And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.1
We are now entering the day when knowledge is to be poured out like water upon the earth as portrayed by the astronomical sign of Aquarius as we have discussed in many past articles. Indications are that our readers, like us, are striving to overcome the unbelief and ignorance that Nephi spoke of in the above scripture. We are trying to search and understand knowledge following the example of Nephi, Joseph Smith, and all the great prophets. In this article, we will consider the big picture of history, rounds of creation. The Lord has instructed us to seek these things:
Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass.2
We live in a day when many ancient writings are coming forward in various forms that are helping to fill in the gaps and reinforce the teachings of the scriptures. Here we will attempt to expand our view of history to better understand the past, the future, and our role in it. We give as our opinion, the idea that although Adam and Eve emerged from the Garden of Eden approximately six thousand years ago, that there were earlier rounds of creation upon this earth. We do not believe we descended from caveman but that as each round brought destruction upon itself, the Lord would organize a new round with a new Adam and Eve and a new Garden of Eden. We believe that evidence of primitive societies in ancient times is not the beginning of civilization, but is instead evidence of the breakdown of the order established by God in each round as suggested in the following quote by Brother Nibley:
"The mass destruction of world civilization has happened more than once in the past-.but always something lived on. The author is referring to the earlier achievements of Egypt and Mesopotamia, but their makers in turn had suddenly appeared on the scene as migrating hosts in times of world upheaval and turmoil, salvaging and relating the remnants saved from an earlier debacle. As if he were paraphrasing the inspired insight of Joseph F. Smith, Professor de Santillana notes that "what we observe as 'primitive' conditions are, with very few exceptions, .only what is left of the rise and fall of past higher cultures.3
In 1993, I excitedly secured a copy of Temple and Cosmos, the newest book by Dr. Hugh Nibley. He was one of my favorite writers and I quickly began reading. I could not put the book down, and was enthralled with what I was reading, although there was a great deal I did not understand. Then I came to page 165. The author was discussing the Avebury Temple and the rites performed there. He wrote that the foundation of that temple had been "very accurately dated to about 13,920 B.C. give or take two hundred years."4 When I read this I was jolted. It threw me into confusion and frustration to see that someone I admired as much as Nibley would succumb to beliefs that clearly went against gospel teachings. I set the book aside and would not touch it for eight months, and in that time I refused to think about what I had read. The day finally came when I decided I could not overlook the other research Nibley expounded on simply because he had made one mistake in judgment. After all, no one is perfect, we all make mistakes and to completely reject a scholar because of one error began to seem harsh. Picking the book up, I again became absorbed by what I found and quickly finished it. Not long afterward, I read the book again and gained a great deal more the second time. The most important thing I learned was that there was some evidence that he may have been correct about people being on the earth before our scriptures say there were. Some ideas had been presented very subtly that began to work on my mind and made me wonder if a totally alien idea could be true and not conflict with the gospel. This is when I began my rule of setting new ideas on a shelf in my mind and wait until time and study either confirmed or rejected its validity. Mostly, it had to be measured against the scriptures and teachings of the prophets. If found wanting, it could not be accepted and must be thrown out or wait for further clarification to show why there was no conflict.
After a few years of intense study on my own and at BYU where I poured over dozens of books in the religion section of the library (many of which had notes scribbled in the margins by Nibley), I began to see that not only was there no conflict, but a great deal of truth could not be understood until this concept became clear. Whenever possible in my Middle Eastern Studies courses, I would choose to write papers that would allow me to study this and similar subjects. The following information is only a tiny portion of my thoughts on rounds of creation. I did not keep my research because I had no intention of ever discussing it with anyone. Near the end of my courses, I wished I had kept the information since the subject came up in class. The professor struggled to explain the concept to a room full of returned missionaries, most of whom were very upset, as I had been years before. Since we put out an article a week, and in fact are behind right now due to unavoidable circumstances, we do not have the time to do the research necessary to completely document this article. We hope our readers will look into these things on their own since there is so much information available. The following thoughts are ours and are not recognized doctrine (The Church has no official position on this subject).
The key point and foundation upon which the concept of rounds of creation rests is the fact that eternal time is one eternal round and not linear time. Brother Nibley's writings, especially Abraham in Egypt, do not make sense without understanding about circular time. Previous articles have clearly demonstrated that the temple endowment is to be seen as happening at the foundation of time, which every New Year symbolizes. Every year on January first, we have a new first day. The oruborus (snake biting its tail) is the symbol that shows time repeating in a circular manner.
