Searching for the Holy Order and 23 High Priests- Part One

By OneWhoIsWatching

From JST Exodus 34 we learn that as a result of the wickedness and idolatry of the children of Israel Moses breaks the first set of plates that contained the higher law and he was commanded to hew two other tablets containing the lesser law;

And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them.” Exodus 34: 1-2, 14

From this and modern revelation we can surmise that the fulness of the Gospel and the LAW OF ZION sometimes referred to as GOSPEL LAW and the LAW OF CONSECRATION as contained in section 42 of the D&C, was contained in the first set of plates that Moses broke.

We are also informed that it is the Holy Order of the Priesthood according to the Son of God that must administer the LAW of ZION and ESTABLISH ZION.

Section 84 provides additional clarity pertaining to the holy order or highest portion of the Priesthood that was taken out of the midst of the Children of Israel.

Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until john, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.”

It is evident that Moses was endeavoring to implement the LAW OF CONSECRATION, sanctify his people and establish ZION just as Enoch and Melchizedek had done among their peoples.

As a result of the rebelliousness of the people, Moses was taken out of their midst along with the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, the higher law and the ability to establish Zion..

Old Testament Prophets however prophesied that in the latter days, the Highest Priesthood would be restored and Zion would be re-established after becoming “captive” for a period of time;.

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” href=”″>Isa. 52: 1

Providing additional clarity and context the prophet responded to a question about the above verses;

Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?

He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.” href=”″>D&C 113: 7-8

It appears from ancient and modern scripture that God will send one like Moses to bring again Zion in the end times. He will enable the daughter of Zion who had previously lost the priesthood power to redeem Zion to put on their former strength and complete the final establishment of Zion!

If someone were to ask you to name the most significant events in the history of the Church between 1830 and 1836 what would you say?

Before studying this topic in depth, I would have suggested

However, I would submit to you that there is another event that took place in 1831 that rivals all of the amazing events listed above.

Curiously, it is not covered in lesson manuals nearly as often, or spoken of as frequently by LDS scholars and the details are not as widely known among members of the church.

I am speaking about the restoration of the Highest Priesthood upon the earth in 1831 at the Morley Farm in Kirtland Ohio.

On that occasion 23 priesthood holders were ordained to the High Priesthood after the Holy order of God according to the voice of God out of the heavens. It appears they were ordained to the same High Priesthood that Melchizedek and Enoch had been ordained to. Even the same priesthood that is required to establish Zion.

As we shall see as this story unfolds, it appears the restoration of this priesthood upon the earth in 1831 was necessary for the establishment of Zion. That is why Section 52 was given the day after this conference, detailing the commission God gave to these High Priests and other Elders to travel to Jackson County and begin the holy order of consecration at the designated place, even the center stake of Zion. Shortly after that, those not commanded to plant themselves in Zion were to also establish the holy order of the law of consecration in Kirtland.

In late spring of 1831 Joseph Smith called a conference in Kirtland, Ohio. Without any known previous recorded revelation directing the Prophet Joseph Smith to ordain individuals to the office of high priest, the office was restored and bestowed upon 22 elders and one priest.

Joseph Smith said, “the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders. It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required.” History of The Church, 1:175-177

Several others including Lyman Wight stated that the Melchizedek priesthood was bestowed for the first in this dispensatin time at that conference.

Church apologists such as Elder B.H. Roberts and others conclude that the statement made by the prophet and others concerning the bestowal of the “Melchizedek Priesthood for the first time” is not accurate and that it the special conference deals with the restoration of the “office” of high priest for the first time, not the bestowal of the “Melchizedek Priesthood” for the first time. (History of The Church,1:176)

As we review the events pertaining to this special conference in the context of ancient and modern scripture and the words of those involved in it we shall be better prepared to determine if Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight and others were correct in his declaration that the Melchizedek Priesthood was being bestowed for the first time in this dispensation.

This controversial event that took place at the Morley Farm created a lot of indigestion for several leaders of the Church back at that time and, I suspect, based on the lack of interest in this event in contemporary lesson manuals, articles and books by LDS gospel scholars, it continues to create indigestion for some clear up to today.

A few years ago on one of my pilgrimages to Kirtland, while talking to a guide, he confided in me that there was a “secret document” circulating around, in the possession of some of the tour guides that listed who the 23 people were that were called and ordained to the high priesthood on that fateful day.

The list graded each of the 23 as either an “F” for “faithful” or “A” for “Apostate”.

The apostates were then categorized into one of three sub-categories depending, according to the creator of the document, on how much light they had previously received and how far they fell, judging by how much they eventually persecuted Joseph Smith and the Church, and, ultimately, whether they supported Brigham Young during and after the succession crises.

The secrecy of the document intrigued me and I pleaded with him to obtain a copy of it for me which he did.

I didn’t really see the significance of the event back then so I simply cataloged the document for future reference.

Recently, as I have been studying some priesthood issues, it occurred to me how significant that event was and I desired to review the document.

Unfortunately I could not find it so I tried to find out who these 23 men were by googling the topic. To my surprise, I was not able to easily find who these 23 High Priests were on the internet by simply doing key word searches. (and I am not too shabby with key word searches)

I then called the Visitors Center in Kirtland Ohio and asked the tour guides. They were not aware of the document I had previously obtained from their predecessors and did not have any record of who the 23 High Priests were.

