Saturday, February 13, 2021


 “Two stones build 2 houses

Three stones build 6 houses

Four stones build 24 houses

Five stones build 120 houses

Six stones build 720 houses

Seven stones build 5040 houses

From here on go out and calculate

that which the mouth cannot speak

and the ear cannot hear”

(Sepher Yetzirah)


In Ether chapter 3 we read regarding the vessels/barges/arks constructed by the Jaredites and the Brother of Jared’s interaction with the Lord and the necessity of having light within the vessels. The Brother of Jared records how he molten sixteen small stones out of Mount Shelem. The Brother of Jared then presents the stones to the Lord to touch and infuse with light.

This idea of illuminated stones was not unique to the Brother of Jared. We actually find the account in Noah's ark where God commands Noah to, "make a window for the ark." (Gen. 6:16) The word used in this passage for window is actually the word Tzohar (צֹהַר) meaning radiance or something that shines.  The usage of the word window (probably the closest thing the translators could come up with to demonstrate something that gives light) is translated from the Hebrew word tzohar meaning radiance, brilliance, or something that shines. While the word challown is actually the word for a window/or opening in a wall.  

The idea of the tzohar as a luminous stone finds its way in Judaism as demonstrated by Rabbi Geoff Dennis in his article, Tzohar: Gem of Noah, Light of Heaven:

“Targum Yonatan may be the first source to claim the tzohar was a luminous stone, pulled from the primordial river Pishon (T. Y. Genesis 6:16). This is elaborated on in Genesis Rabbah 31:11:
During the entire twelve months that Noah was in the Ark he did not require the light of the sun by day or the light of the moon by night, but he had a polished stone which he hung up – when it was dim, he knew it was day, when it was bright, he knew it was night.

Another version of this idea appears in the Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b:

“Make a tzohar for the ark.” R. Johanan said, The Blessed Holy One instructed Noah: 'Set there precious stones and jewels, so that they may give you light, bright as the noon [in Hebrew, this is a play on words between tzohar and tzohoriyim].The same idea is reiterated in the medieval Midrash Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer 23.”

There are other traditions citing that the Patriarch Abraham wore a luminous stone around his neck that allowed him to see and that Moses recovered a luminous stone from Joseph’s body and placed it in the tabernacle in the wilderness. Dennis also recounts the following tradition:

 “Abraham wore a glowing stone around his neck. Some say that it was a pearl, others that

it was a jewel. The light emitted by that jewel was like the light of the sun, illuminating

the entire world. Abraham used that stone as an astrolabe to study the motion of the

stars, and with its help he became a master astrologer. For his power of reading the stars,

Abraham was much sought after by the potentates of East and West. So too did that

glowing precious stone bring immediate healing to any sick person who looked into it.

At the moment when Abraham took leave of this world, the precious stone raised

itself and flew up to heaven. God took it and hung it on the wheel of the sun. 

This talmudic legend about a glowing stone that Abraham wore around his neck is

a part of the chain of legends about that glowing jewel, known as the Tzohar, which

was first given to Adam and Eve when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden

and also came into the possession of Noah, who hung it in the ark. See “The Tzohar, p.

85. This version of the legend adds the detail that the glowing stone was also an astrolabe,

with which Abraham could study the stars.”

(Sources: B. Bava Batra 16b; Zohar 1:11a-11b, Idra Rabbah.)

The peshat or literal interpretation of this passage and others regarding these interpreters or two stones would be that they were literally two stones (rocks) of some type.  The Remez or allegorical meaning may be related to Jacob and his vision of the Ladder of Heaven as he slept upon stones.  Its’ D’rash level may be related to Noah’s window or Zohar Stone (Luminous Stone) that gave light to the Ark.  But its' Sod level or at least those teachings that lead one to the Sod level of interpretation and experience may be something much greater than we have suspected. 

We see the concepts of the sealing up of the things witnessed by The Brother of Jared and his receipt of two stones or interpreters in the following verses:

“And behold, when ye shall come unto me, ye shall write them and shall seal them up, that no one can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot be read.

And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also with the things which ye shall write.

For behold, the language which ye shall write I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write…

And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men.

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that he should seal up the two stones which he had received, and show them not, until the Lord should show them unto the children of men.” (Ether 3: 22-24,27-28)

Moroni like his fathers all the way back to Lehi was trained in the prophetic sciences and disciplines of Ancient Israel. These sciences and disciplines included the methods of sealing and encoding greater teachings into the story of the text so that those who were not ready to receive the greater teachings would be fed with milk while those who were searching and disciplining themselves for greater light and knowledge would find meat.  Like the Apostle Paul iterates, we feed people based on their maturity and ability to digest the food given to them.  