The second most important point is that many names and events are titles or offices. First Day can be a title. It does not mean there was never an earlier first day. First Man, in like manner, is a title like 'first born son'. This does not mean there is only one first born son but that the pattern is being repeated. Nibley wrote: "The Cosmos and society are periodically regenerated."5 The basic tools of regeneration of life are always the same when done according to the pattern of heaven, and those tools come from the temple.
Gardens of Eden
Nibley wrote that "There is no essential difference between an original and a copy."6 This can apply to written records, temples and Gardens of Eden, Adam (first man), and divine investiture. When thinking of Eden, the idea that a 'copy' of the first Eden and the first Adam and Eve make the last 'copy' (the Eden of our round of creation) any less important is without merit. Joseph Smith was head of the sixth dispensation but that does not make him a lesser prophet than those from earlier dispensations. Also, Christ is head of the seventh dispensation, just as our Adam is head over what we believe to be the seventh round of creation on this earth. That would portend great things about the man who was placed here as Adam and was known as Michael in the pre-existence.
The temple was the focus of ancient civilizations and many excavations all over the world have uncovered very old temple sites including the following quote by Nibley regarding an archeological site in the Balkans: "[There are many examples of] clay models of temples, actual temples, and pictorial paintings on vases or on the walls of shrines, already attest a genuine civilization, and that not later than the seventh millennium B.C."7
As we read in Temple and Cosmos, pages 10-11, the temple and creation are the answers to the problem of the constant breakdown of matter. Every Garden of Eden is a temple and reorganizes creation. Conversely, every temple is a Garden of Eden and puts in motion the creative processes, both in the world and with people. The power that emanates from the temple helps to fight entropy and reorganizes matter, thus assisting to stabilize nature in an increasingly imbalanced world. Also, it reorganizes and stabilizes the family of Adam. When the day comes that we lose our "daily sacrifice,"8 which is the temple, it could well be like Sodom and Gomorrah . When the only righteous people left the city, it was destroyed. The leavening effect of the endowed members among the people of earth is invaluable. The Lord allows the wicked to destroy themselves. If the Saints withdraw from the world, (Time of the Beast), there will no longer be any leaven for the bread. The stabilizing force will be gone and it will be like a game of tug of war between opposing elements of the earth. When one side lets go and steps back, the other side will fall down.
Every new round of creation begins with an Eden, a temple that stands in for the infinite atonement that reaches backward as well as forward in time (or if we look at time as being circular the atonement always has been and always will be). This power reverses the second law of thermodynamics. Also, within rounds of creation are dispensations wherein a re-ordering must take place as society rebels against the laws of God (always causing a breakdown in nature) and repeatedly moves toward chaos. The prophet that heads each dispensation stands as a proxy for the Lord as the center place, the altar for the re-ordering process. Through the priesthood, the prophet brings all who will come into the gospel net and establishes a temple or tabernacle of some kind to put in motion the creative effects of the atonement, thus bringing enough stabilization to hold at bay the complete destruction of the earth.
An Adam stands at the head of the human family on each earth and in each round of creation to organize his children around him as a proxy for Christ. Heavenly Father does not waste time or space. In the economy of the Lord, it does not make sense for Him to create a world that takes billions of years to finish, and then to use it only for a single seven thousand year period.
To help explain why we think the earth took billions of years to develop consider the following: The idea of creation happening in seven days is easily understood as seven periods, or ages. Astronomers understand that different ages take different amounts of time to unfold. Joseph Smith taught: The world. "was made by a natural process, and the almighty knew exactly how to do it."9
Although we believe that humans were on the earth prior to 4,000 B.C., we do not believe that man evolved from a lower life form. We do believe in evolution within narrow limits. There is ample evidence that life can adapt and change to suit its environment. We do not, however, believe in evolution between different types of animals. Paul taught: "[God gives to] . . . every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds."10
A Clearer View of History
There is a great deal of information we wish we had the time to share but we can only touch on it here in a few examples. To begin with, the beehive may represent (among other important teachings) the bees taking cover in their hive as nature is in upheaval at the end of a round of creation. There are legends in Tibet , the Andes of South America, Kilimanjaro of Africa, and other places of terrible past inundations when mountain caverns allowed a remnant to survive that came forth afterward and peopled the earth. Does this mean that this remnant is where myths developed of Adam and Eve that we have been taught to believe in? No! Adam's children were quickly brought to a state of apostasy and we believe it is because of the influence of the remnant from an earlier round that taught their rituals and beliefs and corrupted the children of Adam and Eve. The Mesopotamians and other cultures taught about the glorious "sons of god" who came among them, teaching them invaluable skills. The time of these legends corresponds to the time when Adam's children would be spreading out on the earth.
