and eternal life and dignity of my fathers, who live for evermore.
B: He shall then be ordained, washed, anointed with holy oil, and arrayed in fine linen, even in the glorious and beautiful garments and royal robes of the high priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God; and shall enter into the congregation of the Lord, even into the Holy of Holies, there to be crowned with authority and power which shall never end. The Spirit of the Lord shall then descend upon him, like the dew upon the mountains of Hermon, and like refreshing showers of rain upon the flowers of Paradise. His heart shall expand with knowledge, wide as eternity; and his mind shall comprehend the vast creations of his God, and His eternal purpose of redemption, glory, and exaltation, which was devised in heaven before the worlds were organized; but made manifest in these last days, for the fulness of the Gentiles, and for the exaltation of Israel.
C: He shall also behold his Redeemer, and be filled with his presence, while the cloud of his glory shall be seen in his temple.
D: The city of Zion, with its sanctuary and priesthood, and the glorious fulness of the gospel, will constitute a standard which will put an end to jarring creeds and political wranglings, by uniting the republics, states, provinces, territories, nations, tribes, kindred, tongues, people, and sects of North and South America in one great and common bond of brotherhood.
E: While truth and knowledge shall make them free, and love cement their union. The Lord also shall be their king and their lawgiver; while wars shall cease, and peace prevail for a thousand years. Thus shall American rulers, statesmen, citizens, and savages know, “this once,” that there is a God in Israel, who can utter his voice, and it shall be fulfilled.


#10: The following structure consists of two chiasms sandwiched between two corresponding introductory elements (labeled I and II). The two chiasms describe the work of the Lord that “must roll on in fulfillment” and two major contributions the people of the Americas can make to the work of the latter days. In the first chiasm, they are instructed to “protect the Saints” by extending “the broad banner of the Constitution and laws over” them, including punishing their “offenders” and helping them reclaim “the millions they have lost.” In the second chiasm, the people of the Americas are encouraged to continue their efforts to “civilize” the indigenous peoples and to educate them about “their Israelitish origin.”

I: Americans! This mighty and strange work has been commenced in your midst, and must roll on in fulfillment.

A: You are now invited, and earnestly intreated, to investigate it thoroughly, and to aid and
participate in its accomplishment.
B: You ask, What can be done?
C: We answer: Protect the Saints; give them their rights; extend the broad banner of the Constitution and laws over their homes, cities, fire-sides, wives, and children;
D: that they may CEASE to be BUTCHERED, MARTYRED, ROBBED, PLUNDERED, AND DRIVEN, and may peaceably proceed in the work assigned them by their God.
D: Execute the Law upon the offenders, and thus rid your garments of INNOCENT BLOOD.
C: Pass acts, also, to indemnify them in the millions they have lost, by your cruel and criminal neglect.
B: Contribute liberally of your substance
A: for their aid, and for the fulfillment of their mission.

A: Let the Government of the United States also continue to gather together, and to colonize the tribes and remnants of Israel (the Indians), and also to feed, clothe, succor, and protect them, and endeavor to civilize and unite;
B: and also to bring them to the knowledge of their Israelitish origin, and of the fulness of the gospel which was revealed to, and written by, their forefathers on this land;
C: the record of which has now come to light.
C: It is these records,
B: together with the other scriptures, and the priesthood and authority now conferred upon the Saints,
A: that will effect their final conversion and salvation; while the creeds of man, and the powerless forms and dogmas of sectarianism will still remain powerless and inefficient.

II: The Lord has spoken, and who can disannul it? He has uttered his voice, and who can gainsay it? He has stretched out his arm, and who can turn it back?


#11: This parallelism contrasts the blessings and cursings that will follow either supporting or rejecting the Latter-day Saints. Ultimately, they will either “be prepared to receive their king, Messiah, and to dwell for ever under his peaceful government in this happy country,” or they will lose their inheritance when the Messiah comes and executes “judgement for the Saints, and give[s] them the dominion.”

A: If the rulers and people will now inform themselves on these momentous subjects, and fulfill the duties we have just pointed out to them,
B: they will then be entitled to a continuation of the great national blessings and favors they have heretofore enjoyed; yea, and to more abundant favors from His bountiful hand, who first raised them to national greatness. They will in that case be prospered and enlarged, and spread their dominions wide and more wide over this vast country, till not only Texas and Oregon, but the whole vast dominion from sea to sea, will be joined with them, and come under their protection as one great, powerful and peaceful empire of Liberty and Union. Millions of people would also come from all nations, their silver and their gold with them, and would take protection under our banner, till in less than half a century from the present time we would have upwards of a hundred millions of population, all united and free, while civilization, arts, cultivation and improvement would extend to the most wild regions of our continent, making our “wilderness like Eden and our deserts like the garden of the Lord.” Or, if they will go still further, and obey the fulness of the gospel, they would then be entitled, not only to temporal blessings, but to the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
C: and thus be prepared to receive their king, Messiah, and to dwell for ever under his peaceful government in this happy country.
A: But, so long as they remain indifferent and ignorant on these subjects, and so long as they continue to breathe out slanders, lies, hatred and murder against the Saints and against the remnants of Israel, and to speak evil of and oppose the things which they understand not,
B: so long the blood of the Saints and of the martyrs of Jesus must continue to flow, and souls to cry from under the altar for vengeance on a guilty land,
C: till the great Messiah shall execute judgment for the Saints, and give them the dominion.


#12: This chiasm boldly declares that the “faith, hope or knowledge” possessed by the Saints gives them power to endure “death and war in their most horrid forms.”

A: It is in vain to suppose that the sword, the musket, the thunder of cannon, or the grating and rattle of chains, bolts and bars, will take away the faith, hope or knowledge of a Latter-day Saint.
B: They know some facts—
B: and these will continue to be known facts
A: when death and war in their most horrid forms are raging around them. They cannot shut their eyes upon these facts to please either governors, rulers, or the raging multitude.


#13: This chiasm acknowledges the danger of declaring the words of this proclamation, that they may be considered “treason[ous]” by some. The apostles boldly accept this fate by restating and summarizing much of what has previously been presented in this proclamation.

A: We would now make a solemn appeal to our rulers and other fellow-citizens, whether it is treason to know? or even to publish what we know? If it is, then strike the murderous blow, but listen to what we say.
B: We say, then, in life or in death, in bonds or free, that the great God has spoken in this age.—And we know it.
C: He has given us the Holy Priesthood and Apostleship, and the keys of the kingdom of God, to bring about the restoration of all things as promised by the holy prophets of old.—And we know it.
D: He has revealed the origin and the Records of the aboriginal tribes of America, and their future destiny.—And we know it. He has revealed the fulness of the gospel, with its gifts, blessings, and ordinances.—And we know it. He has commanded us to bear witness of it, first to the Gentiles and then to the remnants of Israel and the Jews.—And we know it.
E: He has commanded us to gather together his Saints on this Continent, and build up holy cities and sanctuaries.—And we know it.
F: He has said, that the Gentiles should come into the same gospel and covenant; and be numbered with the house of Israel and be a blessed people upon this good land for ever,
G: if they would repent and embrace it.—And we know it.
G: He has also said that, if they do not repent, and come to the knowledge of the truth,
F: and cease to fight against Zion, and also put away all murder, lying, pride, priestcraft, whoredom, and secret abomination, they shall soon perish from the earth, and be cast down to hell.—And we know it.
E: He has said, that the time is at hand for the Jews to be gathered to Jerusalem.—And we know it.
D: He has said, that the Ten Tribes of Israel should also be revealed in the North country, together with their oracles and records, preparatory to their return, and to their union with Judah, no more to be separated.—And we know it. He has said, that when these preparations were made, both in this country and in Jerusalem and the gospel in all its fulness preached to all nations for a witness and testimony,
C: He will come, and all the Saints with him, to reign on the earth one thousand years.—And we know it.
B: He has said that he will not come in his glory and destroy the wicked, till these warnings were given and these preparations were made for his reception.—And we know it.
A: Now, fellow-citizens, if this knowledge, or the publishing of it is treason or crime we refuse not to die. But be ye sure of this,


#14: This concluding chiasm continues the apostles’ bold acceptance of death for the testimony contained in this proclamation. They renew their invitation to the people of the earth to assist the Saints with their “silver and gold” and testify of the great blessings that will accompany “the great restoration of all things.”

