Notes on Documents from 1770

This first letter of the year 1770 starts with Jefferson recounting the loss of his books and personal writings and records through a house fire. What such a loss as this must do to the soul of a scholar, to know that the only thing left behind is what is recorded within.

Of papers too of every kind I am utterly destitute. All of these, whether public or private, of business or of amusement have perished in the flames.

The second half of this letter is extremely jovial and youthful speculations as to why his friend has not written him in an extended period of time. This is a bit humorous and reminds me again of me in my younger days.

An interesting turn of events, where the main website has been offline since yesterday. I have reported the same and then realized that I likely had access through the “Wayback Machine” Internet Archive, which indeed, I did. Curious to note that the Internet Archives features documents which are not presently published on the current version of the site, including notes of conduct observed probably from his trip to England which were used to script a text for describing texts for use in parliamentary (Congress) conduct.

This letter is a petition of aid for a friend who found himself stranded in London. Thomas Jefferson responds kindly to solicit support by means of another friend in London, offering to cover the financial obligation incurred for such support.

I shall deem it a very great one, to procure him credit with your mercantile friends in London for any monies of which he may be in need, for the repaiment of which I enter myself security.

(emphasis added)

“Farewell… Until… the Pleasing Bar of the Great Jehovah”

Moroni 10:31-34 (Moroni 10:31-34)

Here I am at the end of the record, and also at the end of a 16 year journey for me. I had not seen the significance of the parallels in my life with this study until just now. I have slowed down in the approach to my studies as I have understood how carefully selected every word is in these records.

There are three themes in these final verses:

  • The gathering of Israel
  • The invitation to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.
  • A farewell until the final judgment.

Al estudiar en español estos versículos, me impresiona que Moroni no tuvo texto ni ningún otro libro para guiarse en sus pensamientos, lo que dice aquí al final es palabra propia. No está inventando, sino está testificando.

This morning (with fresh eyes), these three themes are not disconnected, but are deeply enveloped in one another. The covenent that the Father made with the house of Israel (the same covenant that was made with Adam and Eve at the fall) was that we might come unto Christ and be perfected in him, receive a remission of our sins and be made holy so that we can come back into His presence.

The irony of it all is that there is literally nothing this side of heaven or earth that keeps us from receiving all the blessings of God except the condition of our own hearts. Moroni’s cries to Jerusalem and the daughter of Zion are wake up calls to them who already knew, who at once had knowledge and forgot it. The blessings are not passed on to another. It is Zion who must put on her beautiful garments. It is Jerusalem that must stand up erect and shake off her dust.

There are references to other passages of scripture that talk about Zion and Jerusalem awaking and putting on their beautiful garments. Two similar passages are found in Isaiah 52:1-2 and in 3 Nephi 20:36-38. In both of these passages there is a statement about the daughter of Zion removing a band from around their necks. This statement is explained in Doctrine and Covenants 113:10 as being a curse administered from God in their scattered position upon the Gentiles. That God would be the one telling them to remove the band he himself put there (probably for their protection) is a profound thought.

“Jerusalem” and “daughter of Zion” have reference to the same thing. I hadn’t seen that in my reading of verse 31 until this morning. At the end of the verse, Moroni, is then speaking to the House of Israel, which he seems to also be using interchangeably.

This morning, after having sat with this entry now for several weeks, I’m decided to conclude this study. On this final morning, I’m sitting with the reality that all is centered in Jesus Christ. Moroni points to Christ as the fulfillment of the covenants made with the House of Israel, and the means by which that they would realize the blessings of this covenant. He also looks to Christ as the great Jehovah, the eternal judge of the quick and the dead.

The symbolic imagery of the angel Moroni is invoked in this final verse, as Moroni contemplates his resurrected state flying through the air towards that great reunion and time of judgment.

This is the whole purpose of this book, to persuade men to believe in Jesus Christ, come unto Him, and prepare ourselves to pass that exam of the final judgment. That is the great purpose of mortality, this period of probation is to prepare for the final exam, which will be hardly no examination like as man’s dreams could fathom. Rather this is exiting step and what leads to life eternal. What appears to be the end is in truth the end of the beginning.

(The spirit of the Lord is strong with me this morning. I’ve read the chapter again in Spanish from top to bottom.) This book is given to make us holy. It is a preparation to return to the presence of God, who is as He desires us to become. This is the text that has been prepared to assist us in our return. There is no other book that does this thing, to this degree. No other book will draw us closer to Christ than the book of Mormon.

Now, I must go pray.

Sacrament Contemplation


  • The atonement, or more specifically the suffering in Gethsemane, was arguably the most violent, and unjust act of all humanity. The Just suffering for the unjust.

