Friday, January 08, 2010

Curse of the Water

Q. Someone asked me recently why LDS missionaries were not allowed to swim and did this policy relate to LDS believing that the waters had been cursed.

D&C 61:3;14 But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief. . . . Behold, I, the Lord, in the beginning blessed the waters; but in the last days, by the mouth of my servant John, I cursed the waters.

A. The origin of this goes back to the Doctrine and Covenants and the practice of returning missionaries to return home to Nauvoo via paddle boat up the Mississippi and Missouri from New Orleans. Christ told Joseph Smith that He preferred the missionaries to travel by land and not by water so that they could continue missionary work while they traveled. Also, there was mention made of avoiding sin because while the laws of the land applied to the land, it has always been the practice that the laws don't necessarily apply to the water. So, even to this day, paddleboats were used for gambling and brothels up and down the Mississippi.

As far as missionaries not being allowed to swim. This is a policy decision based on a desire to prevent injury. Missionaries are much less likely then their counterparts to be injured or die while on their mission. Missionaries are permitted to travel by boat, or ferry and missionaries get in the water to baptize converts often. Missionaries are also instruccted to bathe daily as well.

The curse of water spoken of in Revelation as part of the 7 trumpets, and 7 vials of the tribulation in the last days over the Seas, rivers, fountains etc and really is symbolic of peoples, nations, and tongues. So, in reality God is concerned with people not the water, and it is the people who are cursed and not really the water itself. This understanding fits perfectly with the reasoning that missionaries were instructed to travel home by land and continue to preach the gospel message instead of traveling by boat while the cursed peoples on the shores perish.

Rev. 17: 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

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