A: that whether we live or die the words of the testimony of this proclamation which we now send unto you, shall all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one jot or tittle of his revealed word shall fail to be fulfilled. Therefore, again we say to all people, Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins; and you shall receive the Holy Spirit, and shall know the truth, and be numbered with the house of Israel.
B: And we once more invite all the kings, presidents, governors, rulers, judges, and people of the earth, to aid us, the Latter-day Saints; and also, the Jews, and all the remnants of Israel, by your influence and protection, and by your silver and gold, that we may build the cities of Zion and Jerusalem, and the temples and sanctuaries of our God; and may accomplish the great restoration of all things, and bring in the latter-day glory.
C: That knowledge, truth, light, love, peace, union, honor, glory, and power, may fill the earth with eternal life and joy.
C: That death, bondage, oppression, wars, mourning, sorrow, and pain, may be done away for ever, and all tears be wiped from every eye.
B: In fulfillment of the work assigned them, let the Saints throughout the world, and all others who feel an interest in the work of God, forward their gifts, tithes, and offerings, for the building of the temple of the Lord, which is now in progress in the city of Nauvoo, in the State of Illinois. Let them also come with their gold and silver, and goods, and workmen, to establish
manufactories and business of all kinds, for the building up of the city; and for the employmentand support of the poor, and thus strengthen the hands of those who have borne the burden and heat of the day, and who have made great sacrifices in laying the foundation of the kingdom of God, and moving on the work thus far.
A: We also make a solemn and an earnest request of all Editors of newspapers, both in this country and other countries to publish this proclamation. It certainly contains news, such as is not met with at all times, and in every place, and cannot fail to interest the reading public, especially those who have prayed every day of their lives for the Lord’s kingdom to to come; and for his will to be done on the earth, as it is done in heaven.


Conclusion:

Chiasmus in the 1845 Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles strengthens an already bold statement of the divinely commissioned mission of the Latter-day Saints. It makes clear what is expected of the kings of the earth, leaving them accountable and “without excuse.” It provides a clear definition of the prophesied kingdom of God that has been established in our time. It stresses the importance and blessings associated with the ordinances of the Gospel—in particular, the gift of the Holy Ghost. Chiasmus also provides greater detail to the remarkable prophecy concerning the social and political divisions of the people leading to the battle of Armageddon in the eastern hemisphere and the building up of Zion on the western hemisphere. Most importantly, perhaps, it strengthens the faith of the Latter-day Saints by illuminating their understanding of the events of the latter days and the role the Lord expects them to play.

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Nations Cannot Endure In Sin: Chiasmus in Ezra Taft Benson’s “A Message to the World”

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President Ezra Taft Benson (history.lds.org)

Ezra Taft Benson served as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from November 1985 to May 1994. Prior to this he served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles beginning in October 1943. Professionally, he worked in agriculture and government, both in his native Idaho and in Washington D.C. Significantly, from 1953 to 1961 — while serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — he served as the United States secretary of agriculture under President Eisenhower.

In his address at the October 1975 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Benson referenced the Lord’s commandment to Joseph Smith in January 1841 “to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel … to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof, to the honorable president-elect, and the high-minded governors of the nation in which you live, and to the nations of the earth scattered abroad.” This proclamation was to be written “in the spirit of meekness and by the power of the Holy Ghost” (see D&C 124:1-14).  

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Proclamation of 1845 (archive.org)

Before he could fulfill this commandment, Joseph Smith suffered martyrdom in June 1844, but on April 6, 1845 the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published a proclamation:

“To all the Kings of the World;
To the President of the United States of America;
To the Governors of the several States;
And to the Rulers and People of all Nations”.

After quoting several paragraphs from this bold and prophetic proclamation, President Benson declared, “It seems fitting and proper to me that we should reaffirm the great truths pronounced in this declaration and that we should proclaim them anew to the world.”

Ezra Taft Benson’s 1975 proclamation, titled “A Message to the World,” includes a bold and prophetic passage that is cited in our ebook, A Chiastic Analysis of ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ (Westbench Publishing, 2016). A careful reading of this passage shows it to be a chiasm. This article presents a diagram and detailed analysis of this significant and striking chiasm.

[Note: For an in-depth study of chiasmus in the 1845 Proclamation, refer to our article: “To All the Kings of the World: Chiasmus in the 1845 Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles”]


Diagram and Analysis:

A: The nations of the earth continue in their sinful and unrighteous ways. Much of the unbounded knowledge with which men have been blessed has been used to destroy mankind instead of to bless the children of men as the Lord intended.
B: Two great world wars, with fruitless efforts at lasting peace, are solemn evidence that peace has been taken from the earth because of the wickedness of the people. Nations cannot endure in sin. They will be broken up but the kingdom of God will endure forever.
C: Therefore, as humble servants of the Lord, we call upon the leaders of the nations to humble themselves before God, to seek his inspiration and guidance.
D: We call upon rulers and people alike to repent of their evil ways. Turn unto the Lord, seek his forgiveness, and unite yourselves in humility with his kingdom. There is no other way. If you will do this, your sins will be blotted out, peace will come and remain, and you will become part of the kingdom of God in preparation for Christ’s second coming.
D: But if you refuse to repent, to accept the testimony of his inspired messengers, or to unite yourselves with God’s kingdom, then the terrible judgments and calamities promised the wicked will be yours.
C: The voice of warning is unto all people by the mouths of his servants (See D&C 1:4). If this voice is not heeded, the angels of destruction will increasingly go forth, and the chastening hand of Almighty God will be felt upon the nations, as decreed, until a full end thereof will be the result.
B: Wars, devastation, and untold suffering will be your lot except you turn unto the Lord in humble repentance. Destruction even more terrible and far-reaching than attended the last great war will come with certainty unless rulers and people alike repent and cease their evil and godless ways. God will not be mocked (D&C 63:58). He will not permit the sins of sexual immorality, secret murderous combinations, the killing of the unborn, and disregard for all his holy commandments and the messages of his servants to go unheeded without grievous punishment for such wickedness. The nations of the world cannot endure in sin.
A: The way of escape is clear. The immutable laws of God remain steadfastly in the heavens above. When men and nations refuse to abide by them, the penalty must follow. They will be wasted away. Sin demands punishment.

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Conference Report, Oct. 1975 (archive.org)

A=A: “[U]nbounded knowledge” is governed by “[t]he immutable laws of God.” The first half describes the misuse of “[m]uch of the unbounded knowledge with which men have been blessed,” resulting in the destruction of mankind. The second half, in contrast, describes “[t]he way of escape,” which is to “abide by” the “immutable,” or unchanging, “laws of God.” “[M]en and nations” have the choice to obey or rebel and are, therefore, masters of their own destiny.

B=B: “Two great world wars” equals “[w]ars, devastation, and untold suffering” and “[n]ations cannot endure in sin” equals “nations of the world cannot endure in sin.” Evidence of the wickedness of mankind are the “[t]wo great world wars” that rocked the nations in the first half of the 20th century. Without repentance, “[w]ars, devastation, and untold suffering” will continue and become “even more terrible and far-reaching.” The sins that the world is guilty of are “sexual immorality, secret murderous combinations, the killing of the unborn, and disregard for all his holy commandments and the messages of his servants.” The unrepentant “nations of the world” will “be broken up,” but the “kingdom of God will endure forever.”

C=C: The phrase “humble servants of the Lord” equals “his servants” and “we call upon the leaders of the nations to humble themselves before God, to seek his inspiration and guidance” contrasts with “[i]f this voice is not heeded, the angels of destruction will increasingly go forth, and the chastening hand of Almighty God will be felt upon the nations, as decreed, until a full end thereof will be the result.” In contrast to the “leaders of the nations,” the “servants of the Lord” are “humble” and declare “the voice of warning.” If the leaders of the nations “seek [the Lord’s] inspiration and guidance,” they can avoid the prophesied “full end” of all nations (see D&C 87:6). But, if not, “the chastening hand of Almighty God will be felt upon the nations.”

D=D:The declaration “repent” contrasts with “refuse to repent.” The central focus of this chiasm emphasizes that if the people and nations of the earth choose to repent, “your sins will be blotted out, peace will come and remain, and you will become part of the kingdom of God in preparation for Christ’s second coming.” If they choose to resist, “then the terrible judgments and calamities promised the wicked will be yours.”


Conclusion:

Chiasmus in Ezra Taft Benson’s “A Message to the World” emphasizes the crucial choice placed before the people and nations of the latter days. Either we can repent and enjoy spiritual and national peace or we can rebel and experience complete destruction. Whatever those around us may choose, we can find personal security by choosing to abide by the “immutable laws of God” and unite ourselves with the kingdom of God, which will “endure forever.” “There is no other way” to experience peace and safety during the days of turmoil preceding “Christ’s second coming.”


Note: Ezra Taft Benson’s “A Message to the World” appears as chapter 14 of his excellent book, This Nation Shall Endure (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1977).

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He Lives: Chiasmus in “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”

the_living_Christ_image_bw.jpgOn January 1, 2000, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve of Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a public statement to “commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago.” Titled “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” its purpose was “to build the faith of our Heavenly Father’s children” and “add our witness to that of our predecessors” (First Presidency letter, Dec. 10, 1999).

