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.

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Mormon.org profiles: enhanced membership tracking?


Someone communicated to me that this past Sunday in their elders quorum, the elders quorum president said that next week (which would be tomorrow) there would be a digital camera ready to take everyone’s picture so that all the elders of his ward could have their own profile on Mormon.org. The elders quorum president said that each member of the quorum would need to fill out some paperwork and permission forms and that the camera and forms would be available over a period of weeks, so that those members who come less regularly could get their profile online when they showed up for church. I asked this person whether this was just for his ward or stake or for the entire church. He said he was under the impression that it was a church-wide program. He also stated that he saw a leadership list (he being in several callings and having access to certain leadership materials) in which the men listed had not only their name, telephone and address on it, but also their picture.

I knew, of course, of the Mormon.org profiles, in which any member can voluntarily participate by going to that web site. But this was the first time I’d heard of elders quorum members being approached in church and asked to submit profiles in such a direct way, with camera and forms ready and waiting. Can anyone confirm that this is a church-wide program?

This may be important because of a certain theory I have heard. It goes something like this: the church has been infiltrated by the Fabian Society (the wolves in sheep’s clothing).  As the priesthood of God is the only thing that can stand in the way of Satan, it may be necessary to take them out at some point. Currently, the strategy is to keep the priesthood “sleeping,” (a sleeping giant). But if it ever were to start to wake up and use its power, that would be an unacceptable situation and a danger to the devil, so the priesthood must be tracked. In this way, if it is necessary, the coercive forces at the devil’s fingertips (such as the powers of the state) can be brought to bear upon every male member of the church who holds the priesthood.

In my mind, if this is, indeed, a church-wide program, and the leaders are amassing a database of priesthood holders with images of the men, this might lend some credence to the above theory. However, maybe I got bad information. Maybe this is just a local program initiated by some overzealous bishop or stake president, with nothing, whatsoever, to do with the entire church.

If anybody has information on this, please speak up.

Previous Secret Combinations article: Opening old wounds

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The faith of God, part thirteen: How charity fits in


Continued from part twelve.

Charity on a series about faith?

On December 20, 2007, I wrote the following on this blog:

Mormon also talked about faith (and hope and charity) in Moroni 7. Like Ether and Helaman, quoted in the previous part, Mormon explains that faith precedes hope. (See Moroni 7: 41-42 “…ye shall have hope…because of your faith…” and “…without faith there cannot be any hope…”) In fact, the order of these three grand principles is always given as “faith, hope and charity” because faith precedes hope, or allows hope to be engendered and then faith and hope allow charity to be engendered. (This is a topic for a different post and will not be covered here. I mention it merely to show that faith is different than hope and charity and required in order to obtain the other two necessary principles.) (The faith of God, part three bold type added.)

I had originally intended to address charity in a post separate from the faith of God series, but as I’ve researched the topic, I see now that it belongs here.

Paul’s definition of charity

Paul gives the universal definition of charity, used by all the Christian world, including us, found in the entire 13th chapter of Corinthians:

Paul said, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Cor. 13)

Mormon’s definition of charity

Mormon also gives his definition of charity, which is nearly identical to that of Paul, except that Mormon expounds upon the principle a bit more, taking up the entire chapter of Moroni 7:

Mormon said, “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. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” (Moro. 7: 45-47; see also the entirety of chapter 7)

Charity encompasses all good things

All principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ are found within charity. Using Paul and Mormon’s words, we find: patience (“suffereth long”), kindness (is kind), slowness to anger (“is not easily provoked”), joy in truth (“rejoiceth in the truth”), strength (“beareth all things”), belief (“believeth all things”), hope (“hopeth all things”), and endurance (“endureth all things”).

Charity has none of the evil gifts or principles. There is no envy (“envieth not”), boasting (“vaunteth not itself”), vanity and pride (“is not puffed up”), bad behavior (“does not behave itself unseemly”), stinginess (“seeketh not her own”), quick anger (“is not easily provoked”), evil thoughts (“thinketh no evil”) or joy in iniquity (“rejoiceth not in iniquity”).

In all cases, the principles encompassed by charity are in their fulness: “all things” not just some things. This means that charity is not given in portions (in one sense of that word), as are other gifts of the Spirit. You either have charity, or you don’t.

Charity is not the sum total

The gifts and principles of the gospel which are found within those who have charity do not equate to charity. In other words, merely possessing these gifts and principles in their fulness does not mean you automatically have charity. Charity, then, are these gifts plus something more. It is not the sum total of the gifts alone. This is why Paul says you can have a fulness of (name of principle or gift), but if you don’t have charity, you are nothing.