In the Andean culture of South America it was believed that the sun god sent a devastating world flood to the earth, and afterward sent his son and daughter to teach the arts of civilization to the survivors."11 The Chinese have an ancient belief that when the great flood came, a boy and a girl were protected in an enormous gourd. After the flood they repopulated the earth. The gourd story is similar to the cosmic egg story in which the brother and sister are the primal parents. These and many other stories include a Tree of Life. The Chewong people of the Malayan tropical forest believe that every so often their world (they call this Earth Seven) turns upside down so that everything on it is drowned or destroyed. A snake in the new garden plays an important role in their story.12
Nibley wrote of the importance the ancients felt for hermetically sealing their knowledge so it could survive world destruction.13 This sealing went further than just records and reminds us not only of the cosmic egg of creation but of the sealed barges of the Jaredites. In fact, the best type and shadow to show rounds of creation are Noah and his ark, the Jaredites, and later the Nephites as the destruction by water and sword necessitate the Lord sending new pioneers to settle the land and plant seeds and bring their animals.
The fact is, Egyptology, Greek mythology, and most world mythology does not make sense until one begins putting the pieces together regarding the true history of our planet. Both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (very close friends) read numerous books that touched on earlier rounds of creation. Woven among their fiction are bits and pieces of very enlightened insight they gleaned from their extensive studies into the ancient world beliefs and shaped by their belief in Christ. As always, we want to suggest that it is very dangerous to become obsessed with this, as it is unwise to ride any hobby horse and lose balance. We do not have to have this knowledge to progress and gain eternal life. This is the dispensation of the fullness of times, however, and knowledge does bring power and enlightenment which can be very helpful in discerning the signs of the time, especially since the War in Heaven is continuing.
If we are going to protect our families we need to be able to see patterns. Nibley wrote a great deal about patternism and in fact, he was an expert on military patternism. It was his job in the war to figure out what the enemy was going to do next. We believe that Nibley was giving warnings and clues to us in his writings regarding the future events we will be called on to pass through. In his book Abraham in Egypt , he wrote extensively about the consequences of the changing world age Abraham found himself in. The cataclysms were unprecedented and Abraham's actions were crucial to help bring back balance to nature and man. We are entering a new age, in fact, never have so many cycles of astronomical time ended in such close proximity. We hope to glean from Nibley's writings, an idea of how to protect our loved ones in the coming trials associated with the opening of the seventh dispensation. Nibley wrote: "Each of the great dispensations of the gospel has come in a time of world upheaval, when the waywardness of the human race has been matched by a climactic restlessness of the elements."14
Purpose of Temple and Cosmos
We have written that we feel the underlying principle behind Dr. Hugh Nibley's book Temple and Cosmos is that the temple is a time machine. The reason for this is three-fold. First, the events in the temple are to be seen as happening at the foundation of creation when the Sons of God shouted for joy and the Morning Stars sang together. In the temple, every endowment session is the dawn of New Years Day, a new round of creation. This idea is found in the article The New Year and the Suffering King. Second, the time machine, in bringing us to that point, would enable a re-ordering of the original priesthood order that existed in the beginning for both men and women. That oneness is the true order of the Cosmos and the temple brings us to that state if we live up to our covenants. Third, the temple symbolizes the beginning of each new round of creation, the Garden of Eden and each who will achieve the blessings of the Firstborn of whom Adam (first man) is a type.
So, a foundation, a bull, or an Adam (first man) must be established with the Messiah as the chief cornerstone, for a new creation to come about. "There are cabalistic teachings about how God's intelligence unites with matter to form light or life. This is called a unity (medieval Jewish mysticism), for which reason we say that God is in everything because he animates everything.The Coptic Gospel of Truth says, 'Unity engulfs matter within itself like a flame.'"15
The following quote by Nibley explains that every birth or rebirth is considered a creation and repeats the 'first time' (This can apply to people and rounds of creation and temple sessions. It is all about death, birth, and being brought back from spiritual death to be able to be brought into the presence of the Lord.):
Every birth requires a gestation period, whether it is our birth into this world from a preexistent state or our birth into the next after leaving this one. Since 'the morning of rebirth repeats the creation,'.the night-place is the world before creation, the 'first time,' the waters of nw, the dark womb of Nut. To this we return to be born again, resuming the prenatal stage of the great god Khepri, the god who is ready to be born..The way of life 'goes from the spirit world into the depths,.[only to] mount up again through the waters to heaven.'16
This individual salvation for mankind is available through the ordinances. Earth also goes through this process and has seen a series of rebirths. She is now at the doors of the day when she will be fully brought back into the presence of the Lord to no longer fall into darkness. Even at the end of the Millennium, when she goes through her final test, she will not regress to a telestial state. Enoch mourned and ached for the poor earth that has had to travail through so much wickedness and he rejoiced in our day when she would begin to come out of her fallen state, eventually to achieve peace.