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

Imagine the harm that would be caused if we fed a newborn steak.  Having neither the teeth nor the developed digestive tract to process the meat it would be deadly. This is why this same warning was given through Joseph Smith:

“And I command you that you preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me. For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish.” (D&C 19:21-22)

The prophetic schools of Israel taught not only the foundational (Milk), but also the greater things of God (Meat). They also taught the methods of how to communicate eternal truths to their listeners based on their level of asking, seeking, and knocking (actions) in obtaining further light and knowledge. We see one such method of administration by the Messiah himself through the usage of parables:

“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

“For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

“Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

“And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,

And seeing you will see and not perceive;

For the hearts of this people have grown dull.

Their ears are hard of hearing,

And their eyes they have closed,

Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,

Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

So that I should heal them.’

“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:10-17)

The methods of administering light and truth as practiced in ancient Israel leave us in a difficult position. While we are familiar with the reading of the literal account and sometimes venture into the allegorical meanings behind the account, we are uneducated in the keys of knowledge that unlock the greater portions of the word:

“And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (Alma 12:9-10)

From reading the words of Paul, Joseph Smith, The Messiah, and Alma we appear to be in a bit of a difficult situation. We are commanded impart the portion or parsha he grants to the children of men but at the same time we are condemned for hardening our hearts (Hebraism- closing our thoughts and desires) to the greater portion of the word or mysteries. Failure to receive leads us into the captivity of the chains of hell, yet receiving with an open heart leads us to spiritual rebirth.  This is why in the original manuscript that was the foundation of The Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price we find the following:

“& I have given an unto you another law & commandment wherefore teach it unto your children that all men evry where must repent for <or> they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God for no unclean thing can dwell there or dwell in his presence for in the language of Adam man of holyness is his name & the name of his only begotten is the Son of man even Jesus Christ a righteous Judge which shall come I give unto you a commandment to teach these things freely unto your Children saying that <in> as were <as much as they were> born into the world by the fall which bringeth death by water & <blood &> the spirit which I have made & so became of dust a living soul even so ye must be born again of water & the spirit & cleansed by blood even the blood of mine only begotten into the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven that ye may be Sanctified from all sin & enjoy the words of eternal life in this world & eternal life in the world to come even immortal glory for by the water ye keep the commandment by the spirit ye are Justified & by the blood ye are Sanctified that in you is given the record of Heaven the comfrorter the Peacable things of immortal grory [glory] the truth of all things that which quickeneth all things which maketh alive all things that which knoweth all things & hath all power according to wisdom mercy thruth <Justice> & Judgement & now behold I say unto you this is the plan of salvation unto all men the blood of mine only begotten which shall come in the maridian of time & behold all things has its likeness & all things are created & made to bear record of me both things which are temporal & things which are spiritual things which are in th[e] Heavens above & things which are on the Earth & things which are in the Earth & things which are under the Earth both above & beneath all things bear record of me & it came to pass when the Lord had spoken with” 

("Old Testament Revision 1," p. 14, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed November 15, 2020,

If as Moroni records that the Lord commanded him to write the things which the brother of Jared saw and to seal or encrypt them according to the Israelite methods of prophetic encryption, then the greater things can only by decrypted or interpreted by the interpreters given to the Brother of Jared-The Two Stones.


“The letters of the Hebrew alphabet are called “stones”. The sages of Israel state that they are stones quarried from the great Name of God.” (Raavad, Pri Yizchak, Sefer Yetzirah- Aryeh Kaplan, pg. 190)

The Book of Mormon speaks of two stones called the Interpreters by the Nephites. We equate these two stones with the stones or Urim and Thummim as related by Joseph Smith’s scribe Oliver Cowdery:

““These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history or record called ‘The Book of Mormon.’” (JS History 1:75)

In The Book of Mormon we are first introduced to the idea of interpreters in the account of Ammon and the People of Limhi:

"Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer...

And now, when Ammon had made an end of speaking these words the king rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God, saying: Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates, and these interpreters were doubtless prepared for the purpose of unfolding all such mysteries to the children of men." (Mosiah 8:13,19)

So, what are the two stones?  Are they literal rocks?  The peshat or literal level of Israelite interpretation says yes.  The other dimensions of Israelite prophetic interpretation, however, reveal something more.

In the ancient Israelite prophetic tradition, the letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet are equated with stones. If this is the case and Moroni was commanded to seal up (encrypt) the interpreters/stones, then according to the Israelite Prophetic science these two stones are also two letters received by the Brother of Jared. This then leads us to ask the question-What letters or stones did he receive?

In Jared’s account he fashions 16 stones out of the Mount Shelem and presents them to the Lord. The number 16 is associated with the divine name Ehyeh divine name expressing: "I AM". It is the divine name associated with the crown of the Tree of Life and the Throne of God. The record then relates how the Lord touches the stones one by one to illuminate them:

“And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord (YHVH) stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger . And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.” (Ether 3:6)

Like the tokens of a covenant, The Lord (YHVH) stretches forth his hand and touches the stones with his finger. The stones are then illuminated.  Can you see them?

Isn't it amazing that man is created in the image of God-Five fingers on each hand and five fingers/toes on each foot.

Copyright February 13, 2021 Robert Kay

(To Be Continued)

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