24 Jun 2023

  • Trying to wrap my brain around what has been shown me in the last 24 hours.
  • I need the time to process in prayer.
  • What is unclear to me is whether the thoughts or impromptu impressions that started with me at the top of the morning, and which occupied my prayers, brief as they were… I want to do good.

Come Unto Christ

Moroni 10:26-30 (Moroni 10:26-30)

Cuando leo declaraciones fuertes como lo que dice Moroni en el versículo 26, me hace recordar que Dios no es negro y blanco en tales cosas. Pero es el hombre natural el que atenta ser incompatible, inflexible, y sin voluntad de cambiar y crecer. Es en el acto de negar el poder y los dones de Dios, en no reconocer el proceso de crecimiento que resulta por medio del arrepentimiento, que resultará en nuestra expulsión del reino de Dios.

Las notas de pie y resto de este grupo de versículos muestra un punto muy fascinante: que en los postrer días Dios mismo manifestará la veracidad de estas palabra.

The last verse of this section is an invitation that is coupled together, as with expectation: come unto Christ AND lay hold on every good gift. This is followed by an admonition to stay away from the evil gifts and unclean things.

These verses are resonating with me this morning. This is Moroni at the end of the book, accertaining the veracity of what he has recorded. So certain is his knowledge that he understands that this record will be used at the end of time, during the judgement as a means of measurement or assessment.

Prophets speak with knowledge, not mere hope or optimistic speculation. They know what will happen.

This seems like a bit of an incomplete study, but I’m ready to move on. I’ve added footnotes to the scriptures on these verses that are of significance. They are as follows:

These things are written with the knowledge that one from beyond mortality would have, as if they were already dead or passed over to the other side of the veil and all that is known there.

Footnote on verse 27

This isn’t an invitation to do anything. This is a statement of fact. That somehow and in some way, at some time, it will be God who shows you that the words written by Moroni are true.

Footnote on verse 29

“The Power and Gifts of God”

Moroni 10:19-25 (Moroni 10:19-25)

This is scaffolding. The gifts of God or scaffolding, means by which faith is realized.

I am being drawn to consider that this conversation on Spiritual Gifts is in reality a witness of the gifts that come from Jesus Christ. So often the human condition causes me to pass over, to fail to understand that Jesus Christ, this Divine Being who intimately knows me, who has already walked many miles patiently with me, who has bridged many gaps in communication and many faults in action, who felt every difficult and painful thing that I have dealt within my own existence— I fail to understand that Jesus Christ transcends all this darkness and pulls me up into glorious realms of light and bestows upon me gifts of light, to the benefit of myself and others.

Verse 25, Moroni states that we cannot do good unless we operate under the power and by the gifts of God. We cannot do good otherwise.

Spiritual Gifts are never to be done away with, and will always be with us even until the end of the world (see vs. 19). This suggests, as we always have in Christ, a degree of stability and assurance and permanence. Their presence is only lessened by our lack of faith, or unbelief.

I’ve jumped back to the earlier part of this chapter and am reconsidering the spiritual gifts that come from Christ, and reflecting upon the “matrix” or array of manifestations that are in spiritual gifts. (I’ve added personal footnotes on verse 8.) It occurs to me that this can account for the dissonance between how Rachel and I work together spiritually, or that the same gift can operate differently in each of us, and still come from God! (This would have been profoundly helpful many years ago, but is still helpful today.)

This sparks the tendency or maybe even the temptation to say “If only I’d known what I know now!” But this is the great quest of life, to acquire knowledge so that we can make better, more informed decisions.

Returning to later verses, I’m wrestling with the bold statement that Moroni makes that “if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.” (vs. 25) There is an interconnected-ness between faith, hope, and charity, and the gifts of the Spirit. Spiritual gifts are present among those who exercise faith.

I think what’s really sitting with me is that Moroni knows this is the end for him. These are his final words. And no where else in the Book of Mormon is there this list of spiritual gifts really discussed. They are featured in the New Testament and the Doctrine & Covenants, but the timing an placement here at the end of the Book of Mormon really has me pondering their significance. And for Moroni to make such bold statements as “you can only do good, if you work by the power and gifts of God,” why would I waste my time doing anything else?

I have concluded this study by reflecting further upon the power of God. I jumped back to verse 7, “deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men…” I also reviewed the Topical Guide entry for Power of God.

Notes on Documents from May 1766 to End of 1769

This letter is key, because it details a visit of Jefferson’s to Annapolis, “This Metropolis”, where he accounts for his first visit to the government proceedings in the two different houses.