They did, however, give me the phone number of the Visitors Center at the Morley Farm. I called there and asked the guide.

He did not know either and he commented how strange it is that such information its not easily found and that the event that took place there at the Morley Farm is not as highly profiled as the visitations of John the Baptist and Peter James and John, the vision Joseph and Sidney had in section 76 or the visitation of Christ and Moses, Elijah and Elias in the Kirtland Temple.

He asked me to send him the names of the 23 High Priests if I ever found out who they were.

Still not wanting to go through the many religious documents that I have collected over the years in search of the missing document, I decided to simply go to the greatest source of information I had pertaining to the early history of the Church in Kirtland Ohio. I dug out my book entitled “Joseph Smiths Kirtland”, a book I highly recommend. This book is one of my prized possessions because it details so many of the incredible Pentecostal events that took place in Kirtland.

It was written by Karl Anderson, a member of the church who, as I recall, was a stake president in the Kirtland area and who has spent much of his life researching the events that took place in Kirtland Ohio. He is affectionately referred to a “Mr. Kirtland” by some members of the church.

To my surprise and utter amazement, the book did not list the 23 High Priests, in fact, it didn’t even detail the events that took place on the occasion in which the ordinations of the first High Priests in this dispensation that took place at the Morley Farm!

Very strange indeed!

Luckily, I eventually found the missing document I had obtained in Kirtland. Since finding it, I have been informed that the names of all the priesthood leaders attending the conference and the names of the 23 men given the High Priesthood are contained in the Far West Record. I was able to get a copy of that and verify that the names in the document that I had been given were accurate.

You can view a copy of the transcript of the Far West Record as well as the document I obtained in Kirtland by clicking here.

In part one and part two of this post I want to summarize from seven credible corroborating historical sources what took place on that remarkable day and also the dynamics that may have been taking place between the strong personalities involved.

Fortunately we have a pretty good record of what transpired from the diaries and journal entries of Levi Hancock, Ezra Booth, Zebedee Coltrin, Philo Dibble, John Whitmer, John Murdock, John Corrill and Lyman Wight.

John Whitmer was the conference clerk.

Admittedly, Ezra Booth and John Corrill had apostatized by the time they wrote their remarks and became skeptics and enemies of Joseph Smith and the Church. Ezra Booth’s remarks are tainted a little bit from his bias which, in my opinion makes his recollection just as important as the others in getting a balanced corroboration of testimony of what took place on that occasion.

In future parts of this series, we will review the role that the third and highest priesthood was to play in implementing the law of consecration and establishing Zion.

I will also detail what we learn about the three different divisions of priesthood from this event and other teachings of the scriptures and the words of Joseph Smith.

I will use this event and a discourse on priesthood given by Joseph Smith as a context in which the concept of priesthood can be viewed and the three different levels of priesthood can be examined.

The results of this summary and the implications of what was taking place at that conference at the Morley Farm may surprise you. It may challenge your current assumptions about the priesthood. Most importantly, we can learn from history what to expect in the prophetic future, when the first laborers of the last kingdom return.

Here is a brief outline of what happened during the first part of at that amazing conference.

According to John Whitmer, a conference was called by Joseph Smith which promised a “blessing” if the Elders were faithful.

June 3, 1831. A general conference was called, and a blessing promised, if the elders were faithful, and humble before him. Therefore the elders assembled from the East, and the West, from the North and the South. And also many members.”

Others remembered the “blessing” that was to be poured out as being referred to as an “endowment“. This is the early and more accurate use of the term endowment in LDS theology;

“… About this time Solomon Came to see me and brought Zebedee Coltrin along he held some metings and wanted I should go to Kirtland with him we started the latter part of May got there by the Last of the month I lerned that on the fourth of June there was to be an indowment of some Elders” Levi Hancock

Others described the promised events as the beginning of the “great and mighty work” and that it would involve the “work of miracles“. (spelling corrections from these accounts have not been made. Many of these good people spell the same way I do!)

As the 4th of June last was appointed for the sessions of the conference, it was ascertained, that that was the time specified, when the great and mighty work was to be commenced, and such was the confidence of some, that knowledge superceded their faith, and they did not hesitate to declare themselves perfectly assured that the work of miracles would commence at the ensuing conference. With such strong assurances, and with the most elevated expectations, the conference assembled at the time appointed. To give, if possible, energy to expectation, Smith, the day before the conference, professing to be filled with the spirit of prophecy, declared, that “not three days should pass away, before some should see their Savior, face to face.” (Ezra Booth)

In his introduction, the Prophet likened the kingdom of God to a grain of a mustard seed and that some would live to see it put forth its branches.

He prophesied that some of those present would become martyrs.

