Taking our Myths Literally


Myths are our Stories:

“Myth” is usually contrasted to “true” or “fact”, as in – “Oh, that’s just a myth.”  However, the “mythos” were ancient man’s stories about gods – they were their experiences with the governing powers of human nature, the earth, and the universe.  The myths were only declared “false” when the Christian religion conquered the nations who told the stories – and decreed that their way of relating to the natural world [their gods] were “false”.

They weren’t true-or-false or factual-or-inaccurate – in the way that we currently use those words.  The myths were just a different way for humans to speak about truth and about facts.  They were a metaphorical or poetic way of expressing true and factual things about life.  Myths would not have persisted as an integral piece of human culture if they failed to accord with reality and didn’t accurately describe the world.

Those who formulated the myths were not attempting to lay down historically-sound, verifiable, and literally-true presentations of what actually took place in a physical sense.  They were how people conveyed true facts about human nature and the natural world.  The myths are the poetic story-language by which those who’d had actual experiences with the governing powers of nature and of the universe [God] brought that transcendent experience back to the community.

Myths were how the community explained to its new members how the world in its present form came to be, how a human being ought to relate to the powers of the world, and what is expected of members of the community.

However, while myths may admittedly be stories – we cannot say that they are not true, real, or literal.  What’s missed [when “myth” gets labeled as “not real”] is that the stories were never meant to convey “history” with all the scientific rigor we’ve developed centuries after the stories were first told.  They were meant to convey the story of how this or that person experienced God – in a language that was metaphorical, poetic, or image-based – to bring that experience back for the community at large.

True Stories and False Stories:

All the ancient language gods were the magic gods as well [Mercury, Odin, etc.] because language shapes our whole consciousness and how we put ideas together [how we tell stories] – and that’s magical.  Casting a spell is really nothing more than spelling – or changing reality through the manipulation of symbols, forms, and images.

All such “magic” is drawn from our imaginations – the right-brain-heart [the spring of living waters inside each of us] – which is patterned after the eternal right-brain-imagination of God, from which the universe has been created [by the will of His left-brain-mind].

However, the mind of God is immeasurably greater than our own – which means there isn’t anything that we can think of that He hasn’t already thought of.  So what we do is take things that He’s imagined, represented, and given purpose [creating it by bringing it from His infinite imagination into the sphere of the created universe] – and run these through our right-brains to imagine, create, and give purpose to them anew [in our own life].

Some of the representations of things in play here on earth have a counterpart that will endure beyond death [a true/real image] – and some representations are empty [vain] and carry only an image of reality [a false image].

And that’s the probation [the test] of mortality – to see, when presented with various images, forms, and representations of things – if we will live out the ones that are of an enduring nature [e.g., power by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, and meekness] and shun the ones that carry only the image, but no reality [e.g., power by compulsory means, coercion, or force].

God desires to inspire people by sending the Holy Spirit into their right-brain-hearts with images for them to create with.  Satan’s desire is that people be inspired with images that lack any enduring reality behind them.  God desires the Holy Spirit to be what’s found in our right-brain-hearts, from which our left-brain-minds draw inspiration from to create things in our world with – instead of us using the doctrines of devils or the commandments of men to create with.

Discerning True Stories from False Stories:

It all starts with someone’s story.  A man or woman experiences a manifestation of God.  By the power of the Holy Ghost:  they have obtained faith unto repentance by having a broken heart and contrite spirit, have wallowed in the fear of being cast-off from God forever, have trembled under a full-on awareness of their own guilt – and what they’ve sown in tears, they’ve reaped in Joy.  Experiencing the complete redemption of their soul from hell and forgiveness of their sins.

This person is now free from the power and captivity of the devil, is free from the separate-Self consciousness that sin causes, has denied their Self and identified with Christ, and has experienced God as a continuous aspect of their own being.

Now this seer [person who has seen] comes back to his or her community with the desire that everyone else experience this same thing.  They no longer perceive separateness among others the way that a mind still ensnared in sin does.  So once free from sin, the seer now fears and trembles for others.  She suffers for the sins of others.  He desires for all others to have the same privilege to be born of God, free from sin.

But it’s an experience, or a happening – it’s like a dance or a song.  To only come back to the community with a “telling” wouldn’t help anyone else see eye-to-eye with them.  They need to be able to sing the Song – so that other people will hear it – and will sing It along with them.

I may be able to break a dance apart into its rhythm, steps, and movements around the floor – I may be able to describe a song in terms of its meter, key, rhythm, tempo, notes, scale, and harmony – but that’s just putting a grid onto something wiggly so it can be perceived and described.  It’s just a “telling”.

The only way to have someone really know the dance or the song – is to dance it or sing it.  Then they’ll know.

Adam knew Eve
and she conceived

[Moses 5:16]

The scriptural euphemism for husbands and wives coming together is “knowing” for this same reason.  Eternal life is to know” God – because unless something is experienced [is known] – then the people will not see eye-to-eye, but will see instead through a glass, darkly.  They will only know about the experience in part, not fully [see 1 Cor. 13:12].

Musical notation [the myths, the story] has its place in telling people about a song – but one should not hand a person a sheet with musical notes on strings of lines when they really desire the Song.

This is what a false priest [not a seer] does.  A false priest simply re-tells the stories of a previous time.  He only administers in the images of an experience with God who was there before he came along — just putting on a show up on his stage every week.

A false priest is handed-down [by tradition] something that was originally experiential and relative — and because he has no first-hand relationship with this story, it get’s turned into something dogmatic and absolute.  He takes someone who was a preacher — and turns them into the preached.  Making a message out of a messenger by pedestalizing those who’ve had genuine experiences and who tried to tell others about it [so they could have it too].

This is why false priesthoods are obsessed with tracing the lines of authority:

Satan
we command you to depart

by what authority?

and

and it came to pass
that on one of those days
as he taught the people in the temple
and preached the gospel
the chief priests and the scribes
came upon him
with the elders
and spake unto him
saying

tell us, by what authority doest thou these things?
or who is he that gave thee this authority?

[Luke 20:1-2]

because their authority has no true basis in the reality of an actual experience – it’s based only on social convention and tradition – having the all the form but denying the reality.

On the other hand, the authority of a true and prophetic seer comes out of that person’s own experience.  He or she has been somewhere that I haven’t and comes to explain it to me.  Now, they may use ritual [right-brain gesture language] or use scripture [left-brain word-based language] to convey this inner experience in an outward form/image for me – but the key to discernment is that the true messenger speaks from his own experience and a false messenger speaks the stories of someone else.

I’ll Make Discernment Even Easier:

The scriptural standard is that if a person does not have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, then they “shall not teach” [D&C 42:14] — or in other words, they should keep silent.

So when anyone interprets the scriptures, presents a doctrine, or is in any other manner “teaching” — ask them:

  • Are you a prophet?
  • Do you have the spirit of prophecy and revelation?
  • Are you a seer?
  • Did you actually experience this manifestation for yourself?

If they say that it’s their own idea, their own guess, or they defer to some other authority, etc. — then stop listening.  You are free to just take it or leave it as you would if anyone else would have said something about any other subject. You can learn nothing extra-ordinary from such people.

If they say that they do have the spirit of prophecy and revelation or that they actually did experience a miraculous work, then listen closely to what they say — because now that means only one of two things:

  • They are true prophets sent from God
  • They are false prophets trying to deceive

A true prophet, when asked if they have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, will always answer in the affirmative.

A man giving his honest, but non-prophetic opinion [“inspired counsel”] will not claim to be a prophet or a seer – because he fears to speak a false prophecy and be called-out as an imposter.

However, a deceiver will also always say that he has the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

So once someone claims to be a prophet or a seer [comes out with a “Thus saith the Lord…”, for example], now the burden is on me, to compare what the word of God says to what the professed prophet has said and do as the Spirit indicates.  If he is declaring a miraculous work, then:

ye shall ask of the father
in the name of Jesus
and if he give not unto you that spirit
then you may know that it is not of god

[D&C 50:31]

Ritual is the Enactment of a Story:

The performance of rituals is an integral part of all religions.  It is through the reenactment of a shared story [a common myth] that the mind of the community is focused towards the same end.  It provides an element of shared experience that facilitates bonding between community members.  The performance of a ritual connects the participants to the specific morphic field that’s associated with that ritual and then each initiate can share the collective memory that is stored there.

The LDS temple endowment follows in this same tradition.

Joseph’s first “endowment” was the experience of seeing two heavenly personages face-to-face.  He went on to behold various ministering spirits, resurrected angels, Jesus Christ, etc. — all personal appearances, face-to-face.

After the Kirtland temple was dedicated and the ordinances there were administered, Joseph wrote:

The Saviour made his appearance to some, while angels ministered unto others, and it was a pentacost and enduement indeed, long to be remembered for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history to all generations, as the day of Pentecost.

Seeing the Lord and ministering angels face-to-face is the foremost purpose of the temple ritual.  Such an eye-to-eye experience was key to what was formulated as “the endowment”.  It’s why temple-goers are taught the order of prayer and prepared in all things to receive further instructions at the veil.  It was all given with the assumption that a real experience would follow the image [or enactment] of an experience.

and inasmuch as my people build a house
unto me
in the name of the lord
and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it
that it be not defiled
my glory shall rest upon it
yea
and my presence shall be there
for I will come into it
and all the pure in heart
that shall come into it
shall see god

[D&C 97:15-16]

and

therefore
sanctify yourselves
that your minds become single to god
and the days will come
that you shall see him
for he will unveil his face unto you
and it shall be in his own time
and in his own way
and according to his own will

[D&C 88:68]

Essentially — that was the endowment Joseph was trying to give the church of God [not special underwear and secret hand gestures] – but the same experience that was had by all the ancient prophets.  Bringing us eye-to-eye with them, connecting them to us by a common experience, a common morphic field.

That’s what all rituals do – establish a morphic field that anyone connects to when the ritual is done according to the same pattern.  That’s why the ordinances of the gospel are strictly described in terms of the manner and wording of the ritual.

Paul warned the Corinthian church that their failure to administer the ritual of the sacramental meal in the worthy/appropriate manner was the reason there were many sick and dying among them.  There is a healing effect associated with the sacrament ritual — but it must be reenacted according to the pattern given by the Lord in order for us to be connected to the proper morphic field.  The same is true for the other ordinances of the gospel and their respective effects as well.  [See, The Healing Gifts]

The reverse side of this is seen in the hidden symbols, catch-phrases, etc. that are put into movies, TV, pop music, advertising, bank notes, buildings, orchestrated world events, etc. – where satanic secret combinations are working to achieve the same end.  Just like there are wars over physical land here in the material world — the mental world likewise has its own battles for control over the common-space there.

The more people connect to a certain idea – myth, story, system, etc. – the more powerful it becomes.  Were enough people to connect to a single morphic field [were it to ever reach a sort of “critical mass”] it could end the world.  The historical “Zion” communities have done such a thing [Enoch, Melchizedek, Nephites, etc.].  The latter-day Zion will in fact bring a complete end to this world – a revelation sufficient enough to melt away our current systems, politics, economics, and ideas about the world – and usher in a new earth.

Having Images with no Reality:

I think that it’s common for LDS to take little instruction from the current temple ordinance.  It is my opinion that this is because we have reached the point where the meaning of the images have been lost long enough ago — that even the priesthood among us have no idea what to make of the thing and what it’s all about.

However, it is not the jurisdiction of the priestly-class to give form [or life] to the images of our stories.  Is it be reasonable to expect church leaders to initiate members of the community into the meaning of the images and display what it’s like when they’re brought to life — rather than just initiating them into the empty-images themselves alone?  Sure.  But that’s simply not the state of affairs we have right now, in a church of God informed by and operating under the doctrines and commandments of men.

All that means is that it’s on you [not them].  They administer the forms — but you must then go on to make that word flesh – you must bring the forms to life, give the image reality.  To just take the empty forms they administer and do nothing with them only perpetuates the whole problem.  Our calling is to take the images and create with them.

Bringing Them to Life:

Religion, myth, stories, ritual, etc. – it’s about the experience.  It all begins as an attempt to tell stories about a connection with God – of an experience of the transcendent level of being called Joy – the communion of a human being with The Supreme Being or Ultimate Doing.

In this form, it’s fluid – like poetry or metaphor.  Apostasy and false priesthoods come in as the story gets reduced to a creed, as the relative gets hardened into the absolute, as the poetry is taken as prose.  The reality behind the image, myth, or story is lost — and only thing that remains is the the empty shell what what’s left after meaning or purpose departs from something.

The religion itself, the actual stories, the stage show-like enactments of ritual – they are purely functionary.  When it has nothing to do with actually having the experience — if it becomes an empty-image, a form without life – then it’s as harmful as additions to processed food, pornography, or social media can be.

Religion is the religare – the connecting bonds of ligaments and tendons that knit us together.  When the ligaments remain fluid [the relative, right-brain, poetic form], then we relate to God as a continuous experience, as a state of Supreme Being.  We don’t prescribe ethical or moral codes – but act out of expediency and charity.

But when they atrophy [harden into the absolute, left-brain, creedal form] – instead of knitting us together, religion binds us down – God becomes the This-Thing that must be related to in That-Way, that you must now believe/do accordingly to get Him to respond to you.

Reading the scriptures, participating in the rituals, etc. – they are just the retelling or reenactment of someone else’s story.  It is in vain unless it is pursuant to you having the same experience – connecting to the same morphic field and seeing eye-to-eye with them.

We cannot look to another to give the ideas and forms of our religion life because that is our job.  The scriptures are just the stories of Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Lehi, Nephi, Abinadi, Jesus, Peter, Paul, Moroni, John, etc.  They are simply their stories about their experiences with God.

Their stories will not save you.  Reenacting events from their stories as rituals will not generate real Life or Joy in you.  Such things are meant to motivate you to get on the same pathway, to receive a similar connection with God, and to see eye-to-eye with them.

However, history has shown the Gentile church of God to be a hard-hearted and faithless bunch — content with having one person sit atop a hierarchal power-pyramid and habitually obey what he says.  They largely receive equal “experience quotient” from images and representations compared with the reality of what is being imaged and represented.  It’s why advertising works, it’s why industrial food is so widely consumed, it’s why people enjoy pornography so much, it’s why social-media is so popular.  But that’s receiving the image with no reality behind it.

When Life and Joy are about the happening — about human beings being about the same thing as the Supreme Being.

Next Article by Justin: … and I’m a Mormon

Previous Article by Justin:  Going from Concrete to Flowers

Advertisements

Masculinity, Femininity, and Gender


This is a topic about which I have much more I could write and spend more time coming to understand personally — however, considering the general interest on LDS blogs over the topics of:

I thought it expedient to expound on what I currently understand the nature of these questions to be.  Each point could be illuminated on further if a reader finds any jumps in reasoning that they perhaps cannot follow.

Male/female gender vs. masculine/feminine aspects:

Every intelligence that was created from nothing by God chose a gender for itself at the point when it was made independent in that sphere in which God placed it.  This was its first “act for itself” – choosing to be either male or female in gender.

All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. [D&C 93:30]

Masculine and feminine, however, refer to aspects of character – not to gender.  Whether male, female, or of no gender [things] – all aspects of existence may act in either masculine or feminine aspects, and thus may be considered as male or female.

The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God. [D&C 88:45]

The sun is considered as a male because it fulfills a masculine role of emitting light, while the moon is considered as a female because it fulfills a feminine role of receiving and reflecting light.

A better example of the distinction between gender and aspect/role is in considering Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost:

Personal harmony:

The Eastern concept of the yin and yang is a symbol for explaining the dance that goes on between the masculine and feminine aspects within each individual person.  Whether we chose to have a male or female gender as a personage – we are all comprised of masculine and feminine particles, aspects, and characteristics.

Just as an atom – though it contains some particles called protons [positive charge], some neutrons [no charge], and some electrons [negative charge] – may manifest [over-all] either a positive [e.g., sodium] or a negative [e.g., chlorine] charge.  And it is this over-all charge that allows the atoms to interact with each other and form the molecules of life [sodium+chlorine = salt].

Every person [whether created male or female in gender] contains in their make-up the masculine aspects [yang] – or those of creation, acting upon, the left-brain-mind, the right side, etc. and the feminine aspects [yin] – those of resting, yielding, the right-brain-heart, the left side, etc.  [See also, the Split-Brain Model of the Gospel]

When in balance within an individual person, the right-brain-heart will receive [feminine/yin] inspiration and the left-brain-mind will act upon [masculine/yang] that idea and be the tool that carries out the will.

The key to harmony in this system is for masculine and feminine aspects to be in balance.  It would be improper to ask the moon [feminine] to shine like the sun – or the sun [masculine] to reflect like the moon.  Each has its proper role, power, purpose, and way of doing things.  Activity must be balanced with rest.  Contemplation must be balanced with creation.  Etc.

The two cannot be mixed together or pitted one against the other – as though “on” could ever gain victory over “off” or vice versa.  The masculine and feminine are to come together and become one – joining together, but retaining the masculine and feminine aspects undiluted, untainted, and unmixed.

Tribal harmony:

The masculine aspect pertains to males by virtue of a male birth, and the feminine aspect pertains to females by virtue of a female birth.

Humans are not born into this world absolutely free.  That is not to say that I think we are slaves to some nature that we must overcome – nor do I think we are born in any way enslaved.  I simply mean that we are all limited.  The natural completion of any one human can only be found in the joining of two humans.  The natural completion of any two humans [a marriage couple] can only be found in the joining of them to God.  Man or woman [alone] know but one part of human nature.

The male is born into this world with the symbolic wand, scepter, or sword [covered by a hood].  This is God considered as a male.  It is the will that acts to bring about something from nothing [creation].  It is the tool to penetrate the mystery.

The female is born into this world with the symbolic cup and orb [again covered by a hood].  This is God considered as a female.  It is the sacred chalice of divine compassion.  It is the fertile soil yielding to and receiving the seed.

Husbands are [by virtue of a male birth] to act in the masculine aspect of a priest.  Wives are [by virtue of a female birth] to act in the feminine aspect of a priestess.

Males must embrace and magnify their masculine aspect – while at the same time honoring feminine-ness by loving their wives.  Females must embrace and magnify their feminine aspect – while at the same time honoring masculine-ness by yielding their consent to their husbands.

For there to be true equality between males and females, matriarchy must exist along with patriarchy and gynocracy must exist along with androcracy.  There must be a balance of power, and power must be shared – not concentrated in the hands of a few.

Women are to hold the keys of common consent by which they are free to authorize, validate, and direct the work of the priesthood.  Men are to hold the keys of the priesthood by which they are to act as the voluntary slaves of all and minister the gifts and powers of the Spirit.  Though wives are to submit to or follow their husbands – this is balanced inasmuch as the priesthood of the husband cannot be handled without the consent of those it is intended to serve [the servant must hearken to his masters in all things].  All things must be done by common consent, or else disharmony and tyranny result [rather the men or the women are at fault].  Men and women are judged by God according to how they use their respective set of keys and how they treat each other.

There is no need to consider the particular aspects of the feminine nature [or the male nature] to be a burden.  Nor do we have to somehow neutralize the difference between woman and man in the quest for some androgenous equality of andro-gyn-archy where we demand the sun reflect light and the moon emit it.