Counsel to a friend who sought Jefferson as a mentor apprenticeship for his son in law. He declined on grounds of not having sufficient space and time, but also offered practical recommendation on a course of study of the law and suggested that law students don’t need mentorship as much as time to study their books.

Editors Note: A letter remarkable for its sweeping and penetrating criticism of the apprentice system of legal training, in which TJ was himself schooled and which was universal in eighteenth-century America.

The Spirit of the Lord bade me consider the proceedings of this letter, which had to do with surveying in a land dispute. Such are the dealings of government surveyors.

This document presents a peculiar and distinct approach to government in the British Colonial era preceding the Revolution. From a government/legal perspective, I had no idea that such an allegiance to the crown of England was an open stated expression in the 1700’s. If I am reading this correctly, there is even talk of the King of England relocating his residence to the American territory.

Virginia Nonimportation Resolutions, 17 May 1769

The conditions for which this document (resolution) was drafted was on the premise of oppression through taxation. But the deeper injury was that the restrictions that this taxation caused was a shift:

…Dreading the Evils which threaten the Ruin of ourselves and our Posterity, by reducing us from a free and happy People to a wretched and miserable State of Slavery;
…That the Debt due to Great-Britain for Goods imported from thence is very great… in particular, that the late unconstitutional Act, imposing Duties on Tea, Paper, Glass, &c. for the sole Purpose of raising a Revenue in America, is injurious to Property, and destructive to Liberty… and is, of Consequence, ruinous to Trade;

First… promote and encourage Industry and Frugality, and discourage all Manner of Luxury and Extravagance.

Secondly, That they will not at any Time hereafter, directly or indirectly import, or cause to be imported, any Manner of Goods, Merchandize, or Manufactures, which are, or shall hereafter be taxed by Act of Parliament, for the Purpose of raising a Revenue in America.

The colonialists not only proposed to boycott the taxation of the 4 or so basic commodities coming out of Great Britain, they boycotted almost every commodity and good being exported by Great Britain. There were 5 other points in this document that the subscribers of this document agreed to, essentially cutting off the ability of the British to collect income of any form from the American colony of Virginia.

Furthermore, I find this curious that this statement was drafted to protest the conditions of commerce that were encroaching on their liberties and pursuit of happiness. They also saw the actions taken as injurious to trade.

This line, already mentioned above, though seems universal:

Dreading the Evils which threaten the Ruin of ourselves and our Posterity, by reducing us from a free and happy People to a wretched and miserable State of Slavery;

Virginia Nonimportation Resolutions, 17 May 1769

An invoice for a list of books obtained by Jefferson in the same year that he began service in the House of Burgesses.

A quick search for some of the books that Thomas Jefferson secured that year, led me to the discovery of these websites:

Notes on Letters from Jan 1760 to May 1766

(Letters 1 – 11)

A brief letter at age 16 where Thomas Jefferson makes a very wise decision to go off to school to reduce on social calls to his present residence, and also decrease on the cost of attending to such guests. He seeks the council of one of his guardians, John Harvie, with regards to educational objectives.

A Christmas letter to a close friend, John Page, who seems to live back at Jefferson’s home town. He would have been 19 years old when he wrote this letter. Some series of misfortune had befallen him the night before for which he compared his lot to Job of old and was willing to credit the devil for some of the misdeeds that had befallen him.

Another mostly social inquiry from his friend, John Page. He proposes sailing in a soon-to-be-completed ship to the old world countries together with his friend. He finds his studies to be monotonous and mind numbing.

Another social letter. Some insights into Jefferson’s thoughts on happiness, and related topics.

Perfect happiness I beleive was never intended by the deity to be the lot of any one of his creatures in this world; but that he has very much put in our power the nearness of our approaches to it, is what I as stedfastly beleive. The most fortunate of us all in our journey through life frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict us: and to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes should be one of the principal studies and endeavors of our lives. The only method of doing this is to assume a perfect resignation to the divine will, to consider that whatever does happen, must happen, and that by our uneasiness we cannot prevent the blow before it does fall, but we may add to it’s force after it has fallen. These considerations and others such as these may enable us in some measure to surmount the difficulties thrown in our way, to bear up with a tolerable degree of patience under this burthen of life, and to proceed with a pious and unshaken resignation till we arrive at our journey’s end, where we may deliver up our trust into the hands of him who gave it, and receive such reward as to him shall seem proportioned to our merit. Such dear Page, will be the language of the man who considers his situation in this life, and such should be the language of every man who would wish to render that situation as easy as the nature of it will admit. Few things will disturb him at all; nothing will disturb him much.

Handful of letters mostly dealing with relationships of acquaintances and their romantic relationships.