The printed statement featured the signatures of the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at that time: Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, James E. Faust, Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, Neal A. Maxwell, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, and Henry B. Eyring. Although several of these men have since passed away, all “duly ordained Apostles” share this same testimony and could add their signatures “to that of [their] predecessors.” It is also the same testimony that we should seek to develop in ourselves.

“The Living Christ” consists of an elegant chiasm that emphasizes different aspects of the mission of Jesus Christ and the profound influence of the Savior in each our lives. This article presents a diagram and detailed analysis of this chiasm.


Diagram and Analysis:

A: As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice.
B: None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.
C: He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without  him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised  for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.
D: He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning  sacrifice. He was arrested  and condemned on spurious charges, convicted  to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins  of all mankind. His was a great  vicarious  gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.
E: We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.
F: He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians  15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among  those  He had loved in life. He also  ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith,  ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).
F: Of the Living Christ, the Prophet  Joseph wrote:  “His eyes were as a flame  of fire;  the hair  of his head was white like  the pure  snow; his countenance  shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the  sound  of the rushing of great waters,
E: even the voice of Jehovah, saying: “I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4).
D: Of Him  the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! “For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
C: “That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants  thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto  God”  (D&C 76:22–24).
B: We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth— “built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself  being  the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20). We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see  it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as  King of Kings and reign as Lord  of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every  tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.
A: We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles— that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

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Signers of “The Living Christ” (lds.org)

A=A: “[W]e offer our testimony” equals “We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles” and “His matchless life” complements “the matchless gift of His divine Son.” Those who are bearing testimony in this document are Christ’s “duly ordained Apostles.” They are testifying of “the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice,” which are a “matchless gift” from Heavenly Father.

B=B: “None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live” complements “His priesthood and His Church … He will rule as  King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords … [e]ach of us will stand to be judged of Him.” All mankind have been, are, and will be profoundly influenced by Jesus Christ: first, through His priesthood and Church, if they desire the ordinances and doctrines of salvation and exaltation; second, through His world government during the Millennium; third, through His eternal judgement, which decides our opportunities in the afterlife.

C=C: “[C]reator of the earth” is expanded by “That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created” and “sons and daughters of God” equals “sons and daughters unto God.” Jesus Christ is not an absent or distant Creator. Rather, He makes use of His Creation to further Heavenly Father’s “work and glory” (Moses 1:39). After the spirit “sons and daughters of God” were sent to earth to gain physical bodies, Christ came to teach “the truths of eternity” and entreat “all to follow His example,” so that we can reach our “potential … in the life to come.” This pattern and purpose has been followed on each of the “worlds without number” Jesus Christ has created (Moses 1:33), although His atonement was performed on this earth.

D=D: “He gave His life” complements “he lives!” The first half of this element focuses on His overcoming of spiritual death through the atonement and the second half focuses on His overcoming of physical death through the resurrection.

E=E: “His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary” complements ““I am the first and the last.” This element describes the three phases of Christ’s eternal existence — premortal, mortal, and post-mortal — and emphasizes his significant and leading role in each. Just as Jesus Christ was the “Firstborn” spirit child of our Heavenly Father in the premortal existence, He was the “Only Begotten Son” in mortality, and the first to be resurrected. In His resurrected state, He is our “Redeemer” and “advocate with the Father.”

F=F: “Risen Lord” equals Living Christ” and “Joseph Smith” equals “Prophet Joseph.” The central element of this chiasm emphasizes that Jesus has been resurrected, that he is the “Living Christ.” To do so, three witnesses of His resurrection are presented: first, “those He had loved in life,” or His disciples in the Holy Land; second, “His ‘other sheep’ (John 10:16) in ancient America,” a testimony recorded in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ; third, the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, as head of the “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10), is the chief testifier of the Living Christ to our modern world.


Conclusion:

“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” offers an authoritative testimony of Jesus Christ. Chiasmus in this document emphasizes and expands our understanding of His divine mission and role in our lives. For example, Christ played a significant and leading role in the premortal realm, this mortal existence, and in our post-mortal destiny; He is an active Creator of worlds — in addition to organizing their elements and setting them in motion, He teaches their inhabitants and sets the example for them to follow; as our Priest, King, and Judge, He has a direct and profound influence upon all mankind; as our Savior and Redeemer, He overcame spiritual and physical death; as the Living Christ, He manifests himself to his chosen witnesses, both in the meridian of time and in our modern world. As “The Living Christ” declares at both its beginning and end, the life, accomplishments, and influence of Christ are truly “matchless.” With gratitude to the Father, we should seek to learn about and follow the example of His Son.

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Peace Is That Which We Seek: Chiasmus in Thomas S. Monson’s “We Never Walk Alone”

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President Thomas S. Monson (facebook.com)

Thomas S. Monson has served as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since February 2008. Prior to this, he served as a counselor in the First Presidency beginning in November 1985 and as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles beginning in October 1963. Before his call to full-time Church service, he served as president of the Canadian Mission and as a counselor in a stake presidency and a bishop in Salt Lake City. Professionally, he worked as an executive in the publishing and printing industries. As a young man he served in the United States Navy during World War II.

His years as President of the Church have thus far been marked by continued temple building, historical transparency, doctrinal clarification, and a realignment of culture and practice. He is known for the illustrative stories and experiences he shares in his talks, which are filled with hope, encouragement, good humor, and prophetic warning.

President Monson’s address at the October 2013 General Relief Society Meeting, “We Never Walk Alone,” contains several chiasms and parallelisms. One chiasm from this talk was featured as his Facebook post on 13 September 2016. This article presents a diagram and detailed analysis of his Facebook chiasm, followed by a less detailed treatment of several additional chiasms and parallelisms from his address.


Diagram and Analysis:

A: Prayer is not just for times of trouble. We are told repeatedly in the scriptures to “pray always” and to keep a prayer in our hearts.
B: The words of a favorite and familiar hymn pose a question which we would do well to ask ourselves daily: “Did you think to pray?”
C: Allied with prayer in helping us cope in our often difficult world
C: is scripture study.
B: The words of truth and inspiration found in our four standard works are prized possessions to me. I never tire of reading them.
A: I am lifted spiritually whenever I search the scriptures. These holy words of truth and love give guidance to my life and point the way to eternal perfection.

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September 13, 2016 (facebook.com)

A=A: “[P]ray always” is complemented by “whenever I search the scriptures.” Each element in this chiasm emphasizes the synergic relationship between prayer and scripture study. This element focuses on the timeless need for prayer and scripture study, which are “not just for times of trouble” and which lift him spiritually “whenever” he turns to them. As a result of constant prayer and regular scripture study, President Monson receives spiritual and temporal “guidance.”

B=B: “[W]e would do well to ask ourselves daily: ‘Did you think to pray?’” is complemented by “I never tire of reading them [our four standard works].” This element of the chiasm serves as gentle encouragement for us to pray daily and to consider the scriptures “prized possessions.” Rather than focus on one particular book of scripture, President Monson emphasizes all “four standard works” and their “words of truth and inspiration.” We would do well to include each in our personal scripture study.

C=C: “[P]rayer” is complemented by “scripture study.” The central focus of this chiasm emphasizes the practical purpose and inestimable value of prayer and scripture study. As “allied” forces, they help us “cope in our often difficult world.” “Cope,” which means “to deal with and attempt to overcome problems and difficulties,” is an interesting word choice. It suggests that prayer and scripture study don’t remove problems from our lives. Instead, they give us the needed advantage to benefit and grow from the opposition and challenges we face in life. (For a further discussion on the essential role of opposition in our lives, see “Facilitating Our Growth: Chiasmus in Dallin H. Oaks’ ‘Opposition In All Things’”)


Additional Chiasms and Parallelisms:

#1: In this chiasm, President Monson compliments the women of the Relief Society by declaring them to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Through their “strength,” “devotion,” and “goodness,” they invite “the spirit” wherever they go or happen to be.

A: My dear sisters,
B: the spirit we feel this evening is a reflection of
B: your strength, your devotion, and your goodness.
A: To quote the Master: “Ye are the salt of the earth. … Ye are the light of the world.”


#2: This chiasm focuses on the love Frances Monson had for Relief Society, the many assignments she had within Relief Society, and the great blessings that came into her life as a result of her service. Specifically, “some of her closest friendships came as a result of” her service in the Relief Society.

A: As I have contemplated my opportunity to address you, I have been reminded of the love my dear wife, Frances, had for Relief Society.
B: During her lifetime she served in many positions in Relief Society.
C: When she and I were both just 31 years of age, I was called to be president of the Canadian Mission.
C: During the three years of that assignment, Frances presided over all of the Relief Societies in that vast area, which encompassed the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
B: Some of her closest friendships came as a result of that assignment, as well as from the many callings she later filled in our own ward Relief Society.
A: She was a faithful daughter of our Heavenly Father, my beloved companion, and my dearest friend. I miss her more than words can express.