What we are to understand by the division of masculine and feminine natures is that man or woman [alone] are but half of a true person – just as a person’s flesh is incomplete without his/her spirit.  However, it is being half that allows the whole to be constructed without denying each part what it truly is.

What of Heavenly Mother?

All Gods, irrespective of gender, are masculine aspects – or are to be considered as male.  When they become the feminine aspect [the mystery, that which is penetrated], they enter the passive, sleep-state of outer darkness — and we do not relate to them here in the created universe.

The exception to this is Jesus Christ during his life on earth.  For though he was God, and therefore did not consider “Godhood” to be something he needed to cling to – he gave up or emptied himself of the masculine aspect of God, took upon himself flesh, appeared in human form, humbled himself in obedience to God, and suffered death on the cross to have his bowels filled with compassion for humanity [See Philippians 2:6-11].  Thus, for that duration of time, Jesus Christ [being God] was considered as a female while being a male personage.  However, thereafter he is seated at the right hand of God [masculine] and all humanity is subject to him [masculine] – and is therefore, as God, he is currently considered as a male.

The created universe [associated with the left-brain-mind/right side] is a masculine aspect, therefore – whether a God is a priest/king or a priestess/queen, He or She is considered as a male by humanity.  We refer to all of them as Gods [rather than Goddesses] – and we must relate to them as masculine, as in yield to the Spirit and submit our will, etc.

Outer darkness [associated with the right-brain-heart/left side] is a feminine aspect.  It is the mystery [a sea of “nothing”-ness] that is penetrated by the will [expansion of the sphere of light].  It is the passive state of non-existence that is contrasted to the active state of existence.

Thus, the Gods are all considered as males and we must relate to them in that way.  The difference in the offering of Cain [fruits of the earth] and of Abel [animal sacrifice] is that Cain could not act in faith towards God while approaching him as a feminine aspect [fertility worship].

As Gods, the purpose is to begin the Arthurian quest to drown in the cup of the Divine Feminine.  Once a God [whether male or female in gender] achieves this state of progression – they return to a state of passivity and rest in outer darkness.  The cycle of creation and expansion of this created universe must be balanced with the rest and withdraw of outer darkness.

The nature of all energy is a wave.  There is no static position in nature.  The full moon will be immediately replaced by the waning gibbous.  Once the moon’s light is altogether withdrawn — a new moon phase begins with the waxing crescent.  The sun goes thru similar phases of active solar activity and more quiet periods.  The earth wobbles on its axis to form seasonal intervals.  The sun moves thru the sky from the summer solstice to the equinox to the winter solstice and back.  Etc.

Eternal progression does not defy this natural pattern by being linear.  The course is one eternal round – or that of an undulating wave.  The kingdom of God is associated with “on” [yang, creation, left-brain, masculine] and outer darkness is associated with “off” [yin, rest, right-brain, feminine].  The point at which any God [male or female] reaches the crest of the wave – they pierce thru the created universe and begin the state of rest [as was counseled to be so since the beginning].

This state is the Divine Feminine, what people call the Heavenly Mother – this is God considered as a female.  This substance is what yields to the universal sphere of light [the seed].  This substance is what the power of creation [pro-creation] uses to bring something out from nothing.  Once any Goddess [male or female] reaches the trough of the wave – they become awake to their left-brain-mind and spawn a new universal sphere of light [a seed].

Outer darkness is, in every facet, the right-brain-heart of God – it is the Mother or Goddess – the waning or sleep state.

The created universe is, in every facet, the left-brain-mind of God – it is the Father or God – the waxing or active state.

This principle – explained in three tiers:

I.  As a person [rather born male or female], each of us must seek to harmonize the feminine and the masculine aspects inherent in our person.

This is done by subjecting the flesh [feminine] to the spirit [masculine] – and by placing the right-brain and the left-brain into their proper harmonious roles.

II.  As a marriage couple [who are made up of one male and one female], the wife and the husband must seek to harmonize the feminine and masculine aspects inherent in the role each one is to play.

This is done by women acting in the aspects of the feminine and men acting in the aspects of the masculine.  Wives [feminine] must follow their husbands [masculine].

III.  As the church of God [who are made up of the foundational unit of marriage families], we are all – as the bride of Christ – to seek towards harmonizing ourselves as the feminine with our masculine Bridegroom and Father.

This is done by all believers acting in the aspects of the feminine by relating to God only as a masculine aspect [even the Gods that are female in gender, i.e. the Holy Ghost].  The church [feminine] must subject its will to the will of the Father [masculine].

Next Article by Justin:  Zion will not be Established by Unrelated Persons

Previous Article by Justin:  Punishment

The nature of authority: the Lord’s stewardship law


The word steward comes from stigweard, lit., a sty ward. Stigu means sty and weard means warden, guardian. A sty is a pen for swine and a ward is one who guards. A steward, then, is someone who guards or protects or is responsible for something that belongs to another or for someone that serves or pertains to another.

Originally, a steward in England, under feudal law, was “a household officer on a lord’s estate having charge of the cattle; later, a head manager in the administration of a manor or estate, presiding at the manorial courts, auditing accounts, conducting inquests and extents, and controlling the husbandry arrangements.” In general, a steward is “a man employed in a large family, or on a large estate, to manage the domestic concerns, supervise servants, collect rents or income, keep accounts, etc.”

Stewards are not owners

Stewards do not own the concerns which they manage nor are the servants which they supervise their own servants, but the servants of the steward’s lord. Thus, we find the Lord saying:

And if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise ye are no stewards. (D&C 104: 56.)

Stewards and stewardships are for probation

Obviously, the Lord owns everything, so He tests His children by granting them a temporary stewardship and then seeing how they act in it.

And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them (Abraham 3: 25.)

Rendering an account of one’s stewardship

At some point, every steward must give an account of his or her stewardship, both here on Earth and later at the day of judgment.

And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. (D&C 73: 3.)

And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment. (D&C 70: 4.)

Good and bad stewards and their rewards

Depending upon what kind of steward we are here on Earth, so shall be our eternal reward. Those who are faithful, just and wise stewards get the top reward.

And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life. (D&C 51: 19.)

And he that is a faithful and wise steward shall inherit all things. Amen. (D&C 78: 22.)

While those who are wicked, unjust and unwise stewards don’t get so much.

And in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time, [the Lord] will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites, and unbelievers; even in outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. (D&C 101: 90-91.)

Stewards possess authority

A stewardship (the office of a steward) comes with authority, or, in other words, a steward is given both authority and responsibility in order to manage the concerns of the stewardship. If you don’t have a stewardship, you don’t have authority. The authority of a steward is a set of keys, just as the original stigweard held the keys that opened the swine pens. These keys allow the steward to protect, guard, maintain and take care of the concerns in his or her care. Without such authority, a steward can do nothing.

In the case of a stewardship that supervises people, the authority of the steward is only valid as long as the people being cared for sustain him or her as their steward. In other words, there is a second set of keys held by the people who have claim on the steward as their steward and it is this second set of keys that allows the steward to operate in his or her office. Without the consent of these people, the steward cannot do anything in righteousness.

Parental stewardship

D&C 83 gives the order of parental stewardship as follows:

Verily, thus saith the Lord, in addition to the laws of the church concerning women and children, those who belong to the church, who have lost their husbands or fathers: Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance, until their husbands are taken; and if they are not found transgressors they shall have fellowship in the church. And if they are not faithful they shall not have fellowship in the church; yet they may remain upon their inheritances according to the laws of the land. All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age. And after that, they have claim upon the church, or in other words upon the Lord’s storehouse, if their parents have not wherewith to give them inheritances. And the storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor. Amen.

Whoever has claim upon another for his or her spiritual or temporal maintenance is the concerns of the stewardship and whoever is responsible for the maintenance is the steward. Therefore, according to this revelation, parents are the stewards of their children and husbands are the stewards of their wives.

This arrangement does not go both ways. Children are not the stewards of the parents because they are not responsible for providing spiritual or temporal maintenance for their parents. Nor is the wife the steward of the husband because she is not responsible for maintaining her husband in his spiritual or temporal needs. If stewardship could go both ways, husbands could have claim upon their wives and parents upon their children. Although there may be many husbands who might love to relinquish their family stewardship to their wives and allow her to support him and their children, under gospel law it doesn’t work like that.

Children are also given stewardships

When children are old enough to obtain some responsibility, they may receive a stewardship from their parents. Perhaps they must take care of their room, keeping it clean and tidy, or their clothes, making sure they are folded and put away, or some household chores, such as sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, doing dishes, or, perhaps they are given a temporary stewardship over their younger siblings, looking over them and watching out for them while their parents are engaged in some other aspect of their own stewardship.

Stewardships in the church

Every church calling is a stewardship with responsibility and authority, and may be of a temporal and/or spiritual nature. The steward uses that authority to manage the concerns of his or her stewardship, which may include supervising, teaching, and/or leading people. So, for example, a bishop is the steward of the ward and the entire ward is the concerns of his stewardship. An elder’s quorum president is the steward of the elders quorum, which are the concerns of his stewardship. A Relief Society president is a steward and the society members are the concerns of her stewardship. A visiting or home teacher is a steward and the families or sisters being visited are the concerns. Etc.

Stewards and concerns likewise judged

Just as every steward must render an account of his or her stewardship to the Judge of us all, so the concerns of a stewardship will have to render an account of how they acted toward the steward. The steward is the Lord’s representative, empowered to take care of the concerns of the stewardship. Any interference with a steward’s divinely appointed duties is treated by the Lord as if it was done to the Lord of the steward Himself.

As long as a steward is acting righteously, meaning that he or she is acting in the stewardship in the following way—

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of [a stewardship], only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.  (D&C 121: 41-44, re-worded a little.)

—those who have claim on the steward are bound by the Lord to use their second set of keys to authorize the steward’s own set of keys (his or her authority). If the steward is not authorized by the people concerned with his or her stewardship, yet is acting in righteousness, these people stand condemned by the Lord.

The principle is this: respect all stewards and stewardships insofar as they act righteously.

It is wickedness

Thus, it is wickedness to do away with a steward and stewardship granted by the Lord because this is how He tests His children. For example, some in the world would do away with the stewardship of the parents by granting the State stewardship over the children. This is wickedness. Others would do away with the stewardship of the husband, claiming that this diminishes the role of the wife. This is also wickedness.

Another form of wickedness is the interference in the operations of a steward’s duties. For example, no one is to perform the duties of the steward, other than the steward himself. If you do this, you interfere with the test, for the Lord appoints stewards and then steps back to see what he (or she) will do. Even if you think you can do a much better job than the steward, you are to step back, like the Lord, and let the man or woman perform, or attempt to perform, the duty. Another way to interfere is to withhold your authorization from the steward, so that he cannot perform the duties of his office and calling because you (the concerns of his stewardship) do not authorize him.

Finally, those who are not a part of the concerns of a stewardship, when dealing with a steward, should respect his or her calling, and recognize both the authority and responsibility that the steward has in managing his or her concerns. It is disrespectful and offensive both to the steward and to the One who appointed the steward to not recognize the stewardship, authority and responsibility that was given to the individual by the Lord.

Stewardships and equality

Stewardships are, by design, not equal. The Lord places one steward to preserve, maintain and increase a small amount of property, while another steward is placed over ten times as much. A pair of parental stewards may care for three children while a different pair may watch over ten. It is the inequality of the stewardships that adds to the test, to see what the children of God will do, both the stewards and those they look after.

Nevertheless, the gospel provides means whereby the unequal stewardships may become equalized. This is done through covenants.

Therefore, verily I say unto you, that it is expedient for my servants Edward Partridge and Newel K. Whitney, A. Sidney Gilbert and Sidney Rigdon, and my servant Joseph Smith, and John Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, and W. W. Phelps and Martin Harris to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression, except judgment shall immediately follow, in your several stewardships—to manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric both in the land of Zion and in the land of Kirtland; for I have consecrated the land of Kirtland in mine own due time for the benefit of the saints of the Most High, and for a stake to Zion.

For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.

Therefore, I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant, and it shall be done according to the laws of the Lord.

Behold, here is wisdom also in me for your good.

And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just—and all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church—every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God. (D&C 82: 11-19.)

So here we have the Lord telling these nine stewards to bind themselves to each other by bond and covenant in their several stewardships, so that they become equal in both earthly and heavenly things.

For verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion—for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church, to advance the cause, which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven; that you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things.

For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; for if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you. (D&C 78: 3-7.)

The equality spoken of in these verses is all-important, yet unobtainable except by voluntarily entering into covenants, including marriage covenants, with other stewards. The Lord then creates a perfect test by first giving out unequal stewardships and then explaining how to equalize everything, with attendant blessings should His children decide to use their agency to that end.

He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things; yea, even more abundantly, which abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestations of the Spirit. Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld. (D&C 70: 12-14.)

Stewardships are meant to be increased

Every steward is to maintain, preserve, care for, protect, guard and increase his or her stewardship. Thus, missionary work is based on the law of stewardships. And when we hear the phrase, “multiply and replenish the earth,” that is also the law of stewardships at work. And so, parents, if able, are expected to bring more children to Earth.

Keep this law in mind

It may be beneficial to keep the law of stewardships in mind when dealing with stewards, whether they are found in one’s family, in the church, or in the world at large. A proper understanding of this law may make it easier to accept the steward’s authority, and a corresponding proper action towards that steward may make it easier to live other parts of the gospel and to stay in the Lord’s favor.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

Tribal worship services


As I look around the Mormon blogs, I see a lot of grumblings about our Sunday church services. There are complaints about the boredom, about the lack of intellectual and spiritual stimulation, about the virtual non-existence of the gifts of the Spirit, about the cult of personality and conformity, about the worship of leaders (idolatry), about the many extra-gospel regulations such as a dress code, etc. If you are leaving church spiritually drained instead of energized, if you are dreading going back to church for another grueling three hours, it may be time to try something new.

Now, I’m not suggesting that anyone stop attending church. Not by a long shot. Everyone who is tired of what is going on at church should still attend church because the Lord needs agents of change among the congregation. But that doesn’t mean that such agents must feed solely upon a spiritually dead church. Church is meant to be a worship service, but when prophets and leaders are worshiped, a person can end up spiritually starving. So, here is a suggestion: in addition to attending church “worship” services, begin your own tribal worship services.

Start with your immediate family and the sacrament

If you are a married man or woman, with or without children, and one of you has the Melchizedek priesthood, begin your tribal worship services with a sacrament meeting right there in your home. Unlike the church services, tribal sacrament services can exactly follow the revelations given to Joseph Smith, Jun. So, instead of a priest blessing the sacrament when an elder is present (contrary to revelation), the presiding elder (the father) will do as the revelation states and bless the sacrament while his sons who are priests listen in. Instead of everyone sitting down during the sacrament prayers (contrary to revelation), everyone in the tribe will kneel as the prayers are stated. Instead of everyone getting a morsel of bread and a swallow of water, everyone will eat and drink until they are filled. And, if you’ve made your own wine, you can use that instead of water.

This quiet meal, in which all partake until they are filled with bread and water/wine, all the while pondering on the atonement of Christ, can be performed whenever a tribal worship service is wanted, whether that be once a week or several times a week, on any day desired. There is no scriptural prohibition to partaking of the sacrament on days other than Sunday.

Let the gifts manifest themselves

Once a tribal sacrament service is performed, and all bellies are filled with bread and water/wine and all spirits are filled with the Holy Ghost, the gifts can freely manifest themselves without the restrictions placed upon them in church services. This means you can form prayer circles and pray for the healing gifts to manifest, praying that one another be healed. Or you may pray for tongues and interpretations, or for prophesying or for any of the gifts to be manifested, and allow those who possess these gifts to benefit the surrounding tribal members.

Working in this way, the tribal worship service will invigorate the spirit and work to perfect the members of the tribe.

Increasing the size of tribal worship services

As this is not a church, nor a church function, but is a tribal function, only members of the tribe are invited to participate. That means although you start with your immediate family, you then can extend an invitation to your extended family, which makes up your tribe. Blood and marriage (or adoption) relations are typically how tribes are composed, but it’s your tribe, so you decide who is, and is not, a part of it, unlike a church which typically has an open door policy, all being welcome to join.

If you get a good number of relations meeting together for tribal worship services, there will potentially be more spiritual manifestations, which means more benefit to the tribe.

Tribal ordinances

Just about every ordinance performed at church can be performed in a tribe. The Melchizedek or Aaronic priesthoods can be used for all of these ordinances. Thus, a child can be blessed and given a tribal name; a boy or girl can be baptized for the remission of sins as part of his or her entrance into the tribe; the gift of the Holy Ghost can be given as a confirmation that he or she is a member of the tribe; males can be ordained to the priesthoods, etc. Although the priesthood is used, these are tribal ordinances, not church ordinances. They are recorded on tribal records, not church records. Should the individuals desire to join a church, they can do that, too, but they’ll have to receive these ordinances again from the hands of authorized church officers.

Where tribal priesthood authority comes from

Why, from the tribe, of course. It is the tribe that authorizes the priesthood and its ordinances within the tribe. Just as a church authorizes the priesthood and its ordinances within the church. The priesthood can be used in both organizations and each organization has jurisdiction over its own. A person may have membership in a tribe, in a church, or in both. Neither organization can tell the other how to run itself or administer the ordinances or deal with its members.

The Lord recognizes tribal authority

Priesthood found within a tribal setting, authorized by tribal members, is recognized as valid by the Lord. In fact, the tribe might actually be more valid to the Lord than any other social organization, including churches, because the tribe appears to be the very first social order. Tribal organization is not based upon the laws of the land, as are churches. They predate the laws of the land.

To some extent, my boyhood desires to live as the primitive saints lived, experiencing the spiritual manifestations they did, contributed to me receiving many different administrations of the gifts over the years. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until my own father passed away and I became the presiding tribal elder, or the spiritual leader or prophet of my extended family tribe, that I noticed a marked difference in the administrations. Before me, he was the tribal prophet, holding the Melchizedek priesthood. In fact, he was the only one of the entire clan that held it. Once I had obtained both priesthoods and he had passed away, the tribal office he held was transferred, unbeknownst, to me. I became the only living member of my tribe who held the Melchizedek priesthood. Suddenly I had gifts I never had before. I could bless tribal members and the Lord would respect it. I could curse tribal members and the Lord would equally respect it. Etc.

It wasn’t until years later that the Lord gave me to understand that I was the presiding tribal elder, after the order of Melchizedek, like my father before me. Presiding tribal elder is not an office of the priesthood found within the church, nevertheless, it is an office of the priesthood that God recognizes. The same applies to other tribal priesthood offices and ordinances.

There is (spiritual) safety within a tribe

Tribes not only are a protection from physical danger, but they also offer a protection from spiritual decay. Tribes that are based on the gospel of Jesus Christ and administered with the Holy Priesthood become obstacles to government and corporate interests which try to destroy the moral fabric of society. If your local congregation has been infiltrated by Luciferian influences to the point that church is a lukewarm experience at best, consider activating your family and extended family tribal worship services. It may give you the spiritual boost needed to more effectively fight the evil influences found at church.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

An alternate view of the keys


Note: This article is 22,421 words long. As a result, I highly doubt anyone will read it in its entirety, therefore I am hyper-linking all the section headings so that you can quickly jump to any section you may be interested in.

