Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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For example the Magi mentioned at the beginning of Mathew 2:1-12, it was sometimes thought that these Magi had learned of the birth of Christ from the books written by Seth. The way in which the Magi knew about the coming of Jesus attracted the attention of certain Christians.


                                                     No. 2

                                            THE GARMENT


“Why is it that there is so much success in the Americas with conversions to the restored gospel? In fact, why are there far more baptisms in the Americas than all the rest of the world combined? What is so special about the lands of the Western Hemisphere?” (Ogden p. 127)

“Father Jacob gave his twelve sons patriarchal blessings, (Genesis 49) particularly outstanding blessings to Judah and to Joseph. Judah was promised that through his linage the Messiah would come “…and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Genesis  49:10) Jacob  then pronounced a prophetic metaphor to describe Joseph’s  descendants: “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well with branches running over the wall.” (Genesis  49:22) or over the ocean. 0000

“The blessings to Joseph, “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors.” (Genesis 49:26)…the blessings he was pronouncing on Joseph are even  greater than the blessings of his fathers (Abraham and Isaac)  These blessings are “unto the utmost bound of these everlasting hills” (Genesis 29:26)…[the continuous chain of mountains from Alaska to Punta—Arenas, Chile. and to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills.] The descendants of Joseph would be spread over many centuries and into the latter days. Today there are stakes of the church from the northern most reaches of Alaska, to the southern most reaches of Punta-Arenas, Chile. These vast lands of Joseph—called the Americas today---are also designated in the Book of Mormon as “lands of   promise… (1 Nephi 4:140)…Joseph’s descendants through his sons Manasseh (Lehi and his posterity) and Ephraim (Ishmael) would be brought to these consecrated lands because, as Lehi explained, “it must needs be that we should be led with one accord into the Land of Promise, unto the fulfilling of the word of the Lord, that we  (remnants of  Jacob or Israel) should be scattered upon all the face of the earth.” (1 Nephi 10:13; Ogden p. 126) The whole story of Joseph and  his descendants is one of the main themes of the Book of Mormon.

“The blessings pronounced by Jacob “shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.” (Genesis 49:26) The sons of Jacob were annoyed with their younger brother and his dreams of dominion over the rest of the family …their…hatred…was so intense that the brothers even entertained the thoughts of killing him….in the end they arranged to have him sold   into Egypt. (Genesis 37) …at the age of Seventeen he was separated from his home and his brethren. [Joseph spent the rest of his life residing in Egypt, where he died at the age of 110 (Genesis 50:26).   Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim lived their whole lives, died and were buried in Egypt without ever becoming acquainted with the promised land. …The families of Lehi and Ishmael inherited lands that were much more separated from the rest of Israel than was the land of Egypt.” (Ogden  pp. 125-127)

“… what we call the Americas are truly lands of Joseph, inhabited at least in part by descendants of him who ultimately received the blessings-the double inheritance- of the firstborn,  Joseph obtained the birthright in Israel because he was worthy and because it was his natural right, w6hen Reuben, the actual firstborn, lost the privilege by transgression. (1 Chr. 5:1-2), Joseph as the firstborn son of Jacob’s second wife, [Rachel], was next in line for the blessing.” Joseph received the greatest inheritance, including the greatest lands of inheritance, which were “choice above all other lands.”  (Ogden p. 127) They were the Americas!

“[Rachel] …conceived and bare a son (Gen. 30:22-23) and said: “Elohim,  hath taken away my reproach and she called his name Joseph.” (MacLaurin p. 30; Shulman pp.25-29) Joseph was born 1716 BC, 2250 years after the Fall, and was sold into Egypt 1899 BC. (Gen. 37:3-36), and was ruler in Egypt, 1686 BC, (Gen, 41:37-46; Klassen p. 19)

“Joseph’s descendants, along with other scattered remnants of the house of Israel and those adopted into the covenant people are now experiencing tremendous spiritual growth and blessings in direct fulfillment of the patriarchal blessings of Jacob to his son Joseph. Many of these spiritual blessings being poured out in the lands of Joseph are the result of the divinely led work of another Joseph in the latter days and are direct descendents of the original Joseph.” (Ogden p. 127) 

“Others again say that Melchizedek…was Abram’s ancestor Shem (D&C 138:41),  and he now taught Abram the duties of priesthood particularly the rules governing shew-bread, wine-libations  …he also gave Abram the garments of skin made by God for Adam and Eve …all this Shem did because God had appointed Abram his successor.” (Graves p.147) The restored gospel is laced with additional information on Abraham and Melchizedek.