#3: This chiasm acknowledges the variety of women (and their unique challenges) that make up the membership of the Relief Society, but emphasizes their commonality. Despite their differing circumstances, they can find unity and benefit individually through their involvement in Relief Society.

A: Relief Society is made up of a variety of women.
B: There are those of you who are single—perhaps in school, perhaps working—yet forging a full and rich life.
C: Some of you are busy mothers of growing children.
D: Still others of you have lost your husbands because of divorce or death
D: and are struggling to raise your children without the help of a husband and father.
C: Some of you have raised your children but have realized that their need for your help is ongoing.
B: There are many of you who have aging parents who require the loving care only you can give.
A: Wherever we are in life, there are times when all of us have challenges and struggles. Although they are different for each, they are common to all.


#4: This chiasm includes a parallelism. The elements CDE are a parallelism that equates the teachings of Ezra Taft Benson with the teachings of the Apostle Paul. Both encouraged their people to pray and promised them spiritual peace as a result. The elements AB, which turn this passage into a chiasm, are President Monson’s third witness to the peace that comes through prayer.

A: There will be times when you will walk a path strewn with thorns and marked by struggle. There may be times when you feel detached—even isolated—from the Giver of every good gift. You worry that you walk alone. Fear replaces faith.
B: When you find yourself in such circumstances, I plead with you to remember prayer.
C: I love the words of President Ezra Taft Benson concerning prayer. Said he:
D: “All through my life the counsel to depend on prayer has been prized above almost any other advice I have … received. It has become an integral part of me—an anchor, a constant source of strength, and the basis of my knowledge of things divine. …
E: “… Though reverses come, in prayer we can find reassurance, for God will speak peace to the soul. That peace, that spirit of serenity, is life’s greatest blessing.”
C: The Apostle Paul admonished:
D: “Let your requests be made known unto God.
E: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
B: What a glorious promise! Peace is that which we seek, that for which we yearn.
A:We were not placed on this earth to walk alone. What an amazing source of power, of strength, and of comfort is available to each of us. He who knows us better than we know ourselves, He who sees the larger picture and who knows the end from the beginning, has assured us that He will be there for us to provide help if we but ask. We have the promise: “Pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.”


#5: This chiasm emphasizes the benefits that come from combining prayer with scripture study.

A: As we read and ponder the scriptures, we will experience the sweet whisperings of the Spirit to our souls.
B: We can find answers to our questions.
C: We learn of the blessings which come through keeping God’s commandments.
B: We gain a sure testimony of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of Their love for us.
A: When scripture study is combined with our prayers, we can of a certainty know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.


#6: This parallelism reassures us that whatever our temporal or spiritual circumstances, the love of God is a constant on which we can rely.

My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes.

A: It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities.
B: It is simply there.
A: It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love.
B: It is simply always there.


Conclusion:

Chiasmus in President Monson’s address to the Relief Society emphasizes principles and doctrines taught in various passages. A major theme of his address is the blessings that come from combining daily prayer with scripture study — peace, answers to questions, increased doctrinal understanding, a sure testimony, and guidance in navigating “our often difficult world.” An additional theme is the blessings of involvement in Relief Society — unity, close friendships, and individual benefit. Above all is a reminder that Heavenly Father’s love for us “never changes” and “is simply always there.” By identifying and studying the chiasms and parallelisms in President Monson’s address, we are able to gain a more thorough understanding of his message and benefit from a more focused application.

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His Answers Will Come: Robert D. Hales’ Facebook Chiasm

robert-d-hales
Robert D. Hales (facebook.com)

Robert D. Hales has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since April 1994. Prior to this call, he served as a General Authority of the Church in various capacities beginning in 1975. For his professional career he “served in major executive positions with several prominent companies, and over the years [he and his] family lived in several countries as well as several locations in the United States.” As a young man he served in the United States Air Force as a jet fighter pilot.

Like the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Hales has had a Facebook account since 2013 “to provide people a safe and official way to follow the ministry of the Brethren.” Twice a month he posts a spiritual thought and occasionally includes a picture.

On July 29, 2016, Elder Hales posted a three-paragraph message about receiving answers to our prayers. Upon closer examination, Elder Hales’ Facebook post is a chiasm that reinforces his testimony that “His answers will come.” This article presents a diagram and analysis of Elder Hales’ Facebook chiasm.


Diagram and Analysis:

A: In my life I have learned that sometimes I do not receive an answer to a prayer because the Lord knows I am not ready. When He does answer, it is often “here a little and there a little” because that is all that I can bear or all I am willing to do.
B: Too often we pray to have patience, but we want it right now!
C: As a young man, President David O. McKay prayed for a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel.
C: Many years later, while he was serving his mission in Scotland, that witness finally came.
B: Later he wrote, “It was an assurance to me that sincere prayer is answered ‘sometime, somewhere.’
A: We may not know when or how the Lord’s answers will be given, but in His time and His way, I testify, His answers will come. For some answers we may have to wait until the hereafter. This may be true for some promises in our patriarchal blessings and for some blessings for family members. Let us not give up on the Lord. His blessings are eternal, not temporary.

robert-d-hales_facebook
(facebook.com)

A=A: “He does answer” equates with “His answers will come.” Although it may not happen immediately, God does answer our prayers. He knows when we are “ready,” what we “can bear” at any given time, and what we are “willing to do.” Consequently, some answers will come in “the hereafter,” including “some promises in our patriarchal blessings and for some blessings for family members.” We need to trust in the Lord’s wisdom and believe that “His blessings are eternal, not temporary.” Further, we need to acknowledge our limited capacity to recognize and follow inspired promptings.

B=B: “[W]e want it right now!” contrasts with “sincere prayer is answered ‘sometime, somewhere.'” Patience and perspective are needed as we seek answers to our prayers. We shouldn’t expect His timing to always line up with our timing.

C=C: “[P]rayed for a witness” is complemented by “witness finally came.” To illustrate that prayers are not always answered immediately, Elder Hales tells how a young David O. McKay had to wait “many years” to receive a “witness of the truthfulness of the gospel.” But the witness did come. David O. McKay would later serve as President of the Church.


Conclusion:

Chiasmus in Robert D. Hales’ Facebook post emphasizes his conviction that God answers our prayers “sometime, somewhere.” He teaches us that patience is the ability to trust in God’s timing and is made possible by being able to see beyond our immediate circumstances. These abilities — patience and perspective — are required in order for us to follow Elder Hales’ plea to “not give up on the Lord.” As with the other examples of chiasmus in the Facebook posts of the Apostles that we’ve written about (Henry B. Eyring, Russell M. Nelson, and Dieter F. Uchtdorf), this chiasm serves as a reminder for us to slow down and ponder the words of the prophets, even though they may appear in ordinary places.

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To Love As He Loves: Chiasmus in Henry B. Eyring’s “Our Perfect Example”

henry-b-eyring_our-perfect-example
Henry B. Eyring (lds.org)

In a previous article we presented a chiasm President Henry B. Eyring posted on his Facebook wall in April 2016. This article presents chiasmus in “Our Perfect Example,” his General Conference address from October 2009, in which he testifies of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to help us “become better” throughout our lives.

One chiasm from this address is cited in our e-book, A Chiastic Analysis of ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ (Westbench Publishing, 2016). In this article we present a diagram and detailed analysis of this chiasm, followed by a more general treatment of two additional chiasms from President Eyring’s address.


Diagram and Analysis:

A: Just as Jesus used a child in His mortal ministry as an example for the people of the pure love they must and could have to be like Him,
B: He has offered us the family as an example of an ideal setting in which we can learn how to love as He loves.
C: That is because the greatest joys and the greatest sorrows we experience are in family relationships.
D: The joys come from putting the welfare of others above our own. That is what love is.
D: And the sorrow comes primarily from selfishness, which is the absence of love.
C: The ideal God holds for us is to form families in the way most likely to lead to happiness and away from sorrow.
B: A man and a woman are to make sacred covenants that they will put the welfare and happiness of the other at the center of their lives.
A: Children are to be born into a family where the parents hold the needs of children equal to their own in importance. And children are to love parents and each other.

A=A: “[C]hild” equates with “Children” and “pure love” equates with “parents hold the needs of children equal to their own … [a]nd children are to love parents and each other.” By comparing a child in the meridian of time to children in contemporary culture, President Eyring shows the timeless importance of the family. In order for families to be successful, they must possess “pure love,” which he chiastically defines as parents holding “the needs of children equal to their own in importance” and children loving parents and each other.

