Decoding the Prophets’ Symbolism
You may have heard of the Bible Code. This is not about that. In fact, the Bible Code, as portrayed in Christian and pop literature, is a fallacy.
This essay is about a very real code, though it was never meant to be such. It happened quite by accident. You are probably very aware of it, though you’ve probably never thought of it as a code.
This is about the Prophets’ Code: the vocabulary or lexicon used by the prophets that I call the “language of the prophets.” It is characterized by the odd and often bizarre imagery found everywhere in scripture, including latter-day revelation. Examples of this imagery are such things as wheels, candlesticks, monsters or beasts, stars, trumpets and references to arcane ideas such as fire from heaven, the heavens reeling to and fro, the moon turning to blood, Alpha and Omega, the Son of Man and so forth.
So we must ask: Why the use of such symbolic or coded language? Why a Prophets’ Code? Why mystify any of the gospel? Why not simply speak plainly so all can understand?
I maintain that the prophets’ imagery was “plain language” as it was first used and understood. From the days of Adam until the demise of the Savior and his Apostles, it was a common denominator in all ancient cultures, easily comprehended by people who could neither read nor write. But because the means to understand that language has since been systematically erased or expunged from our culture over time, it has become an enigma rather than a teaching tool.
Therein lies a remarkable story.
Codes and keys: deciphering a lost language
A code can be simple or complex. A game of language called “Pig Latin” is an example of a simple code. To use it or understand it, you must have this key: Move the first letter or consonant of each word to the end of that word, and then add an “a” (pronounced “ay”). Thus, the word “store” becomes “orestay,” or the word “happy” becomes “appyhay.” And unless bystanders can figure out the key—that is, decipher the code—they will not understand what is said by those who do have the key.
So the code’s key becomes the solution to the puzzle.
For the sake of clarity, here’s a simple encoded or encrypted text that is sometimes used to baffle the uninitiated.
“How are you? Everything here is fine. Let everyone know that I am well. Please ease their concerns.”
On the face of it, this message seems to indicate that the writer is in no danger and there is no cause for alarm. But once you decipher the code, using the key, it conveys an entirely different message.
Have you detected the key? Can you decipher the message? If so, you know the message is actually a cry for help—literally! By taking only the first letter of each sentence and putting it in the same order it appeared in the original note, we get the word HELP.
Of course, coded messages are typically more complex than that. Some messages are obviously a code because the symbols used are unfamiliar and cryptic, or the text appears scrambled. Others appear to be legitimate texts, like our little example, because they can be read quite easily. In that case, it isn’t even obvious that it is an encoded message at all, as is the case with the Prophets’ Code.
In every case, one must have the key—sometimes a combination of keys—to decipher a code. Thus, it’s safe to say that where codes are concerned, the “key” unlocks the message.
Deciphering an unknown language, such as the Prophets’ Code, is much like decoding an encrypted message.
A good example of this is the Mayan codices. The anthropologists and linguists who are working to decipher the Mayan hieroglyphs have literally been deciphering a code, plain and simple. The very word for their writing indicates that: codices.
The Mayans didn’t intend their writing system to be a code. In fact, for them it was just the opposite. It was their way of recording and presenting their cultural, traditional and religious beliefs. All Mayans could easily “read” it.
It is the passage of time and the inevitable forgetting that comes with it that makes a once-familiar writing or teaching system into a mystery, a code. For them, it was commonplace; for us, it’s an enigma.
The prophets, the apostles and the Savior didn’t invent the Prophets’ Code. They weren’t trying to hide anything. Instead, they were using a well-established, time-honored system of sacred metaphors and symbols from their contemporary cultures to teach the gospel.
Confirmation of the key
Once the proper key is applied to its code, the message it translates becomes clear. The moment that happens, it’s obvious to all concerned that the applied key is the correct one. Thus, the key’s ability to fully interpret or translate a message confirms its validity. Put plainly, it is its own proof.
Nowhere is all this truer than in our attempt to decode the prophets’ message. And it also serves to point out the shortcomings in flawed interpretations so prevalent in Christianity today. When the key is applied—or keys in this case—the message can be read in its entirety, word for word. There are no garbled or incomprehensible segments and there is no need to take bits and pieces out of context to build an interpretation, as do all our Christian cousins.