Section Headings

THE KEYS OF THE PRIESTHOOD

The current viewThe divine right of prophets and presidenciesThe divine right of kings (and of popes)The mandate of heavenAll of the above divine right theories are falseMore on the current view of the keysPriesthood is not authority; it is a languageDefining the keys requires the Doctrine and CovenantsThe meaning of the conjunction “or” in the scripturesKeys = authorityMore scriptures that use “or” as an alternative definition of the same thingPriesthood and authority linked togetherEveryone who holds the priesthood possesses keysBy the authority (keys) of the priesthoodActive vs. inactive (suspended) keysHow priesthood keys are to be usedPriesthood keys are a testWhen suspended keys should not be activatedSuspended keys are good for nothingImpeding the work of the LordGraph of current view of priesthood keysGraph of alternate view of priesthood keysA priesthood machineThe priesthood in motionPriesthood is useless without activated keysAn example of activated quorum keys

THE KEYS OF THE CHURCH

A second set of keysThe keys of the churchThe law of common consentAll things to be done by common consentLord upholds servants only if there is common consentThe consent of the governedUnrighteous dominionTwo sets of keysBoth sets are neededThe keys of the church validate the keys of the priesthoodThe divine purpose of the church keysThe keys of the church are absoluteGod uses keys to prove His peopleIsrael to be led by the keysOrdinations voted by churchLicenses voted by churchLicenses can be revokedExcommunications (and priesthood invalidations) by vote of churchWho decides?The proper way to use the keys of the churchThe sisters and the keys of the churchHow ecclesiastical abusers deal with the sisters

SPEKTATOR’S QUESTIONS

Spektator’s questions answeredAnswer to question #1Answer to question #2Background on Alma the elderAlma the elder, priest of NoahIniquity with consentEnter AbinadiAlma’s priesthood authorityAnswer to question #3The break up of the church and the loss of the keysAn earthquake will break up the churchBoth sets of keys will be lostAmmonihah reduxHow the broken up churches will make moneyProphecy of no more Gentile stakes will be fulfilledName changesThe blood of the saints will be spilledThe fulfillment of 3 Ne. 16: 10-15A repeat of the ZoramitesHow the Zoramites treated the poorBroken up Mormon churches will lack charityIsaiah’s prophecy of the broken up Mormon churchesEarthquake imageryThe reason for the earthquakeConclusionEndnotes

THE KEYS OF THE PRIESTHOOD

The current view

Chapter 14 of Gospel Principles, which is this year’s Melchizedek Priesthood manual, gives the modern, LDS teaching on the keys:

Keys of the Priesthood

There is a difference between being ordained to an office in the priesthood and receiving keys of the priesthood. President Joseph F. Smith taught:

“The Priesthood in general is the authority given to man to act for God. Every man ordained to any degree of the Priesthood has this authority delegated to him.

“But it is necessary that every act performed under this authority shall be done at the proper time and place, in the proper way, and after the proper order. The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood. In their fulness, the keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church. He may delegate any portion of this power to another, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor. Thus, the president of a temple, the president of a stake, the bishop of a ward, the president of a mission, the president of a quorum, each holds the keys of the labors performed in that particular body or locality. His Priesthood is not increased by this special appointment; … the president of an elders’ quorum, for example, has no more Priesthood than any member of that quorum. But he holds the power of directing the official labors performed in the … quorum, or in other words, the keys of that division of that work” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 141; italics in original).

To this we can also add the concept of suspension of keys.

Full provision has been made by our Lord for changes. Today there are fourteen apostles holding the keys in suspension, the twelve and the two counselors to the President, to be brought into use if and when circumstances allow, all ordained to leadership in their turn as they move forward in seniority. (Spencer W. Kimball, “‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet’,” Ensign, Jan 1973, page 33. Address delivered Friday morning, October 6, 1972.)

Here is an itemized summary of the mainstream, LDS understanding of keys:

  • Priesthood = Authority “Priesthood…is the authority given to man to act for God.” Anyone who has been ordained to the priesthood has this authority.
  • Keys = Power Keys constitute “the power of directing…labors.”
  • Only Prophet Holds All Keys (in Activated State) The fulness of (or all) the “keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church.”
  • 14 Apostles Hold All Keys (in Suspension) “There are fourteen apostles holding the keys in suspension, the twelve and the two counselors to the President.”
  • Prophet May Delegate Some (Active or Unsuspended) Keys To Others “He (the prophet) may delegate any portion of this power, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor.”
  • Presidencies Receive Delegated (Active or Unsuspended) Keys All the presidencies of the church receive delegated keys, “the president of a temple, the president of a stake, the bishop of a ward, the president of a mission, the president of a quorum”, etc., each receives delegated, active keys.
  • Keys Do Not Increase Priesthood The “Priesthood is not increased by this special appointment; … the president of an elders’ quorum, for example, has no more Priesthood than any member of that quorum.”

To reiterate: according to this view, priesthood is authority, keys are the power to direct the official labors of the church and possessing keys (powers to direct official labors) does not increase priesthood (authority). For example, the prophet, who possesses every key in full activation, has no more authority (priesthood) than that of an elder who possesses none of the keys. Although authority is equal among all priesthood holders, power is not. Power, in the form of keys, is concentrated and centered at the top (the prophet) and is then disbursed to the various presidencies down below as he sees fit. The quorum member never receives any keys, whatsoever, unless he is called to a position that requires keys, such as a presidency. The only exception to this rule is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, each member of which receives every key in suspension.

The divine right of prophets and presidencies

The mainstream view of the keys of the priesthood is a top-down perspective that resembles, and appears to be based upon, the doctrine known as the divine right of kings, which in turn was based upon the Roman Catholic doctrines known as papal primacy and papal supremacy. The latter two doctrines might rightly be termed the divine right of popes.

The British crown represented the establishment church system — the Church of England. Moreover, the king, by royal edict, was “lord sovereign head” of the Church. Even many years subsequent to the official separation of the Church of England from the Church of Rome, Anglicanism remained thoroughly steeped in the tyrannical and despotic traditions of popery. In Rome, the pope was sovereign head of the Church; but in England, it was the monarchy. The “divine right of popes” was exchanged for the “divine right of kings.” (Peter Kershaw, Reemergence of the Divine Right of Kings, 1997, Hushmoney.org.)

Due to the similarities between it and the divine right doctrines, I will call the modern, LDS view of the keys the divine right of prophets and presidencies.

The divine right of kings (and of popes)

The divine right of prophets and presidencies can only be understood in light of the divine right of kings, so let’s briefly review some divine right of kings basics:

1. In every kingdom, the king’s power comes directly from God, to whom the ruler is accountable; power does not come to the king from the people and he is not accountable to them.

(The divine right of prophets and presidencies would be: “In the kingdom of God on earth, the prophet’s power (keys) comes directly from God, to whom the prophet is accountable; power (keys) does not come to the prophet from the people (church members) and he is not accountable to them.”)

2. In every kingdom, the king makes the final decisions on all aspects of government (including the church). Other people and institutions that exercise political power do so as delegates of the king, and are subordinate to him.

(The divine right of prophets and presidencies would be: “In the kingdom of God on earth, the prophet and presidencies make the final decision on all aspects of church government. Other people and institutions that exercise ecclesiastical power (the presidencies) do so as delegates of the prophet, and are subordinate to him.”)

From the above we can see the parallels between the divine right of kings (and of popes) and the divine right of prophets and presidencies. The divine right of kings, popes, prophets and presidencies are all, essentially, the same doctrine applied to different institutions. These theories can be expressed in the following way:

The Divine Right of Kings is “the belief that the legitimacy of nothing the king does can be questioned.”

The Divine Right of Popes is “the belief that the legitimacy of nothing the pope does can be questioned.”

The Divine Right of Prophets and Presidencies is “the belief that the legitimacy of nothing the prophet and presidencies do can be questioned.”

(If you wish to learn more about the history and doctrine of the divine right of kings, you can try Wikipedia, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or just do an Ixquick search. You may also wish to look up papal primacy and papal supremacy.)

The mandate of heaven

The Mandate of Heaven is a traditional Chinese philosophical concept concerning the legitimacy of rulers. It is similar to the divine right of kings in Western philosophy in that both sought to legitimize rule from divine approval; however, unlike the divine right of kings, the Mandate of Heaven is predicated on the conduct of the ruler in question. The Mandate of Heaven postulates that Tian (heaven) would bless the authority of a just ruler, but would be displeased with a despotic ruler and would withdraw its mandate, leading to the overthrow of that ruler. The Mandate of Heaven would then transfer to those who would rule best. (Wikipedia entry for Mandate of Heaven.)

Modern LDS believe that if a prophet of God were to try to do something contrary to the will of God, He would kill the prophet. This stems from Wilford Woodruff’s statement, which is pretty much taken as scripture by all LDS:

The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty. (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)

The God-will-strike-him-dead theory of how He deals with misleading prophets may also have derived from the following scripture:

While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning. (D&C 85: 8 )

Of course, this theory flies in the face of the actual scripture that shows how a sinning prophet is supposed to be dealt with:

And inasmuch as a President of the High Priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the High Priesthood; and their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him. Thus, none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God, that all things may be done in order and in solemnity before him, according to truth and righteousness. (D&C 107: 82-84)

Similar to the mandate of heaven, the divine right of prophets and presidencies leaves open the possibility of prophets sinning. But then it merges into the divine right of kings, leaving the actual removal of the prophet in the hands of God (instead of in the hands of the people, as called for in D&C 107: 82-84.)

All of the above divine right theories are false

There is no such thing as a divine right of kings, nor are there such things as papal supremacy and papal primacy, nor such a thing as a divine right of prophets and presidencies. These are all foolish and vain imaginations. And I will show it in this article. Nevertheless, although I am going to confine myself to exposing only the fallacy of the divine right of prophets and presidencies, these principles can be equally applied to kings and popes, too.

The strategy I will take in destroying the divine right theories is to expound upon the doctrine of the keys, for in my recent research into priesthood, it was the doctrine that showed the falsehood of those theories.

More on the current view of the keys

Before expounding on the keys, I must again list the itemized summary of the mainstream view because I need to make some refutations:

Priesthood = Authority “Priesthood…is the authority given to man to act for God.” FALSE. Priesthood, as explained in another article of mine, is a divine language. It is accompanied by authority, but is not authority, per se.

Keys = Power Keys constitute “the power of directing…labors.” FALSE. Keys are the authority of the Priesthood, not the power of the priesthood.

Only Prophet Holds All Keys (in Activated State) The fulness of (or all) the “keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church.” TRUE.

14 Apostles Hold All Keys (in Suspension) “There are fourteen apostles holding the keys in suspension, the twelve and the two counselors to the President.” TRUE.

Prophet May Delegate Some (Active or Unsuspended) Keys To Others “He (the prophet) may delegate any portion of this power, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor.” SORT OF TRUE. What really occurs when keys are delegated is that the keys that the receiver previously held in suspension are now activated. In other words, they now have the right to use their keys. ALSO SORT OF FALSE. Saying “any portion of this power” is misleading, because keys are authority, not power.

Presidencies Receive Delegated (Active or Unsuspended) Keys All the presidencies of the church receive delegated keys, “the president of a temple, the president of a stake, the bishop of a ward, the president of a mission, the president of a quorum”, etc., each receives delegated, active keys. SORT OF TRUE. What really occurs when keys are delegated is that the keys that the receiver previously held in suspension are now activated. In other words, they now have the right to use their keys.

Keys Do Not Increase Priesthood The “Priesthood is not increased by this special appointment; … the president of an elders’ quorum, for example, has no more Priesthood than any member of that quorum.” TRUE. Every priesthood holder holds all the priesthood keys; it’s just that some keys are active while others are suspended. The prophet is an exception, for all his keys are active.

Priesthood is not authority, it is a language

Please see the previous article of this series for an in depth exposition of this principle. The relationship of authority to priesthood is that priesthood is accompanied by authority, or is inseparably connected with it. In one particular verse of scripture, because of this tight connection, priesthood and authority are even spoken of as being the same thing, but in every other verse of scripture, the two concepts are kept distinct. (Later on in this post I will address that one verse of scripture that links priesthood and authority together.)

Defining the keys requires the Doctrine and Covenants

The concept of priesthood keys is derived from but one verse in the Bible. Said the Savior to Peter:

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matt. 16: 19.)

Both the Catholic and Mormon churches agree that the above scripture is speaking of the keys of the priesthood, but that doesn’t say much about what constitutes keys, except that they are used to bind and loose, or, in the vernacular of a key, lock and unlock. Fortunately, Joseph Smith received many revelations which expounded on the doctrine of keys. So, it is to the Doctrine and Covenants that we must look.

The meaning of the conjunction “or” in the scriptures

Many of the scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants that mention the word “keys” also utilize the conjunction “or,” therefore, it is necessary to know the possible shades of meaning that “or” may have. Here is the entry on “or” taken from the American dictionary in use during the time of Joseph Smith:

or

OR, a termination of Latin nouns, is a contraction of vir, a man, or from the same radix. The same word vir, is in our mother tongue, wer, and from this we have the English termination er.

It denotes an agent, as in actor, creditor. We annex it to many words of English origin, as in lessor, as we do er to words of Latin and Greek origin, as in astronomer, laborer. In general, or is annexed to words of Latin, and er to those of English origin.

OR, conj. [It seems that or is a mere contraction of other.]

A connective that marks an alternative. “You may read or may write;” that is, you may do one of the things at your pleasure, but not both. It corresponds to either. You may either ride to London, or to Windsor. It often connects a series of words or propositions, presenting a choice of either. He may study law or medicine or divinity, or he may enter into trade.

Or sometimes begins a sentence, but in this case it expresses an alternative with the foregoing sentence. Matt. 7 and 9.

In poetry, or is sometimes used for either.

For thy vast bounties are so numberless, that them or to conceal or else to tell is equally impossible.

Or is often used to express an alternative of terms, definitions or explanations of the same thing in different words. Thus we say, a thing is a square, or a figure under four equal sides and angles.

Or ever. In this phrase, or is supposed to be a corruption of ere.

OR, in heraldry, gold. [L. aurum.]

(Taken from the entry of “or” found in the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language.)

The “or” word that concerns us is the conjunction “or,” which has five shades of meaning. But of those five, only the two shades marked in red text above can apply to the scriptures we are studying in this article.

Keys = authority

Okay, so let’s write out some scriptures.

D&C 107: 15 as it stands in our books

The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys or authority of the same. (D&C 107: 15)

The same scripture using or as a connective that marks an alternative, corresponding to either

The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and [either] holds the keys or [the] authority of the same.

INCORRECT SENSE. The above cannot be the meaning of the word or because we know that the bishopric both holds keys and authority, not one or the other.

The same scripture using or as an alternative definition of the same thing

The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys[,] or authority[,] of the same.

CORRECT SENSE. This is the only possible meaning of the word or in this sentence, therefore, KEYS = AUTHORITY in this scripture.

D&C 68: 17 as it stands in our books

For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same. (D&C 68: 17)

The same scripture using or as a connective that marks an alternative, corresponding to either

For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and [either] the keys or [the] authority of the same.

INCORRECT SENSE. The above cannot be the meaning of the word or because we know that the firstborn both holds keys and authority, not one or the other.

The same scripture using or as an alternative definition of the same thing

For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys[,] or authority[,] of the same.

CORRECT SENSE. This is the only possible meaning of the word or in this sentence, therefore, KEYS = AUTHORITY in this scripture.

More scriptures that use “or” as an alternative definition of the same thing

The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church— (D&C 107: 18)

The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments. (D&C 107: 20)

In the above scriptures, “higher” means “Melchizedek Priesthood” and “lesser” means “Aaronic Priesthood.” The word “or” is used, in these sentences, “to express an alternative of terms, definitions or explanations of the same thing in different words.”

Priesthood and authority linked together

Here is the one verse of scripture that links priesthood and authority together, using the word “or.”

That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. (D&C 121: 37)

The last phrase, “Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man” could mean, depending on how the word “or” is interpreted, “Amen to [either] the priesthood or [to] the authority of that man.” This could be a valid interpretation because priesthood could be referring to the rank and file priesthood holder who is not in a position of leadership and has no active keys (authority), whereas authority would be referring to priesthood leadership that holds active keys (authority).

On the other hand, “Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man” might also be interpreted as “Amen to the priesthood[,] or the authority[,] of that man.” This interpretation equates priesthood with authority (priesthood = authority, meaning priesthood = keys.) It might be a valid interpretation because without keys, priesthood cannot be used for anything. That is not to say that priesthood literally is authority (or keys, as defined in D&C 107: 15 and 68: 17), but that they go hand in hand, just as “the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.”

It appears that the Priesthood = Authority camp are basing their interpretation on D&C 121: 37, using the conjunction “or” to “express an alternative of terms, definitions or explanations of the same thing in different words.” Such a literal approach, though, comes into conflict with the scriptures that define keys as authority, because, if Priesthood = Authority = Keys, then that means that everyone who holds the priesthood possesses keys, which is not what our priesthood leaders are teaching. (They teach that only the leaders hold keys.)

Each person will have to come to his or her own conclusion as to the meaning of the word “or” in that verse.

Everyone who holds the priesthood possesses keys

When any man has either of the two priesthoods conferred upon him, he holds all the keys of that priesthood.

The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments. (D&C 107: 18-20)

This is the reason why keys do not increase priesthood. Priesthood already comes with every key. However, not all keys are active. Many of them are held in suspension, while others are active.

By the authority (keys) of the priesthood

All priesthood ordinances are performed by keys (authority). Whenever an ordinance is performed in which the authority is stated, it usually goes something like this:

“[Person called by name], in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the [Melchizedek/Aaronic] priesthood which we [hold/possess], we lay our hands on your head and ordain/bless [etc.]…”

Because keys = authority, it would be just as valid to state the following:

“[Person called by name], in the name of Jesus Christ and by the keys of the [Melchizedek/Aaronic] priesthood which we [hold/possess], we lay our hands on your head and ordain/bless [etc.]…”

Active vs. inactive (suspended) keys

What sets priesthood holders apart is the number, and type of, active keys they hold. Some keys are always active, regardless of what priesthood office is held, while other keys are active only while specific offices are held or when they are taken out of suspension (activated) by some else’s active keys.

Keys that are always active require no one’s permission to use them. Melchizedek priesthood blessings of comfort or of health fall into that category of keys.

Keys in suspension can be taken out of suspension in two ways. The first way is when a man is ordained to an office and calling that requires certain keys to be activated. During this ordination, he will be “given the keys” that pertain to that office. This doesn’t mean that he gets something more, it merely means that he now has the right to use some of the suspended keys he already possessed while he is in that office and calling. This “delegation of keys” is really just an activation of certain keys that he possessed in suspension. Nothing more.

The now-activated keys can be used by the newly called and ordained priesthood officer to perform the duties of his calling, as well as to temporarily activate the suspended keys of priesthood holders within his jurisdiction.

