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Relationship to Chapters 6-8. The relationship of Verses 6:5-25 to the rest of Chapters 6-8 is discussed at Chapters 6-8.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 6:5-25 include:
Moses 6:5-25 is the Joseph Smith Translation of Gen 5:1-21. This page is not intended, however, to address Genesis. It is intended only to address the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis. It is therefore suggested that readers consult the page that does address Gen 5:1-21 before viewing this page. Contributors are likewise asked to respect this distinction. The idea is that a reader should be able to find content about an original passage from Genesis on the wiki page addressing that passage.
Genesis 5 is a genealogical listing of ten generations from Adam and Eve down to Noah. The Joseph Smith Translation relates this data for Generations 1-7, but then interrupts it in Gen 5:22/Moses 6:26 to add over a hundred verses of narrative about Enoch. The Joseph Smith Translation then concludes the list of genealogical data for Generations 7-10 in Moses 8:1-12.
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- Moses 6:5. In light of the commentary on Moses 6:1-4, this verse should be read quite carefully. First of all, it is important to bring together the several references in scripture to the "book of remembrance." As it turns out, the phrase only appears five times in the scriptures. Besides this verse, it appears one other time in the book of Moses (Moses 6:46), where Enoch mentions the book while preaching. Two of the other references are connected with Malachi: Mal 3:16 and 3 Ne 24:16 (this latter being Jesus' quotation of Malachi to the Nephites). Finally, the phrase appears in the vital 85th section of the Doctrine and Covenants: "And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth" (D&C 85:9). Of the five references, this last provides the broadest and most interpretable context in which to think the nature of the book of remembrance: besides being called in that revelation by several other names/titles ("a history, and a general church record" in verse 1, "the book of the law of God" in verses 5 and 7, and "the book of the law" in verse 11), the contents and purpose of the book of remembrance are clarified. It is, apparently, a book that is associated primarily with what happens in Zion specifically, and contains records of inheritances of land according to (and apparently only according to) the law of consecration. Moreover, the genealogies (ancestry as well as descendency) of those who keep the law of consecration are kept in the book, since apparently one's "fathers" and one's "children" can be saved in and through the consecrated individual in Zion. This last point is vital, since it suggests that the book has something to do with the theme of sealing, and hence of priesthood and the temple (themes that are clearly at work in D&C 85: at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, "one mighty and strong" will come to "set in order the house of God," according to verse 7. This seems all the more important, since two of the references to the "book of remembrance" are to be found in Malachi and Jesus' quotation of Malachi (where it is clear that being written in the book has something to do with Elijah's return and the turning of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers). Thus, if it is not inappropriate to bring all of this to bear on how one reads the present verse, the book of remembrance would probably best be understood as somehow connected with the temple/priesthood ordinances of sealing (something apparently only to be accomplished once there are three generations present).
- All that said, it is certainly significant that a kind of truer order of prayer is at work here, and that it has something to do with receiving the ability—an endowment—"to write by the spirit of inspiration." (Curiously, Old Testament Manuscript 1 for the "New Translation" has "to write by the finger of inspiration," however that might be interpreted. At the very least, there seems to be a connection between "the finger of inspiration" in verse 5 here and the other Mosaic reference to the book of remembrance in Moses 6:46: "For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God." That Enoch goes on to add in the same verse, "and it is given in our own language," seems significant too, since this verse reports: "recorded, in the language of Adam.") But should this suddenly introduced gift be interpreted? It is perhaps commonly assumed that this gift amounts to two things: on the one hand, it is generally taken to have something to do with the "Adamic language" (whatever that means); on the other hand, the gift is commonly understood to be the ability to write scripture, the word of God. But is this all that is meant here?
- Moses 6:6. This is a continuation of a series of thoughts beginning in verse 4 (note semicolons at the end of verses 4 and 5). As the chain of thoughts refers back to Seth and Enos, the pronouns here (them, their) also refer to Seth and Enos.
- Moses 6:7-8: Adam's Prophecy. The form of this prophecy, as recorded here, is very similar to the form of the declaration given in Moses 5:59.
- Considering that the priesthood is generally defined as being power given to man to act in God's name, we see in the run of thoughts (vv. 4-6) that are followed by verse 7 that Adam prophesied that an actual authority for men to act in the name of God, and specifically "to write by the spirit of inspiration" would never come to an end in the world. (Though clearly there have been intermittances.) As it has been the habit of men in all dispensations to refuse to accept the words of living prophets, claiming that the words of dead ones are final, and as even those within the church are not immune from this vain rationale, we must be on our guard to understand that the Lord can and will offer more, even up to the end of the world.
- Moses 6:7: Priesthood Possibilities. The phrase "this same Priesthood" is curious here because it is not obvious what exactly is being referred to. A list of potential priesthood actions and themes described in this chapter include:
- offering "an acceptable sacrifice" (v.3)
- a "first presidency" of Adam, Seth, and Enos (vs.3-4)
- calling upon the name of the Lord (v.4)
- obtaining special blessings from the Lord (v.4)
- the keeping of a "book of remembrance" (v. 5) also D&C 128:6-10
- speaking "a language which was pure and undefiled" (v.6)
- teaching "their children... to read and write" (v.6)
- the power "to write by the spirit of inspiration" (v. 5)
- the general patriarchal order
- or possibly some special patriarchal order related to being an "appointed ... seed". Moses 6:1
- Nowadays, in the restored Church, the Priesthood is frequently defined as the authority to act in the name of God. Based on this definition, it might be inappropriate to consider certain of the activities listed above as specifically pertaining to the Priesthood. For example, it seems that fathers who do not have the Priesthood are able to teach their children to read and write and everyone is given the right to "call upon the name of the Lord."
- On the other hand, all of these actions may be viewed as the function of a father acting as a patriarch according to the patriarchal order of the priesthood. If so, then this list may provide an outline of patriarchal priesthood responsibilities which can only be fully performed by one given the authority to act in God's name. For example, while all can pray, calling upon the name of the Lord in the true order of prayer is only available through the priesthood. In this sense, familial relationship between father and son may be one type of priesthood relationship.
- This verse also makes it clear that this patriarchal order of the priesthood that existed in Adam's family will be had again in the last days. We can see these same prieshood functions reflected in the themes outlined in D&C 128, where we read of
- Since D&C 128 is a treatise on baptism for the dead, these common themes suggests that there is indeed some profound connection between the patriarchal priesthood and "the subject of the baptism for the dead" revealed to Joseph Smith in D&C 128. The return of a priesthood, "which was in the beginning," at the very "end of the world also" seems to be the precise concern of that section of the Doctrine and Covenants.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Moses 6:5. What is "the which" recorded in the book of remembrance (vs. 5)? Would it be the blessings of the Lord mentioned in vs. 4?
- Moses 6:5. What is the relationship between calling upon God and writing "by the spirit of inspiration"?
- Moses 6:7. Of what importance would it be that the same priesthood that was exercised here by Seth and Enos would exist at the end of the world also?
- Moses 6:7. Might this prophecy already be fulfilled?
- Moses 6:9: Body. This verse says our bodies are created in God's image. Are the scriptures silent on the question of whether our spirits were created in his image?
- Moses 6:9: Footstool. Why does this verse make reference to God's footstool, if that term appears nowhere in the Pentateuch, but surfaces and is defined only later in the Old Testament?
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- See this subpage for Joseph Smith's "Before 8 August 1839" discourse, in which Joseph deals with many of the themes of the present passage.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.