The fourth of June came and we all met in a little string of Buildings under the hill nere Isaac Morleys in Kirtland Geauga County Ohio we all went to a school house on the hill about one fourth of a mile asending nearly all the way it was builded of logs they was filled with slab benches here the elders were seated . the meeting was opened as usual Joseph began to speak he said that the kingdom that Christ spoke of that was like a grain of musterd seed was now before him and some should see it put forth its branches And the angels of heaven would some day come like Birds to its branches just as the Saviour had said and Some of you shall live to see it come with great glory some of you must die for the testimony of this work” (Levi handcock)

Philo dibble testified that in Joseph’s opening remarks he prophesied that there were some in their midst that would see the heavens opened and bear record of the coming of the Son of Man before the conference came to a close.

The Prophet also prophesied that the “Man of Sin” would be revealed during the conference as well.

I saw Joseph Smith the Prophet when he first came to Kirtland, and was with him in the first conference held in that place, which was in a small school house. When he arose in our midst he said that before the conference closed there were those present who should see the heavens open and bear record of the coming of the Son of Man, and that the man of sin should be revealed

Apparently Joseph had prophesied of these events the previous day as well. John Whitmer notes that “Joseph Smith Jr. Prophecied the day Previous that the man of Sin should be revealed”

According to Ezra booth, the Prophet cautioned those in attendance in his preliminary remarks tonot be overcome with surprise”

According to Jared Carter, Joseph Smith, who was not a gifted speaker, became a talented speaker as he became filled with Spirit;

“Before this [i.e., June 6, 1831] was that memorable day when God first gave the fullness of the high priesthood to the elders of the Church of Christ. At the interview, Brother Joseph, notwithstanding he is not naturally talented for a speaker yet he was filled with the power of the Holy Ghost so that he spoke as I never heard man speak for God, by the power of the Holy Ghost spoke in him and marvelous was the display of the power of the spirit among the elders present..” Journal of Jared Carter, typescript copy, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah

John Whitmer noted that;

“The Lord made manifest to Joseph that it was necessary that such of the elders as were considered worthy, should be ordained to the high priesthood.”

Lyman Wight becomes the First High Priest of this Dispensation

Next, Lyman Wight takes the spotlight as the first man in this dispensation to be ordained to the High Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, also referred to as the highest division of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

This of course seems contradictory to those who thought that the “higher” priesthood that Joseph and Oliver had previously received by Peter James and John, which included the calling of Apostles, was the highest division of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

As we will see in later parts of this article, there are three divisions of the priesthood;

1- The “lesser” priesthood (Aaronic or Levitical, named after Aaron)
2- The “Higher” priesthood
(Patriarchal named after Abraham & Moses)
3- The “Highest” priesthood (Named after Melchizedek)

Joseph Smith has stated that “all priesthood is Melchizedek”, nevertheless, there was obviously a higher division of priesthood than what Joseph and Oliver had received previously from Peter James and John.

According to section 84, the lesser priesthood after the order of Aaron and the higher priesthood after the order of Abraham and Moses are the two priesthoods necessary to govern the church, dispense the ordinances of salvation and reveal the mystery of Godliness.

Those two priesthoods are bestowed according to lineage and/or according to the “will of man”.

The highest priesthood which is called the Melchizedek Priesthood which was bestowed anciently and at the Morley Farm however, according to the scriptures, is not given based on a man’s lineage nor is it given according to the will of man. Rather, it is given according to the voice of God out of the heavens as we shall see from the following accounts of this amazing event that happened at the Morley Farm.

And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will..” (see href=”″>JST Gen. 14: 25-40 )

Opening events during the Conference at Morley’s Farm-

First let us review the recollection of Ezra Booth who states that Lyman Wight was the first to be ordained to the High Priesthood and to be given the honor of ordaining 16 of the 23 men who would be given the high priesthood, including Joseph and Sidney. It was Joseph’s privilege and responsibility to have it revealed to him from God who should be ordained to the high priesthood;

He then laid his hands on the head of Elder Wight, who had participated largely in the warm feeling of his leader, and ordained him to the High Priesthood. He was set apart for the service of the Indians, and was ordained to the gift of tongues, healing the sick, casting out devils, and discerning spirits and in like manner he ordained several others;

and then called upon Wight to take the floor Wight arose, and presented a pale countenance, a fierce look, with his arms extended, and his hands cramped back, the whole system agitated, and a very unpleasant object to look upon.

He exhibited himself as an instance of the great power of God, and called upon those around him “if you want to see a sign, look at me.” He then stepped upon a bench, and declared with a loud voice, he saw the Savior… It, however, procured Wight the authority to ordain the rest. So said the spirit, and so said Smith. The spirit in Smith selected those to be ordained, and the spirit in Wight ordained them…”.

Here is the recollection of John Witmer regarding the ordination of Lyman Wight

After he had prophecied, he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight (h) (swh) [and ordained him] to the High Priesthood after the holy order of God. And the Spirit [blank] fell upon Lyman and he prophecied concerning the coming of Christ He said that there were some in this congregation that should live until the Savior shoud decend from heaven with a shout, with all the holy angels with him.

He said the coming of the Savior should be like the Sun rising in the east and will cover the whole earth. So will the coming of the Son of man be. Yea, he will appear in his brightness and consume all before him. And the hills will be laid low, and valies be exalted, and the crooked be made straight, and the rough Smooth. And some of my brethren Shall suffer marterdom for the sake of the religion of Jesus Christ and seal the testimony of Jesus with their blood He saw the hevans opened, and the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the Father, Making intercession for his brethren, the Saints He said that God would work a work in these last days that tongue cannot express, and the mind {of} is not capable to conceive.

