Summary of the Pearl of Great Price

Summary of the Pearl of Great Price

“A merchant man, seeking goodly pearls … , when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:45–46).

The Pearl of Great Price contains four books and the Articles of Faith; Selections from the Book of Moses, The Book of Abraham, Joseph Smith Translation of the Gospel of Matthew and the History of Joseph Smith. The Articles of Faith outline the basic beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. All of the books are divine in nature, and were originally published in Church publications and were declared by Joseph Smith to be; “a source of much instruction and edification to many thousands of the Saints, who will by an acquaintance with its precious contents, be more abundantly qualified to set forth and defend the principles of our Holy Faith before all men” (Millennial Star, 15 July 1851, 217).

The book of Moses is a small excerpt from Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the Bible. It is a more complete record of Moses’s writings at the beginning of the book of Genesis in the Old Testament. It contains many doctrines and teachings that were lost from the Bible and gives additional information about the plan of salvation, the creation of the earth, and the Lord’s dealings with Adam and Enoch.

The book of Abraham is a translation of ancient records written on papyrus that came into the possession of the Church in 1835. The records were translated by Joseph Smith through revelation. This book contains truths about the premortal Council in Heaven, the creation of the earth, the nature of God, and the priesthood.

 

 

Summary of Abraham

Summary of Abraham

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The book of Abraham is a translation of ancient records written on papyrus that came into the possession of the Church in 1835. The records were translated by Joseph Smith through revelation. This book contains truths about the premortal Council in Heaven, the creation of the earth, the nature of God, and the priesthood.

In Chapters 1-2: We learn more about Abraham and his family life and how he came to be part of the Abrahamic Covenant that he made with God. We learn about how the gospel had been lost and how the ancient Egyptians had fallen into idolatry.  Abraham is given a promise; The Abrahamic Covenant (see also: Genesis 17); “…I give unto thee a promise that this right [the priesthood] shall continue in thee…shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of eternal life.” (Abraham 2:11)

                In Chapter 3: We learn about the stars and the heavens. We learn that God lives near a star named Kolob. The Lord continues to speak with Abraham and shows him all of His great works, he explained; “…This is Shinehah, which is the sun… Kokob, which is start…Olea, which is the moon… Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.(Abraham 3:13) The Lord also shows Abraham the intelligences that formed the earth from the foundation thereof. God tells Abraham that; “…thou wast chosen before thou wast born…” (Abraham 3:23)

In Chapters 4-5:  We learn about the Creation and how the world was planned spiritually before it was constructed physically. We learn that it was the council of Gods who did this with God the Eternal Father overseeing His creative plans. “…the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.” (Abraham 4:1) Abraham gives us information that we did not have from Genesis, that “Gods” created the world. This in no way takes away from the importance of the one and only God the Father. Rather, from this we learn that God the Father has other God’s who work underneath His creative masterpieces

Abraham 5

Abraham 5: The Creation of the Plans

“…thus we will finish the heavens and the earth…” (Abraham 5:1)

 Day 7:

                “…the Gods said among themselves: On the seventh time we will end our work, which we have counseled; and we will rest on the seventh time from all our work… and sanctified it…” (Abraham 2-3)

The Gods rested on the seventh day from all their labors and sanctified that day as a Holy day, the Sabbath Day. Abraham explains that everything was created spiritually before it was created physically, the Gods rested from their plans on the seventh day.

“…there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground… the Gods created man from the dust of the ground… the Gods planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there they put man… And out of the ground made the Gods to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food… the Gods took man and put him in the Garden of Eden, to dress it and keep it.” (Abraham 5:6-9;11)

Abraham chapter 5, goes over the story of Adam and Eve and how they were put into the Garden of Eden. Eve was formed from the rib of Adam and thus became a woman.  They became one flesh and were naked and not ashamed.

 

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Abraham 4

Abraham 4: The Gods Make Plans for the Earth

                Abraham Chapter 4 gives us a little more insight into The Creation of the world, compare to Genesis 1)

“…the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.” (Abraham 4:1) Abraham gives us information that we did not have from Genesis, that “Gods” created the world. This in no way takes away from the importance of the one and only God the Father. Rather, from this we learn that God the Father has other God’s who work underneath His creative masterpieces. Although we do not know much about God and who it was referring to when He said; “…Let us make many in our own image…male and female created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27) We know that the Co-Creator was Jesus Christ, so one of the ‘Gods’ was most likely Jesus Christ, but who were the others?