Temporary activation of keys by a jurisdiction officer is the second way that keys can be taken out of suspension. For example, the active keys for ordinances of church record (baptism, confirmation, etc.) are held by specific priesthood offices (bishops, stake presidencies, etc.) These men can perform the ordinances themselves using their active keys or they can give permission to other priesthood holders to perform them. No further ordination is needed, no further conferrals of priesthood or of keys. A simple, “okay” from the one holding the active keys of that office suffices. The man performing the ordinance is then authorized because his own set of suspended keys that pertained to those ordinances are temporarily activated by the active keys of the jurisdictional priesthood officer.

Thus, it is incorrect to say that one man holds keys, while another doesn’t. Just as it is said that the twelve apostles hold all the keys in suspension, while the prophet has active keys, so the same applies to all men who have the rights to the priesthood. All men, then, are on an equal playing field, having been given everything in the first ordination.

How priesthood keys are to be used

AND when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. (Matt. 10: 1)

The phrase used above, “he gave them power against unclean spirits” can also be translated as, “he gave them authority over unclean spirits.” As the authority of the priesthood are the keys, we could also say, “he gave them keys over unclean spirits.” With that in mind, let’s re-read that verse and look at the 7 verses that follow it.

AND when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them keys over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thadaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Matt. 10: 1-8)

“Freely ye have received; freely give” (Matt. 10:8.) The apostles had received keys to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils. Jesus gave them these keys without them having to pay Him and then commanded them to use the keys. They were to likewise give these keys to others without receiving payment.

This principle of generosity, of sharing or giving the keys to other men, is according to the principle of charity. This is why the scripture says that men, to whom the rights of the priesthood have been conferred, are to “let [their] bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith” (D&C 121: 45.) They are to use their active keys to activate the keys of other priesthood holders.

Priesthood keys are a test

Why is only one man’s keys active (or three men in a presidency) while the rest of the quorum’s keys are in suspension?

The reason why the Lord “gives keys” to presidencies, meaning that these presidencies can actively use the keys themselves and also use them to activate others’ keys, is so that the presidents may learn charity and become ministers and servants of all. It is to provide an opportunity for the leaders to live the principle: freely you have received, freely give.

It is also to test the presiding officials, to see if they will be stingy and keep their keys alone active, or if they will activate everyone’s keys, or if they will activate only the keys of their friends and associates, their favorites. The Lord wants to see if His presiding officers will play favoritism and nepotism.

The genius of the priesthood lies in the unequal disbursement of active and suspended keys. The “giving of keys” is not designed to be a mechanism of control, but it can be used as one, thereby providing an adequate test to all presidencies. The Lord gives active keys to the presidencies and inactive keys to the rank and file in the priesthood quorums, and then sits back and sees what His leadership sons do. Do they use the active keys to abuse and control or to minister and serve? Are they stingy with the active keys or do they use them to activate all the others?

When suspended keys should not be activated

There is really only one condition in which suspended keys should not be allowed to become active: formal disciplinary action. If a man has not had formal disciplinary action he is innocent (for all are innocent until proven guilty by two or three witnesses—the law of witnesses) and should be allowed to have his keys activated.

Every member of the church, having been baptized and confirmed has received a remission of his or her sins and is therefore presumed to be justified. Likewise, a man or boy who obtains either priesthood has already been interviewed and found worthy (righteous or justified). If a man is accused of sinning after those ordinances, it must be proved by the testimony of two or three witnesses that 1) the sin occurred and 2) that the man is unrepentant. If all those conditions are met, a judgment occurs. However, if not all of the conditions are met (for example, there may be only one witness or there may be no witnesses, or only hearsay, or the man confesses and repents, etc.) then he is presumed to be innocent. Because of the presumption of innocence (the guiltless or justified state) there is no reason to withhold key activation of all priests who have no judgments against them.

However, in the modern church, the law of witnesses is not always followed and men are not always presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Often, the presumption is guilty by association, by the appearance of evil, by bucking Mormon cultural norms, etc., without any evidence of actual sins being committed. In such cases, keys activation is often withheld.

Suspended keys are good for nothing

It is through use of the priesthood that men become more Christlike. When men are baptizing, confirming and performing other ordinances, the Spirit can work through them to sanctify them. Prohibiting a man who has no judgment against him from using his priesthood is priestcraft.

(Priestcraft happens when a priesthood leader sets himself up “for a light unto the world,” becoming a false Christ or false Savior. Leaders engaging in priestcraft force priesthood holders within their jurisdiction to accept and obey their leadership counsel as if it were spoken by Jesus Himself, before permitting them to use their priesthood keys.)

Impeding the work of the Lord

Those who hold active keys can use them to impede the work of the Lord by making it more difficult for men to come to the Lord. They can do this by giving additional (extra-scriptural) requirements to the commandments of God, such as the Pharisees did. Some additional requirements could be, for example:

  • Baptisms only on one day of the week, or one day of the month (for example, scheduling all pending baptisms for the stake baptism day.)
  • Specific dress required for ordinances.
  • Specific beliefs required before ordinances can be performed (creeds).
  • Specific words required for ordinances (formalism).
  • Submission tests and power plays (deal-making: “you do this to demonstrate your loyalty and I’ll let you perform the ordinance.”)

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with baptizing on any of the seven days of the week, or at any hour of the day (even in the middle of the night!), but by using the active baptismal keys to narrow down the window of time in which baptisms may be performed, the one who holds the active keys to that ordinance creates an artificial hoop that one must jump through. If one wishes to be baptized on a different day or time and the active key holder will not permit it, this creates an artificial conflict in which the person must bow to the active key holder’s wishes or be labeled a rebel (a sinner), and thus now unworthy of baptism. The artificial requirement, then, in this example, has impeded the work of the Lord.

The keys of the priesthood are flexible enough to be used in this tyrannical manner so that the active key holder (the leader) can be properly proved.

Graph of current view of priesthood keys

The standard view of the priesthood keys (the divine right of prophets and presidencies) creates a pyramidal church hierarchy with one man at the top, fourteen men below him, multiple presidencies below them, and the vast multitude of quorum members at the bottom. Each level is subordinate to the ones above it, the top level being subordinate to no one but God.

In the divine right of prophets and presidencies, all priesthood holders are dependent upon the prophet and 14 apostles. No one holds all the keys except them, so, should the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve suddenly die, those keys go down to the grave with them, never again to be restored, unless God sends more angels. This organization, then, has a weak link at the top. Remove the top and everything else crumbles. Also, the presidencies “serve” the quorums by ruling them, or telling them what to do. This type of “service” is based on the Gentile kingdoms.

Graph of alternate view of priesthood keys

When a priesthood key is “given” in conjunction with a presidency, what is actually given is the right to use the keys of that presidency that are already inherent in the priesthood (for the priesthood itself already holds all the keys to preside) and to use the keys to activate, or take out of suspension, the keys held by quorum members in the jurisdiction of the presidency.

This alternate view creates an inverted pyramidal church hierarchy. The president serves the quorum by using his active keys to empower the quorum, meaning to activate the suspended keys of the quorum. He then empowers the quorum so that they can use their priesthood more fully.

As the graph shows, God, the prophet, and the apostles are the foundation of the priesthood, being below all and supporting all, like a building. Because every priesthood holder holds all the keys, some active, some suspended, God can call any one of His priesthood bearing sons to fill any position of this divine edifice. It is simply a matter of activating the keys inherit in the priesthood. There is no way weak link to such an organization because even if the prophet and apostles die suddenly, other priesthood holders can fill their place and every quorum and presidency can be reformed.

A priesthood machine

The priesthood is designed on a stacked, radial pattern, like spoked wheels stacked one on top of the other, their central axes connected. Each wheel of the machine is a quorum. The central point of a wheel is the one with active quorum keys, the quorum presidency. The connection between the axes is how keys are delegated from presidency to presidency. The spokes are quorum members who have suspended quorum keys. As long as the quorum members’ keys remain suspended, the wheels don’t turn and the priesthood machine comes to a grinding halt.

The priesthood in motion

Once the central point activates the suspended keys of the quorum, the wheel starts to turn. The priesthood begins to operate with authority (keys) and becomes useful in creating divine motion.

Priesthood is useless without activated keys

In the above illustrations, each stacked wheel is aligned at the central point. If we could see all the wheels (quorums) of the priesthood, we would notice that bottom-most wheel is the First Presidency. The wheel on top of that would be the Quorum of the Twelve. Etc. The bottom-most central point (the prophet) activates the keys of (delegates keys to) the central points above him (the presidencies) and the presidencies are supposed to use them to activate the keys of the spokes of their wheels. In an ideal situation, all of these stacked wheels would be turning, all keys activated. However, our situation is far from ideal and turning wheels may be few and far between.

On top of the gears of the priesthood machinery are the members of the kingdom, who benefit from all this priesthood service. Once again, the priesthood is seen as an inverted pyramid, or inverted hierarchy.

An example of activated quorum keys

The man who baptized Wilford Woodruff was, apparently, a mere member of an elder’s quorum, not an elder’s quorum president, not a set-apart missionary, just a rank and file quorum member. Nevertheless, it appears that back then, the quorum member keys were activated and they were free to use them to further the work of the Lord. Here is the account:

On December 29, 1833, Wilford Woodruff finally heard the gospel from authorized servants of God. He recounted: “For the first time in my life, I saw an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was Zera Pulsipher. He told me that he was inspired of the Lord. He was threshing grain in his barn when the voice of the Lord came to him and told him to arise and go to the north, the Lord had business for him there. He called upon Brother [Elijah] Cheney, his neighbor and a member of the Church. They traveled sixty miles on foot…in deep snow, and the first place they felt impressed to call upon was the house of my brother and myself. They went into the house and talked with my brother’s wife, and they told her who they were and what their business was. They told her that they were moved upon to go to the north, and they never felt impressed to stop anywhere until they came to that house. When they told her their principles, she said her husband and her brother-in-law both were men who believed those principles, and they had prayed for them for years. They appointed a meeting in the schoolhouse upon our farm.

“I came home in the evening, and my sister-in-law told me of this meeting. I had been drawing logs from the shores of Lake Ontario (I was in the lumber business), and I turned out my horses, did not stop to eat anything, and went to the meeting. I found the house and the dooryard filled with people. I listened for the first time in my life to a Gospel sermon as taught by the Elders of this Church. It was what I had sought for from my boyhood up. I invited the men home with me. I borrowed the Book of Mormon, and sat up all that night and read. In the morning I told Brother Pulsipher I wanted to be baptized. I had a testimony for myself that those principles were true. Myself and my brother…went forth and were baptized—the two first in that county.”

Elder Pulsipher baptized Wilford Woodruff in a creek on December 31, 1833, and confirmed him on that same day. Three days later, Wilford Woodruff received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of teacher. This was the beginning of a lifelong ministry in the Lord’s service. Looking back on that day, he said, “My mission immediately commenced.”  (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, 2004, pgs. 37-38.)

THE KEYS OF THE CHURCH

A second set of keys

THERE are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood. Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest. 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. (D&C 107: 1-4)

Notice that it was the church—not God, not the priests (which is a subset of the church), but the membership of the church itself—that changed the name of that order of priesthood. Modern LDS might find it a little strange that ancient church members were telling priesthood holders what to call their priesthood, yet there it is in our scriptures. And there is no indication that they sinned in the practice. So, we could ask, “By what authority did the church change the name of the priesthood?” That is the $64,000 question.

As explained previously, authority and keys are synonymous. In the scriptures, they mean and are the same thing. So, when we ask, “By what authority?” it means the same as asking, “By what keys?”

One thing is certain, the keys used by the church to change the name of the priesthood were not the keys of the priesthood. Only the men of the church who possess priesthood hold priesthood keys. Every other baptized member is without priesthood keys. That includes all the females, as well as all the males who have not yet had priesthood conferred upon them. The entire group of baptized and confirmed people, who make up the church of God, have received a set of keys separate and distinct from the keys of the priesthood.

The keys of the church

Hearken, O ye people of my church, to whom the kingdom has been given; (D&C 45: 1)

Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for unto you the kingdom, or in other words, the keys of the church have been given. Even so. Amen. (D&C 42: 69)

The people of the Lord’s church have been given the kingdom, which is defined as the keys of the church. Contrary to what the footnote to “keys of the church” in D&C 42: 69 and also the Triple Combination Index would have you believe, the keys of the church are not synonymous with the keys of the priesthood, but are a second set of keys given to every single church member, whether they possess priesthood or not.

The law of common consent

Church keys are exercised or manifested through the law of common consent, which in turn is based on the majority principle. This means that the people of the church vote on issues and whatever the majority decides, goes. This is known as the voice of the people.

All things to be done by common consent

And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen. (D&C 26: 2)

For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith. (D&C 28: 13)

I ought not to harrow up in my desires, the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto them according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction. (Alma 29: 4)

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Samuel 8: 7)

Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people. (Mosiah 29: 26)

From the above scriptures we learn that in the church, the keys of the priesthood are subject to the keys of the church, and not vice versa. This is why we find the Lord commanding his prophet Samuel, who possessed a fulness of active priesthood keys, to obey the will of the people in all things. This is why we find the seer-king Mosiah commanding his people to make it a law among the people that only the majority decisions will stand. And why we find the seer Alma explaining that even God Himself is not exempt from this law, that God Himself gives whatever men truly desire to them, regardless of what it is. And finally, it is why we find the Lord commanding and explaining to His church that every church decision absolutely must be done by common consent.

Lord upholds servants only if there is common consent

Now, I say unto you, my friends, let my servant Sidney Rigdon go on his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation, as I shall give him utterance; and by your prayer of faith with one consent I will uphold him. (D&C 93: 51)

The principle is that the servants (those who hold priesthood) must hearken to their masters (the church), whom they serve. If the people say RIGHT and a prophet says LEFT, but then the prophet forces a LEFT upon the people, he transgresses because the Lord will only uphold (sustain) a prophet (or any other servant-minister) if there is common consent among the people. If the church withdraws its consent at any point, the Lord ceases to uphold the servant. Even if the servant has been obedient to the Lord in all things and is righteous, and it is the church that is wicked (which is the reverse of how it normally is), if the servant attempts to assert his authority over them (which the church has removed), he transgresses the law and the Spirit leaves him.

The consent of the governed

It all comes down to a principle known as the consent of the governed. This principle can be defined in the following way:

The Consent of the Governed means “that nothing the leader/ruler (king, pope, prophet, etc.) does is legitimate unless the people consent to it.”

The consent of the governed is a true principle that invalidates all divine right theories. Any king, pope, prophet, priest, president, leader, or ruler that claims legitimacy based upon divine approval, regardless of what the people say or without consulting the people, is a liar inspired by the devil. This is because God Himself recognizes the heavenly principle of the consent of the governed. In fact, He is the Author of it. In a word, He has termed it agency. A war in heaven was fought over whether this principle would continue to exist, or be replaced by a divine right doctrine. That war continues here on earth. Currently, the principle is still firmly in place, both in heaven and in the scriptures of the church of God. Legitimacy, then, is determined only by the people, not by God.

Unrighteous dominion

Unrighteous dominion is dominion without the consent of the governed.

If the Lord attempts to assert dominion without the consent of the governed, He engages in unrighteous dominion. The same applies to the servants of the Lord.

Why? Because the Lord’s authority is only legitimate with the consent of the governed (His creations). The instant that consent is ignored or withdrawn, the Lord no longer has authority nor power over those people, nor do His servants. The Lord’s almighty power is called agency, and consists of the agencies of everything He has created.

His dominion is without compulsory means, meaning that all things obey Him because they want to obey Him, not because they have to or are forced to. His almighty power comes from their combined agencies, freely and voluntarily obeying Him. Were He ever to try to force obedience upon any of His creations, He would lose respect and honor in the eyes of everything with agency (the created Universe) and would cease to be God.

Therefore, the priesthood cannot be used without the consent of those it is intended to serve. It is their agency that authorizes the priesthood, both ordinations and licenses.

Two sets of keys

There are, then, in effect, two sets of keys. There are the keys of the priesthood which come from the Lord and which are kind of like the Lord’s own personal agency. Then there are the keys of the church, which also come from the Lord, but which are sort of like the personal agencies of each member of the church. In the beginning, the Lord gave to us our agency and in like manner, both sets of keys come from Him, nevertheless, one set represents His Own Person, while the other set represents us.

Just as one man can’t fire a nuclear-armed missile because it requires two men with two sets of keys, which is a fail-safe mechanism, so both church and priesthood keys are needed to get anything done. The Lord’s keys of the priesthood are recognized by the entire Universe. Nevertheless, they only work with the keys, or say so, of the church they were designed to serve. If the church does not give its say so, or withdraws its consent, the Lord’s keys are powerless, for the Lord cannot override agency or He ceases to be God.

Those who obtain priesthood must likewise make sure that the agency of those they serve is never abridged in any way. If so, the priesthood keys of both prophet and presidencies become illegitimate.

Both sets are needed

Legitimate churches of Christ must possess both sets of keys. Once an understanding of the double set of keys is obtained, discernment among the Christian churches becomes fairly easy. For example, Roman Catholicism claims to possess the keys of the priesthood from Peter, nevertheless, they possess no keys of the church, for their priesthood does not operate by the common consent of their members. Therefore, the Roman Catholic Church is not a legitimate church of Christ and has not been legitimate for more than a thousand years, theirs being a false priesthood.

The breakaways from Catholicism, the Protestants, although restoring the keys of the church through the law of common consent, lack the keys of the priesthood. In the case of the Restoration churches, only the main body (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) possesses to this day, both sets of keys. All of the splinter groups that have broken off from the main body since the days of Joseph Smith to now have been a minority of members, meaning that they did not constitute “the voice of the people.” The keys of the church are only found with “the voice of the people,” therefore, all splinter groups are illegitimate because they lack one set of keys (the keys of the church.) Even though some of these groups have been properly ordained, their priesthood is invalid without the keys of the church.

The keys of the church validate the keys of the priesthood

The LDS church is not exempt from this divine principle. Although we claim that our ordinations have been correctly performed and that the keys of the priesthood have been transferred in an unbroken line, if the keys of the church are ever lost to the our church, meaning that there is no more majority voice, then the keys of our priesthoods won’t work, either. Nevertheless, while a majority voice exists in the church, through the law of common consent, even if the ordinations strayed from the prescribed, divine pattern, as long as the keys of the church continue to say those ordinations and ordinances are valid or legitimate, then the Lord recognizes them as valid or legitimate. It’s as simple as that. So, the LDS church is very safe from losing its two sets of keys, as long as the church keys are continually employed.

The divine purpose of the church keys

The keys of the church allow the members to authorize, disapprove of, or invalidate any church activity, calling, plan, institution, or plan. Members can wield these keys to add or remove scriptures from the canon, or even to reject new revelations. They can use them to modify any part of the church or priesthood organization or protocols, as demonstrated by the changing of the name of the holy priesthood.

The membership keys have near total jurisdiction over the conferral, ordination and licensing of priesthood, its keys and its ordinances. About the only thing church keys can’t do is remove priesthood from someone, as only God can do that, though using the keys members can invalidate a man’s priesthood and keys. The keys of the church, then, are the safeguard set up by the Lord to keep the priesthood in check.