Also, it is interesting to note the airs of youth and how pious and judgmental Jefferson was, not unlike how I may have responded in earlier years.

Every Good Gift Cometh of Christ

Moroni 10:8-19 (Moroni 10:8-19)

I am being reclaimed.

I have read through the list of spiritual gifts and at least two stand out to me, no, three:

  • Teach the word of wisdom or knowledge, not sure which, nor do I fully understand the difference presently.
  • Working of mighty miracles.
  • Speaking in all kinds of tongues, interpreting of tongues.

New day and I’m referencing my patriarchal blessing to see how this aligns with suggested spiritual gifts. From my blessing:

  • Blessed to be able to have a close relationship with Heavenly Father

As I am reading through my patriarchal blessing, there are many gifts listed (as blessings), but I was hesitant to equate these with spiritual gifts, because I’ve always regard spiritual gifts as resources given to us to bless the lives of others around us. But for some reason as I read about these blessings from my patriarchal blessing, I was not considering these things as benefiting those around me.

  • Blessed to be calm and peaceful
  • Blessed to self-care in this life.
  • Blessed to maintain myself in a spiritual mood from day to day.
  • Blessed to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.
  • Blessed to have a knowledge of the Pre-Mortal councils.
  • Blessed to constantly seek for truth.
  • Blessed to love my parents.
  • Blessed to be missionary minded.

But then the only blessing that is designated as a “Spiritual Blessing” in capital letters in my blessing is this:

  • to know that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God.

Going back to Moroni, after listing the ones that he has listed, he adds this statement: “And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.” (vs. 17, emphasis added)

The shift for me is that whether from my patriarchal blessing or the scriptures, the purpose of Spiritual Gifts is the same: to bless the lives of others.

Jesus Christ is the gift of God. In John 4:10, Jesus told the woman of Samaria that if she knew the Gift of God and who he is… that she would have asked of him, and he would have given her living water. If I know who Jesus is, then I am asking him for living water; I am turning constantly to him as the source of life and true knowledge.

Following a “rabbit hole” of footnotes, the Lord is demonstrating to me his mercies which “are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” (1 Nephi 1:20)

Then gentle correction (from a merciful God):

That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

Alma 34:38

What I am sitting with is the trajectory that I have taken with Florence Nightingale, which came about exclusively through prayer, ministrations of the Holy Ghost, and constant study. What he has shown me and caused me to consider is extremely expansive from where I was before.

What I must not loose sight of is the process that brought me here: It has been the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action.

I am going to move on after this morning, but a final read through brought at least two more gifts to my attention:

  • The Gift of Prophecy (which Paul says is better than the Gift of Tongues, and that it should be coveted, see 1 Corinthians 14 )
  • The Gift of the Ministering of Angels (which I would have passed over had the Spirit of the Lord not impressed upon my mind how I have received the ministration of angels from time to time, even to the degree that I have known who it was that was ministering to me.)

The final take away is this: “…remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.”

Morning Thoughts on Business, Babylon, and the Kingdom of God

(15 Sep 2023) My call back to the ministry this morning has to do with this reality: that God is merciful to those who choose to exercise faith in him. The witness, born of life’s experiences thus far, that is mine is that one can wake up from day to day and commend one’s life into God’s hands, study his words from the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, but also from the rest of the canonical works of scripture and the words of living prophets and apostles. You can turn your petitions to the Lord at the start and end of the day on bended knee and counsel with and receive instruction from the Divine source of truth, which truth is not after the makings of this world and its modern conventions.

The world would tell you that you are a number, a dollar amount, a player in a system. Babylon was established anciently to get gain. We live amongst the modern day reiteration of Babylon. Systems both great and small are designed to get gain. Organizations are built around this objective, to make money. We live amongst Babylon on an exponential growth trajectory, the likes of which antiquity could have never imagined.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is also among us, housed in a modern organization. Perhaps, on its outward appearances, it resembles something of similarities with modern business. From it’s organzitional structure, to its modern systems that intermingle with the rest of the world’s modern economy. We distribute food via modern highways in semi-trucks and send humanitarian relief via airplanes. We pay our tithing online thanks to the Internet and modern Banking that allows this all to happen without leaving my bed!

And yet, at its core. At the very center of this modern Church there is something far more profound and universal. It is the beating heart of the Gospel: Jesus Christ himself, the Son of the Living God. It is power, and it is strength to navigate a complex and modern world. The gospel of Jesus Christ, both gives us power to navigate through systems and organizations, and it also gives us power to define and create new systems, new ways of working for ourselves and others that value more than just money, but rather humanity.

And yet, we have to ask ourselves why? And the answers though simple to state are not always so simple to