Mormon’s progression to charity

In chapter 7 of Moroni, Mormon gives a progression from faith to charity. He declares that “no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have” and then he lists 5 necessary principles: 1st, faith; 2nd, hope; 3rd, meekness and lowliness of heart; 4th, confession by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ; and 5th, charity. He demonstrates by his progression that it is impossible to have faith without the word of God, and that it is faith that allows one to lay hold on every good thing (see Moro. 7: 21-25; see also The faith of God, part four: the word of God), or, in other words, it is through faith (see the following note) that every good gift (which is “sent forth by the power and gift of Christ”—see Moro. 7: 16) is obtained from God, including the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is charity.

(Note: Mormon taught that the way to obtain charity is to “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love” (Moroni 7: 48.) Christ said, “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you” (Moroni 7: 26.) This shows that charity is obtained by the prayer of faith.)

Salvation = Charity and Charity = Salvation

Some may take issue with my statement that charity is the greatest of the gifts. They may bring up the following scripture:

The Lord said, “If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.” (D&C 6: 13)

For most LDS, the interpretation of the word “salvation” in this verse means “exaltation,” which all understand to be the greatest gift of all. Nevertheless, Mormon clearly states that charity “is the greatest of all.” (See Moro. 7: 46.) Paul also states the same in 1 Cor. 13: 13. There is no contradiction in these scriptures between Mormon, Paul and the Lord because charity and salvation are the same gift. I will explain why this is so later on.

Charity and Perfectness

Paul, Moroni and the Lord all aligned charity with perfectness:

Paul said, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col. 3: 14)

Moroni said, “And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.” (Moro. 8: 17)

The Lord said, “And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.” (D&C 88: 125)

These scriptures indicate that charity is not your average love.

No inheritance without charity

Ether chapter 12 also talks of charity. Moroni in this chapter said the following:

And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father. (Ether 12: 35)

Moroni makes it clear that charity is a prerequisite to salvation. No charity? No salvation. Have charity? Have salvation. This is why Mormon states in Moro. 7: 47 that “whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” In other words, if you possess charity at the day of judgment, you are guaranteed salvation because charity is all you need. You may possess anything else, in fact, you may possess all other things (gifts) possible to possess, but if you don’t possess charity, you don’t get saved. In other words, the possession of charity is the only thing that saves.

In the final chapter of the Book of Mormon, Moroni reiterates this point:

And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God. (Moro. 10: 21)

The Nothing and things of naught

One of the more curious aspects of charity is that without it we are “nothing.” Paul said, “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13: 2). Mormon said, “If [a man] have not charity, he is nothing” (Moro. 7: 44). Nephi said, “Except [men] should have charity they were nothing” (2 Ne. 26: 30). The Lord said, “And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing” (D&C 18: 19).

Keep in mind that Lehi also spoke of “a thing of naught” which has no power, purpose or even existence. (See 2 Ne. 2: 11-13. This is a bit deeper doctrine than I will discuss here but if the reader wants more information, you can read the Deep Waters category articles, Lehi’s model of the universe and Creatio ex nihilo, creatio ex materia and creatio ex deo are all true doctrines.)

Weak things and strong things

Charity is associated with strength and makes weak things become strong or all-powerful. Said the Lord to Moroni:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness. (Ether 12: 27-28)

Moroni then goes on to explain that the Lord “hast prepared a place for man…among the mansions of [His] Father” and that the whole purpose of the Lord’s atonement and resurrection was “to prepare a place for the children of men” so that they could “inherit that place which [He] hast prepared in the mansions of [His] Father” through men having charity. (See Ether 12: 32-34.) Thus, those who possess charity stay in the kingdom of God (see Moro. 10: 21), become strong and inherit a prepared place, while those who do not possess charity “must go down to hell” (Moro. 8: 14). These latter people lose all power and become nothing.

The pure love of Christ

When asked, “What is charity?” LDS will typically quote Moroni 7: 47 and say, “Charity is the pure love of Christ.” Obviously, this is a correct and scriptural answer, but it doesn’t exactly explain what charity is. Yes, it is love. Yes, it is the type of love that Christ demonstrated and possessed. But what the heck is it? And why is it so all important that its possession makes us saved beings?

All are alike

Moroni, in the above quote, when explaining that he possessed charity, made a point to state that “all children are alike unto [him].” For most of us, love comes in degrees and is prioritized. We love our wives more than anyone. We love our wives and children more than our own brothers and their wives and children. We love our brothers and sisters more than our in-laws, and more than our friends. We love our friends more than our acquaintances. We love our neighbors more than strangers. We love our fellow citizen more than foreigners. In other words, “all are not alike” unto us. This demonstrates that most, if not all, of the love that we manifest is not charity.