B=B: “[F]amily” equates with “A man and a woman” and “learn how to love as He loves” equates with “put the welfare and happiness of the other at the center of their lives.” Like the Proclamation on the Family, of which he is a signer, President Eyring defines the family as being “between a man and a woman.” The “pure love” described in the previous section also applies to the relationship between husband and wife. In this section, he defines this love as putting “the welfare and happiness of the other at the center of their lives.”
C=C: “[J]oys” equates with “happiness” and “sorrows” is the same as “sorrow.” By seeking after and possessing pure love in our familial relationships, we can experience the “joys” and “happiness” God intends us to experience. If we reject or fail to cultivate this love, then we will experience “sorrow,” the opposite of happiness.
D=D: “[J]oys” contrasts with “sorrow” and “love” contrasts with “absence of love.” The central focus of this chiasm emphasizes President Eyring’s definition of “pure love.” In the first part, “joy” is the fruit of “love,” which is “putting the welfare of others above our own.” In the second part, “sorrow” is the result of “the absence of love,” which is “selfishness.”

Chiasmus in this passage from President Eyring’s talk reinforces his definition of “pure love,” or the love that Christ expresses and that we are to express in our families. By understanding that “love” contrasts with “selfishness” and “sorrow” contrasts with “joy” and “happiness,” we can more deliberately and successfully develop this kind of love in our familial relationships. Ultimately, we can achieve what President Eyring describes as “the ideal of a loving family.”


Additional Chiastic Structures:

#1 — This chiasm corrects the mistaken view of those who think they have “no need to improve” or who have “given up trying to be better.” Instead, the message of the Gospel is that “we can and must expect to become better” throughout our lives. The key to personal improvement is praying for the gift of charity so that we can be “true followers” of Christ and prepared for His Second Coming.

A: There may be a few who mistakenly feel they are good enough and a few who have given up trying to be better.
B: But, for all, the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can and must expect to become better as long as we live.
C: Part of that expectation is set for us in a revelation given by God to the Prophet Joseph Smith. It describes the day when we will meet the Savior, as we all will.
D: It tells us what to do to prepare and what to expect.
D: It is in the book of Moroni: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God;
C: that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”
B: That ought to help you understand why any believing Latter-day Saint is an optimist about what lies ahead for him or her, however difficult the present may be. We believe that through living the gospel of Jesus Christ we can become like the Savior, who is perfect.
A:Considering the attributes of Jesus Christ should quash the pride of the self-satisfied person who thinks he or she has no need to improve. And even the most humble person can take hope in the invitation to become like the Savior.


#2 — This chiasm describes an experience President Eyring had of watching a group of children sing the well-known Primary song, “I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus.” He observed that the children sang with determination and confidence, fully believing perfection through the Atonement of Christ was possible. Such is the power of inspired music to build testimony.

A: How that wonderful transformation will happen is captured for me in a song written for children.
B: I remember watching the faces of a room full of children singing it on a Sunday. Each of the children was leaning forward, almost to the front of the chair. I could see light in their eyes and
C: determination in their faces as they sang with gusto.
D: You may have heard the song too. I hope it will sound forever in our memories. I only hope I can give it the feeling those children had.
D: I’m trying to be like Jesus; I’m following in his ways. I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say. At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice, But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers, “Love one another as Jesus loves you. Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought, For these are the things Jesus taught.”
C: It seemed to me that they were not just singing; they were declaring their determination. Jesus Christ was their example. To be like Him was their fixed goal.
B: And their eager looks and their shining eyes convinced me that they had no doubts. They expected to succeed. They believed that the instruction of the Savior to be perfect was not a hope but a command. And they were sure He had prepared the way. That determination and confidence can and must be in the heart of every Latter-day Saint.
A: The Savior has prepared the way through His Atonement and His example. And even the children who sang that song knew how.


Conclusion:

In his writings that we have thus far presented, President Henry B. Eyring is a master of chiasmus. He writes with a high degree of precision and care in an effort to clearly teach the doctrines of the Gospel. In “Our Perfect Example,” he uses chiasmus to help us see that perfection is possible through the Atonement of Christ and to motivate us to keep putting forth the effort to improve. He also shows how “pure love” or unselfishness is the necessary key to establishing a happy family. The existence of chiasmus in the writings of our Church leaders is an invitation for us to carefully study and ponder their messages.

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I’ve A Mother There: Chiasmus in Eliza R. Snow’s “O My Father”

Eliza-R-Snow_josephsmithpapers_dot_org
Eliza R. Snow, circa 1852 (josephsmithpapers.org)

Eliza R. Snow is revered for her prominent role in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A poet and prophetess, she served as the first secretary of the Relief Society (1842-44) and later as its second general president (1880-87). Sister Snow was an older sister to Lorenzo Snow, who served as the fifth president of the Church, and a plural wife to Joseph Smith and later to Brigham Young.

In 1845, while living in the home of Stephen Markham after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, Eliza R. Snow authored the poem that became known as “O My Father.” According to Jaynann Morgan Payne, “her little room [in the attic] had bare walls and floor, except for a small rag rug beside her bed. On a small bedside table lay the Holy Bible, her beloved Book of Mormon, and a tiny gold pencil the Prophet had given her and with which she wrote this immortal poem” (Ensign, 1973). It is the best-known source for the Latter-day Saint belief in a Heavenly Mother.

The poem first appeared in print in Times and Seasons on November 15, 1845 under the title, “My Father in Heaven.” Already an accomplished poet, this was “the last poem that Eliza R. Snow wrote before she and her fellow Saints were driven from Nauvoo. … As she faced the hardships of the long trek westward, it is not surprising that she was moved to write a poem about longing for home. In terms of an earthly home, she was virtually a displaced refugee, yet she took comfort in looking toward her divine home and loving heavenly parents” (Karen Lynn Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages [2009], 321).

Each verse of “O My Father” is a chiasm, with the exception of the last verse which is a parallelism. A study of the structure of the poem shows it to be a case study for the process of spiritual enlightenment that is enhanced by the greater endowment of knowledge available through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this article, a diagram and analysis of each verse is presented.


Verse 1: In this introductory verse, Eliza R. Snow acknowledges the existence of God as a self-evident truth. She then asks three inspired questions about her relationship to Him: 1) about returning to His presence after this life; 2) about living in his presence prior to her physical birth; 3) about having a close father-daughter relationship with Him prior to her physical birth. Chiasmus in this verse serves to answer each of these questions, except for the timing of her death (which would happen four decades later).

A: O my Father, thou that dwellest
B: In the high and glorious place,
C: When shall I regain thy presence
D: And again behold thy face?
D: In thy holy habitation,
C: Did my spirit once reside?
B: In my first primeval childhood
A: Was I nurtured near thy side?

Analysis:

o my father_times and seasons
Times and Seasons Vol. 6 No. 17 p. 1039, November 15, 1845 (archive.org)

A=A: “Father” equals “thy side.” Prior to her physical birth Sister Snow had a close father-daughter relationship with God, who “nurtured” her spirit and prepared her for mortality.

B=B: “[H]igh and glorious place” equals “primeval childhood.” The word “primeval” means “very old or ancient.” Hence, “my first primeval childhood” refers to Sister Snow’s spirit birth and upbringing in the “high and glorious” presence of God, the father of her spirit.

C=C: “[R]egain thy presence” equates with “once reside.” After her mortal life is over, Sister Snow will return to the presence of God.

D=D: “[T]hy face” equates with “thy holy habitation.” When Sister Snow returns to the presence of God, she will resume the close father-daughter relationship she enjoyed prior to her mortal birth.


Verse 2: After posing her questions in the first verse, Eliza R. Snow uses the second verse to explain the origin of these questions — an intuition or feeling she had often experienced that suggested a divine origin and purpose to her life. Chiasmus in this verse contrasts what she had learned intuitively with the expanded understanding she gained through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A: For a wise and glorious purpose Thou hast placed me here on earth
B: And withheld the recollection Of my former friends and birth;
B: Yet ofttimes a secret something Whispered, “You’re a stranger here,”
A: And I felt that I had wandered From a more exalted sphere.

Analysis:

A=A: “[A] wise and glorious purpose” is an expansion of “I felt that I had wandered” and “earth” contrasts with “more exalted sphere.” Her intuition had suggested that she had “wandered” from the presence of God, but she would later learn that her presence on earth was deliberate, that God had sent her from His “more exalted sphere” for “a wise and glorious purpose.”

B=B: “[W]ithheld the recollection” is an expansion of “secret something Whispered” and “former friends and birth” contrasts with “stranger.” Her intuition had also suggested that worldly society was not her native habitat. She would later learn that she had a spirit origin that preceded her physical birth, in the presence of a pleasant social experience (see D&C 130:2), but that this pre-mortal memory had been wisely “withheld” during her mortal sojourn.