Church keys balance out priesthood keys. Through the law of common consent the members are empowered to exercise their keys in either appointing or disapproving of priesthood officers and priesthood licenses. They can nullify anything coming from the priesthood, can appoint or remove officers, can revoke licenses and can even invalidate priesthood through excommunication. As priesthood holders must hearken to all things that the majority membership desires, the set of church keys, which is the kingdom that has been given to the members, is the first and chief set, even the master set.

This great authority and responsibility has been laid upon the members because they have agency, which must reign supreme. Also, this is wisdom in the Lord, for the members (the church) make up the greater part of the people (the voice of the people), while the priesthood leadership and other servants make up the lesser part, so the odds are in favor of the church choosing the right and the leadership choosing the wrong. (See Mosiah 29: 26.)

The keys of the church are absolute

I want to stress that the keys of the church, held by all baptized members, are absolute. What the members say, goes, in all things. This is why it was the church, and not the priesthood, that changed the name of the priesthood from “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God” to simply “the Melchizedek Priesthood.” (See D&C 107: 1-4.) Even the priesthood of God is subject to the keys of the church. If church members today wanted to call the Melchizedek priesthood after some contemporary high priest, who they considered great, they have the right to do so and the priesthood leadership could do nothing about it except hearken to their word. If they did not obey the membership, they would be guilty of sedition and rebellion against their masters (the church), whom they are supposed to serve.

God uses keys to prove His people

Because the keys of the church can decide all matters, even within the priesthood itself, the church of God will be judged by Him according to how they use them. For example, members can use their keys to sustain minister-servant priesthood holders, who do not maintain power or influence by virtue of their office, or they can use them to sustain ecclesiastical abusers. If we have wicked leaders in the church, it is because we have a wicked church choosing and supporting the wicked leaders (Mosiah 11: 1-6), for the power exists to remove all wicked leaders in a heartbeat. It is as simple as raising a hand in opposition. You can’t get much simpler than that. The Lord has made it extremely easy to get rid of all the snakes in church (see 1 Nephi 17: 41) so that we are left without any excuse.

Just as priesthood keys are a test to priesthood holders, so church keys are intended to prove all church members. If the time ever comes when the keys of the church are used as a rubberstamp to approve of everything the priesthood desires to do and says, because of the titles of their offices, the keys will cease to function as a check on the priesthood. At that point, the church keys will convert the minister-servant status of priesthood into an honor of men, with celebrity status, allowing ecclesiastical abusers to take control of every priesthood office. If this were to happen on a church-wide scale, the voice of the people (the church) would be choosing iniquity, causing the judgments of God to come upon the church. (See Mosiah 29: 27.)

Israel to be led by the keys

The following verse is often misinterpreted as referring to only the priesthood keys.

Keep all the commandments and covenants by which ye are bound; and I will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish; and Israel shall be saved in mine own due time; and by the keys which I have given shall they be led, and no more be confounded at all. (D&C 35: 24-25)

Israel is to be led by both sets of keys: the keys of the church and the keys of the priesthood.

Ordinations voted by church

No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church; but the presiding elders, traveling bishops, high councilors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called. (D&C 20: 65-66)

Exception: where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called.

Licenses voted by church

The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders, by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences. Each priest, teacher, or deacon, who is ordained by a priest, may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate, when presented to an elder, shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling, or he may receive it from a conference. (D&C 20: 63-64)

Licenses authorize a priesthood holder to perform the duty of his calling. Without a license, you can’t use your priesthood.

Licenses can be revoked

And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference; (D&C 124: 144.)

Excommunications (and priesthood invalidations) by vote of church

But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses; and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God. (D&C 42: 81)

The church can vote to cast out (excommunicate) members from the congregation. If the excommunicant was a priesthood holder, their priesthood is now invalidated for that congregation. Should they continue baptizing and performing other ordinances while an excommunicant, the church would not recognize the ordinances, priesthood and priesthood keys used as valid.

Who decides?

Let’s recap. Who decides who gets the priesthood? The church, by vote.

Who decides who gets what office of the priesthood? The church, by vote.

Who decides which priesthood holder receives a license to perform the duty of his calling? The church, by vote.

The proper way to use the keys of the church

The Lord hasn’t really given any specific instruction to the church on how to use their keys. D&C 121: 34-46 is probably the best rule of thumb to use when deciding whether a man or boy should a) get the priesthood, b) should be ordained to an office, c) should receive a license, d) should have his license revoked, e) should be removed from office or f) should have his priesthood invalidated (through excommunication).

The sisters and the keys of the church

Historically, the keys of the church have always been, essentially, in the hands of baptized women and children, as their numbers have made up the “voice of the people.” During times when plural marriage was practiced, the combined female vote was overwhelmingly more numerous than its male counterpart, but even during these monogamous modern times, the women of the church still control the outcome of any vote. In any given branch, ward, stake or district of the church, the women and non priesthood-holding children routinely far outnumber the priesthood-holding men. Numbered alone, even without including children, the female members typically make up more than 51% of any sized church congregation. This means that if the females of the modern church were to vote as a block, every decision would be decided solely by them, regardless of how the combined male vote was cast. Even if the men were to vote as a block to oppose the females, they still would be powerless to stop them.

Thus, the keys of the church have been placed firmly in the hands of the women of the church. This is by divine design, just as the keys of the priesthood have been placed firmly in the hands of the men of the church.

The female human being is a highly sensitive creature; some might even say hypersensitive. She is able to detect abuse quite easily and quickly. As she lives out her life in an atmosphere of continual subjection to authority—first to her parents, then to teachers, then to government and work authorities, then to her husband—she becomes accustomed to forever having to obey someone else. As long as that person is as kindly as Christ is, her nature is happy, but the slightest abuse suffered and she becomes miserable. Nevertheless, due to societal norms, a female isn’t often able to free herself from bondage to one or another authority figure.

Her entrance into the Lord’s church through baptism, though, is designed by the Lord to be an entrance into freedom. No longer is she a second class citizen, standing behind a man, but is on equal ground with men, having equal voting rights as them, and having, together with her sisters, the combined capacity to pull down all abuse and abusers by vote. No longer need she obey by virtue of someone’s title (father, husband, police officer, teacher, elder, president, etc.), but is free to discard one’s title altogether and obey only the Christ-like ones and vote down the devilish.

Because women often get the brunt of the abuse that goes around by tyrannical men, and because they are usually the first ones to detect it, the Lord has given the keys of the church to the sisters, so that finally the women are empowered to rein it in.

How ecclesiastical abusers deal with the sisters

The tremendous power of the keys of the church, wielded by the sisters as a voting block to end ecclesiastical tyranny, or merely to vote their conscience, even if it contradicts the leadership position, presents an insurmountable obstacle to would-be priesthood tyrants. There simply is no way around it. If the sisters wake up to the existence of the keys of the church and exercise their voting power, leadership positions lose all their awesome titular authority, terror and clout. The strategy, then, used by leaders, is to talk only of the keys of the priesthood and to never mention the keys of the church. Because no one can exercise a right they don’t know they have, as long as the sisters remain ignorant of this authority, given to them by the Lord, men are free to rule in the church as priest-king tyrants.

Many men believe that women scriptorians are few and far between and leaders know that even those who regularly study their scriptures will often go to their priesthood leadership for answers on scriptural questions. This presents a wonderful opportunity for a leader to give an answer that solidifies his own authority and her need to obey and sustain him, as well as her need to sustain her other leaders. In fact, the leadership has gotten to the point where they hardly use the word “vote” any more. The act of raising a hand for (not against) is now widely called “sustaining”—(while raising one’s hand against is called “not sustaining”)—and it is continuously taught that it is our duty to sustain our leaders (presumably by raising our hands for them). This means that a woman who raises a hand in opposition is not “sustaining her leader,” therefore, she must be sinning.

By getting away from the word “vote,” which has no stigma if you vote your conscience, for or against, and by using the word “sustain,” the leadership has invented a new sin and multiplied guilt and fear. Now everyone is afraid to exercise his or her church keys and the priesthood is free to engage in ecclesiastical abuse with nothing to hinder its progress.

Hopefully, with this article, the word will get out to the sisters that they need not fear voting their conscience. In fact, I’ll speak directing to you sisters:

Sustaining your leaders and voting in church are two different things. You are to vote your conscience and then, after the vote is counted, whoever is voted in is the person you sustain, meaning that your prayers and support should go out to that person. Raising your hand for any measure proposed by a leader is not sustaining him or her. Raising your hand for or against any measure proposed by a leader is voting. If the measure passes, it means that the voice of the people desired it to pass. You then sustain that measure or that person with prayers, faith and support, not because you are sustaining the person or measure (which, perhaps, you disagreed with), but because you sustain the voice of the people, who are the true leaders.

The same principle applies in life outside of church. Let’s say that there are two candidates for Police Chief and you vote for candidate #1. But after the vote is counted, the voice of the people elects candidate #2. Do you just ignore the new Police Chief’s authority and disregard his commands after he’s been sworn in because you didn’t vote for him? No, instead, you prayer for him and sustain him in his office, because you respect the voice of the people.

To use another example, consider the pre-existent vote that took place, where some went with Jesus and others went with Lucifer. Jesus had the voice of the people with him, yet Lucifer and those who voted for him were not considered sinners for voting against Jesus. It was only when they rebelled against the voting outcome (against the voice of the people) that they ran into trouble and were cast out of heaven.

In like manner, voting one’s conscience is no sin in the eyes of God. It is rebellion against the voice of the people that brings swift divine judgment. When your leaders say to you that you need to “sustain your leaders,” or if they ask you if you “sustain your leaders,” it may be wise to ask yourself who are your leaders? In principle, the only mortal leaders we are commanded to sustain or “hearken to in all things” are the people’s voice, meaning the majority vote of the membership. If you do this, you are in principle and in fact, sustaining your leaders.

So, vote your mind and conscience without fear of repercussions, for there are none. And use your God-given, innate ability to detect tyrants to discover them and vote them out using your keys.

SPEKTATOR’S QUESTIONS

Spektator’s questions answered

Spektator asked me three questions, which I decided to answer in this post.

Can a man who has ‘lost’ his priesthood through unrighteous dominion [be] able to ordain others? I have to think that it is not in keeping with God’s will that I can pass the priesthood on to another if I have not met the qualifications myself.

Secondly, Alma the elder received his ‘priesthood’ directly from God (Alma 18). Does God have the right to bestow the priesthood to whom He desires? I believe he does, but this does negate that absolute need for priesthood lineage.

Finally, does the Gentile Church really dispose of the priesthood when the scroll rolls? I go back to the blessing that Israel gave Ephraim – that he would be a multitude of nations – as an indication that we are both Gentiles and of the house of Ephraim. Your thoughts? (Spek’s three questions)

Answer to question #1

Can a man who has ‘lost’ his priesthood through unrighteous dominion [be] able to ordain others? I have to think that it is not in keeping with God’s will that I can pass the priesthood on to another if I have not met the qualifications myself. (Spek’s 1st question)

A man who has ‘lost’ his priesthood through unrighteous dominion can ordain others if he is authorized by the keys of the church, which are held by the people of the church and are activated by the voice of the people through the law of common consent. God’s will controls the powers of heaven aspect of priesthood, which is contingent on qualifications of the priesthood holder, but His will does not supercede the will of His people. As it is the will of God that the voice of the people is hearkened to, if the voice of the people say an ordination is valid, it is valid.

Answer to question #2

Secondly, Alma the elder received his ‘priesthood’ directly from God (Alma 18). Does God have the right to bestow the priesthood to whom He desires? I believe he does, but this does negate that absolute need for priesthood lineage. (Spek’s 2nd question)

Background on Alma the elder

In the land of Lehi-Nephi and the land of Shilom (Mosiah 9: 6), the righteous king Zeniff (Mosiah 9: 1) conferred the kingdom, just before he died (Mosiah 10: 22), upon Noah, one of his sons (Mosiah 11: 1). After becoming king, Noah turned wicked (Mosiah 11: 1-2) and caused his people to commit all manner of wickedness; of especial note is that Noah and his people began practicing polygamy with concubinage and whoredoms (Mosiah 11: 2), which was contrary to the commandment received by the prophet Lehi (Jacob 3: 5).

King Noah put down all the priests that had been consecrated by king Zeniff (which priests were after the order of Melchizedek), and consecrated new ones in their stead (also after the order of Melchizedek), prideful ones that likewise practiced polygamy with concubinage and whoredoms (Mosiah 11: 4-5, 14).

Alma the elder, priest of Noah

Alma was one of these new priests (Mosiah 24: 9). At the time of his calling, he was a young man (Mosiah 17: 2). Like the other priests, Alma’s lifestyle was one of laziness, idolatry and whoredoms. He used his priesthood to deceive the people with vain and flattering words so that they also became idolatrous (Mosiah 11: 7). His was a paid ministry, receiving his salary from the royal treasury, which was filled by a 20% direct tax laid upon the people’s possessions.

Iniquity with consent

In all of this wickedness, both Alma, the other priests and king Noah had the support of the people. The people did as king Noah and his priests did. When king Noah became a wine-bibber, the people did also (Mosiah 11: 15). There is no indication in the record of Zeniff that king Noah, Alma, and the rest of the priests did these things without the consent of the people. On the contrary, the record indicates that the people both sustained the king and his newly consecrated priests, rejoiced in their lying and flattering idolatrous doctrines, and participated in the riotous living (Mosiah 11: 14).

Enter Abinadi

Because of this iniquitous union between people and priesthood, in which there were no dissenting votes, only common consent to break the commandments of God, when the Lord sent Abinadi, a non-priest prophet, to deliver a divine message, it was looked upon as a disturbance of the peace of the people (Mosiah 11: 28). Both the people and the king were angry with Abinadi and both attempted to have him caught and killed (Mosiah 11: 26), because attempting to create discord and divisions in the people is subversive behavior and worthy of death. As further evidence, Abinadi’s non-priestly authority was even brought up (Mosiah 11: 27).

Abinadi escaped, but was sent back two years later with another message from the Lord. This time he was captured, imprisoned, publicly interrogated, judged and finally killed by fire, but not before he delivered his final message and teachings to the wicked priests and king.

Alma was among the audience of priests during this remarkable interrogation. He was astonished at Abinadi’s answers (Mosiah 12: 19) and was cut to his heart (Mosiah 13: 7). He saw Abinadi’s face shine, as did the people (Mosiah 13: 5), and was filled with wonder and amazement (Mosiah 13: 8). Although the priesthood records did not show that Abinadi possesssed priesthood, it was apparent to Alma that Abinadi spoke with authority from God, and not only that, he also spoke with visibly manifested power from God (Mosiah 13: 6.)

After Abinadi finished his speech, king Noah commanded his priests to take him “and cause that he should be put to death” (Mosiah 17: 1). Of all the priests, only Alma believed the words of Abinadi and he alone pleaded with the king to let Abinadi go in peace.

Instead, the king became even angrier and had Alma thrown out of the royal palace (Mosiah 11: 9) and then he sent his servants to find and kill him (Mosiah 17: 3), but Alma fled and hid himself. While in hiding, he wrote all the words of Abinadi (Mosiah 17: 4), then, after repenting “of his sins and iniquities,” began a private ministry among the people, in which he taught Abinadi’s words (Mosiah 18: 1-3.)

Eventually, about 204 people believed his words and he baptized them, forming a church of Christ. He then ordained 4 priests (after the order of Melchizedek) to teach the church. The church increased in size to 450 people with 9 ordained priests before they departed into the wilderness to escape king Noah’s army which he sent to destroy them.

Alma’s priesthood authority

Okay, Spek, now that we have Alma’s background laid out, I’ll answer your question.

First, let me state that I don’t believe that the scriptures support the view that Alma was an excommunicant. Mosiah 24: 9 states that Alma “was driven out before the king”, while Mosiah 17: 3 states that the king “caused that Alma should be cast out from among them, and sent his servants after him that they might slay him.” Neither of these verses strike me as a description of a formal excommunication procedure (in the modern sense.) This sounds, to me, like a forcible ejection from the palace, followed by some servants sent afterward to permanently keep Alma’s mouth shut. (In an ancient sense, this may have actually been the manner, under the law of Moses, or under a perversion of the same, to excommunicate a priest, namely, by throwing the man out and slaying him. As Alma was not killed, such an excommunication procedure was not brought to completion.)

Alma may have been removed from the palace so that a unanimous vote by the priests could take place in condemning Abinadi to death, for one dissenting vote in a capital punishment case may have nullified the procedure. The servants sent out later to slay him may have had the same purpose, that of prohibiting him from returning and casting a dissenting vote during the three days that Abinadi remained alive before a guilty verdict was passed. During this time, and afterward, while Alma remained in hiding for many days, there is no indication in the account that he was formally excommunicated (in neither a modern nor ancient sense), so I think it is fair to go under the assumption that he still retained his priesthood, being a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

But even if it is assumed that he was excommunicated, what we know of the modern priesthood shows that an excommunicated priest does not lose his priesthood, but is merely told not to use it. If and when an excommunicated priest is re-baptized, there is no re-conferral and re-ordination to the priesthood and its offices, but he is merely given a blessing in which he is told that his former covenants and privileges are restored, including his priesthood. This means that the voice of the church can invalidate an excommunicant’s priesthood for that particular church—which means that every single one of his keys goes into suspension—but has no authority to remove it. This may have been one of the reasons why Noah felt it necessary to send servants to slay Alma, so that he wouldn’t be able to use his priesthood among the people.

From the record, Alma’s priesthood lineage appears to be: from Zeniff (righteous) to Noah (righteous, then later wicked) to Alma (wicked, then later righteous).

The voice of the people supported Zeniff, so his priesthood was valid. The voice of the people also supported Noah, when Noah was righteous, so his priesthood was valid. Later, when Noah turned wicked, the voice of the people still supported him, so his priesthood remained valid. And the voice of the people supported Alma while he was wicked, up to the time he was thrown out of the palace, so his priesthood was valid until that time.

Nevertheless, Alma began a private ministry, in the which he established a church of Christ, which was separate and distinct from the church of Noah’s priests. This congregation of 204, and later of 450 people, possessed the keys of the church of Christ established by Alma, thereby validating Alma’s priesthood with their common consent. (The general population did not possess the keys of the church of Christ, for they were not a part of the church of Christ, but held to the law of Moses alone.)

So, we have a situation in which validly ordained priests after the order of Melchizedek (Zeniff and priests, Noah and priests, and Alma and priests) had established two different churches, one based upon the law of Moses alone, the other based upon the law of Moses plus the gospel of Jesus Christ. Both congregations sustained their priesthood teachers with the keys of their respective churches.

All of these priests (even the wicked ones—think back to what Lucifer said in the temple: “It is an emblem of my power and priesthoods“) had authority from God (Mosiah 18: 18), not just Alma, for they were all properly ordained and sustained by their respective congregations. The only difference was that Alma and priests also had the power of God with them (Mosiah 18: 17), for they purified their hearts and sanctified themselves before God, becoming priesthood made flesh.

So, although God does have the right to bestow priesthood upon whomever He chooses, priesthood lineage is consistently shown in the scriptures to be a necessary part of the plan of salvation, meaning that He uses an already ordained man to pass priesthood on, instead of doing it Himself. This follows the pattern and principle of “freely ye have received, freely give”, which allows an ordained man to serve his fellowmen.