“In one of the early Gospel dispensations God revealed the ordinance of the Sacrament to man even before the advent of Jesus of Nazareth…yet it is true that practically all of the tangible evidence  has been lost to history… the Prophet Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible called the inspired Version, suggests the foregoing conclusion to have been the case .…when Father Abraham met the great High Priest Melchizedek on a certain occasions:  the Inspired Version states…

 And Melchizedek King of Salem brought forth bread and wine and he brake the bread blest the bread and blest it; and he blest the wine, he being the priest of the Most High God and he gave to Abraham (Inspired Version Gen. !4:17)

…What interpretation could be given to this statement of the breaking and blessing of the bread and the blessing of wine by one holding the the proper Priesthood and the serving of these substances to a Church member other than the observance of the holy ordinance of Sacrament.” (Hunter p. 129)

Here we my quote from the Acts of Thomas, written in Syric and found in Syria with Greek versions  “…And the Apostle ordered his servant to place a table nearby.  And they set alongside a bench which they found there, and he spread a linen cloth over it and laid the bread of blessing on it…[Thomas then says a short prayer that has elements  in it similar to the sacrament prayer in Moroni  4:3.  Sifur a priest, blest it and Vizen a deacon, passes it.”] (Foerster p. 362) Did you ever think that the ritual of the sacrament with table, bench, linen cloth and placing the bread on it were part of the restored ordinances of the gospel?. The ancients practiced the rituals much as we do today, because what we have is a restoration!

 THE GARMENT                                            

“Jacob apparently became devoted to this unusual son of his much  more than to his other children. He had shown this deep regard by making for him a special garment which should perhaps be described   as “an ankle length garment with long sleeves. [The Septuagint followed by our Authorized  Version rendered it “a coat of many colours” …this garment may have been  rather more significant than the usual gift of clothing made by father to a son for it plays big part  in Joseph’s subsequent fate.  Joseph’s omen-bearing dreams and interpretations did not begin until he had received the coat, and it is significant that his brother’s first action, when they laid hands upon him was to divest him of this coat.” (MacLaurin pp. 32-33)

The coat was used as the instrument for bearing the news of Joseph’s supposed death to Jacob, that was not handed to him until it had been dipped in blood, of a sacrificial animal…Blood was  regarded in magical practice as a powerful antidote to magical  infection; it was smeared on the  person or article as a means of purification. The Later Historian believed the coat  was dipped in blood in order to mis- lead Jacob into regarding it as evidence of Joseph’s  death, but in view of the apotrophaic nature of blood ritual it is possible that in the original form of the story the blood of the goat was intended to destroy the coat’s  capacity to grant the power of divination and so to “close the eye “ of Jacob, and this is in fact what actually took place.” *MacLaurin  p. 33)                                       

“The Septuagintal tradition that this was a “coat of many colours” may be ancient … The Hebrew phrase which is in doubt consists of two words, one which is derived through Assyrian from Sumerian  GAD “linen” whilst the other seems to have the meaning “pieces” [or pleats] in Phoenician….clay figures were found …at Ur were found , some of which  were “human figures clad in a garment composed of a pointed hat and a long robe painted with scales…This…was the way in which the artists of Sumer, the home of magic represented a magical garment, and it is probably relevant to recall that according to the Biblical account, Joseph’s great grandfather, [Abraham] himself reputed to be a competent  astrologer, and in fact came from this same city Ur. Did Jacob get the pattern from his grandfather?” (Maclaurin pp. 32-34)