Verse 3: Building on the previous verse, where the origin of her questions is described, this verse explains how her intuition could only provide her with a limited knowledge of God. Later, after being blessed with a greater endowment of knowledge, she was able to comprehend and discover greater truths about God. Chiasmus in this verse clarifies this process of spiritual discovery.

A: I had learned to call thee Father,
B: Thru thy Spirit from on high,
C: But, until the key of knowledge
D: Was restored, I knew not why.
D: In the heav’ns are parents single?
C: No, the thought makes reason stare!
B: Truth is reason; truth eternal
A: Tells me I’ve a mother there.

Analysis:

A=A: “Father” corresponds to “mother.” In the heavens parents are not single. Rather, our families on earth follow the same pattern that exists in the heavens. Everyone on earth is a son or daughter of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother and has the potential to become like them in the eternities.

B=B: “Spirit” equals “Truth.” In context, Eliza R. Snow uses “Spirit” to describe intuition, which helped her understand the ways of God to a limited degree. The scriptures teach that the Spirit testifies of truth (see Moroni 10:5), helping us to understand the ways of God and to make wise choices. In addition to intuition or the light of Christ, the Lord can bless us with greater endowments of spiritual knowledge, such as the gift of the Holy Ghost and the temple endowment.

C=C: “[K]ey of knowledge” equals “reason.” Reason is not incompatible with faith or spiritual knowledge. If one is “governed by the laws which control the realm into which he is delving,” reason can be used to great benefit in every field of endeavor. Eliza R. Snow’s experience suggests that reason governed by the laws of spiritual knowledge is the only way to discover that Heavenly Father has a Helpmeet, our Heavenly Mother.

D=D: “I knew not why” corresponds to “are parents single?” In addition to the three questions she poses in the first verse, Eliza R. Snow was nagged by a question concerning the nature of God and her divine parentage. The answer was revealed to her by the Prophet Joseph Smith and confirmed by the Spirit.


Verse 4: With her expanded knowledge, Eliza R. Snow expresses a greater desire to live a faithful life so she can return to the presence of her Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Such is the motivating value of increasing in spiritual knowledge. Parallelism in this verse, in contrast to chiasmus in the first three verses, adds emphasis through repetition of her strong desire to be with her Heavenly Parents.

A: When I leave this frail existence,
B: When I lay this mortal by,
C: Father, Mother, may I meet you
D: In your royal courts on high?
A: Then, at length, when I’ve completed
B: All you sent me forth to do,
C: With your mutual approbation
D: Let me come and dwell with you.

Analysis:

A=A: “[L]eave this frail existence” equals “completed.” The completion of our mortal lives happens, of course, at death. The timing of this event is dictated by God.

B=B: “[M]ortal” equals “sent me forth.” Our existence on earth carries with it the responsibility to accomplish certain things.

C=C: “Father, Mother” equals “mutual.” While Christ is our judge, the commandments originate from Heavenly Father. Our efforts to keep the commandments should be motivated by a desire to please Him. With her expanded understanding, Eliza R. Snow adds to this a desire to please her Heavenly Mother.

D=D: “[R]oyal courts on high” equals “dwell with you.” If we live a life pleasing to our Heavenly Parents, we will be privileged to return to their “royal” presence and “dwell” with them.


Conclusion:

Eliza R. Snow’s beloved hymn demonstrates the process of spiritual enlightenment that is available to all men and women. What may begin as intuition can be solidified through revelation and the higher endowments of knowledge available through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. The key is to ask inspired questions, seek answers from authorized sources, and confirm new knowledge through personal revelation. As we increase in spiritual knowledge, we will develop a greater desire to live in accordance with God’s commandments and one day be prepared to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Mother.

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Like Doves to their Windows: Chiasmus in Orson Hyde’s Dedication of the Holy Land

Orson Hyde: A Life of Lessons Learned
Orson Hyde (rsc.byu.edu)

Orson Hyde was ordained an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 15, 1835. In addition to his other responsibilities, Elder Hyde was given multiple inspired directives concerning a future ministry to the Jews, including a blessing given by Joseph Smith following his baptism in 1831:

“In due time thou shalt go to Jerusalem, the land of thy fathers, and be a watchman unto the house of Israel; and by thy hands shall the Most High do a great work, which shall prepare the way and greatly facilitate the gathering together of that people” (History of the Church 4:375).

In fulfillment of these directives, Orson Hyde requested and was appointed at the April 1840 General Conference of the Church “to visit the Jews” (History of the Church 4:106-9). After traveling through New York, London, Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem — making contact with prominent Jewish leaders along the way and publishing a pamphlet entitled “An Address to the Hebrews” — Elder Hyde ascended the Mount of Olives on the morning of Sunday, October 24, 1841 and offered a prayer of dedication. (History of the Church 4:372-9; 4:384-5; 4:388; 4:454-9).

Orson Hyde’s inspired prayer contains chiastic and parallel structures that offer insight into the destiny and responsibilities of modern Judah. In this article, we present a diagram and detailed analysis of one extensive chiasm, followed by a less detailed treatment of an additional chiasm and a parallelism.


Diagram and Analysis:

A: Let the land become abundantly fruitful when possessed by its rightful heirs; let it again flow with plenty to feed the returning prodigals who come home with a spirit of grace and supplication;
B: upon it let the clouds distil virtue and richness, and let the fields smile with plenty.
C: Let the flocks and the herds greatly increase and multiply upon the mountains and the hills;
D: and let Thy great kindness conquer and subdue the unbelief of Thy people.
E: Do Thou take from them their stony heart,
E: and give them a heart of flesh;
D: and may the Sun of Thy favor dispel the cold mists of darkness which have beclouded their atmosphere.
C: Incline them to gather in upon this land according to Thy word.
B: Let them come like clouds and like doves to their windows.
A: Let the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles; and let kings become their nursing fathers, and queens with motherly fondness wipe the tear of sorrow from their eye.

orson hyde_dedication_holy land
History of the Church 4:456 (books.google.com)

A=A: “Let the land become abundantly fruitful when possessed by its rightful heirs” is complemented by “[l]et the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles… .” As the “rightful heirs” return, the Holy Land will become “abundantly fruitful … to feed the returning prodigals.” This change in the land will happen for two reasons. First, Judah will “come home with a spirit of grace and supplication,” allowing the Lord to bless them. Second, in addition to providing transportation for Judah, the kings and queens of the earth will “wipe the tear of sorrow from their eye” by aiding in their development.

B=B: “Let the clouds distil virtue and richness” compares with “[l]et them come like clouds.” As Judah returns “like clouds and like doves” (Ezra Taft Benson suggests this refers to airplanes), needed moisture will fall from the clouds, watering the land and causing the “fields to smile with plenty.” This prosperity will result from Judah’s “virtue and richness,” by which they will govern the land.

C=C: “Let the flocks and the herds greatly increase and multiply” is complemented by “[i]ncline them to gather in upon this land.” As the population of Judah increases in the Holy Land, the “flocks and herds” will “greatly increase and multiply upon the mountains and the hills.” Judah will become an economic power throughout the nations of the earth.

D=D: “[L]et Thy great kindness conquer and subdue the unbelief of Thy people” compares metaphorically to  “may the Sun of Thy favor dispel the cold mists of darkness which have beclouded their atmosphere.” As Judah rises from obscurity, their unbelief and biases will fade away.

E=E: “[T]ake from them their stony heart” contrasts with “give them a heart of flesh.” Central to the prosperity of Judah will be their changed heart, whereby they are receptive to the influence of the Lord. As a result, modern Judah will experience a fulfillment of Moses’s promise to the House of Israel that “if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments…. [b]lessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep…. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand” (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14). This humility and obedience will eventually lead them to recognize and embrace Jesus Christ as their promised Messiah.


Additional Parallel and Chiastic Structures:

#1: This parallelism explains that the gathering and prosperity of Judah in the latter-days is the fulfillment of the covenant God made anciently with their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

A: “O Thou, Who didst covenant with Abraham, Thy friend, and who didst renew that covenant with Isaac, and confirm the same with Jacob with an oath,
B: that Thou wouldst not only give them this land for an everlasting inheritance, but that Thou wouldst also remember their seed forever.
A: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have long since closed their eyes in death, and made the grave their mansion.
B: Their children are scattered and dispersed abroad among the nations of the Gentiles like sheep that have no shepherd, and are still looking forward for the fulfillment of those promises which Thou didst make concerning them;


#2: This chiasm describes how the Holy Land became barren and sterile following the crucifixion of Christ in the meridian of time. But in the last days, through the atonement of Christ, the Holy Land will be healed and once again teem with productive agriculture.