The glory of the Lord shone around At this conferen[c]e these were ordained to the high priesthood, namely Lyman Wight (h) (swh), Sidney Rigdon, John Murdock, Reynolds Cahoon, Harvey Whitlock, and Hyrum Smith were ordained by Lyman Wight excet S Joseph Smith Jr except Sidney Rigdon. The following [were ordained] by Lyman Wight by commandment. Parley P. Pratt (h), Thomas B. Marsh (h), Isaac Morley, Edward Partridge, Joseph Wakefield, Ezra Thayer, Martin Harris, Ezra Booth who denied the faith, Harvey Whitlock denied the faith, also Joseph Wakefield, Joseph Smith Sr., Joseph Smith Jr., John Whitmer. [In the Far West Record, Sidney Rigdon is ordained by Lyman Wight.

Levi Hancock recalled that Joseph “looked at Lyman Wight and said you shall see the Lord and met him nere the Corner of the house and laid his hands upon him and blessed him with the visions of heaven he then stepped out on the floor and said I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand let them kill me, I should not feel death as I am now”

Zebedee Coltrine stated; “Then Lyman Wight was ordained a High Priest. Joseph told him he should see the heavens opened and after he was ordained he stood on his feet and testified that he could see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

Following this conference, the majority of the 23 High Priests would be called upon to travel to Jackson County, preaching the gospel along the way. As Elder Wight traveled on this mission and others he would inform people that “he was a preacher of the gospel after the order of Melchizedek”

In the next part of this article we shall consider the dramatic turn of events at this special conference that took place after Lyman Wight was ordained and bore witness of the Father and Son. After that, the power of the adversary was displayed and the “Man of Sin” was revealed.

To be continued…

[ click here for journal and diary references of the seven witnesses who provided testimonies about the events that took place at the special conference ]


  1. I am very much looking forward to the rest. This is fascinating! I personally have been thinking about priesthood a lot recently.

  2. Watcher, pardon my bluntness, but it seems that you contradict yourself when referring to the division of the priesthood described in D&C 84. You state:

    According to section 84, the lesser priesthood after the order of Aaron and the higher priesthood after the order of Abraham and Moses are the two priesthoods necessary to govern the church, dispense the ordinances of salvation and reveal the mystery of Godliness.

    Those two priesthoods are bestowed according to lineage and/or according to the “will of man”.

    While I agree with that assessment–especially given the “line of authority” (or lineage-based conferral) described in the section just prior to the all important verse 25, “Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;–I don’t understand how you then jump to the proposal you put forth at the very beginning of the essay in which you claim that the priesthood spoken about in section 84 regarding that which was taken from the midst of the children of Israel is nothing but the highest order, aka Melchizedek.

    It seems like it should be one or the other. Or maybe there is a transition from one to the other that I am just missing. Could you help me figure this out?

  3. NEPT

    I am not sure I understand your question, or the contradiction you are seeing.

    Hopefully this will make more sense as the priesthood doctrine is developed in later parts of this article. I plan on providing a much more detailed breakdown of the three priesthoods.

    It may be that you are assuming I am saying something about section 84 that I am not

    I would submit that while section 84 does a great job of detailing the first two degrees of priesthood, explaining the lessor and higher priesthoods, it also addresses the highest priesthood as well, although you don’t notice it and separate it out as being distinct from the first two unless you are familiar with what Joseph Smith taught about the three categories of priesthood and are looking for it.

    So just keep watching

  4. After going back to section 84, I can be a little more specific in my question.

    Verse 6 states that Moses received the Holy Priesthood under the hand of Jethro. I assume that this refers to a patriarchal priesthood (sons of Moses/Abraham; my assumption is also based on the further explanation of the Lord given in verse ). And in verse 25 the Lord says he took Moses and the Holy Priesthood from the midst of Israel. A keyword search would bring “Holy Priesthood” up in both instances here. To me, Holy Priesthood refers to the same aforementioned division.

    I’m guessing that in your response to my question you are implying that verse 22 is a transition between the high and the highest priesthoods, for I believe JS taught that the Melchizedek PH was required to behold the face of God and live, with consequent sanctification. But if that is the case, it is not self-evident to me, since the word “this” in verse 22, regarding a division of the priesthood I assume, appears to reference “this greater priesthood” in verse 19, which would be the lineage-based PH described previously.

    So, while you succeeded in answering my question, it only brought out another! 🙂

  5. Oops, I left out the verse number in my post above.

    The parenthetical statement should read:

    (sons of Moses/Abraham; my assumption is also based on the further explanation of the Lord given in verse 31)

  6. NEPT-

    At the risk of getting a little ahead of myself and the development of the article, I shall dance around your comments the best I can

    My responses in caps-

    “Verse 6 states that Moses received the Holy Priesthood under the hand of Jethro. I assume that this refers to a patriarchal priesthood (sons of Moses/Abraham”

    [Yes that is correct]

    “And in verse 25 the Lord says he took Moses and the Holy Priesthood from the midst of Israel. A keyword search would bring “Holy Priesthood” up in both instances here. To me, Holy Priesthood refers to the same aforementioned division.”

