At 08:30 AM 9/30/02 -0600 Marc A. Schindler favored us with:
>Where Gileadi got himself into trouble is in trying to identify a Davidic personage
>in these latter days (something remarkably like what Pratt tries to do, in a way).
I do not know that Gileadi got into trouble because of this teaching. I've never
heard it said that was the reason. Perhaps he was excommunicated for a more
commonplace reason. Did Pratt get into trouble because of this particular teaching,
or was it for other teachings that the Brethren thought were false doctrine?
The reason I ask is that I have read those passages in 3 Nephi 21-23 speak of a
"marred servant," and I have concluded on my own, long before I ever heard of Gileadi,
that this "marred servant" has some reference to a great prophet that will be raised
up by God after our own day and before the Second Coming. This "marred servant" is
the one that Gileadi seems to think is the Davidic servant (not king).
Well, one must read the text very carefully. This "marred servant" is a great
mystery. The only two other possibilities are that it is a reference to Joseph Smith
or to Christ himself. All the footnotes point to it being Joseph Smith. But by his
own declaration, Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite, not of the house of David. Now
Jesus was a descendent of David, but he is the one speaking in this sermon which is
otherwise very plain and straightforward. It does not seem to be a self-reference.
But perhaps the biggest reason that I believe it refers to a "marred servant" who is
not Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ is the fact that neither Joseph Smith or Jesus was
ever so marred as to cause people to be astonished. From the literal meaning of the
text, excluding the possibility of symbolism or figures of speech, it would seem that
some great prophet is going to have his "visage" so "marred" that it is a wonder that
he is not dead. A brief trip to the dictionary will show that "visage" means face,
and marred means disfigurement. What prophet, Christ or Joseph Smith has had his face
so disfigured as to cause people to be astonished that he still lives?
I am one who does not look for a metaphorical or symbolic meaning where there is an
obvious literal meaning that will suffice. Rather, where there is both a literal and
a symbolic meaning possible, I assume that the literal event symbolized something
else. An example would be the animal sacrifice anciently practiced. Sure, it was "in
similitude" of the coming sacrifice of Jesus, but they actually did kill animals. It
is not only possible for something to be literal and figurative at the same time, it
is commonplace in the scriptures. And I have always been opposed to the practice of
making simple things unnecessarily complex. It seem like wresting the scriptures to me.
Suppose I am wrong. Suppose that the marred servant is either Jesus or Joseph. Why
would the Brethren excommunicate a man just because he made a mistake in his
interpretation? It just doesn't ring true to me.
But what do I know? Absolutely nothing that I can impose on others. My inspiration
is for me and my family, and that's it. Still it causes me to wonder if this is
actually the doctrine over which Gileadi was excommunicated. I always that the Church
does not share the reasons for a man who has been excommunicated. Am I wrong? In
theory we are not even supposed to be able to know why he was excommunicated. Any
other suggestion is merely rumor and innuendo.
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