A: and even this land, which once poured forth nature’s richest bounty, and flowed, as it were, with milk and honey, has, to a certain extent, been smitten with barrenness and sterility
B: since it drank from murderous hands the blood of Him who never sinned.
B: “Grant, therefore, O Lord, in the name of Thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ,
A: to remove the barrenness and sterility of this land, and let springs of living water break forth to water its thirsty soil. Let the vine and olive produce in their strength, and the fig-tree bloom and flourish.


Conclusion:

The presence of chiasmus in Orson Hyde’s dedication of the Holy Land provides a method for developing a deeper understanding of the gathering of Judah in modern times. Specifically, it shows a direct connection between their gathering, their prosperity (including a tempering of the climate and an increased productivity of the land), their humility before the Lord, and the promises given anciently to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As these conditions continue to develop, the prophecies contained in this inspired prayer will reach fulfillment, including their hearts being prepared to accept Jesus Christ as their promised Messiah.

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Facilitating Our Growth: Chiasmus in Dallin H. Oaks’ “Opposition In All Things”

dallin-h-oaks_April2016
Dallin H. Oaks (lds.org)

Dallin H. Oaks has been a member of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1984. Prior to his call to full-time church service, Elder Oaks served as a justice on the Utah Supreme Court beginning in 1980 and as president of Brigham Young University beginning in 1971.

In the April 2016 General Conference of the Church, Elder Oaks gave an address on the “essential role” of opposition in our Heavenly Father’s Plan for our eternal development. His address, “Opposition In All Things,” contains several strong chiasms that provide precision in meaning. This article presents one extensive chiasm in detail, providing a step-by-step analysis. Afterward, six additional chiasms are presented and receive a less detailed treatment.


Diagram and Analysis:

A: From the beginning, agency and opposition were central to the Father’s plan and to Satan’s rebellion against it.
B: As the Lord revealed to Moses, in the council of heaven Satan “sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3).
C: That destruction was inherent in the terms of Satan’s offer. He came before the Father and said, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1).
D: Thus, Satan proposed to carry out the Father’s plan in a way that would prevent the accomplishment of the Father’s purpose and give Satan His glory.
E: Satan’s proposal would have ensured perfect equality: it would “redeem all mankind,” that not one soul would be lost.
F: There would be no agency or choice by anyone and, therefore, no need for opposition.
F: There would be no test, no failure, and no success. There would be no growth to attain the purpose the Father desired for His children.
E: The scriptures record that Satan’s opposition resulted in a “war in heaven” (Revelation 12:7), in which two-thirds of the children of God earned the right to experience mortal life by choosing the Father’s plan and rejecting Satan’s rebellion.
D: Satan’s purpose was to gain for himself the Father’s honor and power (see Isaiah 14:12–15; Moses 4:1, 3).
C: “Wherefore,” the Father said, “because that Satan rebelled against me, … I caused that he should be cast down” (Moses 4:3) with all the spirits who had exercised their agency to follow him (see Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:8–9; D&C 29:36–37). Cast down as unembodied spirits in mortality, Satan and his followers tempt and seek to deceive and captivate the children of God (see Moses 4:4).
B: So it is that the evil one, who opposed and sought to destroy the Father’s plan, actually facilitated it,
A: because it is opposition that enables choice and it is the opportunity of making the right choices that leads to the growth that is the purpose of the Father’s plan.

A=A: “[A]gency and opposition” is complemented by “it is opposition that enables choice” and “central to the Father’s plan” equates with “the purpose of the Father’s plan.” Agency and opposition are “central to the Father’s plan” because opposition enables choice and making right choices is what leads to “the growth that is the purpose of the Father’s plan.” In contrast, Satan sought to remove both agency and opposition in an effort to thwart the plan.

B=B: “[S]ought to destroy” equals “sought to destroy.” In his effort to destroy the Father’s plan, Satan “actually facilitated it” by providing the opposition needed for agency to function.

C=C: “He came before the Father” is complemented by “Satan and his followers tempt and seek to deceive and captivate the children of God.” Just as Satan seeks to “deceive and captivate the children of God” in mortality, he first sought to deceive Heavenly Father at the council in heaven. Evidently, he tried to take advantage of Heavenly Father’s infinite love for His posterity by guaranteeing to redeem each one, but he underestimated Heavenly Father’s infinite wisdom and sense of justice. Satan’s plan was not even a viable option; it was a complete lie.

D=D: “[P]revent the accomplishment of the Father’s purpose and give Satan his glory” equates with “Satan’s purpose was to gain for himself the Father’s honor and power.” Ultimately, Satan was motivated by pride; he wanted Heavenly Father’s “honor,” which is His “power” (see D&C 29:36).

E=E: “[N]ot one soul would be lost” contrasts with “two-thirds of the children of God earned the right to experience mortal life by choosing the Father’s plan and rejecting Satan’s rebellion.” Paradoxically, in his deceptive efforts to “redeem all mankind,” Satan halted the progress of one-third of the spirit children of God. Only those who successfully opposed Satan’s efforts were qualified to move forward into mortality.

F=F: “[N]o agency or choice … no need for opposition” is complemented by “no test, no failure, and no success … no growth to attain the purpose the Father desired for His children.” By removing agency and opposition, Satan would ultimately have prevented growth and exaltation.


Additional Chiasms:

#1 — This chiasm emphasizes the tempering influence of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which allows opposition to fuel our progress rather than prevent it through our wrong choices.

A: Central to the gospel of Jesus Christ is the Father’s plan of salvation for the eternal progress of His children. That plan, explained in modern revelation, helps us understand many things we face in mortality. My message focuses on the essential role of opposition in that plan.
B: The purpose of mortal life for the children of God is to provide the experiences needed “to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”
C: As President Thomas S. Monson taught us so powerfully this morning, we progress by making choices,
D: by which we are tested to show that we will keep God’s commandments (see Abraham 3:25).
D: To be tested,
C: we must have the agency to choose between alternatives.
B: To provide alternatives on which to exercise our agency, we must have opposition.
A: The rest of the plan is also essential. When we make wrong choices—as we inevitably will—we are soiled by sin and must be cleansed to proceed toward our eternal destiny. The Father’s plan provides the way to do this, the way to satisfy the eternal demands of justice: a Savior pays the price to redeem us from our sins. That Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God the Eternal Father, whose atoning sacrifice—whose suffering—pays the price for our sins if we will repent of them.


#2 — This chiasm explains how opposition takes us from the realm of innocence into the realm of accountability. Confronted with options, we must choose for ourselves and reap the results.

A: One of the best explanations of the planned role of opposition is in the Book of Mormon, in Lehi’s teachings to his son Jacob. “It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, … righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad” (2 Nephi 2:11; see also verse 15).
B: As a result, Lehi continued, “the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself
C: save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other” (verse 16).
C: Similarly, in modern revelation the Lord declares, “It must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men,
B: or they could not be agents unto themselves” (D&C 29:39).
A: Opposition was necessary in the Garden of Eden. If Adam and Eve had not made the choice that introduced mortality, Lehi taught, “they would have remained in a state of innocence, … doing no good, for they knew no sin” (2 Nephi 2:23).


#3 — In this chiasm, the bitter forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden represents the various forms of opposition we encounter throughout life, including “temptation to sin” and “difficult circumstances.”

A: Significantly, the temptation to sin is not the only kind of opposition in mortality.
B: Father Lehi taught that if the Fall had not taken place, Adam and Eve “would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery” (2 Nephi 2:23). Without the experience of opposition in mortality, “all things must needs be a compound in one,” in which there would be no happiness or misery (verse 11).
C: Therefore, Father Lehi continued, after God had created all things, “to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, …
D: it must needs be that there was an opposition;
D: even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter” (verse 15).
C: His teaching on this part of the plan of salvation concludes with these words: “Behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
B: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (verses 24–25).
A: Opposition in the form of difficult circumstances we face in mortality is also part of the plan that furthers our growth in mortality.


#4 — In this chiasm, opposition is a universal mortal experience and is manifest in various ways and to varying degrees, to the end that we “grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become.”

A: All of us experience various kinds of opposition that test us.
B: Some of these tests are temptations to sin. Some are mortal challenges apart from personal sin.
B: Some are very great. Some are minor. Some are continuous, and some are mere episodes.
A: None of us is exempt. Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become.


#5 — To illustrate how opposition can manifest itself in our own lives, this chiasm shows to what extent Joseph Smith had to face opposition in order to publish the Book of Mormon after translating it. As with our own trials, “the Lord did not make it easy, but He did make it possible.”