    [Not necessarily. There are places where “holy priesthood” is associated with the Melchizedek Priesthood ie, “Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood” section 107]

    “I’m guessing that in your response to my question you are implying that verse 22 is a transition between the high and the highest priesthoods, for I believe JS taught that the Melchizedek PH was required to behold the face of God and live, with consequent sanctification. But if that is the case, it is not self-evident to me, since the word “this” in verse 22, regarding a division of the priesthood I assume, appears to reference “this greater priesthood” in verse 19, which would be the lineage-based PH described previously.”

    [No. I was not implying a transition there. The Patriarchal Priesthood named after Moses (which Joseph and Oliver got from Peter James and John and which contains the keys of the Apostleship) has all the keys necessary to administer the fulness of the Gospel and the ordinances thereof.

    That patriarchal priesthood authority and the ordinances thereof have the keys necessary to unlock the heavens and see and converse with God. In fact it was this Patriarchal Priesthood that Joseph used, to unlock the heavens at the Morley Farm and to find out from God who was to be ordained to this High Priesthood.

    If Joseph had already held the High Priesthood, he would not have needed to be ordained to it by Lyman Wight under the infinite and infallible direction of God .]

    There are some other cryptic references in this section that refer to the High Priesthood. i want you to have the joy of looking for them between now and when I return to this topic in a later part of the article.

    I will point one other interesting thing. Later in the section, God refers to the Highest Priesthood which these seven servants had received at the Morley Farm according to the voice of God out of heaven… and he, at this time, during this revelation, “confirms” their previous ordinations as High Priests, according to his voice out of the heavens!]

  7. PS

    I should have said “highest Priesthood” in the statements I made above to avoid confusion;

    In fact it was this Patriarchal Priesthood that Joseph used, to unlock the heavens at the Morley Farm and to find out from God who was to be ordained to this High[est] Priesthood.

    If Joseph had already held the High[est] Priesthood, he would not have needed to be ordained to it by Lyman Wight under the infinite and infallible direction of God .]

  8. So, if you need the Melc. PH to see the face of God and live where does that leave Joseph and his first vision? This seems very contradictory to me. It has bothered the edges of my brain before but I never really thought about it in depth.
    Plus, isn’t there an account of Joseph and Sidney seeing Christ and the Father during a school of the prophets session in Nauvoo? Did they, or didn’t they have the Melc. PH at that time? I thought it had been lost and I’m far too lazy to look up the account.

  9. TruthSeekerToo

    The use of Melchizedek is very confusing because it means different things to different people.

    “all priesthood is Melchizedek” in the sense that all priesthood is an appendage of Melchizedek priesthood.

    I don’t recall saying you needed to have the highest priesthood to see the face of God, although that conference at the Morley Farm may well have been the first time that Lyman saw God.

    We need to keep in mind that there may have been something more substantive, in addition to him seeing God that may have been going on… it may have something to do with what he was prophesying about, or it may have been a sanctifying process he was experiencing in front of everyone or it may have had something to do pertaining to and oath and a covenant that was taking place…

    We may need to look at the things transpiring that are not quite as obvious as other things taking place.

    Here are a couple things to keep in mind regarding you question.

    As I mentioned to NEPT, the second priesthood (“higher, patriarchal priesthood) holds the keys of the apastalic priesthood. It can administrate and dispense all of the saving ordinances of the fulness of the gospel, including the mystery of God.

    That is the priesthood by which Joseph Smith was conducting the conference initially, and receiving revelation on WHO God wanted to ordain to the highest priesthood.

    You can part the heavens and communicate with God with patriarchal priesthood. You don’t need the “highest” priesthood, which is named after Melchizedek to see the face of God.

    Secondly, people like Joseph and Sidney who are the literal seed and the literal Sons of Moses and Aaron, held patriarchal priesthood by lineage. That, plus FAITH is all they needed to see the face of God. No physical ordination was required as demonstrated by the first vision.

    Their physical “ordinations” from John the Baptist and Peter James and John pertained to administration in Gods church and kingdom.

    The following statement in section 84 seems to contradict Joseph Smiths ability to see God in the first vision since he had not recieved the ordinances;

    “And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh”

    It may be that according to eternal law, once the church is set up on earth, people must submit to the ordinances thereof and the administering priesthood before they can see the face of God.

    Lastly, JS pointed out that;

    “it is one thing to be on the mount & hear the excellent voice &c &c. and another to hear the voice declare to you, you have a part & lot in the kingdom”

    Perhaps that is part of the distinction between the higher and highest priesthoods, one enables us to be on the mount and hear his voice, see converse with him, see his face, etc., the other enables us to eventually have our calling and election made sure.

    In a related statement he said; “It is one thing to see the Kingdom of God, and another thing to enter into it.”

    If I have not completely confused you, please let me know so that I can try again.


  10. You have yet to completely confuse me. 😉 I am still not seeing the order of the thing, though. It isn’t resonating with me and I’m not getting any spiritual confirmation.

    I promise I am studying! I just have sooo many questions.

    You said:
    “I don’t recall saying you needed to have the highest priesthood to see the face of God, although that conference at the Morley Farm may well have been the first time that Lyman saw God.”