The opposite of charity

If you look at past and present history, and review the brutal murders, genocides and other atrocities committed by mankind, you will find that one of the ways these men, women and even children justified their actions against their fellow men was to view their victims as aliens. They viewed them as less than human, as animals even, as vermin, as alien invaders to be fought and exterminated at all costs. In other words, they viewed them not as “alike unto them,” but as completely different and even opposite in all things. This hatred, inspired by Satan, is the opposite principle of charity. It views others as altogether different and seeks to destroy such different “things.” Charity, on the other hand, views all things as part of the family and creation of God, and alike unto ourselves, and seeks to edify, save and exalt all things.

Between charity and hatred

The prioritized love that we feel towards those whom we consider worthy of our love, known to us as our “loved ones,” is not exactly charity and not exactly hatred. It is a mix. It has conditions. “As long as you don’t hurt me, I’ll love you.” Etc. But the moment one of our loved ones hurts us real badly, then the love we feel evaporates to be replaced sometimes by hatred. So, when circumstances are going good, the love we feel can manifest great pleasure and happiness, but when times are tough or people around us are making agency choices that hurt us, often that same loving feeling can disappear in an instant and cause us great emotional pain and anger, even hate.

Satan, who knows that the principal of hate allows him to control people, also knows that it is okay for a person to possess love, as it can easily be turned into hate, by simply changing the circumstances of the person from good to bad. It is only charity—which remains constant, or perfect, regardless of the circumstances—which altogether removes Satan’s hold upon men.

What charity really is: the LDS Anarchist definition

Charity is an over-whelming desire and willingness to share all that you have with everyone else.

In the beginning

A visitor named Doug once asked me,

This brings up the point, why is God all powerful? It’s because the intelligences TRUST him, because he never lies. Trust + a healthy dose of smarts is the key to Godliness. The intelligences not only trust God, but they adore him and do whatever he asks.

To which I answered,

All you write here is very true, but there is another, prime reason that precedes these other reasons as to why all things trust and obey God. I’m currently writing another article on this other reason. I’ll link this comment to that future post (if I remember to do so.)

God is motivated by charity and charity alone.  In fact, our current scriptural translations go even farther by saying that God is love, (or God is charity.)  Charity is the divine motivation behind both the atonement and plan of salvation and also the creation of all things.  God desires to bring the nothing into existence (or creation) so that all the many created things can share in everything He has.  It’s like a rich man in a mansion, opening his doors and saying aloud to all in the streets,

“Come in, one and all, and partake of all these riches!  Sit with me, dine with me, walk with me, learn of me and enjoy all the wealth and pleasures I have!  What is mine is yours if you but come!”

Everything He does is to facilitate the gathering of all things around Him, into His mansions, so that they can share in His treasures with others.  This is charity.  God, therefore, is the personification of charity.  In other words, God literally is love.

Man is also motivated by charity, God’s charity.  In fact, all things obey God because God has charity.   We, in the beginning, being on the outside of the mansion, in the streets (in outer darkness), entered into the kingdom of God, or came into existence, because of the offer He made of sharing all He has with us.  Who in their right mind would turn down the offer to enter into a rich man’s mansion and live there in wealth and prosperity for the rest of eternity?  And not just living there, but partaking of all of the riches as if you were the rich man, meaning unbridled sharing of all there is, with no stinginess, whatsoever.  Who would turn such an offer down?  None of us did.  No one ever does.  It is not in our nature.

Charity brought us into existence

When God first gave us awareness of the inner sphere of light, it wasn’t His intelligence or His trustworthiness or any of His many other qualities that caused us to leave outer darkness and enter into our existence in the inner sphere of light (the kingdom of God). It was that noble offer of His, His charity, His desire and willingness to share all He had with us, that caused us to enter His created mansion.  This is how created things get created, or are brought into existence.  God has a two-fold mission, one directed at the already created things which exist within the bounds of the kingdom (sphere) of light and one directed at the nothing found in outer darkness.  To the created universe, He works to facilitate their obtainment of all that He has through the atonement and plan of salvation.  To the nothing, he extends the offer of entering His sphere of light and partaking of everything He has.

The creation is ongoing because the nothing cannot resist the charitable offer.  And so the Universe expands.