A: After Joseph Smith had completed translating the Book of Mormon, he still had to find a publisher. This was not easy. The complexity of this lengthy manuscript and the cost of printing and binding thousands of copies were intimidating. Joseph first approached E. B. Grandin, a Palmyra printer, who refused.
B: He then sought another printer in Palmyra, who also turned him down.
C: He traveled to Rochester, 25 miles (40 km) away, and approached the most prominent publisher in western New York, who also turned him down.
B: Another Rochester publisher was willing, but circumstances made this alternative unacceptable.
A: Weeks had passed, and Joseph must have been bewildered at the opposition to accomplishing his divine mandate. The Lord did not make it easy, but He did make it possible. Joseph’s fifth attempt, a second approach to the Palmyra publisher Grandin, was successful.


#6 — Referring to the words of the Lord to Joseph Smith and the teachings of President Thomas S. Monson, this chiasm informs us that opposition is for our good, since it gives us “experience” and “presents us with the real test of our ability to endure.” While we may wonder about the wisdom of our present trials, Heavenly Father knows that “we learn and grow and become refined through hard challenges, heartbreaking sorrows, and difficult choices.”

A: Years later, Joseph was painfully imprisoned in Liberty Jail for many months. When he prayed for relief, the Lord told him that “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7).
B: We are all acquainted with other kinds of mortal opposition not caused by our personal sins, including illness, disability, and death.
C: President Thomas S. Monson explained: “Some of you may at times have cried out in your suffering, wondering why our Heavenly Father would allow you to go through whatever trials you are facing. …
C: “Our mortal life, however, was never meant to be easy or consistently pleasant. Our Heavenly Father … knows that we learn and grow and become refined through hard challenges, heartbreaking sorrows, and difficult choices.
B: Each one of us experiences dark days when our loved ones pass away, painful times when our health is lost, feelings of being forsaken when those we love seem to have abandoned us.
A: These and other trials present us with the real test of our ability to endure.”


Conclusion:

Dallin H. Oaks’ use of chiasmus serves to focus the reader’s attention on the meaning of specific passages of his address, leading to a thorough understanding of the role of opposition in our lives. With this understanding we are better equipped to use opposition proactively to accelerate our development, permitting us to “grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become.”

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The Downfall of Nations: Chiasmus in Joseph Fielding Smith’s “The Law of Chastity”

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Joseph Fielding Smith (media.ldscdn.org)

Joseph Fielding Smith served as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from January 1970 to July 1972, after serving as a counselor in the First Presidency since 1965 and as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April 1910. His many decades of Church service were known for his prolific writing and fearless defense of Church doctrine.

In September 1931, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith wrote a 2-page article entitled “The Law of Chastity” for The Improvement Era, a Church publication. His article discusses the importance of obeying the law of chastity, describes the essential role of marriage and family in the preservation of human civilization, and provides an expansive view of marriage and family within the Plan of Salvation.

“The Law of Chastity” is predominantly chiastic, consisting of chiasms interspersed with parallel structures. One of these chiasms is cited in our e-book, A Chiastic Analysis of ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ (Westbench Publishing, 2016). What follows is a diagram and detailed analysis of this chiasm and a more general treatment of several additional chiasms from Elder Smith’s article.


Diagram and Analysis:

A: The abuse of this ordinance has been the primary cause of the downfall of nations.
B: When the sacredness of the marriage covenant is lost, and the vows are broken, destruction is inevitable.
C: This principle cannot be received in the spirit of contempt and indifference.
C: It is ordained to be more, far more, than a civil contract.
B: No nation can survive the abuse of this principle.
A: Rome, Greece, Babylon, Egypt, and many other nations owe their downfall to the breaking of the sacred covenant of marriage. The anger of a just God was kindled against them for their immorality. The bones of dead civilizations on this American continent bear silent but convincing evidence that it was unchastity and the disregard of this sacred covenant which brought them to their final judgment.

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The Improvement Era, September 1931 (archive.org)

A=A: “The abuse of this ordinance has been the primary cause of the downfall of nations” equates with “nations owe their downfall to the breaking of the sacred covenant of marriage.” Whatever else may have contributed to the downfall of individual nations throughout history (foreign invasion, natural disaster, civil war, etc.), the “breaking” and “abuse” of the marriage covenant is the “primary cause” of irrecoverable disaster.

B=B: “[D]estruction is inevitable” equates with “no nation can survive.” Whether destruction happens immediately or not, the rejection or abandonment of “the sacredness of the marriage covenant” is the tipping point that ultimately leads to the downfall of nations.

C=C: “Cannot be received in the spirit of contempt and indifference” contrasts with “ordained to be more, far more, than a civil contract.” To regard marriage as merely a civil contract is not enough to ensure national survival; this is equivalent to regarding marriage with “contempt and indifference.” Instead, the eternal implications of marriage need to be recognized and honored.

To shed further light on the role marriage plays in the stability and survival of civilization, the remainder of this article offers diagrams and brief analyses of additional chiastic and parallel structures found throughout Joseph Fielding Smith’s article.


Additional Chiasms and Parallel Structures:

#1 — The following parallelism provides a description of societal attitudes regarding marriage in 1931, which are strikingly similar to present-day attitudes. This indicates a gradual decline of our civilization, which could accelerate at any time as the moral hollowing out continues.

A: There is no ordinance connected with the Gospel of Jesus Christ
B: of greater importance, of more solemn and sacred nature, and more necessary to the eternal joy of man,
C: than, marriage.
A: Yet there is no principle
B: which has been made the butt of coarser jokes, a greater jest by the vulgar and the unclean, and even by many who think themselves refined,
C: than that of marriage.


#2 — This parallelism acknowledges the challenges inherent in marriage, but provides guidance on how best to approach them. It offers a glimpse of the potential blessings available to those who keep their marriage covenant — both in mortality and in the eternities. Marriage becomes the key to expansive, almost incomprehensible progress, growth, and happiness.

A: Marriage is a principle which, when entered, presents more serious problems than any other. It should be received
B: in the spirit of patience and love, even that greater love which comes through the power of the Holy Spirit.
C: Nothing will prepare mankind for glory in the kingdom of God as readily as faithfulness to the marriage covenant. Through this covenant, perhaps more than any other, we accomplish the perfect decree of the Divine will, but this covenant is only one of many required of man who seeks to do the will of the Father.
A: If properly received this covenant becomes the means of the greatest happiness.
B: The greatest honor in this life, and in the life to come, honor, dominion and power in perfect love, are the blessings which come out of it.
C: These blessings of eternal glory are held in reserve for those who are willing to abide in this and all other covenants of the Gospel.


#3 — This chiasm contrasts the eternal destiny of those who prove faithful to the marriage covenant with those who reject the marriage covenant.

A: Others shall not be so blessed.
B: Marriage is the grandest, most glorious and most exalting principle connected with the Gospel.
B: It is that which the Lord holds in reserve for those who become his sons and daughters;
A: all others are servants only, even if they gain salvation. They do not become members of the household of our Father and our God if they refuse to receive the celestial covenant of marriage.


#4 — This chiasm describes the responsibility married couples have to bear children; this is the process whereby the spirit children of Heavenly Father receive physical bodies and are able to continue in their eternal progression. In contrast, because of their rebellion, Satan and his angels have been denied physical bodies and the opportunity to progress.

A: Nothing should be held in greater sacredness and honor than the covenant by which the spirits of men — the offspring of God in the spirit — are privileged to come into this world in mortal tabernacles.
B: It is through this principle that the blessing of immortal glory is made possible.
C: The greatest punishment ever given was proclaimed against Lucifer and his angels. To be denied the privilege of mortal bodies forever is the greatest curse of all.
C: These spirits can have no progress, no hope of resurrection and eternal life! Doomed are they to eternal misery for their rebellion!
B: And then to think that we are not only privileged, but commanded to assist our Father in the great work of redemption by giving to his children, as we have obtained these blessings for ourselves, the right to live and continue on, even to perfection!
A: No innocent soul should be condemned to come into this world under a handicap of illegitimacy. Every child has the right to be well born! Every individual who denies them that right is guilty of a mortal sin.


#5 — This chiasm emphasizes the importance of the physical body in our eternal progression. Since the resurrection is the permanent reunion of the spirit and the flesh, we cannot progress without being born into mortality. This process is the only way to become like our Heavenly Father.

A: The importance of these mortal tabernacles is apparent from the knowledge we have of eternal life.
B: Spirits cannot be made perfect without the body of flesh and bones. This body and its spirit are brought to immortality and blessings of salvation
C: through the resurrection.
C: After the resurrection
B: there can be no separation again, body and spirit become inseparably connected that man may receive a fulness of joy.
A: In no other way, other than birth into this life and the resurrection, can spirits become like our eternal Father.


Conclusion:

The function of chiasmus and parallelism in this article by Joseph Fielding Smith is to reinforce and emphasize aspects of the doctrine being taught. By presenting Church doctrine in this way, Elder Smith makes it nearly impossible to misunderstand the Lord’s purpose for the law of chastity. A chiastic study of his article will strengthen our understanding of marriage and family, which will protect us from temptation and deception.

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