What The Priesthood Is


Note: I found this essay while surfing the Internet this past week.  I took it from the mormon_anarchy Yahoo group.  Wake_Up posted it there on Sun Oct 8, 2000, as the third message and now I’m re-posting it here in a slightly edited fashion (I tried to correct some typos). I have also re-posted three more of his essays.  (See Why Father is an Anarchist, Congruence vs. Obedience, and Agency: The Single Principle for a Continuous War.)

Please keep in mind that I did not write this article. I tried to contact the author, (whose real name, according to Stirling D. Allen, is Jahnihah Wrede), but my email was returned as “Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender.”  If you want more information about him or his views, I suggest you visit his (now defunct) web site, which you can view by using the Way Back Machine.

What The Priesthood Is

Whenever I ask this question, people invaribly answer with,

“The Priesthood is the authority to act in the name of God.”

Unfortunately, this rhetorical regurgitation does not even address the question.

To explain ‘what’ the Priesthood (PH) is requires first to know what its substance is. Only then can one understand its purposeful use. One must come to realize that the PH has parts and attributes to it that define ‘what’ it really is before one can be capable of attempting to ‘use’ PH power.

It would be very much like trying to use an automobile to convey one’s self down the street when lacking an understanding of what it is, or the manner in which each component functions to utilize it as it was created for – to safely travel down the street. Can you remember any time in your life when you were completely perplexed by something totally foreign to your knowledge? All of us have experienced this. Learning about the pro-creative powers of our bodies and the truth behind the ‘birds and bees’ astonished us all when we found out what ‘it’ was for. Coming to an understanding of ‘what’ the PH is, is no different.

Allow me to ask you a simpler question to help define where our focus should be in answering ‘what’ the PH is.

“What is a credit card?”

If your answer begins to explain what you can ‘do’ with it, or the responsibilities attached to it, or who can use one, then you have not told me the first thing to answer my question which should be an explanation about it being a piece of plastic. How perplexed would a person be 70 years ago in their attempt to describe a piece of plastic? Could anyone have conceived of such a substance that was neither wood, metal, leather or glass, yet was a substitute for them all? It didn’t exist then, but we take plastic for granted as it is everywhere a part of our daily lives now. It’s the same with the PH. Now you see that any answer that does not begin to define the nature and substance of the PH is a stumbling block to truly being able to function within it, or operate congruent to it.

So then, ‘What is the PH ?’

In reading the Holy Writ of God, we typically find certain nouns being used, but we rarely associate attributes to these nouns.  Further more, we don’t compare the sets of attributes of each noun with one another to obtain a much larger perspective on what God is telling us. Take ‘Truth’ for example. Like defining ‘PH’, we are stuck with rhetoric instead of enlightenment. ‘Truth’ has certain attributes as does ‘Spirit’, ‘Light’, ‘intelligence’, ‘charity’, ‘faith’ and of course, ‘PH’.  When we discern the attributes and nature of each these nouns, we begin to discover something odd – that they all share the same attributes and nature, though some are merely sub-sets of the others. In other words, God has apparently been holding our hand in a very detailed manner to explain to us everything about who He is, and how He operates ALL though scripture.  We just haven’t taken advantage gathering up all these details, and then standing back to look at them for what they are, and their relationship to each other.

All through this article, which is admittedly my own personal paradigm, you’ll find that each subject doesn’t really have a clear beginning and end because each item of discussion are all inter-related to the others and consequently I am talking about only ONE thing by taking several different perspectives in order that I might be understood. Consequently, my weakness in writing only compounds the already difficult task. My apologies, please bear with me through all of this.

Several times in scripture we are told about the attributes of PH, but we mistake them for ‘how’ we ought to be behaving BEFORE exercising the ‘PH’. The reality is that those attributes ARE the detailed description of the ‘PH’, and until we are indeed living congruently within those Godly attributes ourselves, we can forget about ‘using’ the powers “inseparably connected” to the PH.

Instead of listing those attributes here, I listed them above as ultimately ‘charity’ contains the exact same set of attributes as PH, because it is indeed “inseparably connected” – even the same thing with a little different descriptive perspective. Charity is ‘what’ Priesthood is – provided that you know ‘what’ charity truly is, you also know ‘what’ PH is.

While this turns authoritarian mindsets upside down, I want to remind you that men have consistently reversed the meaning of the truth of the Gospel. Sometimes unintentionally out of ignorance; most other times intentionally in attempts to obtain or maintain control upon men rather than to ‘let them go’ after the presentation of the truth. While it is true that a ‘church’ is an assembled body of believers, the intention was to refrain from stifling growth toward mankind’s pinnacle of potential – being Joint-Heirs with Jesus Christ; Godhood.