    You’re right, you didn’t. D&C 84:19-22 seems to say it. Even if it is talking about the middle PH, I don’t see how it is true. Joseph had no priesthood ordinances before the first vision that I am aware of. These verses seem to be saying that the priesthood ordinances are necessary for seeing God.

    “Secondly, people like Joseph and Sidney who are the literal seed and the literal Sons of Moses and Aaron, held patriarchal priesthood by lineage. That, plus FAITH is all they needed to see the face of God. No physical ordination was required as demonstrated by the first vision.”

    I still can’t reconcile this with D&C 84:19-22. It clearly states that the ordinances are needed. What are these ordinances???
    I also have to ask, if this is true, how does a woman see the face of God? Is by her faith and/or through receiving ordinances of the priesthood or something else? How was Mary able to withstand whatever she went through to conceive the Holy Child? Had she received the ordinances by proper authority or was she an inheritor of the priesthood by lineage.

    II have more questions, but I really wonder why I am up at 1:45 in the morning trying to figure this stuff out. LOL
    ACK! I’m so stinkin’ confused!

    When D&C 84 speaks of God taking the Holy PH and Moses out of the midst of the children of Isreal and leaving only the lesser/Aaronic PH what does that mean? They were left with ONLY the Aaronic PH or did they have 2 divisions still. Did Moses ever have the 3rd and highest PH-is that what was taken?

    Oh my goodness. I’ll stop now.

  11. TruthSeekerToo

    Part 5 should address all of these questions and prove to you beyond any reasonable doubt that it is possible for you to be even more confused than you are now.


  12. Great post! I am looking forward to the rest.

    Another thought about joseph seeing God as a young boy…perhaps we are defining the terms too strictly.

    Refering to section 88 and the parable in there,

    “Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.”

    As discussed in an earlier blog here, the kingdoms are the planets, the Lords creations.

    BUT, the whole of them and the work they are doing is literally GOD, moving in his majesty and power. We live in the mind of God and this is the order of things. Therefore, he that sees His face and contemplates it, receives the vision of all. All things, past present and future are before him, having ‘plugged-in’ to the mind of God who comprehends all things, at the speed of light, a urim and thummim himself. So, seeing his face and living requires a vision on the level of Nephi, Lehi, Moses, Enoch, Abraham, John etc… Wherein all things are made known.

    so, Josephs first vision where he talked the Lord in the Garden was only a personal visitation. It was not the time, space and mind expanding event that it requires to
    “comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him”

    This HIGHEST order of the priesthood transcends any earthly limitations of church organization, it is the order of the Gods given to man to perform the work of Saviors on mount Zion, as Enoch did so well.

  13. Weeping-

    Very well said!

    I think there is sufficient evidence in the scriptures and the words of joseph Smith to justify the supposition that the;

    “HIGHEST order of the priesthood transcends any earthly limitations of church organization, it is the order of the Gods given to man to perform the work of Saviors on mount Zion, as Enoch did so well.”

    I believe this is, in part why Lyman Wight had the mindset to go off and organize his own church and kingdom after the martyrdom. Once you have the highest priesthood, you have the power to start your own kingdom.

    In a Zion society, even though the concept of equality is practiced, autonomy is as well. Each high priest that has received their earthly and spiritual inheritance is ready to rule over their own kingdom and preparing themselves to become Gods..

    And yet it is interesting how God continues to utilize the high priests within the church organization within a consecrated order while the process of establishing Zion and performing the work of Saviors on Mt Zion is in process.


  14. Okay Watcher, I’ll try not to pout while you make me wait. Is this to try my patience? I’m not sure if I should be anxious to become more confused, though. LOL

    Weeping-I like much of your post.

    You wrote:
    “This HIGHEST order of the priesthood transcends any earthly limitations of church organization, it is the order of the Gods given to man to perform the work of Saviors on mount Zion, as Enoch did so well.”

    I agree and add my belief that the highest PH would have to transcend ALL earthly limitations including gender. I believe it has to be accessable to each and every one of God’s children.

  15. […] A Forgotten Event in LDS History? Filed under: History, Scripture — mahonri @ 2:31 pm OneWhoIsWatching is “Searching for the Holy Order and 23 High Priests“: […]

  16. LOL

    Anarchist- I don’t know if “Mahonri” plans on posting all of the parts of this series, but if he does, it looks like you get the last laugh!

  17. LOL

  18. LOL

    I would guess most of those who follow my posts already knew since I make it no secret. All of the graphs and pics I provide are on a website registered to my name and I have mentioned numerous things including speaking with Ogden Krauit at Sunstone which is easy to get that info from Sunstone… etc. Hence the investigative reporting hopefully did not keep you up to late at night!

    Regarding your comments, as i previously mentioned to you on my blog this AM, I don’t recall ever getting those comments. I had invited you to resubmit them.

    I’ll be happy to respond to them later on a post


  19. Should be rather easy to respond, Watcher. Looks like you can formulate a rebuttal from the material that you’ve already posted in the High Priesthood series. There doesn’t appear to be any new issues.