Answer to question #3

Finally, does the Gentile Church really dispose of the priesthood when the scroll rolls? I go back to the blessing that Israel gave Ephraim—that he would be a multitude of nations—as an indication that we are both Gentiles and of the house of Ephraim. Your thoughts? (Spek’s 3rd question)

Yes. The Gentile Church will lose its priesthood in a couple of ways, the first being that they will lose the keys given to them.

The break up of the church and the loss of the keys

The loss of these keys appears to be connected with the break up of the church. (See 3 Ne. 6: 14.) At some point in the future, the united and centralized church of God (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will become separate churches led by priests. (See 2 Nephi 28.) These priests will be after the order of Melchizedek, having previously been ordained high priests holding the calling of stake president in the former LDS Church. Each former stake president (now priest) will be autonomous, meaning that each one will preside over a separate and distinct Mormon church, not affiliated with any of the other Mormon churches of the broken-up LDS Church. When this prophecy is fulfilled, these priests will contend with the other priests who presided over the other former LDS Church stakes, for primacy and supremacy. Each will lift himself up as the new leader of the church, but none of them will gain the voice of the church (majority vote.) The corporate LDS Church will cease to exist, to be replaced by a plurality of Mormon churches, most of which will divide along former stake boundaries. Within some of the stake-like churches, there may be men who were bishops of wards (or presidents of temples) when the LDS Church broke up that will attempt to go-it-alone. They will form their own, smaller, ward-like churches, but most congregations will be as large as stakes were, for there will be the feeling that there is safety in numbers. Nephi’s prophecy applies to these bishops and temple presidents, as well, for they are also ordained priests after the order of Melchizedek. After the break up of the LDS Church, both the stake presidents and the few lone bishops will drop the titles stake president and bishop, which pertained to the former LDS Church, and call themselves simply priests, and they will drop the titles stake and ward and call their congregations churches, thus fulfilling Nephi’s prophecy to the very letter.

An earthquake will break up the church

The reason for the break up appears to be from an earthquake during some future general conference in which the general authorities of the church will be killed by a collapsing conference center. This will leave the affairs of the church in the hands of the stake presidents, who will begin bickering as to how to re-assemble the corporate and ecclesiastical mess and will end up going their separate ways. These men will divide up the assets of the corporate church among themselves, which include meeting houses, temples and businesses. None of these priests will be able to obtain a majority vote in their favor and the membership of the church will be divided among stake-like churches.

The Wasatch Fault is the largest, normal vertical fault in the world. It is also the likeliest fault to have a large, catastrophic earthquake of all the known faults within the interior of the United States. A big earthquake is expected to occur sometime in the next 50 years. It runs 240 miles long and passes through the Salt Lake region, near the cites of Nephi, Salt Lake City, Brigham City, Provo, etc. Almost 75% of Utah’s population lives near this fault. Liquefaction is also of grave concern for this area. Liquefaction is when the ground becomes mixed with water and acts like a liquid, instead of like a solid, kind of like quick sand. (Remember the Savior’s warning about houses built on sand falling.) When liquefaction occurs during an earthquake, it is the largest, most massive buildings that fall or sink quickest into the earth. Keep in mind that the conference center is gargantuan.

Each of the segments that make up the Wasatch Fault is capable of delivering around a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. That’s fairly large, but not large enough to destroy the conference center, which was built to withstand such seismic shaking. However, it may be that the earthquake that downs the center will simultaneously trigger another 7.1 earthquake in one (or more) of the surrounding segments, causing a ripple effect of catastrophic devastation, like multiple pebbles thrown onto a still water’s surface. The building, faced with two (or more) simultaneous 7+ magnitude earthquakes, their waves coming from different directions and intersecting, would be subjected to an unknown, but very large seismic magnitude. It is unlikely the conference center engineers constructed it with such a scenario in mind.

Both sets of keys will be lost

The loss of the keys of the priesthood occurs because the quorums of the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy will cease to exist, due to the deaths of their quorum members, leaving only the active keys used among the stakes. As there will be no unity among the priests, they will not be able to come to any agreement concerning the reconstitution of the general authority offices; therefore, the GA quorums will remain defunct.

The loss of the keys of the church will occur because no priest will be supported by the voice of the people (a majority). Only minority factions will be left to support this or that priest. Without the keys of the church functioning, the remaining keys of the priesthood will be invalid, for a majority of the membership will be against all other Mormon church priest leaders, invalidating their priesthood.

(Because stakes don’t have jurisdiction over other stakes, they cannot excommunicate members from other stakes or otherwise remove the names of the people residing in other stakes from the church rolls. For this reason, although the membership found outside of any of these churches will not be considered by them as bona fide members of the Lord’s church, technically they will still be on the records of one of these churches as baptized and confirmed people and will constitute a majority voice against those found within the church in question. The law of common consent, then, despite multiple apostate Mormon churches, will apply across the board to all churches, as if they were still one church. Nevertheless, the several churches inability or unwillingness to come to any agreement will be the death toll of the keys of the church, which must be wielded by a majority.)

This situation, then, will cause a complete loss of both Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods, meaning that no one Mormon church will recognize the priesthood of any other Mormon church, necessitating that the Lord step in and set things right (the great and marvelous work.) This second act of the Lord, though, will be accompanied by power (meaning the working of miracles.) The priests of these churches, seeking to keep their members, will then counsel them to not believe in the miracles that will be reported and witnessed by many people. They will use the former LDS Church assets they received in the break-up of the church to enrich themselves and their congregations, and will use their control of a temple (if a priest was lucky enough to gain control of one) and their meetinghouses as perks of membership in their particular Mormon church to attract new members and keep membership numbers high. Even the permissiveness of iniquity will be a drawing point, for, if you are taught that you can sin as much as you want and still be saved, attending church becomes a joy. The selling point of the only true priesthood will also keep members from straying and following “new prophets” among the people. Thus, these Mormon churches will quickly spiral down into all manner of apostate wickedness as detailed by Nephi’s prophecy.

Ammonihah redux

So, the LDS Church will be broken up after the fashion of the city of Ammonihah. Just as the Ammonihahites prided themselves at how invincible they were, only to end up being destroyed in one day, so the church will be broken up in one day’s time. An earthquake will be used because this is what earthquakes do best: break things apart. It will happen as a whirlwind (tornado), without warning and suddenly, taking virtually everyone, both priesthood and membership, by surprise. (Well, except for those who read this article…)

How the broken up churches will make money

Separate, individual churches, led by a priest, will no longer have access to the general church funds, as there won’t be any more general church, only separate and distinct Mormon apostate churches. Funding, then, will be of principle concern for the priests. A paid clergy will arise, ecclesiastical funding drives will occur, and the Mormon apostate churches will more closely resemble their apostate Christian church counterparts.

Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins. (Mormon 8: 32)

This doctrine of forgiving sins for money will introduce a plague of wickedness into the churches. As the break up will occur during an economic depression and work will be scarce, the churches will be used by the priests “to get gain”, for all want salvation, even in economic hard times. Worthiness will no longer be an issue for baptism, confirmation, entrance to the temple or ordination to the priesthood. Only how much money you have will be the question asked. All manner of iniquity will be acceptable to these churches, in their attempt to get gain. In fact, iniquity will be celebrated and even encouraged, for the more iniquity there is, the more money there is to be made.

Prophecy of no more Gentile stakes will be fulfilled

The law of tithing will no longer be observed according to revelation (D&C 119 and 120) and the prophecy found in D&C 119: 6-7 will be fulfilled for the scattered churches (which were formerly called stakes in the LDS Church), namely, that these churches will cease to be “stakes of Zion”.

And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you. And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen. (D&C 119: 6-7)

Thus, Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the stakes never being removed, had view of the stakes established by the Indians, after the city of Zion is built, and not of the Gentile stakes established during the foundation movement begun by Joseph Smith.

Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. (Isa. 33: 20)

Name changes

No longer called (legally) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which will be a dissolved corporation, the apostate Mormon churches will bear some other name, to distinguish themselves from the other apostate Mormon churches, bringing into view the curious passage in 3 Nephi 27: 1-12 about the name of the Lord’s church. This same Book of Mormon passage will be quoted to the apostate Mormon churches who will bear various and sundry names, including the names of men, by the prophets and missionaries bearing the new scriptures and fulness of the gospel of the Father. In other words, just as we LDS use the Bible of the Gentiles to preach to the Gentiles, so the new missionaries will use the Book of Mormon of the Mormons to preach to the apostate Gentile Mormon churches.

The blood of saints will be spilled

Apostate Mormon churches will kill or seek to kill the saints residing within their congregations. They will also kill or seek to kill prophets of God and missionaries sent to them, repeating the history of the Nephites after their own church of God had broken up (see 3 Ne. 6: 14.)

And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people…Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly angry because of those who testified of these things; and those who were angry were chieflythey who had been high priests…Now there was no …high priest that could have power to condemn any one to death save their condemnation was signed by the governor of the land. Now there were many of those who testified of the things pertaining to Christ who testified boldly, who were taken and put to death secretly by the judges, that the knowledge of their death came not unto the governor of the land until after their death. (3 Ne. 6: 20-23)

In like fashion, the priests of the broken up Mormon churches, who had been high priests (stake presidents) in the unified Church, will become angry with the new preachers of righteousness and seek to kill them.

This is one of the tipping points (the death of saints, prophets and missionaries) that will cause the Indians to go through them and wipe them off the face of the earth. The broken up Mormon churches will be the most wicked people on the planet. They will also be the most prideful of all the Gentiles. Thus, they will receive the judgment of God first.

The fulness of the gospel of the Father includes, among other things, abundant manifestations of the power of God in the form of the gifts of the Spirit. When the broken up Mormon churches reject the fulness, they will be rejecting both new scriptures that will come forth, new prophets sent by the Lord, and also abundant miracles that will witness to the truthfulness of the message of the new scriptures and prophets. They will be left without excuse and will know with a surety that it’s all true, but will still deny and reject it. The saints in their congregations who repent and accept the fulness will be cast out or slain as troublemakers, inciting the anger of the Lord. The Indians will then be let loose upon the Mormon Gentiles, killing all those who refuse to be numbered Indians. (The saints, or repentant Gentile Mormons, who are cast out will go to the Indians and become numbered with them, becoming part of that Manassehite tribe.) These Manassehite Indians will then build the city of Zion, assisted by the Ephraimite Gentile Mormons who have become numbered with them. With the massacre of the unrepentant Gentile Mormons by the Indians, the church of the lamb of God (as it will then be called) will no longer be led by Ephraim, but by Manasseh. A Josephite prophet will be a principal player in all of this.

And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy. Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book. And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren. (2 Nephi 3: 22-24)

The fulfillment of 3 Nephi 16: 10-15

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them. And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.

But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father. But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16: 10-15)

The Gentiles spoken of in this scripture are the Mormon Gentiles. Not the Mormon Gentiles of today, but the ones who will be the members of the broken up Mormon churches. These people “shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth,” meaning that they will be the most wicked of all the Gentiles. This is a subset of the Gentile population and is defined as they who are considered “salt that hath lost its savor,” meaning baptized members of the Lord’s church. These wicked Mormons in these wicked, broken up Mormon churches, will both sin against the gospel of the Father, which they received through Joseph Smith AND reject the fulness of the gospel of the Father, which arrives later, after the break up of the LDS Church.

The Mormon Gentiles who repent will become numbered among the Indians (Manassehites) and survive the Indian invasion. The unrepentant Mormon Gentiles, though, will get slaughtered, and thus, their priesthood and its lineage will be wiped out. It is the prophetic plan to completely remove the priesthood from the Gentiles, in the day of restoration of the tribes of Israel, so that only Israel, and those who are numbered among Israel, possess priesthood.

A repeat of the Zoramites

Alma 31 contains a description of the Zoramites. The broken up Mormon churches will evolve into Zoramites and begin treating the poor among them in much the same way as the Zoramites did. This is another reason why the Lord will come out against them in His anger.

How the Zoramites treated the poor

And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel—therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart…And they came unto Alma; and the one who was the foremost among them said unto him: Behold, what shall these my brethren do, for they are despised of all men because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty; and we have no place to worship our God; and behold, what shall we do? (Alma 32: 2-3, 5)

Broken up Mormon churches will lack charity

The description of charity is the OPPOSITE of how the broken up Mormon churches will treat the poor:

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (Moro. 7: 45)

Charity suffers long, is kind, and is not easily provoked, but the broken up Mormon churches will have strifes, malice and persecutions:

And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. (Morm. 8: 36)

Charity does not envy, yet the broken up Mormon churches will envy:

Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches. (Morm. 8: 28)

Charity is not puffed up, yet the broken up Mormon churches will be puffed up:

Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up. (2 Ne. 28: 12)

Charity does not seek her own, yet the broken up Mormon churches will not notice any who are not rich and healthy like themselves:

Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? (Morm. 8: 39)

Charity does not rejoice in iniquity, yet the broken up Mormon churches will very literally rejoice in iniquity:

Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity. (Morm. 8: 31)

Isaiah’s prophecy of the broken up Mormon churches

The prophecy found in Isaiah chapter 3 will be re-applied to the broken up Mormon churches: the Gentile hypocrites who profess to know the Lord. Like the Israelites before them, their prophet (vs. 2) will be taken away (vs. 1) by the Lord, they will be oppressed by their neighbors (vs. 5), including the neighboring Mormon churches, and behave proudly (vs. 5.) They will seek for a ruler of their broken up churches (vs. 6-7) because the unified church will now be ruined (vs. 6, 8.) Their wickedness will openly and publicly provoke the Lord (vs. 8 ) because they will “declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not” (vs. 9.)

Isaiah’s description of the broken up Mormon churches—they grind upon the faces of the poor:

As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts. (Isa. 3: 12-15)

Isaiah’s description of the rich women of the broken up Mormon churches and the judgment of God upon them:

Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground. (Isa. 3: 16-26)

The Indians will wipe out the wicked men of the wicked Gentile Mormon churches, leaving women desolate and desperate to marry any husband, even if they have to share him with other women (in polygamy.)

Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. (Isa. 3: 25)

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isa. 4: 1)

The only ones left alive after the Indians destroy the wicked among the wicked Gentile Mormon churches will be the penitent. These will become numbered among the Indians.

And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (Isa. 4: 3)

But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. (3 Ne. 16: 13)

Earthquake imagery

The scriptures have a lot of earthquake imagery in them, using words such as “tumble, shake, disturb, quake, earthquake, tremble, broken up, division,” etc. Let’s review:

Wicked Churches Must Shake

But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil—yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center. (D&C 10: 56)

For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet. (1 Ne. 22: 23)

For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed. (D&C 132: 14)

Voice of Angel Shakes the Earth

Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder. (1 Ne. 17: 45)

And as I said unto you, as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood;…And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God…And now Alma and those that were with him fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment; for with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord; and his voice was as thunder, which shook the earth; and they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder. (Mosiah 27: 11, 15, 18)

But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his vice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth. (Alma 38: 7)

Voice of God Shakes the Earth

For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God. Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake. And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley. Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake; yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center. Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved. (Helaman 12: 8-13)

And at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away, even so as by fire. (Ether 4: 9)

Great and Abominable Church and Kingdom of Devil to Fall

But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; (2 Ne. 28: 18-19)

The Lord Will Cause a Great Division

For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire. (2 Ne. 30: 10)

The First Division Is Among the Church

And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord. (3 Ne. 6: 14)

The Second Division Is Among Everyone Else

And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land. And it came to pass in the thirty and first year that they were divided into tribes, every man according to his family, kindred and friends; nevertheless they had come to an agreement that they would not go to war one with another; but they were not united as to their laws, and their manner of government, for they were established according to the minds of those who were their chiefs and their leaders. But they did establish very strict laws that one tribe should not trespass against another, insomuch that in some degree they had peace in the land; nevertheless, their hearts were turned from the Lord their God, and they did stone the prophets and did cast them out from among them. (3 Ne. 7: 2, 14)

The House Built on Sand

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matt. 7: 24-27)

Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (3 Ne. 14: 24-27)

But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them. (3 Ne. 18: 13)

And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. (2 Ne. 28: 28)

The Great and Spacious Building Will Fall

And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father. But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building. And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads. And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not. (1 Ne. 8: 26-33)

And the multitude of the earth was gathered together; and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Behold the world and the wisdom thereof; yea, behold the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (1 Ne. 11: 35-36)

And the large and spacious building, which thy father saw, is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record, from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and forever. (1 Ne. 12: 18)

A conditional promise that house will not be broken up if the United Order obeys the Lord (and we all know what happened…)

I give unto you this privilege, this once; and behold, if you proceed to do the things which I have laid before you, according to my commandments, all these things are mine, and ye are my stewards, and the master will not suffer his house to be broken up. Even so. Amen. (D&C 104: 86)

The reason for the earthquake

But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts. But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; for behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. (2 Ne. 28: 17-23; see especially 18-19, in red bold type.)

The great and abominable church must tumble to the earth and great must be the fall thereof, for the kingdom of the devil must shake. Why? So that they which belong to it are stirred up to repentance. If the earthquake doesn’t happen, according to its timetable, they will not be stirred up to repentance. And if they are not stirred up to repentance, the devil will grasp them. And if the devil grasps them they will be stirred up (by the devil) to anger and perish. What will they be stirred up to anger against? The new prophets, the new scriptures and the fulness of the gospel of the Father which will be sent to them, according to the Lord’s timetable. The “for behold, at that day” phrase, in bold type above, signals the day when the fulness of the gospel of the Father is sent to them and rejected by the wicked among them (the vast majority). Fortunately, though, some will repent due to the kingdom of the devil shaking, allowing these repentant persons who now find themselves within one of the many broken up Mormon churches to more easily accept the new prophets, new scriptures and fulness of the gospel of the Father which will be sent to them. Were it not for this shaking of the kingdom of the devil and the tumbling to the earth of the great and abominable church, every last one of those belonging to it would reject the new stuff coming from the Lord, because they would follow their general authority leaders’ counsel of rejecting it. Essentially, the Lord is going to turn things upside down, or pull the rug out from underneath the members of His church’s feet, causing a division among His people, so that each man must make his own decision when the new good news is sent, instead of relying upon someone else. Nevertheless, the vast majority will still follow their new broken up Mormon church priests, as these priests will introduce false and vain and iniquitous doctrines, allowing all manner of iniquities in their churches, so that they become addicted to wickedness.

Why the leaders? Because when the marvelous work and a wonder commences, it will begin among the Lord’s house by causing the “wisdom of their wise and learned” to perish and the “understanding of their prudent” to be hid. The rulers and seers of the people are going to be covered by the Lord. Among the LDS, the general authorities are the wise, learned, prudent, rulers and seers. They shall perish in an earthquake and be hid (or covered) by the roof of the conference center falling upon them.