“The natural primitive treatment for a hated or feared person was to kill him, but Reuben was unwilling to do this to Joseph…(Gen. 37:20-22; Perhaps Reuben refused to participate in the killing of Joseph because he feared the spirit of a murdered magician; Gen. 37:22, 27) instead  he preferred  to cast him into a pit, so the magic cloak was taken from him when his power had been removed in so far that he was no longer surrounded by a supernatural aura-he was cast into a pit, a natural apotrophaic way of putting a magician or one bearing an evil contagion into a place where he can no longer transfer his contagion….perhaps as a place of security, but it may have been a means of limiting the magical power. JEHOVAH [himself] spoke to Joseph of old who was sold into slavery in Egypt, and prophesied of the coming of Joseph Smith, the Choice seer:    A seer will raise up out of the fruit of thy loins [a Descendant of Joseph]; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins…Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write [Book of Mormon[]; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write [the Bible] and that which shall be written by  the fruit of thy  loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of  Judah shall grow together unto  the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the later days and also  to the knowledge of my  covenants, saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3:11-12; Millet p. 343).

“Joseph Smith was …called to be a revealer of truth, a dispenser  of doctrinal understanding and eternal principles [and]  was also called to serve as a dispensation head, to initiate and lead the dispensation of the fulness of times. As such he stands in these last days as the preeminent prophetic revealer of Jesus Christ and God’s Plan of salvation In that sense, he is commissioned and empowered to be a prophet’s prophet, a seer’s seer, a revelator’s revelator. To him the Savior declared 1829, this generation shall have my word through you.” (D&C 5:10; Millet pp. 336-343, Ogden pp.342--343)

“Joseph ‘s  brethren were faced with a terrible dilemma; if Joseph  was slain, his blood could perhaps take vengeance  but if Joseph remained alive then the mana  residing in the magic cloak could perhaps make contact with him and transfer supernatural power to him; the only safe procedure was to keep Joseph alive but in a place  where he could do no harm, whilst convincing the power of the cloak that he was dead. Even death did not guarantee complete immunity, for the bones of a wonder worker were still contagious…Joseph publicly attributed his powers (“Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?” ) to his relationship with ha-Elohim …There may even be a suggestion that Elohim had given Joseph the power of transmitting the gift of prophecy to others…various incidences in Joseph’s life may also have a magical significance. In his boyhood he dreamt that the sheaves gathered in the field had made obeisance to him. (2 Kings ii:9) and in this dream he saw the pre-shadowing of his own destiny….and influence his brothers …to make them hate and probably fear him…Joseph knew that he possessed this gift…perhaps Reuben refused to participate in the killing of Joseph because he feared  the spirit of a murdered magician.”     (MacLaurin pp. 30-35; Gen. xliv, 5,15).”

His power is further enhanced by the reference: “And the first Lot went out to Joseph to practice divination.” (1 Chr.  xxx:9). Without the priesthood skill and power Joseph may have never been released from the Egyptian prison when he was after spending 10 years there.  LDS know under what power one is officiating in by the way the garments  are worn and what they look like. Joseph’s garment was a priesthood garment and he was a righteous user of that power. 

“Joseph in Egypt was told by the Lord that the promise of ultimate triumph of this latter day seer was sure. The ancient Joseph attested, ”Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise.” (Ogden p. 130)

[This is one of the most stunning fulfilments of prophecy in the literature.]

“Joseph laid upon a future generation the charge “God will surely visit you, and ye will carry my bones away hence with you.” (MacLaurin  p. 35) And they Did!

“Wearing the Temple Garment has deep symbolic significance …we demonstrate our faith in Him and in His eternal covenants with us.” (Nelson  364). The Josephs did!


GRAVES, R., 6& R. Patent, Trans. Hebrew Myths, 1968

HUNTER, Milton R., The Gospel Through the Ages, Stevens and Wallis Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah,  1975

KLASSIN, Frank R., The Chronology of the Bible, Regal Publishers, Inc., Nashville , Tenn., 1975  

MacLAURIN, E. C. N., Joseph and Asaph,  Vetus Testament Vol. XXV, January No. 1, E.  J. Brill, Leiden, 1995

MILLET, Robert L., Camille  Fronk Olson, Andrew C. Skinner, Brent L. Top, LDS Beliefs, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2011

NELSON, Russell M.,Teachings of Russell OM. Nelson, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 2019

OGDEN, Kelly D., & Andrew Skinner, The Book of Mormon Verse by Verse, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 2011

Shulman, Eliezer, The Sequence of events in the Old Testament, Investment Co., of Bank of Hapoalim, and Ministry of Defense, Israel, 1987



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