Finite Minds in an Infinite Cosmos
When I was three years old, I remember going to my mother and asking her where God came from. She took off her ring and asked me to show her where it began. I could not. She then explained that when we were in heaven, our minds worked a lot better than they do now and we were able to understand things we just can't grasp here on earth. She told me this was part of our test on earth, to have faith without understanding everything, and to try and open our minds to learn things that are hard for people to get. I was profoundly affected by that event and spent a great deal of time thinking about it. It has taken effort to find the balance of not swallowing any interesting idea that came along, but also not rejecting possible truths. Testing everything against the scriptures and words of the prophets has become my firm rule. What a wise Father we have to have taught Joseph Smith from a young age before his mind was so set in the traditions of the world that he could not easily learn eternal truths. Joseph struggled with the Saints, trying to help them open their minds to broader understandings. He wrote:
There has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger [a piece of corn bread] for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle [a wooden mallet]. Even the Saints are slow to understand.17
The quote by Joseph Smith that affected me most as I first began to study rounds of creation was the following:
Whenever I start talking about this creation business, people fly apart like glass. They can't stand the fire. They will stick to their old traditions. I can't even bring it up. They want to string me up to the nearest tree if I start talking about that because their prejudices are so deep and so established.18
The Mayans, the Aztecs, the Pueblo Nations, and many other American cultures believed that we are in the seventh round of creation, and the fourth one with people. Cyclical rounds of creation on the earth is a concept believed by many cultures including the Chinese, Saharan Africans, Assyro-Babylonians, Norse, and others. They believed that creation was brought about by a sacrificial death.19
Some cultures believe that all seven rounds were peopled, some that only four or five had people. These seven rounds often bring us to stories from all over the world of the seven stars, or sisters, of the Pleiades. They were usually considered the great mothers who were the mothers of all living. In her presentation of The Seven Stars of the Pleiades, Rachael Kohn presents the following information about the Pleiades and also the idea of seven rounds:
[What] I talk about in the book is this idea of there being seven rounds of creation, or seven races, perhaps just the terminology, but the concept is quite common to many cosmologies and theologies, including Ancient Greece,.if you look to the Ancient Mayans, they speak very clearly of seven ages, and we're about to enter the dawn of the sixth sun, and the seventh yet to come, and you look to Finland and Kalevalla the great Finnish epic, they also talk about seven ages of humanity.
Ms. Kohn goes on to talk about the seven mothers of all humanity:
Professor Bryan Sykes of Oxford University , and people may have read his book The Seven Daughters of Eve. Basically what he did was he was looking at people of European ancestry and what he'd discovered was everyone of European ancestry can trace their origins back to seven women, and although they lived at different times, and not the same as one would expect of siblings of the same generation.
Ms. Kohn also tells that the stars of the Pleiades are associated with water symbolism surrounding femaleness and women. She says that they are symbolic of the very waters of life. In Hindu mythology, the Pleiades are believed to be "the Seven Mothers of the World, again it comes back to this notion of water giving life, and of the Pleiades in particular creating life. And what's really interesting among many indigenous people right across the world, is this notion that somehow we're either related to or descended from the Pleiades."20 This water of life alludes both the physical birth from the waters of the womb, and also the spiritual rebirth through the Atonement of Christ, the true living waters.
In India, the sisters of the Pleiades are believed to have suckled the babe who becomes the general of the army of God. They depict this mother as hiding in a cave and suckling the baby. The Greeks also believed the Pleiades sisters would be concealed in a cave. The Incas believed these seven sisters were the sacred Granary, the repository for seeds of all kinds.21 All of this should bring to mind a number of things from previous articles regarding the cave beneath the Tree of Life, the Garden of Eden being a bubble of protection from cataclysms, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
"In the southern hemisphere, the constellation of the Pleiades is regarded in the myths of South America, Southeast Asia and Australia as a group of sisters whose appearance in the night sky heralds the onset of the rains."22
The Pawnee Native Americans also look to the Pleiades as a symbol of unity, and they actually have a prayer where they pray to the Pleiades to teach them to be united.
Christ, known as the second Adam, will come in the fullness of time to bring the earth fully into her Millennial state, a Garden of Eden. We would submit that the spiritual nation of kings/queens, high priests/priestesses, will stand with Him in the days of refreshing when the onset of the spiritual rain, (Pleiades) the outpouring of the Spirit, will announce the beginning of the final day (age). In the day of the Tabernacle of Booths, a union of Adams and Eves will bring about the salvation of this earth and keep chaos at bay for those standing in holy places. Physical chaos may seem overwhelming at times, but spiritual chaos, the destruction of the final round of creation, will not happen.
Heavenly Father has sent many heroes through the ages to lead the forces of righteousness. We are indebted to those great prophets and leaders, but to none are we indebted as we are to He who opened the way to eternal life. It is He who will come to lead us into the final victory and triumphal entry of the Millennial Day. He is the way, the truth and the life, He is the living water. The Jews taught about that living water as part of their Festival of Tabernacles:
This ceremony was connected to a very joyous evening celebration, the 'Festival of Lights'. This evening festival was so joyful that it was said that 'He who has not witnessed the rejoicing at the water-drawing huts has, throughout the whole of his life, witnessed no real rejoicing.' 23
On the seventh day of the great Feast of the Tabernacles, at the time of the pouring out of the sacred water offering, Jesus interrupted this important event as recorded in John 7:37-38:
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, 'If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.'
The people were stunned. They were well versed in theology and understood that this Nazarene was declaring himself to be the living water of life. The Pharisees were especially outraged. This same fury will prevail in coming days as the Adversary pours out his false water of knowledge upon the earth, the seventh seal will be opened and the Lord Himself will pour out the true waters of life. The contest will wax intense and spread into every corner of the world. A false priesthood is rivaling the true priesthood. Secret combinations prophesied to plague us are gaining ground. We would rather not attack their standard openly for many reasons, but instead we will attempt to give clues to keep out their pollutions, and simply try to raise the standard of righteousness in our own small way.
We are now seeing the ushering in of the Seventh Dispensation, the seventh age. The opening of the seventh seal, will be a time of trial and repentance but also a day of refreshing.24 As his emissaries of the gospel on earth, hopefully the LDS people can do their part since time is limited for the gentiles to receive the gospel as the Lord told us:
And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you; At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits,.and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fullness of my gospel from among them.25
Priestcrafts spoken of in the above verse is a term that applies to the false priesthood. The sacred truths we learn in the temple have been spread in various forms all over the world by the Adversary. These priestcrafts will be the counterfeit offered to the people in many ways and each one is a part of the whore of the earth since those sacred priesthood covenants may only be used legitimately by the Bride of Christ, or the Church of the Firstborn. Misuse of these sacred powers is the reason for the downfall of civilizations from the beginning of time. Because Jesus Christ will personally usher in the Millennium, taking direct control over events of the seventh round, things will not end as they have in earlier rounds. The time is coming when people will have to choose good or evil. Mormon foresaw our time when priestcrafts would be practiced and the whore of the earth would rage. There will be two choices, the false priesthood or the true one found in the house of Israel:
Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts,.and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.26
|A Morning Such As This
With child eyes I awake
in the golden light
of this new day.
of paradise-pure air,
I drink dawn’s
Song of thrush and lark frolic
on citrus-scented breeze
as I bask in fields
of Eden-fresh flowers,
stroll sunlit forests
of translucent leaves.
It must have been
on a morning such as this
that Eve stood
on the precipice of time,
that pivotal moment
where we meet,
and wanting knowledge
and posterity plunged
into a tantalizing sea–
Sharon Price Anderson
12 Nephi 32:7
3T&C p. 384
4Ibid p. 165
5Ibid p. 380
6A in E p. 6
7T&C pp. 382-3
9As quoted by Franklin Richards in Timeless Questions, Gospel Insights lecture 1 by Truman G. Madsen
101 Corinthians 15:38-9
11WM p. 26
12Ibid pp. 26-7
13T&C p. 385
14A in E p. 164
15T&C p. 274
16JSP p. 301
17History of the Church, 6:184
18As quoted in Hugh Nibley, Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, p. 2
19WM p. 19
20The Spirit of Things, Presented by Rachael Kohn, The Seven Stars of the Pleiades, 10 October 2004
21WM pp. 84, 135, 258.
22Ibid p. 21
24See Acts 3:19
253 Nephi 16:10
263 Nephi 30:2