The long-lost key
So, what is the key to the Prophet’s Code? Cosmology--the events and images projected on Earth’s ancient heavens by electrified plasmas and nearby planetary orbs generating effects and phenomena seen and experienced by all mankind. These were recorded in stone, art, ritual and tradition by the ancients, which then gave rise to the major themes or motifs of all cultures.
Those themes, called metaphors or motifs and their graphic counterparts, the icons or images, became the archetypes for all sacred expression in cultures worldwide. These were handed down from generation to generation, carefully and faithfully preserved as their sacred history.
How history became a code
An explanation of how plain language became a code can be found, of all places, in the vision of Nephi, the one I call “The History Lesson.” (1 Nephi 13.)
He is shown by an angel that the Gospel—“the words of a book”-- would first be corrupted by the Gentiles and then further defiled by “that great and abominable church.”
When we look at secular or profane history, we see just what Nephi described. First the Catholic Church rejected many texts that may have contained authentic teachings of the Savior and the apostles. It’s also apparent from textual comparison that there were many alterations and changes made by these “Gentiles.”
Hence, modern Christianity is based almost entirely on doctrine from only a few texts the Catholic fathers preferred. Actually, it’s quite likely that they chose poorly in some cases because they were not guided by revelation, as were the Apostles. These few canonical texts are thought to contain all that’s needed to be a true disciple.
Later, in the Reformation, many splinter groups broke off from the Catholic. This was the Protestant movement that saw the advent of Lutherans, Calvinists and the Church of England, among others. Like their Catholic predecessors, none of the Protestant churches claimed revelation. Hence, they embraced the same canon that the Catholics had settled upon centuries earlier, though they interpreted it somewhat differently.
At about the same time, one group denounced formal religion altogether. They embraced the doctrines of skepticism, rationalism and empiricism. They rejected both the sacred canon and the teachings of Christianity as “myths,” the product of irrational, foolish minds.
But they embraced the Catholic educational system, the “university” with all its liturgical trappings and degrees of indoctrination—once called “priesthood.” These accouterments include the robes once worn in sacred settings, the cap and gown used in commencement exercises—what Nibley famously called “the robes of false priesthood.”
They created an alternate creation story, their own version of Genesis, which they later called “the Big Bang.” They fashioned their own apostles: Lyell, Hutton, Darwin, Newton and later, Einstein.
This was the Science Church, though it refused to be equated with normative religion, casting itself as the antithesis of religion. And that is the key: It is a religion, complete with its own dogma and hierarchy. Nephi saw it for what it was and correctly referred to it as a “church.” He called it “the great and abominable church”—“great” because it infiltrated all cultures the world over, “abominable” because its doctrine denied Christ and his Gospel.
As a consequence of these two major influences on Christianity, as predicted by Nephi, we can come to only one conclusion: The most common cultural and religious motifs of antiquity are unknown and unrecognized in our day and age for what they truly represent. We either misinterpret them, or we are blind to them, though they surround us. If we recognize them at all, we label them “mysteries” and then dismiss them as inexplicable. They exist in our cultural traditions and customs—even our language—and they are especially prevalent in our religions.
The result: What was once a clear and unmistakable system of related ideas is now a mystery, a conundrum, a secret and impenetrable code. According to secular and sectarian authorities, they are nothing more than “myth,” “legend,” “fairy tales” or “paganism,” having virtually nothing to do with the real world or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So too the icons that were meant to recall and explain the imagery of all ancient culture and tradition.
Deciphering the Prophets’ Code
The good news is this: You can learn the Prophets’ Code. You can read the scriptural imagery that has heretofore completely baffled you. One need not be a prophet or even a scriptorian to read the prophets’ messages and completely understand them, without the confusion and frustration you’ve encountered in the past.
A whole new world of knowledge and understanding will open to you. You’ll see the scriptures afresh, with a entirely new perspective on the past and the future. The most enigmatic passages and visions in biblical texts—from Genesis, to Ezekiel, to Isaiah, to Revelation—and modern revelation—from Doctrine and Covenants to the Pearl of Great Price—will become as child’s play to read.
Without sounding self-serving or self-important, I suggest that you avail yourself of the information provided by this author to further your understanding of the prophets’ messages. You will benefit from my many years of study and research that now offer a unique and comprehensive understanding of the Prophets’ Code.
Read the scriptures as easily as you would read a newspaper or magazine.
Your best resource and guide is this website: www.MormonProphecy.com. I hope you will make a point of visiting. It will be my privilege to be your guide.