As long as men maintain control of ‘PH’, and only hand salvation out piecemeal to those who are required to believe a specific dogma before obtaining it, all mankind will remain in bondage. While it is true that PH authority is conferred, even that person can not hold onto it if they become incongruent to PH itself. NO ONE, by mere virtue of having been ‘ordained’, can justify acting in any Godly authority if they are incongruent to the attributes and methods of operation of PH. A person’s ‘calling’ or ‘office’ does not give them PH, and it can not sustain them in acting incongruent to the very powers they wish to violate or disassociate themselves from in ANY DEGREE.

Many people fear this paradigm because of the idea that God is somehow ‘inferior’ to PH. God is congruent to PH as He Himself has developed the nature and attributes of Godliness, which attributes and nature are those He has described as ‘charity’ or PH.

God ‘surfs’ the wave of PH. He doesn’t attempt to change it, or fight against it. The very principles that allow the entire universe to exist is the method of harmony God has found to be Eternally True, and thus He has made every effort to explain them to us, also.  Invariably, everything that Christianity teaches about Jesus being a person full of love is exactly the harmony existing in the universe.  Becoming congruent to that existence is what God has done, and what we must also discover for ourselves. We could fight against it, but we would then be like Lucifer. It’s our choice.  We have complete freedom to choose it just as God or Lucifer does.

The ‘spirit’ or ‘PH’ is not withdrawn from us the very moment we exercise any degree of unrighteous dominion, but we ‘fall’ from it.  When we choose to be incongruent to those attributes, we disconnect ourselves from the very powers of Heaven. God can also suffer the same consequence because He is just as free to choose as we are, but it would require Him to do something totally outside of His nature and character. It would require Him behaving in a manner that is totally unlike Himself. Just as it is inconceivable to the vast majority of us to commit murder, it is for God to become incongruent to PH. God can fall from being God, just like Lucifer did, and just like we can freely choose to become congruent to PH or to fight against it, and consequently God, too.

Wake_Up

Next Guest Contributor article: Congruence vs. Obedience

Previous Guest Contributor article: Why (Heavenly) Father is an Anarchist

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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3 Comments

  1. The post said, “The ’spirit’ or ‘PH’ is not withdrawn from us the very moment we exercise any degree of unrighteous dominion, but we ‘fall’ from it.”

    Much like Lucifer was not “cast down” out of heaven — but because of his desire to exercise his priesthood to compel, the heavens withdrew out of his reach.

    Most members love to point out that God will not force people when reading Moses 4:1-4, but in every other instance they conceive of Him using force in many ways.

  2. This is a great topic and one that has intrigued me for many years.

    IMO, there are two main aspects of priesthood power. One is simply permission to do things, such as ordain someone or fill a specific calling. Nobody really has much of a problem with this aspect of priesthood authority.

    The other aspect of priesthood deals with physical power to act upon the physical universe, such as healing the sick, moving a mountain, calming a storm, etc. This one is much more difficult for people to grasp and is seldom talked about to any great extent. Most people probably view this much like the do “the force” from Star Wars – we don’t know what it is…it just is.

    In a vastly abbreviated nutshell, here’s my take on this second aspect of priesthood power: Plain and simple, the only thing in the universe that can act upon physical matter is intelligent matter. Priesthood power is nothing more or less than intelligent beings honoring each other and therefore doing the bidding of other intelligent beings.

    As mentioned in D&C 29:36, “…Give me thine honor, which is my power…”

    Hence, as D&C 121 outlines, when we treat others poorly “the heavens (read, intelligent beings) withdraw themselves, the spirit of the Lord (another intelligent being) is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (D&C 121:37) IMO, D&C 121 iteached us how to gain (or lose) the honor of other intelligent beings and hence, how to gain or lose priesthood power.

    Among other sources, I believe the endowment also teaches this principle very nicely.

    But, as I said, this is the vastly abbreviated version that is unlikely to satisfy too many readers. If you want the “full story” of why I believe this, go to the following URL and download the paper listed there:

    http://curtporritt.com/DownloadThePowerofthePriesthood.aspx

    Note that you’ll have to be fairly familiar with the temple endowment to understand some of what’s written here. If you’ve never been thru the temple this paper will likely hold less value to you. Sorry.

    Enjoy…or whatever. ;^)

  3. Curt, on the right-hand side of each page of this blog, under the category “Religion,” you’ll see a link to “The LDS Endowment.” Anyone can click there to become familiar with the temple endowment and then read through your paper for better understanding.

    I also agree that this is a wonderful topic. I’m impressed that you’ve pondered this for years. I did some research on it for the first time this past week! (See my latest post.) I look forward to checking out your own paper and conclusions.


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