I personally believe that besides having a Heavenly Father, we also have a Heavenly Mother and that she was also present in the Creation, and was one of the ‘Gods’ who assisted in creating the Earth and in the Creation of man; ‘male and female’. –( DISCLAIMER: These are my personal beliefs, and DO NOT necessarily represent LDS DOCTRINE)

The Creation

Day 1:

“…(the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light… they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness. And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night.” (Abraham 4:3-5)

The Gods create light and darkness, the day and the night.

Day 2:

“…the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters. And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; …And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven…” (Abraham 4:6-8)

The Gods create the heaven and the earth and cause dry land and seas to appear.

Day 3:

“…the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered; …the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed. And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forthgrass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth…” (Abraham 4:9-11)

The Gods finish creating the waters and the land, and create plants, seeds and all vegetation.

Day 4:

“…the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven, and caused them to divide the day from the night; and organized them to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years; …the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; with the lesser light they set the stars also; …the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness.” (Abraham 4:14;16-17)

The Gods create time and the seasons upon the earth.

Day 5:

“…the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life; and the fowl, that they may fly above the earth in the open expanse of heaven… the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good.” (Abraham 4:20-21)

The Gods create animals upon the face of the earth.

Day 6:

“…the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so, as they had said… the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after its kind; and the Gods saw they would obey.

And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Abraham 4:26-27)

The Gods finish creating all the animals on the earth and also create men and women.

Abraham 3

Abraham 3: Kolob

                Abraham is given a device that helps him to see some of the mysteries of God, this device is called a Urim and Thummim. With this device, Abraham sees; “…the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it; …Theses are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me…” (Abraham 3:2-3) Here we learn that God dwells near a star named Kolob, which is near other large stars which help to govern.

Abraham is then told that; “…according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord… it being one thousand years according to the time…whereon thou standest [earth]…” (Abraham 3:4) So roughly one thousand years is equivalent to one day of the Lord’s time. The concept we have for time is much different from God’s, so this might only be an example to help us. Either way we can understand that the Lord sees time from the perspective of eternity (no beginning or end), whereas we see time as a beginning and end (linear time).

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The Lord continues to speak with Abraham and shows him all of His great works, he explained; “…This is Shinehah, which is the sun… Kokob, which is start…Olea, which is the moon… Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.(Abraham 3:13) The Lord also shows Abraham the intelligences that formed the earth from the foundation thereof. God tells Abraham that; “…thou wast chosen before thou wast born…” (Abraham 3:23)

God also tells Abraham that when He was searching for a savior, He asked: “…Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. And the second was angry [Satan], and kept not his first estate; and at that day, many followed after him.” (Abraham 3:27-28)

Abraham 2

Abraham 2: Jehovah Appears to Abraham

                God causes a famine in the land of Ur, Abraham’s brother Haran dies, but his father Terah survives. We also learn that Abraham takes Sarai to be his wife. Abraham is commanded by the Lord to leave the land of Ur and to go into the land of Canaan. Unfortunately Abraham’s father falls again into Idolatry while in the Haran.

Jehovah appears unto Abraham and tells him that he needs to take Lot and leave to a strange land; “…which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice.” (Abraham 3:6) Anyone who receives this “…Gospel shall be called after thy name…” (Abraham 2:10)

Abraham is given a promise; The Abrahamic Covenant (see also: Genesis 17); “…I give unto thee a promise that this right [the priesthood] shall continue in thee…shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of eternal life.” (Abraham 2:11)

                After been given this promise, Abraham continues his journey to the land of Canaan, and they dwell in tents along the way… until the reach Egypt. However, they find out that the famine is widespread throughout all the land.