    As already discussed, all priesthood is Melchizedek; the fact that one has received the highest priesthood doesn’t preclude him from conferring “lesser” (or subordiante) keys. Thus, Peter, having received the power to bind on earth and in heaven, is not rendered incapable of dispensing the keys of the Patriarchal, or apostolic, priesthood.

  20. Hey Watcher, I suppose a simple rebuttal, but certainly not exhaustive, might include the oft spoken refrain…’all priesthood is Melchizedek’. LOL

    Striking a more serious tone, do you agree, Watcher, that possessing keys of the highest priesthood (being sons of God) does not preclude one from conferring keys of a ‘lesser’ priesthood? In other words, even if we assume that Peter was a High Priest of Melchizedek given that he had conferred upon him power to bind on earth and in heaven, that would not prohibit him from dispensing the apostolic keys of the Patriarchal priesthood. After all….

    ….Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of my ministry….

    And didn’t Joseph say something to the effect that there is a greater priesthood than that of an apostle or prophet? I can’t find the reference right now, maybe you can help me out!

  21. Sorry, I didn’t realize my former post had been accepted. I thought it got lost in cyberspace!

  22. Prophet is the highest title in the priesthood. At least it is higher than King & Priest (and Queen & Priestess).

    A prophet or prophetess testifies of Christ and submits to Christ and invests in him all priesthood authority.

  23. Derek, I’m not aware of any reference to your supposition that a prophet is “higher than King & Priest”, but there is a record of Joseph’s opinion:

    “That of Melchizedek who had still greater power even power of an endless life of which was our Lord Jesus Christ which also Abraham obtained by the offering of his son Isaac which was not the power of a Prophet nor apostle nor patriarch only, but of King & Priest to God to open the windows of heaven and pour out the peace & Law of endless Life to man &No man can attain to the Joint heirship with Jesus Christ with out being administered to by one having the same power and authority of Melchizedek.” Words of Joseph Smith 245

    You might want to rethink your position about a King & Priest.

  24. Derek, I get the feeling you’re just winging it. Maybe your intention is not to enlighten at all, but rather stir the pot a little? Maybe play the devil’s advocate? That sure can be fun elsewhere, but not necessarily around here.

    Many of us are seeking our one true God, not an atheistic view of worshiping no specific God. Now, if you’re going to rebut my antagonism to your “agnostic atheism” with a plurality of gods argument, then just know that I’ll counter with the fact that “to us there is but one God pertaining to us, in all thro all”, or in other words, “but to us only one & we are to be in subject to that one” (JS, June 16, 1844).

    I really have no idea what you’ll come up with next, but I’m sure it will be a doozie. But as for my part, Derek, I’m finished. If studying religions is your thing, then it’s time to move on to the next one.

  25. Assume what you please about me as you search Google reading crap I posted to teh intartubes 10 years ago at eighteen (be sure to take in every “um” and “uh”). While you’re searchin’ Google about me, take a look at my work on consecrated intellectual property, and maybe put your works where your mouth is by contributing to the cause a little bit yourself.

    The priesthood is the supreme “archy”, and it may well be the most complex of archies. While there may be anarchy where there are no states, there will never be anarchy where ever you find the priesthood and the gospel.

    The Melchizedek priesthood being that of the Sons of God, we cannot attain to its fulness until we achieve exaltation and perfect knowledge. Good luck doing that here in this hour, day, and year. In ignorance we can’t aspire to much more than the spirit of prophecy, which is to testify of Christ and his perfection and exaltation.

    The priesthood is a hierarchy of stewardships. According to the order of patriarchy, our fathers exalted will be above us in godhood, like our fathers Adam and Noah are above all our fathers, like Israel’s God Christ is above Adam, like God our Father is above Christ, etc. We will have many gods in the hierarchy of the Eloheim, according to patriarchy, baptism, adoption, ordination, etc., all while our Heavenly Father is whose will his children will all obey, as he obeys his father; we can only do as we have seen our father do before us, etc.

    But by all means, keep on thinkin’ your a king; I know I do: I’ve the genealogy of a Phœnician Isrælite to prove it…

    As for the Melchizedek priesthood, Moses will certainly be above those of us in this dispensation, as he is above Peter, and he would that we were all prophets.

    Those who take up the claim of king and priest too readily do so in vanity, missing out on the similitude for some future exaltation.

  26. I suppose the confusion is over terms terrestrial vs. terms celestial. Should we be exalted we will be advanced from prophet to king & priest, but to aspire to such while terrestrial is vanity (this being the case, here’s hoping the veil is rent in our lifetimes).

    Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

    pp. 271-272: Now I will give my testimony. I care not for man. I speak boldly and faithfully and with authority. How is it with the kingdom of God? Where did the kingdom of God begin? Where there is no kingdom of God there is no salvation. What constitutes the kingdom of God? Where there is a prophet, a priest, or a righteous man unto whom God gives His oracles; and where the oracles are not, there the kingdom of God is not.

