Saturday, April 5, 2014

LDS Church Beliefs on the Great Flood of Noah's Time

MEMBERS of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may be entertained by the new Hollywood movie, "Noah," (2014) but many of their beliefs on the Great Flood and Noah differ a lot from the rest of the Christian and Jewish world.
Here's a list of some LDS beliefs on Noah and the Great Flood:

1. Noah was Gabriel the Angel who visited Zacharias to announce the birth of John the Baptist. He also appeared to Mary to announce the upcoming birth of Jesus. ("Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 157-158). Thus Noah stands next to Adam in the authority of the priesthood.

2. Noah and his family WEREN'T the only ones saved from the Great Flood.

Righteous people -- nearly all the faithful members of the Lord's Church -- were translated and taken from Earth. Noah and his family had to remain to perpetuate the human race. Thus. they weren't really the only righteous people left. (Moses 7:27, Mormon Doctrine, page 804).
God also had Noah preach to the wicked for repentance, but to no avail.

3. The entire planet Earth is one great living entity and the Great Flood was its baptism -- it was all covered by water.
Elder John Taylor said all that water needed came from sources unknown to man -- the fountains of the great deep were broken up. That's also where the excess water returned. (Journal of Discourses 26:74-75.)

4. Before the flood, all land on the Earth was centered in one great mass or continent. During the flood, great changes were made to the face of the earth. The land at the time was in the process of division into 7 continents and some islands. Thus, Noah and the Ark probably floated from somewhere near the Garden of Eden (center of the U.S.) and ended up on Mount Ararat, possibly in Turkey -- the other side of the world. (From Joseph Fielding Smith, "Answers to Gospel Questions," 2:94).

Because the land surface was changed so dramatically during the Flood, it is likely that Mount Everest and the like didn't exist before. With possibly much more moderate mountains in height, they were more easily covered by water. Everest likely came AFTER the flood. Even if Everest did exist at the time of the Flood and somehow it was not covered by water still gave no people hope for survival. Even today, humans can't live high up on Everest for very long -- above 26,000 feet in elevation is a kill zone ultimately.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said on Jan. 5, 1841:
"This earth was organized or formed out of other planets which were broken up and remodeled and made into the one on which we live." (From A Compendium of the Doctrine of the Gospel, by Elder Franklin Dewey Richards & James A. Little.)
Hence it is possible that some fossils on high mountain peaks were part of those earlier worlds. (This could also be why carbon dating is non-conclusive in many respects.)

5. The Flood was an act of mercy, not God's anger. With the Flood, God halted the wicked's rule and their sinful effect on future generations. The world started again with a new slate. (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 19:158-159).

6. An immense number of people could have been living on Earth when the Great Flood started. Cleon Skousen in his "First 2,000 Years" book estimated that as many as ONE BILLION people might have been alive at the start of the flood. That's because people were living lifespans in hundreds of years.

7. Noah got drunk after the Flood and cursed Canaan?
Sorry, I don't believe Noah ever got drunk. I believe that part of Genesis was incorrectly translated, or even purposely rewritten that way so as to degrade Noah's character.
There is at least one second-hand reference from a Church member's diary of Joseph Smith supposedly teaching that Noah was in a trance, having a vision and not drunk at all. (Diary of C. L. Walker, 12 May 1881),
That makes more sense.
Noah also didn't curse Ham just because he saw his father naked. Ham may have stole the Priesthood garment from Noah and thus defiled the priesthood. ("Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites," pages 160-162.)
Otherwise, consistent with the "Vision of God" idea, rather than Noah being drunk, did Ham look upon Noah during his divine vision, while his two brothers did not? A curse from that transgression is possible too.

8. People were very wicked at the time of the Great Flood. However, the world in general today is as wicked, or even more so than at the time of the Flood.