For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity…Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid. (2 Ne. 27: 5, 26)

Building the conference center (a great and spacious building) was unwise, not smart (unlearned), not prudent. The designers, planners and builders of that particular edifice did not know that it would one day collapse, leading to the dissolving of the corporate Church and the dividing of the members of the one church into many smaller broken up churches. Had they known this, they never would have built it. It was an error on their part, a grave mistake, but the Lord, knowing of the future earthquake, will use it to further His divine purposes. If and when that building does collapse, it won’t mean that all of these dead leaders were wicked men and that the judgments of the Lord were upon them. The Lord allows the consequences of stupid actions to follow.

2 Nephi 27: 27 begins the prophecies which speak of the priests of the broken up Mormon churches, which will descend into iniquity.

And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding? (2 Ne. 27: 27)

Conclusion

The good news is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still God’s church. The keys are still here, both of the priesthood and of the church.

The bad news is that it appears the Gentile priesthood holders are failing the test that the Lord has given to them in their handling of the keys of the priesthood. Instead of using the keys to serve their fellowmen, many are using them to aggrandize themselves and become rulers in the kingdom, patterned after the Gentile kingdoms.

Even more bad news is that it appears that the Gentile church membership is failing the test that the Lord has given in the handling of the keys of the church. Instead of keeping the priesthood under control and weeding out the snakes, the membership is lifting on a pedestal every man whose office they consider to be high, and thus choosing to support iniquitous priests.

The really bad news is that it looks like the Lord is going to put a stop to this madness quite abruptly, in the form of an earthquake, causing a division among His church.

The really, really bad news is that it looks like, according to prophecy, that this will have the effect of causing the current membership, who have a shiny, goody-two-shoes exterior and a rotten interior, to show their true colors, instead of all the current hypocrisy, so that every conceivable iniquity will be openly and joyously practiced in the broken up churches that come after the great earthquake.

The good news is that all of this is in preparation for new prophets, new scripture and more good news (the fulness of the gospel of the Father.) But this good news is only good for those who repent, accept the fulness and become numbered with the Indians. However, for those, the even better news is that the city of Zion will be built soon after these events start happening.

For us right now, though, considering the depths of wickedness that the broken up churches are slated to descend into, it may be time to count our blessings and enjoy the relative peace and tranquility that we have now in the unified church. Sure it’s lukewarm, but at least the worst that is happening is excommunication, not the murdering of saints…

Endnotes

Here are some additional thoughts inspired by this post.

Alma the elder was a polygamist with concubines. After hiding for many days and starting his own private ministry, who would be the first people he would trust to preach to? Probably his wives and concubines. The record states that he repented, but as he already had wives and concubines, his repentance probably didn’t mean he divorced all of them except his first wife, as that would have been sin, but he most likely kept his wives and concubines (in grandfather clause fashion) and merely preached monogamy from here on out per Lehi’s revelation.

The people who accepted Alma’s message would also have had plural wives, for they were led into the same sins as king Noah, therefore, this was a church of practicing polygamists who had repented and now were espousing monogamy, while still retaining their plural wives.

As the women’s liberation movement didn’t exist back then, and there were no feminists that I am aware of, culturally the wives would have stayed with their husbands even if their husbands changed religions (as Alma ended up doing), and followed their husbands wherever they led them, even if they did not get baptized themselves. But, I’d say it was a good chance that Alma’s wives and concubines converted to Alma’s new religion, for this was the culture anciently: for a woman to follow her husband and to cleave unto him.

King Noah and priests possibly changed the monogamous affairs of the kingdom to polygamy in order to quickly grow the population, to better protect themselves from the Lamanites that surrounded them. As plural marriage was permitted under the law of Moses, but not under the law of Lehi, this may have been presented as a return to the ancient way of doing things, before Lehi adulterated things with new revelations. More people also meant more industry and taxes. The people, both men and women, might have gone along with the new scheme because they recognized, like Noah, that there is safety in numbers. Active procreation, with wives, concubines and harlots, may have been actively preached over the podium and promoted by the government, as a wartime measure. King Noah and his people did not have the land protections of the other Nephite populations. They were dwelling right in the heart of Lamanite territory, so thinking out of the box may have been easier for them in their precarious position.

Monogamy may have been initiated by the Lord through Lehi among the Nephites to keep their numbers small, so that they would have to humble themselves before the Lord to get His protection from the warring Lamanites. With populations of similar size, the Nephites might have quickly forgotten the Lord and wiped themselves out in wars with the Lamanites far before their time. Or, perhaps they might have wiped out the Lamanites, which would have frustrated the Lord’s plans, as the promises of the Lord were that the Lamanites would forever dwell upon the land. A worst case scenario might have been a repeat of the Jaredites, with Nephites and Lamanites wiping each other out. Monogamy may have been the Lord’s way of both extending the lives of the Nephites and protecting the lives of the Lamanites. As for the Lamanites, who also practiced monogamy, the Lord seems to have blessed them with greater fertility, perhaps even the twin gene, and with greater strength, so that they multiplied and replenished exceedingly fast (must faster than the Nephites) and also were bodily stronger than the Nephites. All this so that the odds were intentionally stacked against the Nephites, to cause them to turn to the Lord for help.

Previous Priesthood article: The Priesthood

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The Priesthood


Background on this post

I wish to thank Jahnihah for his essay on priesthood, which made me realize that I had always just accepted the standard definition of priesthood without actually verifying it with the scriptures.  I was then inspired to search the Standard Works with priesthood as my research topic, which, I’m embarrassed to say, I had never done before.  This post contains the findings of that research.

As a general outline for this topic, I used (loosely) Chapter 13 of the new Melchizedek Priesthood/Relief Society Manual, Gospel Principles.  Click the link to compare versions.

What Is the Priesthood?

The priesthood is a language that only God speaks. It is as eternal as God Himself is.

Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years. (D&C 84: 17)

Priesthood rights “are inseparably connected [to] the powers of heaven” (D&C 121: 36), and thus priesthood is all powerful when spoken.  Priesthood possesses the authority (keys) of God, which is recognized by the entire universe as valid in locking (sealing) and unlocking (loosing) all things.

For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same.  (D&C 68: 17)

Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth.

For behold, by the power of his word [priesthood] man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word [priesthood]. Wherefore, if God being able to speak [priesthood] and the world was, and to speak [priesthood] and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?  (Jacob 4: 9)

I am the same which spake [priesthood], and the world was made, and all things came by me.  (D&C 38: 3)

By the power (agency) and authority (keys) of the priesthood, the universe is kept in perfect order.  Through this God-language, God accomplishes His work and glory, which is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words [priesthood].  For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  (Moses 1: 38-39)

Priesthood is a combination of the spoken (audible) word and a gesture (silent) language.  There are three other components to priesthood (to be explained later), which, when present, make it validly “spoken.”

Although the priesthood is a language that only God speaks, He may, and often does, allow worthy sons of His to obtain the right to speak it.  Because the priesthood is a language specific to God alone, when men who hold this right speak it with all 5 components, it is as if God himself is the speaker and the very powers of heaven attend to the pronouncement.

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. (D&C 1: 38)

And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God. (Moses 1: 25)

And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. (Ex. 4: 16)

And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.  (Ex. 7: 1)

All priesthood is centered in, comes from, and points to Christ.  Christ is known as the Word (the Priesthood), even the Priesthood made flesh.

For in the beginning was the Word, even the Son, who is made flesh, and sent unto us by the will of the Father, And as many as believe on his name shall receive of his fulness. And of his fullness have all we received, even immortality and eternal life, through his grace.  (JST John 1: 16)

Christ is the physical embodiment of the priesthood, therefore, as Christ saves all things, the priesthood likewise has as its purpose the salvation of all things.  When God confers the rights of the priesthood upon men, it enables them to act in Christ’s name for the salvation of the human family.  Through it, they can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and teach the members of God’s kingdom on earth, so that they govern themselves.

Again, Christ is the Priesthood, therefore, to receive the priesthood is synonymous with receiving Christ.

And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;  (D&C 84: 35)

Those who receive the priesthood become like Christ, even priesthood made flesh.

For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—  (D&C 86: 9)

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations; and I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.  (Abr. 2: 9-11; in other words, whoever receives the Priesthood, becoming priesthood made flesh, becomes the seed of Abraham, who was also priesthood made flesh; see also D&C 84: 34)

As Christ is Savior, through the reception of the priesthood, men also become a savior.

Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen.  (D&C 86: 11)

Why Do We Need the Priesthood on the Earth?

We must have priesthood authority (keys) to act in the name of God when performing the sacred ordinances of the gospel, such as baptism, confirmation, administration of the sacrament, and temple marriage.  If a man does not have the priesthood, even though he may be sincere, the Lord will not recognize ordinances he performs (see Matthew 7: 21-23; Articles of Faith 1: 5).  These important ordinances must be performed on the earth by men who have obtained the rights of the priesthood.

Men need the priesthood to preside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to direct the work of the church in all parts of the world.  When Christ lived on the earth, He chose His apostles and ordained them so that they could lead His church.  He gave them the power and authority of the priesthood to act in His name.  (See Mark 3: 13-15; John 15: 16.)

Another reason the priesthood is needed on the earth is to teach the plan of salvation so that we can understand the will of the Lord.

And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. (Alma 13: 1)

Priesthood is also needed to carry out the purposes of God.  For example, it is the purpose of God that every husband and father in Israel receive the priesthood, thus becoming like Christ.  This benefits the husband/father (as he receives exaltation), as well as his wife and children (as they obtain within their very home a type of Christ, pointing the way to Christ.)

And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption. (Alma 13: 2)

It also benefits the world in general, for they, like the wives and children, learn how to be saved.

Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord. (Alma 13: 16)

Also, with the husbands/fathers of Israel as priesthood made flesh (Christ types), God can show forth His arm of power, His wonders, in the eyes of all the nations, as priesthood is “inseparably connected with the powers of heaven” (D&C 121: 36).

Why Do Only Men Obtain Priesthood?

Although this question is not explicitly answered in the scriptures, one implicit reason is that the priesthood is meant to point mankind to Christ.  By design, then, one who receives the priesthood not only behaves like Christ, but also looks like Christ. All men, when they grow their hair long and allow their beards to grow full and bushy, bear the image of Christ.  The deep voice and manly physique also contribute to the perception that each man is in the similitude of the Son of God.  This similitude, coupled with the reception of the priesthood, works upon the hearts and minds of men, women and children and turns their attention to Christ.

How Do Men Receive the Priesthood?

Obtaining the rights of the priesthood is not the same as receiving the priesthood.  Let’s talk first about how the rights of the priesthood are obtained.

The Lord has prepared an orderly way for the rights of His priesthood to be conferred upon His sons on the earth.  A worthy male obtains the priesthood “by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof” (Articles of Faith 1: 5).  Usually, it is only a worthy male member of the church who can obtain the priesthood, but sometimes the priesthood is conferred upon worthy male non-members.  Only those who have had the rights of the priesthood conferred upon them can ordain others, and they can do so only when authorized by those who hold the keys (authority) for that ordination.

The first part to receiving the priesthood is obtaining the rights to officiate.

High priests after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, priest (of the Levitical order), teacher, deacon, and member.  An elder has a right to officiate in his stead when the high priest is not present.  The high priest and elder are to administer in spiritual things, agreeable to the covenants and commandments of the church; and they have a right to officiate in all these offices of the church when there are no higher authorities present.  (D&C 107: 10-12)

This happens by the laying on of hands and requires only that the man being ordained is righteous (worthy), meaning that he is justified (guiltless) before the Lord, being right according to the law of God, having received a remission of his sins.

Using the rights of the priesthood requires more than justification (righteousness).

That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121: 36)

It also requires purification and sanctification.

Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God (justification), they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish; therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified (sanctification), and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb (purification).  Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost (sanctification), having their garments made white (purification), being pure and spotless before God (purification), could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence (purification); and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure (purification) and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.  (Alma 13: 10-12)

When the rights of the priesthood are exercised by a justified (righteous), purified and sanctified (holy) man, the powers of heaven manifest themselves.  This is according to the promise of God.

For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; to put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.  And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. (JST Gen. 14: 30-32)

A man who has obtained the rights of the priesthood through justification may receive the priesthood itself by purifying and sanctifying himself, through the operation of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, because of his exceeding faith, hope and charity.  (See Moroni 7.)  In this manner, the man becomes like Christ (see Moroni 7: 48) and qualifies himself for receiving the priesthood and being “ordained by the Lord God” Himself, “by the calling of His own voice, according to His own will.”

And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. (JST Gen. 14: 29)

And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.  (Alma 13: 1)

Thus, the last part to receiving the priesthood, the bestowal of priesthood power, is solely performed by the Lord and depends upon whether the priest magnifies his calling through sanctification by the Spirit unto the renewing of his body (priesthood made flesh).

For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.  (D&C 84: 33)

Men who receive the priesthood have it confirmed upon them by the Lord’s own voice out of the heavens.

And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.  (D&C 84: 42)

In this way, the Lord reserves to Himself the final ordination necessary for priesthood reception, just as He alone is the one who baptizes with fire and the Holy Ghost.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.  (3 Ne. 12: 1)

All men, then, are “on the same standing” (Alma 13: 5).  Those who wish to qualify themselves for reception of the priesthood “on account of their exceeding faith and repentance” (Alma 13: 10) will receive it, while those who “would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds” (Alma 13: 4) will not receive it, though they may have the rights of the priesthood conferred upon them.

We have been told that there are many called to the priesthood, who have obtained the rights to the priesthood, but few among them are chosen to receive it.

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

•  •  •

Hence many are called, but few are chosen.  (D&C 121: 34, 40)

Men cannot buy and sell the power and authority of the priesthood.  Nor can they take this authority upon themselves.  In the New Testament we read of a man named Simon who lived when Christ’s apostles presided over (served) the church.  Simon became converted and was baptized into the church.  Because he was a skillful magician, the people believed he had the power of God.  But Simon did not have the priesthood, and he knew it.

Simon knew that the apostles and the other priesthood leaders of the church had received the priesthood, for the powers of heaven were manifest among them.

Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. (Acts 8: 13)

He saw them use their priesthood to do the Lord’s work, and he wanted this power for himself.  He offered to buy the priesthood.  (See Acts 8: 9-19.)  But Peter, the chief apostle, said, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8: 20).

Ecclesiastical Abuse: How the Priesthood Is Misused and What to Do About It

The priesthood is to be used to serve our Heavenly Father’s children here on earth, converting the priest into a servant or minister of all.  Priesthood holders should serve in love and kindness, not rule like Gentile kings.

But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  (Mark 10: 42)

Any attempt to convert the minister-servant role of priest into the pomp and prestige of a Gentile ruler by undertaking “to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness” (D&C 121: 37) results in immediate condemnation by the Lord, even if the ecclesiastical abuse is not known or corrected by the church.  Ecclesiastical abuse in any form or degree brings immediate damnation upon the priesthood officer and, even before the abuser is aware, he is left alone without the Spirit and subject to the spirit of the devil, to persecute the saints within his congregation, who have been placed within his care and ministry.  He then becomes a wolf in sheep’s clothing, fighting against God.  (In the view of the abuser, it is the saints who are the wolves and he is doing “God’s work.”)

Those who engage in ecclesiastical abuse will use the high-sounding title of their priesthood office (bishop, stake president, etc.) to engage in power-plays and submission tests to try to force or compel the members of the congregation to submit to their authority and do what they want them to do.  They will gratify their pride and label all those saints who resist such tyranny as apostates and accuse them of the sin of rebellion.  Ecclesiastical abuse takes many forms, but the following are listed in scripture:

1) undertaking to cover our sins

2) undertaking to gratify our pride

3) undertaking to gratify our vain ambition

4) undertaking to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men

The saints of God within any ward or branch of the church, being sanctified (made holy) by the Spirit of God, naturally resist tyranny in all of its forms.  Like captain Moroni, they “seek not for power, but to pull it down” (Alma 60: 36).  They do not follow the precepts of men except when those precepts are given by the Holy Ghost.  This puts them directly at odds with any ecclesiastical abuser who is a priesthood leader that presides over them.  The rank and file (unsanctified) member is accustomed to following the brethren, not the Spirit, and will blindly follow the precepts of men given by an ecclesiastical abuser regardless of whether it is inspired or not.  These rank and file members will put the priesthood tyrant on a pedestal, gratifying his pride and vain ambition, covering his sins, and will, like the tyrant, look upon the saints resisting compulsion as disobedient apostates and trouble-makers.

These conditions are to be expected among the church for as long as it remains unsanctified and under condemnation, for “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” (D&C 121: 39).

Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.  And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—  (D&C 84: 55-57)

This means that almost all men who hold the rights of the priesthood, including those who hold leadership positions and high offices, are by nature predisposed to act like tyrants.  There are but few (see D&C 121: 40) of the vast ensemble that do not engage in ecclesiastical abuse.  It is these few who pattern their lives after Christ, aspiring to be like Him and setting their hearts upon Him.  The rest (“almost all men”), which are the many, set their hearts “upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men” (D&C 121: 35).  So the church, by and large, is led by ecclesiastical abusers, even tyrants, with the occasional man of Christ appearing among them, yet all these men have obtained the rights of the priesthood.

Because of the nature and disposition of men to be tyrants and the condition of the unsanctified and condemned (damned) church, the saints of God are to follow the admonition of Alma, which is to “trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments” (Mosiah 23: 14) and the warning of Nephi:

Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.  (2 Ne. 28: 31)

The Lord has left two means of dealing with ecclesiastical abuse: the law of common consent and the church courts.  If there are two or three witnesses to abuse, the procedure described in D&C 42: 78-93 may be used.  If there are no witnesses (or no willing witnesses), or if the church court system becomes entirely corrupt because the priesthood leadership will not allow a court to be convened or otherwise impedes the process (undertaking to cover up the sins of their fellow ecclesiastical abuser), the law of common consent can be used to de-fang tyrants.  If, however, the law of common consent fails due to rubber-stamping by the general membership, saints of God must resort solely to Alma and Nephi’s counsel, leaving the matter in the Lord’s hands.

Priesthood Organization: An Inverted Hierarchy

A hierarchy is defined as “a ruling body of clergy organized into orders or ranks, each subordinate to the one above it.”  It is true that the priesthood is organized into orders and ranks, but instead of rulers, it consists of servants.  The Lord’s “rulers” (Abr. 3: 23) are not rulers in the typical sense.  They are ministers and servants.

He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all. (D&C 50: 26)

In a typical rich household, the servants do not get the chief seats, do not get the first meal, are not the ones put up on a pedestal.

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, they will make you observe and do; for they are ministers of the law, and they make themselves your judges. But do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.  For they bind heavy burdens and lay on men’s shoulders, and they are grievous to be borne; but they will not move them with one of their fingers.  And all their works they do to be seen of men. They make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi, (which is master.) But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your master, which is Christ; and all ye are brethren.  (JST Matt. 23: 1-5)

The priesthood is designed to be an inverted pyramd, or inverted hierarchy, with the greatest servants, meaning the meekest, most charitable servants, at the very bottom.  These are the least of all the kingdom of God, being servants of all.  Thus, the First Presidency is really the Last Presidency, or Bottom Presidency, being below all other presidencies, nevertheless, all priesthood offices and callings are placed by the Lord below, not above, the body of the church (the saints).