Abraham 1

Abraham 1: Abraham Seeks Blessings of the Patriarchal Order

“…at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful to obtain another place of residence;” (Abraham 1:1) Abraham sought for a higher knowledge and the blessings that come from the Patriarchal Order, however Abraham lived in a home that discouraged his advancement in the Gospel or forbid him to practice the Gospel, so Abraham explained; “… I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right where unto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.” (Abraham 1:2-3)

Because Abraham was a follower of righteousness he desired to have the blessings of the priesthood and be able to bless with the priesthood. Abraham explains that this priesthood was; “…conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.” (Abraham 1:3) Abraham’s Authority was given to him from a long line of Authority through his fathers. Abraham explains that he had followed the commandments of God, whereas the rest of the people decided to follow after other gods; “For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my lifeby the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.” (Abraham 1:6-7) These people were wicked and had turned their hearts from the Lord to sacrifice children to idols that could not speak.

 

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                “Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children. And it came to pass that the priest made an offering unto the god of Pharaoh, and also unto the god of Shagreel, even after the manner of the Egyptians. Now the god of Shagreel was the sun.” (Abraham 1:8-9)

Several hundred years after the flood, the inhabitants of the earth multiplied throughout. However, their knowledge of God had nearly disappeared. President Joseph Fielding Smith commented on the Egyptian Human Sacrifice;  “Abraham was of the [tenth] generation from Noah. Several hundred years had passed since the flood, and people had multiplied and spread over the face of the earth. The civilizations of Egypt, Chaldea, Assyria and the petty nations of Canaan, had been established. In the midst of this scattering the true worship of the Father was nearly lost. Sacrifice instituted in the days of Adam and continued in the practice and teaching of Noah, in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of Man, had become perverted. Instead of offering clean animals, such as the lamb and bullock, the apostate nations had dwindled in unbelief to the extent that human sacrifice was offered to their idol gods” (The Way to Perfection, 85).

Abraham was not alone in his desire to worship the one and only God, there were three virgins [direct decedents of Ham, who was the son of Noah] who were going to be sacrificed because of their virtue, for they; “…would not bow down to worships gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed upon the altar…” (Abraham 1:11) Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints compared these three virgins to the story of ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego – see Daniel 3:12-30’. He described these three women as; “marvelous models on enduring uncertainty and on trusting God… Matching those three young men are three young women whose names we do not have. They are mentioned in the book of Abraham, remarkable young women about whom I am anxious to know more. They were actually sacrificed upon the altar because ‘they would not bow down to worship [an idol] of wood or stone’. Some day the faithful will get to meet them” (“Not My Will, But Thine” [1988], 119–20).

Abraham explains that they came and laid violence upon him; “…that they might slay me also, as they did those virgins upon this altar…” (Abraham 1:12) As they were about to take his life, Abraham cried out to the Lord; “…and the Lord hearkened and heard, and he filled me with the vision of the Almighty, and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands; And his voice was unto me: Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee…” (Abraham 1:15-16) God promised to deliver Abraham from these people and carry him away into a land in which he knew not. God then destroyed all of Potiphar’s Hill in the land of Ur.

Abraham went down to the land of Egypt, where he found a government which was patterned after the patriarchal governments of old, but was devoid of all revelation and priesthood. This ultimately lead the Egyptians into idolatry.  The land of Egypt was founded by the daughter of Ham; ‘Egyptus’ who had a son named ‘Pharaoh’.

The first government of Egypt; “…was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal” (Abraham 1:25)

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote:

“Egypt was not the only nation, in these early times, which attempted to imitate the patriarchal order of government. We have seen in Abraham’s record that this was the order of government in the reign of Adam, and down to the time of Noah.

“Naturally that form of government would be perpetuated in large degree by all tribes as they began to spread over the face of the earth. As men multiplied they organized first in the family group, then into tribes and eventually into nations. The greater powers would naturally occupy the most favored spots. Stronger tribes would overcome the weaker and force them to join the national government, or else they would be subdued and treated as slaves, or placed under tribute. As the patriarchal order was handed down from father to son so also would the political authority be perpetuated with the same claims to authority…” (The Progress of Man, 3rd ed. [1944], 100–101.)

Abraham explains that the rights of the priesthood were only handed down from proper Authorities and that The Pharaohs; “…would fain claim it from Noah…” (Abraham 1:27) Fain means “content or willing to accept an alternative when the more desirable thing cannot be attained” (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, 2nd ed., 657). Therefore this “Fain Claim” was not proper authority.

Abraham ends this chapter by explaining that he had preserved records; “…concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.” (Abraham 1:31) Abraham kept records of the creation, the planets and the stars in order to preserve this record for the posterity that shall come after him.