    In these remarks, I have no allusion to the kingdoms of the earth. We will keep the laws of the land; we do not speak against them; we never have, and we can hardly make mention of the state of Missouri, of our persecutions there, but what the cry goes forth that we are guilty of larceny, burglary, arson, treason, murder, &c., &c., which is false. We speak of the kingdom of God on the earth, not the kingdoms of men.

    p. 318: (July 23rd, 1843.) Last Monday morning certain men came to me and said: “Brother Joseph, Hyrum is no prophet–he can’t lead the church; you must lead the church. If you resign, all things will go wrong; you must not resign; if you do the church will be scattered.” I felt curious and said: “Have we not learned the Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, which includes both Prophets, Priests and Kings: see Rev. 1 Chap., 6th v., and I will advance your Prophet to a Priest, and then to a King–not to the Kingdoms of this earth, but of the Most High God. See Rev. 5 Chap., 10th v.–‘Thou hast made us unto our God, Kings and Priests, and we shall reign on the earth.'”

    If I should be exalted would there not be a great many of my enemies disappointed in Missouri, when they wake up and find themselves in hell, see what they might have obtained, and realize what they have lost by not listening to my voice, and obeying my instructions?

  27. […] Comment by NEPT on August 3, 2009 6:38 pm […]

  28. d

  29. Too me your all theorizing about a fable called J. Smith. Of course great insight can be derived from this endeavourer, try LSD and you’ll be blasted far beyond these insights into a much higher realm of personal consciousness, try psilocybin and go to the real of the Gods.

  30. […] Revealed and the latter day falling away begins in fulfillment of Pauls prophecy. (See article on Special conference at the Morley Farm also section 51 was given the day after the […]

  31. OWIW, I’m leaving this link here as a corrective to your posts (this one and the one after it). I do not think you had knowledge of this early use of the word priesthood. I, myself, just learned of it today. I encourage everyone to read the following information found on the Juvenile Instructor blog BEFORE reading OWIW’s post above.

    On higher, and lesser, priesthoods

  32. Although I only skimmed the post you reference, it appears he makes the same mistake the current LDS church continues to make in assuming their is a breakdown of just two priesthoods, ie, higher and lower.

    To get a broader and more accurate picture of priesthood, one needs to read this

  33. It appears that Joseph’s discourse was in 1843 and it clearly states 3 priesthoods. Also, this seems to go along with Alma 13. To me, this has nothing to do with the office of High Priest, but as it explains, these priests were ordained by God. I’m open to being wrong as I often am, but I see what owiw is getting at here, at least with regard to 3 separate priesthoods all under the umbrella of Melichezidek.

  34. Also, can someone post a link or information on who the 23 ordained High Priests were. I’ve read through all parts, but would like a simple list so I don’t have to go back and track it all down? I clicked on one link, but led to a page not found. Thanks in advance. Sorry I’m behind, but am just discovering these things.

  35. Deej-

    Here is a listing of the 23 original high priests and their status shortly after the martyrdom (with minimal research

    The following 7 of the 23 were dead
    Hyrum smith
    Joseph smith Jr
    Joseph smith Sr
    Samuel H Smith
    Thomas Marsh
    Jacob Scott
    Edward Partridge

    These 3 of the 23 apostatized from the faith
    Joseph Wakefield
    John Corrill
    Ezra Booth

    Those who still believed in the restoration movement seemed to scatter seven or eight different directions

    6 of them followed the Brighamites
    Solomon Hancock
    John Murdock
    Reynolds Cahoon
    Parley P Pratt
    Simeon Carter
    Issac Morley

    2 of them followed Sidney Rigdon
    Sidney Rigdon
    Harvey Whitlock (eventually went to Utah)

    Wheeler Baldwin followed Alpheus Cutler (Cutlerites) (eventually RLDS)

    Ezra Thayer RLDS

    John Whitmer followed David Whitmer (Whitmerites)

    Lyman Wight led a group of Saints

    Martin Harris followed James Strang and then David Whitmer, and then Gladden Bishop, and then William Smith and finally came to Utah in about 1870ish

  36. [John Whitmer mentioned this occasion also and said that Joseph] saw the heavens opened, and the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father making intercession for his brethren, the Saints. (F. Mark McKiernan, An Early Latter-day Saint History: The Book of John Whitmer (Independence, MO.: Herald Publishing House 1980), 67)

    For future ref.

    Also, to clarify statements made in some of these posts, although LW saw the father and the son, it was Joseph that saw the father and the son first at the meeting at the Morley Farm and stated that he would not feel death if people were to kill him in the state he was in

    As Joseph cast the evil influence out, a great vision opened to him, and he exclaimed, “I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand, let them kill me, I should not feel death as I am now” (“The Life of Levi Hancock,” copied from his own journal by Clara E. H. Lloyd, typescript, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p. 33).

  37. OWIW — do you think that it was the Father and the Son that Joseph Smith saw in the sacred grove? He mentions two personages in all the accounts, and the LDS church says it was the Father and Son — but what say you?

  38. who says psilocybin and mormonism are mutually exclusive, ricch? awesome post

  39. Justin

    I assume that it was, although, if it was, one wonders why Joseph took so long to tell the first vision story and also why Joseph needed to have the Melch endowment at the Morley Farm if he had already been transfigured before God 11 years earlier.

    Another strange issue I am trying to wrap my mind around is the parallel between Adam and Christ … ie, they both come with the same number of angels accompanying them… Christ referred to as the second Adam, both appointed to subdue all creatures on the earth, etc. etc. etc.

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