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Eph. 2: 20)

Not By Virtue of the Priesthood

By the Lord’s design, “no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood” (D&C 121: 41), therefore, for instance, when any president or counselor of the First Presidency enters a room full of people or speaks before an audience, he is to be treated as a title-less servant, not as royalty.  His words and actions alone are to be taken into consideration, without considering, at all, his priesthood rank.  If his words and/or actions are persuasive, long-suffering, gentle, meek, kind and given with genuine love and in pure knowledge, we are to allow them to influence us or to have power over us, otherwise, we are to ignore them. This does him a great service, as people who are treated like royalty eventually begin acting as royalty.  This principle applies to every priesthood calling in the church: branch president, bishop, quorum president, high priest group leader, stake president, mission president, area authority, seventy, apostle, First Presidency counselor or prophet.  They are all to be treated as if they had no title or office, whatsoever.

The next priesthood body, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is not below the First Presidency, but above them, in the inverted hierarchy.  Yet, the Twelve are still just servants of the church body and are to be treated as such, just like the First Presidency.  The difference, though, lies in how the Twelve and First Presidency interact with each other, for the First Presidency is to serve the Twelve and not the other way around.

This pattern of the greater serving those who are lesser is to apply to all quorums of the priesthood, for even as “the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Mark 10: 45), so are holders of the priesthood not to be ministered unto, but to minister, in their respective jurisdictions.

How Do Men Properly Use the Priesthood?

The word “minister” comes from the Latin minister, which means “servant.”  Our word “servant” comes from the Old French servir, which comes from the Latin servire, which means “to be a slave” or “to be a servant,” which comes from the Latin servus, which means “slave” or “servant.”  The only difference between a slave and a servant is that the servant is engaged in voluntary servitude while the slave is engaged in involuntary servitude.  With this in mind, we can think of a servant as a “voluntary slave.”  To properly use the priesthood, then, one must consider himself a servant, or voluntary slave, of all and act accordingly.  Even when called to preside, the use of the word “president” means, in the vernacular of the Lord, servant (or voluntary slave).

Which ordinance is instituted for the purpose of qualifying those who shall be appointed standing presidents or servants over different stakes scattered abroad;  (D&C 124: 134)

This is why the Lord uses the word “yoke.”

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Matt. 11: 28-30)

We are yoked (as servants) with priesthood.  We are voluntarily enslaved.

Entering the priesthood with the proper mindset requires that one consider himself as nothing (see Mosiah 4: 11), even less than “the dust of the earth” (see Mosiah 2: 25-26).  This prepares a man to “enter the priesthood” and not merely “get the priesthood.”  Often we speak of the priesthood as something you get, receive, hold, as if it were a thing you could stick in your pocket.  It is true that the priesthood is “the gift of God” (see Acts 8: 20), but it is also true that it is an order that is entered into by ordination.  “Entering the priesthood” is meant to be a life-changing event, for it is through the priesthood that men can become like Christ, even priesthood made flesh. In that vein, entering the priesthood is synonymous with entering a life of selfless service, in which you use the rights of the priesthood, and the powers of heaven that are inseparably connected to them, to bless and minister to all the living creatures around you, and even to those who have died, through the work for the dead.

Priesthood Is the Antidote to “Natural Man Syndrome”

When priesthood functions as it was intended to function, as a corps of humble servants who are unable to maintain any power or influence by virtue of their priesthood office and calling, because all look upon them as title-less servants and listen to their counsel and follow their examples only to the degree that their counsel and examples square up with the scriptures, priesthood becomes an antidote to the natural disposition that men have to exercise unrighteous dominion upon others.  Only when priesthood offices and callings are lifted up in the eyes of the LDS people to the point where they give their leaders special treatment, like royalty, and they heed and “follow the brethren,” their leaders, because they have such high and holy callings, in other words, when the LDS people begin to give more weight to what a General Authority says because he is a General Authority, or more weight to what a stake president or bishop or branch president or any other president says, because of their titular callings, at that point the priesthood ceases to be the antidote and becomes, instead, the poison.  When the honors of men are found within the priesthood ranks and men begin to list the high priesthood offices they’ve held as merit badges and honorable ribbons, or as a job resume, it ceases to function as the true priesthood of God and becomes, instead, but a form of godliness, and not the real thing.

At that point, the powers of heaven will have withdrawn from these men and the work of miracles would have ceased.  No more angels, no more open visions, no more prophecies and revelations, no more miraculous power manifested.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”  (JS-H 1: 19)

False Priesthoods: Royal In Nature

The transformation of the minister-servant status of priesthood into royalty status can be seen by examining how the priesthood operated during the time of Christ and how it has morphed over generations into the Catholic priesthood today.  The pope, cardinals and bishops dress, act and are treated as royalty.  Mormon priesthood appears to be following the same evolution.  Although Mormons don’t, yet, kiss their bishop’s rings (like Catholics do), Mormon priesthood leadership has many of the trappings of royalty, including getting the chief seats, partaking of the sacrament first, having people stand when a GA enters a room, etc.

How Keys are Lost (or Taken Away)

Both Mormon and Catholic priests claim a priesthood line of ordination that leads directly to Peter.  In the case of the Catholics, they claim an unbroken line of ordination to mortal Peter, while the Mormons claim an unbroken line of ordination to the angel Peter.  Each asserts that they have the keys (authority) of the priesthood, while the others do not.  The assertion, then, is that the priesthood of the other church is false because they have no keys.  So, by definition, a false priest, even though proper ordination has occurred, is one that asserts to have keys, but in reality has no keys.

A priest’s keys (authority) is immediately lost or taken away when a priest undertakes “to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men” (D&C 121: 37) by virtue of the priesthood.  When authority is asserted because of an office of the priesthood, the Lord says, “Amen to…the authority (keys) of that man” (D&C 121: 37).

A man who has obtained the rights and keys of the priesthood, who acts in this manner, loses his keys (or has his keys taken away), becoming a false priest. For example, although the Catholic priests trace their priesthood back to Peter, they are false priests, for they assert their authority by virtue of their priesthood ordination and thus have no keys. They may have had the keys at one time, but due to wholesale, unrepentant, generational corruption, they have since lost them entirely, for you can not pass on what you no longer have.

Mormon priesthood keys can also be just as easily lost.  It matters not that one was ordained by someone with real priesthood authority who correctly conferred the rights and keys of the priesthood.  Regardless of how correct was the ordination, if priesthood is used contrary to the order of heaven, both the keys and powers of priesthood are instantly lost.  With repentence, they can be obtained again, but while a man persists in influencing others by virtue of the priesthood, that man has no valid authority and is a fraud, even a false priest.  When that happens, priesthood, in the hands of a false priest, instead of being a great blessing, becomes a curse to the people and church of God.

False priests “teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance” (2 Ne. 28: 4), which makes them “false teachers.”  It is “because of false (priest) teachers” that “churches have become corrupted” (2 Ne. 28: 12).  It is important, then, to be able to discern a false from a true priest/teacher.  In this area, Jesus gave us some counsel:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.  (3 Ne. 14: 15-20)

This advice equally applies to false priests.  Notice that Jesus doesn’t say that “ye shall know them by their improper priesthood ordination.”  How they are ordained is not the most important thing in detecting ravening wolves.  How they use the priesthood shows them as being true or false priests.

The Priesthood and Women

It is through priesthood that men become exalted, for when they receive it, they receive Christ and the Father and all that the Father has.  This is according to the oath and covenant of the priesthood.  The doctrine of exaltation requires the union of man and woman in eternal marriage, but men must also receive the priesthood.  Women, however, obtain their exaltation by their union with their priest-husband.  A priest-husband who has received the priesthood, meaning he has become priesthood made flesh, in similitude of the Son of God, when he “cleaves to his wife,” becomes one flesh with her.  In this way, the wife shares in all of the exalting benefits of the priesthood and enters into her exaltation, just as does the husband.  This is according to the principle of charity.

The prize is the same for both of them: all that the Father has is given to her husband and to her, for she is one flesh with her husband and he is priesthood made flesh. As he has received the priesthood, and she has become one flesh with him, she has also received the priesthood.

This does not mean that she must perform the ordinances of the priesthood.  Each office of the priesthood has duties that vary from another office of the priesthood.  A deacon does not do what an elder does.  In like manner, a woman, wife and mother has duties different than any of the offices of the priesthood.  She is not ordained to these duties like a priest, for her calling begins at her birth.  She is given from the start the natural abilities and gifts needed to bear and nurture the souls of men and has no need for priesthood rights to be conferred upon her to magnify her calling.  She only needs the saving ordinances of the gospel, including the temple rites, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, to magnify her calling.  Nevertheless, the promise of exaltation lies with the priesthood, and for this matter she must enter into eternal marriage with a man who has received the priesthood and become one flesh with him to obtain her exaltation.

The Lord is merciful to all His daughters, as well to all His sons, and will not allow a disobedient husband who refuses to receive the priesthood to stop a wife worthy of exaltation from receiving it.  Nor will He allow a rebellious wife to prohibit her worthy-of-exaltation husband from receiving it.  Each man who justifies, purifies and sanctifies himself before God and obeys His commandments, will enter into his exaltation regardless of what his spouse does.  The same applies to women.

What Priests Really Hold

Although we “confer the priesthood,” in reality we are not conferring priesthood, but are conferring the rights to the priesthood.  The rights to the priesthood are the rights to administer the priesthood, or the rights to officiate in an office of the priesthood, meaning the rights to use the priesthood, or to speak this language of God. (See Abr. 1: 2-3, 27, 31; Abr. 2: 11; D&C 121: 36-37; D&C 107: 10-12.)  This pattern also applies to the ordinance of confirmation, in which it is said, “Receive the Holy Ghost!”  Are we really bestowing the Third Member of the Godhead upon the newly baptized member?  Of course, not.  We are merely giving them the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the right to have the constant companionship of the Spirit.

The Key-words of the Priesthood

Facsimile #2 of the Book of Abraham has the following explanations of figures #3 and #7:

3. “representing also the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood”

7. “revealing through the heaven the grand Key-words of the Priesthood”

The Key-words of the priesthood are not some secret, magic words that, once known and spoken, grant the man speaking them unlimited access to the heavens and the powers thereof.  They are not secret words known only to the living prophet or Twelve apostles, or to other secret initiates.  No, the Key-words of the priesthood is the priesthood itself.

The priesthood is a language that is specific to, and spoken only by, God Himself.  It is the original tongue, the mother and father tongue, the words that brought everything into existence, including other languages (the languages of men).  The priesthood is the key-words that lock or unlock all things, or seal and unloose all things.  These are the words of power (agency), the words of authority (keys).  It is through the Key-words (the Priesthood) that every other word of God has come forth.  For example, the scriptures found in our Standard Works contain the Word of God revealed through the Key-words (Priesthood) of God.

Joseph added “of the Holy Priesthood” and “of the Priesthood” to his explanation of Key-words, because Key-words is a common term and could refer to many things.  So, he added that to indicate or clarify that he was talking of the Priesthood Key-words.  The term Key-words itself is used to indicate that the Priesthood is a language which holds authority (keys) in the universe.  Joseph says that “all to whom the Priesthood was revealed” have “the Key-words of the Holy Priesthood” revealed (see Fig. 3).  So, if you have had the Priesthood revealed to you, then you have also had the Key-words of the Priesthood revealed to you, for they are one and the same.

What Blessings Come When We Use the Priesthood Properly?

Answer: Faith, the presence of God, knowledge of God and exaltation.

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.  The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.  (D&C 121: 45-46)

The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity; because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. (D&C 107: 30-31)

Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!  (D&C 128: 19)

And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; for he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.  (D&C 84: 35-39)

Notice, also, that while the gift of the Holy Ghost gives us the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, receiving the priesthood actually causes the Holy Ghost to be one’s constant companion.  The meaning of this is that we become one (united) with God, meaning that we enter into the Godhead.  This is according to the Lord’s intercessory prayer.  (See John 17.)

Mormon Gentile Priesthood: A Temporary Measure

The priesthood given by God to the Gentile Mormons today is temporary in nature.  The first priesthood given, the Priesthood of Aaron, is a modified form of the original Priesthood of Aaron.  It has been tailored to fit the conditions (see D&C 46: 15) among the Gentile Mormons and will only remain with them until the Levites begin again to perform the Levitical Priesthood rites.

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.  (D&C 13: 1)

The second priesthood given, which is the Melchizedek Priesthood, will remain with the Gentile Mormons only until the restoration of all things, at which point it will be transferred to the tribes of Israel.

Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.  (D&C 86: 10)

So, at some point in the future, the Melchizedek Priesthood will be restored to the tribes of Israel and the Levitical/Aaronic Priesthood will be restored to the Levites and the priesthoods among the Gentiles will be phased out so that Gentiles will no longer be able to obtain priesthood unless they renounce their Gentile status and become numbered with the house (tribes and Levites) of Israel.

Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel. (3 Ne. 30: 2)

Next Priesthood article: An alternate view of the keys

Previous Priesthood article: Let the Aaronic Priesthood Do Home Teaching and Let the Elders Administer the Sacrament

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

Agency: The Single Principle of a Continuous War


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 6, 2000, as the seventh 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, What the Priesthood Is, and Congruence vs. Obedience.)

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.

Agency: The Single Principle of a Continuous War

Freedom of choice. Free agency. The absolute ability to choose.  Isaiah taught us about a great war in Heaven between Christ and Lucifer over which of two plans were to be implemented here on earth; one of freedom to choose to sin and repent to become congruent, and the other of compulsion to live only in obedience.  Both were presented to ‘save’ mankind. Both were based upon adherence to righteousness. Both recognized the availability of free choice prior to coming to earth, but only one attempted to violate that eternal principle. Lucifer’s plan of compelled righteousness was rejected by God, and he was cast down to earth according to Isaiah.

Today we have BOTH plans available to choose from. We are either exerting compulsion or refraining from exerting compulsion during our progression here. The principle of free agency can not be violated without violating Heaven itself for they are co-eternal (see: D&C 121 & King Follett Discourse). Lucifer’s attempt to end free agency violated eternal congruence and harmony as it always existed. His own end of congruence to those principles were available, ironically, only because he had the freedom of choice and exercised it.

According to all of Holy Writ, we have no other indication as to any other principle being of any issue or cause for this War in Heaven, except for that of free agency.

Today we have the opportunity to gravitate towards either compulsion, or freedom, as a matter of fulfilling our potential to become like Lucifer or to become like God, respectively. All of it has its foundation in the principle of freedom of choice. Without it, all of us could not experience either good or evil, and choose which one we would be congruent to, and consequently which Master we choose.

There is a grand Key in understanding free agency as a principle. It allows one to discern by what means a person or system is operating, and hence who it is they follow. If free agency is the single principle that Lucifer fell over, and caused a War to be waged in Heaven, then certainly it is a serious issue worthy of a great deal of attention and understanding.

Because agency is available to everyone, it is necessary to determine the parameters and boundaries someone’s agency extends before it violates another’s agency, else we may violate this eternal principle even as Lucifer did, and fall ourselves.

D&C 121: 34-46 (emphasis & colors, mine)

121:34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

(Please remember the context Father is speaking in, is to the Elders & High Priests, not gentiles who don’t even read the BoM.)

121:35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this ONE lesson–

121:36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon principles of righteousness.

(This means that righteousness alone – which [is] a correct attribute – is NOT the ‘controlling’ or ‘handling’ power of Heaven & Priesthood, but there IS SOMETHING ELSE.)

121:37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

121:38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

(He is an enemy to God at this point.)

121:39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

(Remember, this is spoken by Father to the High Priesthood, not to the world although the principles still apply there, too, in secular positions of ‘authority’.)

121:40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

Now we have the parameters within which the congruent operations of the ‘Priesthood’ can function on earth, and in Heaven. But now we need to find out what this ‘Priesthood’ is, so that we can operate it in the parameters congruent to Father’s will, and in Harmony with Heaven itself.  Continuing:

121:41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

(Again, “That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but…”, in any degree of unrighteous dominion, the Priesthood is immediately withdrawn – no ‘vote’ or court hearing’ is needed – and the conference is rendered invalid for the Priesthood is WITHDRAWN, and no man may by mere name of the ‘office’ – BY ‘VIRTUE’ – they now hold ultra vires officiate or exercise any authority without blaspheming Father, and condemning themselves.)

121:42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile–

121:43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou has reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

(This is an excellent verse, but it distracts from the focus of the attributes themselves, and their POWER, so try reading past this verse a few times before letting it enlighten you with it’s rich intent)

121:44 That he may know that thy faithfulness (Charity) is stronger than the cords of death.

(Faith is an attribute of Charity, and Charity never faileth, so ‘faithfulness’ does not convey the intent as accurately as ‘Charity’ does.)

121:45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

(These verses are the beginning of the ‘doctrine of the priesthood’.)

121:46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

In this is contained the fallacy of ‘obedience’ and ‘righteousness’ as the sole means whereby typical ‘Priesthood leaders’ rely to exert their will. It is time to uncover that darkness with Light and Truth.  Congruence and Free agency in operating Priesthood is the only way Father allows, withstanding all the traditions of men – be they called ‘prophets, seers, or revelators,’ or ‘president, father, or patriarch’.

To ignore this is to deny that Eternal foundation upon which men may become even as He is. This single principle of free agency is what the War in Heaven is fought over, and continues even now, because upon it hinges the Priesthood, it’s Rights, and Power both in Heaven and on Earth. They are all as Eternal as the rest, but to destroy free agency is to destroy everything; including saving every living soul without compulsory means.

Holding fast to free agency FIRST, and applying Priesthood only in the manner described above shall ensure being congruent to Father, for this is how He is Himself. Just as stated above, any degree – which includes INTENT – of violation of free agency, will IMMEDIATELY result as if they never had Priesthood in the first place, but because they HAD IT, and violated the covenant and Trust inherent in using it, they are accountable and left unto themselves as an ENEMY to God, until they fully repent.

There are only two verses of scripture that are identical, excepting ONE WORD, when discussing being an ‘enemy’ to God.

“Satan is an enemy to God….”
“Carnal man is an enemy to God…”

[Note by LDS Anarchist: the scripture being referred to appears to be Mosiah 16: 5.  There are other scriptures, though, that also speak of being an enemy to God.]

In this light, on a personal level of understanding, the ‘man of sin (enemy to God) revealed in the Temple (body) of God’ IS the man/woman who violates the free agency of another, and repents not; being that the principle of free agency is the discerning Key to true or false Priesthood. Hence the War in Heaven continues with every choice; yea, even every intent of a man/woman’s heart. We wage war inside of ourselves to obtain congruence, and we manifest that outwardly in all of our choices. Are we violating free agency and thereby becoming an enemy to God as Satan? OR, are we taking seriously the weightiness of all our intents and choices, being careful to truly allow all men/women their agency, and thereby keep from falling and able to hold fast to the Holy Priesthood, and have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion?

I suspect a very serious and honest introspection is long overdue upon this one issue. I hope that we are filled with Charity to overcome the temptation to deny the strong delusion we’ve deeply slept under, in condemnation, and to fully repent of the awful situation that has come upon us to ourselves personally, and also to the world affected by the choices we each have made, that we are reconciled to the Father, that we are seen to BE even as He is: congruent.

Wake_Up

Previous Guest Contributor article: Congruence vs. Obedience

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist