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The Topic That Just Won't Go Away
The topic of the “Davidic Servant” continues to prove an annoyance for the upper crust of the Church. And this is perhaps why the LDS Apologist/Think Tank “FAIR” churned out a short piece refuting the idea over the weekend.
The chosen method of refutation immediately perceivable at the outset is an argumentum ad populum, through which the author claims the correctness of his interpretation against the notion of a “Davidic Servant” springs from the “consensus of mainstream scholarship and teaching from the leaders of the Church.” He grounds his authority in the many and that of ecclesiastical authority. That is, he perhaps considers the scholarship promulgated by LDS scholars and what is spouted from the pulpit to be unimpeachable.
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But he adds a sweetener to his remark by adding the qualifier “mainstream” to modify “scholarship.” His motive is undeniable, for he aims to deprecate any scholarly contributions produced and published on this subject outside the approved channels. Given the vast empire religion wields over the minds of its adherents, such a deprecation serves as an implicit form of censorship calculated to make external scholarship to that of the consensus appear fringe. By doing so, this apologist effectively turns the minds of most would-be investigators away from researching the topic for themselves. All of this seems to be an indirect condemnation of the research produced by Avraham Gileadi, for this article appears on the heels of recent events for which podcasters have exerted their efforts to link them with Gileadi’s scholarship on Isaiah. The driving impetus calculates for censuring voices like Avraham Gileadi for the sole reason that some individuals have taken things too far and happened to have read Gileadi’s works to justify their actions.1 He’s simply guilty for having researched and discovered these ideas.
However, the implicit mode of censorship doesn’t stop here. The next paragraph exudes another strategic method of rhetoric, the goal of which appears to create fear in the mind of the reader so as to thwart any interest he might have held for this topic in the past or holds at present. He leads with an appeal to ecclesiastical authority and immediately follows it with ominous accounts of past individual, “Davidic Servant” claimants. Each example offered addresses the criminality associated with these individuals, with these general sketches serving as appropriate reminders of the intoxicating effects certain religious sentiments can create in maniacal persons bent on self-aggrandizement, power, and the praise of the world. But the author’s angle appears only to buttress the claims of authority established within the Church. He refuses to entertain the possibility that such a messianic figure could be prophesied of in the scriptures, especially by Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith; rather, he opts to paint in broad strokes, hoping to connect potential claimants with the likes of the irascible scoundrels referenced in his article. This doesn’t bode well for those who may have a piquant interest in this subject. To all the membership who espouse the notion of a “Davidic Servant” will now be associated with such sinister figures and their modus operandi. Cultivating the generally accepted opinions of the majority of the members to feel revulsion at this topic will militate against the few who have read and searched this out for themselves, and, unfortunately, the latter will no doubt face tremendous backlash and persecution.
Let us suppose that such a messianic figure exists and that he in fact receives acknowledgement in the pages of holy writ. Then, what this article represents, coupled with the examples mentioned thus far, are counter measures wielded by darker, unseen forces to cause individuals to doubt in their own abilities of discernment and to question the trust they’ve had in others who believe they’ve exhumed scriptural evidence confirming the possibility of the “Davidic Servant.” This is not to say that the author of the article is aware that he’s aiding and abetting such. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt and suppose he’s a well-meaning defender of the faith. Nevertheless, the examples he offers allude to the grand strategy of Satan and his minions.
Too often members of the Church fail to recognize that there is systematic evil running rampant in this world, with a focused desire to malign and tear down the prophecies of Brother Joseph and the writings within the Book of Mormon. Perhaps the reason for this lack of awareness springs from the members’, both leaders and pew sitters, refusal to discuss the evil one’s existence in detail. When evil crops up in our midst or elsewhere, members quickly gravitate toward using euphemisms to explain such things away. Instead of saying someone is possessed with a devil or unclean spirits, the masses proclaim the person has succumbed to a mental disorder or something else along these lines. Adhering to such a sanitized outlook plays out exactly how the opposition hoped, or perhaps knew, it would—no mention of the devil nor his agents! Now, let us return to the examples of deceptive claimants offered by the author.
The author, because of his disposition towards the topic at hand, fails to consider why such poor examples may have arisen in the first place. I mean, think of it. If you are Lucifer and want to protect your turf or thwart your adversary’s path toward victory, you must resort to deception in war to accomplish the task.2 And what better way to subvert your opponent’s triumph than to have several false claimants emerge and profess supposed spiritual powers and gifts, all of which are meant to seduce their followers and then destroy them. At the same time, these claimants destroy themselves and any credibility these messianic prophecies might have had in the eyes of the masses, with the latter immediately pinning their faith again on the credentialed and the well-to-do. If you ask me, this is a perfect strategy that most overlook to their own detriment. Not only does this scheme call into question the entire idea of a future, messianic leader, but it also may induce members of the Church to give up thinking for themselves altogether. Fearing that they may be duped again, they switch to autopilot mode; that is, they revert back to the supposedly safe “follow the prophet” mantra, which is the desired effect of this apologetic piece.
The author asserts that belief in the coming of such a being causes dissatisfaction with the leadership of the Church, which can be true depending on the person, but only represents one vantage point. What if the members’ dissatisfaction surfaced prior to giving serious consideration to any prophecies about the last days and the end-time servant? Should this be the case, then something about the Church has caused some measure of discontent. Boredom often urges people to delve into their own research projects through which they discover certain things rarely, if ever, spoken about within any religious settings. And these things cause no small amount of curiosity. Excited about their discoveries, these seekers, in their naivete, rush to share them with others, whether friends at church or close family members, only to encounter their revulsion to such things they’ve never heard. And since these folks have never heard these new things, then they cannot be true. What follows next for the seeker is marginalization and solitude, and perhaps he even feels a little remorse for ever having spoken about the things he unearthed in the confines of his personal library. Depressed and alone, all because he places too much of a premium on the opinions of members of the Church, he wanders off onto divergent paths and becomes a lost sheep with no shepherd(s), since the latter busy themselves with wallowing in and lapping up the milk of the Gospel. The seeker should have trust in the Lord alone.
Most members, bench sitters and leaders alike, have little, if any, knowledge about the weightier matters of the Gospel. In other words, there are few adepts who have a vast array of knowledge pertaining to the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. (Perhaps I’ll be accused of a superiority complex mentioned by the author for stating this, for such is human nature.) The most indicative illustration of this appears in the encounter Jesus Christ had with Nicodemus, a man whom the Lord expected to be an aficionado of the law and mysteries of the same. But as Christ cross examined this Pharisee, the Savior exposed his glaring lack of knowledge about some of the most important things, for which he received a subtle rebuke.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one who is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said, Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things? 3
This same phenomenon persists even today within the Church because many of the writings the Lord has left us have fallen into neglect to some degree among the membership. We harp too much on General Conference talks to an immoderate level when we should be diving into the scriptures during our church meetings. Since these have fallen into a level of disuse, few can adroitly navigate their pages, let alone the penetrating doctrines contained within.
Returning to our seeker, had he sought refuge in the Lord, he would have found the peace and rest he desired. He could have taken the Spirit within for his guide leading him to the only fountains that would have quenched his thirst. Instead, he presumed that others would provide him with the nourishment he so yearned for when all indications suggest that the shepherds can’t even feed themselves nor the sheep of their folds. “Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?”4
Yet boredom is far from being the only reason for members’ growing discontent with the Church. The recent events of the COVID fiasco cultivated a heightened level of distrust for the leadership, local and general, of the Church. There are too many accounts swirling about that describe the crusade of shaming several local leaders waged against those who refused to believe what the government and their media proxies fomented over the airwaves. The ecclesiastical leaders refused to hear the concerns of these doubters, and, when the example of President Nelson hit the TV screens and internet, they ratcheted up their verbal assaults and unrighteous dominion. But it gets even better. Once the whole sham was all over, these same leaders and members who mercilessly berated those with QUESTIONS acted as if nothing ever happened.
Perplexing as the unmasking of people’s true nature was, that pales in comparison to the rhetoric wielded for the sake of duping people into receiving an untested vaccine all for the sake of saving their own lives, supposedly. Did they ever stop to think about the stems cells derived from aborted fetuses in said vaccine? What about the lives of the unborn? Do they not matter as much since you needed to save yourself? It appears that too many have grown so callus, springing from their desire for self-preservation, that they’re willing to unite in an oppressive majority to curtail the rights of the questioning minority. These few details can perhaps account for the rise in disgruntled members and their looking for the coming of another to ballast the ship of state. So, it seems imperative that the author of this piece to at least consider alternative factors contributing to the distrust emerging among members toward both local and general leaders of the Church.
As for the rest of the article, I leave that for the reader to peruse and sift, should they desire to research the claims asserted against the concept of a “Davidic Servant.” I will mention that Ephraim Smith’s book has a scathing rebuttal to the superficial reading posited here by this apologist on the topic of the “One Mighty and Strong.” I won’t go into details here, but it’s worth the read. Adieu!
John 3:8-10 JST
Luke 6:39 JST