FAIR conference, day two: Don Bradley – ‘Temple Worship in the Lost 116 Pages’

The full title of this talk is: “Piercing the Veil: Temple Worship in the Lost 116 Pages.”

Don Bradley is a writer, editor and researcher specializing in early Mormon history. He is completing his master’s thesis on the lost 116 pages. He is the author of “The Lost 116 Pages: Reconstructing the Missing Contents of the Book of Mormon,” slated to be published soon.

Bradley joked that he did not visit Mark Hoffman in prison for his research. He also joked that the lost pages did NOT predict whether an important man named “Mitt Romni” would become president.

He pointed out that the lost 116 pages cover the same portion as the early chapters of the Book of Mormon. Therefore, there is a skeleton narrative of what the lost pages say. There are also some “backward references” to contents in the 116 pages. There are also external evidences. Some people made statements about its contents. One source says there are references to the house of Mulek. There is also an interview with Joseph Smith Sr. that mentions some of the contents. So, we can piece together some things about what the lost pages say.

He said there are some things we can gather about temple worship from the lost pages.

Who, how and why of temple worship.

Who was the high priest in charge? On whom was his authority modeled?
How is the divine presence modeled without the Ark of the Covenant? How did the Nephite High priest perform certain rituals?
Why did the Nephites have temples?

The Nephites did not have Aaronic priests or Levites, so they had to have substitutes. Who stood at the apex at the Nephite priesthood hierarchy? The kings consecrate the priests. Nephi, Benjamin, Mosiah II, Zeniff, Noah and Alma. But Alma was not a king. He was made a priest by King Noah. Then King Mosiah gave him authority over the church. Alma’s authority was derivative, but Mosiah’s was intrinsic.
The kings had the interpreters. The high priestly role may have belonged to the kings.

So, the king was the highest priestly authority.

Who was the model of the priest? The model was Melchizedek. He is the archetypal biblical priest-king.

How? Nephi built a temple modeled on Solomon. It was not the same scale and grandeur. It had the same function. Something would have to stand in for the ark (which contained the plates with the commandments, the intepreters and manna). The Nephites had their own sacred relics, the sword of Laban, the Liahona and the interpreters and the plates. The stone tablets had a parallel to the stone plates of Moses. The Liahona and the sword of Laban were parallel to the manna in the ark. The liahona sustained the Nephites, just like manna sustained Moses’ people. The sword of Laban had been kept as a temple relic, just like the ephod used by temple priests in Moses’ time.

Why? Amulek describes the writing on the wall incident of Daniel. The temple is the place where higher truths can be revealed. Mosiah the first and the interpreters.

Joseph Smith Sr was interviewed about the missing 116 pages. Joseph Smith Sr. discusses how the Nephites got the interpreters, but the Book of Mormon does not discuss this. So, this information must have come to the 116 lost pages. The story is that Nephites, after they land in the Americas, were led to a certain site. There, they had a tabernacle. An object comes to the tabernacle, and then the voice of the Lord is heard. The Lord asks through the veil: “what is that in your hand?” The person (Aminadi?) responds but he does not know but he wants to inquire. The Lord tells him to put the interpreters on his head, veil his face, and he is able to see things supernaturally.

The Liahona is never used by the Nephites after this point. The Nephite story is similar to the way the Brother of Jared got the interpreters.

The lost pages are the earliest scriptures of the Restoration. The lost pages are the basis for many of the revelations that come later.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

5 thoughts on “FAIR conference, day two: Don Bradley – ‘Temple Worship in the Lost 116 Pages’

  1. Just to clarify, the sword of Laban parallels the sword of Goliath. The ephod is paralleled by the breastplate.

    Don is doing brilliant work, and I’m super excited about his forthcoming book.

  2. This had me at ‘There are also some “backward references’ to contents in the 116 pages.” What really got me is that he is writing a book on the subject. That there would be that much information, and I would have to read it to be sure, is astounding.

  3. Sounds excellent, and I’m sorry I didn’t see it. It shouldn’t surprise us that there is temple-related content in the 116 pages, since the entire Book of Mormon is rich in temple imagery and doctrine. 1 Nephi 1 alone contains two visions of the holy of holies, and 1 Nephi 8 and 1 Nephi 11-14 contain symmetrical a mutually explanatory visions of temple ordinances. See my book, Plain and Precious Things: The Temple Religion of the Book of Mormon’s Visionary Men, for more information.


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