All things love God

Why?  Because God loves all things.  He demonstrates that love by desiring to, being willing to, offering to, and working to give us everything He has.  This is what God is all about.  Giving.  Not selling.  Not having things earned (a meritocracy.)  But an unearned gift.  This is charity.  He likes to give gifts to all that like to receive them.  As long as we enjoy receiving, He’ll keep on giving.  He is willing to give us everything there is, without any degree of selfishness.  Not giving us a replica of what He has, but the very things He has, we becoming joint-owners of His things, or as the scriptures say, joint-heirs.  This is the greatest love there is.  There is nothing greater than God’s love, called charity.  Thus, it is the most powerful motivator, in all cases.  It motivates God and it is designed, or it is His design that charity be our motivation, also.  For all the created Universe, it is also their motivation.  They obey Him in all things because they love Him for His love for them, which defies all comprehension, for once it is even remotely understood just how much God has and is willing to give to us, all things are humbled by the magnanimity of God and all things bow the knee and bend the head in humble reverence and worship of the divine Lover of all things.

There are no two ways about it

There is only one type of charity: God’s charity.  If you don’t have an overwhelming desire and willingness to share everything you have with everyone else, you don’t have charity.  (See the Deep Waters post,  How many wives?  How many husbands?, for how charity works in divine relationships).  Any degree of stinginess gets you kicked out of the kingdom.  The law of heaven is having all things common, or sharing all things with everyone else.

Sharing.  We learn this as children in the nuclear family.  Share your toys, our mothers teach us.  This is, in fact, a sure-fire way to make quick friends.  The more open and sharing you are with others, the more friends you’ll end up having.  The minute you say, “No, it’s mine!  I’m not sharing!” suddenly even close friends don’t want anything to do with you.

As adults, we learn to share with our spouses and children.  Parents provide for their children their necessities: food, clothing, shelter, nurture, protection, education.  We do this freely, as gifts.  The family is designed to be a gift society, so that we can better inculcate charity, which saves us.  The more generous and charitable we are, the more importance we put on people and the less we put on things.  Charity is the only lesson we need to learn here on earth.  Those who learn it qualify themselves for entering into the charitable society that exists in heaven.  They also prepare themselves to establish that society here on earth, otherwise known as Zion.

What charity is not

Charity is not giving of your surplus to a church, the poor or the needy.  It is not fast offerings or tithing.  Those things are important, but they are not what is charity.  We call them charitable donations because they mimic the work that charity does.  Nevertheless, unless a person has “an overwhelming desire and willingness to share everything” he or she has with everyone else, what they have is something less than charity.  The love of a mother or father for his or her children is close to charity.  A parent will give everything, even their own life, for their children, and will share all that they have with them.  But until they have the desire and are willing to do the same for everyone, they don’t possess charity.

In the absence of charity

Without charity, men go through various stages of selfishness and stinginess.  Babylon thrives in the absence of charity.  When charity enters the hearts of men, Babylon disappears and Zion becomes established.  In Zion’s absence, men have power to do all manner of wickedness and can be partially or totally controlled by the devil.  Once charity becomes the motivating impulse in men, Satan loses all power and God rules on earth in their hearts.  This is because charity is 100% divine.  It is not a human concept, principle or emotion.  It comes only from God.  As charity overwhelms with desire, its possession makes men relinquish all the less than perfect human emotions and allows them to embrace the divine nature.

Charity can only be obtained, as Mormon explained above, through faith, hope, meekness, etc.  So, as a strategy, the devil does all in his power to destroy faith, hope, etc.  Faith, in and of itself, is useless against Satan.  So is hope.  None of these principles can stop him. Only charity can.

“Let all men have faith, hope and the rest of the gifts of the Spirit,” says the evil one.  “As long as they possess no charity, these things are powerless to save them and can be a useful means of deception.”

The fastest way to obtain the gifts

As it is through faith that all other gifts are obtained, including charity, and as charity encompasses every other gift, it may be tempting to use one’s faith to seek all other gifts first and when one has fully developed them, to seek for charity. This is actually the slowest way to obtain the gifts because it puts the one seeking the gifts within Satan’s grasp.

It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. (D&C 49: 20)

This principle applies equally to the gifts of God. When we possess more gifts of God than our fellowman, or gifts which we believe are better than the one’s our neighbor has, Satan can lead us to sin in our thoughts by tempting us to think we are the better, or more righteous, man. Such thoughts can lead to sinful behavior and attitudes, which will end up damning us, despite our gifts.

The antidote is to first seek for charity and then, once it is obtained, to seek for the other gifts. This nullifies the devil’s power and facilitates and expedites the receipt of all the other gifts, for the Lord readily bestows His gifts upon possessors of charity because He knows already that they will use them to bless His other children.

The rewards in heaven will be based upon how close we came to charity

Those who enter into their exaltation are those whose lives on earth were denoted by this divine desire and willingness to share everything with everyone.  These men and women who actually obtained the divine gift of charity will receive everything God possesses and will become gods and goddesses themselves.

All others will receive according to how close they came to charity.  In the day of judgment, we will be assessed only by charity or our lack thereof.  Did we possess the desire but not the willingness to carry out the desire?  When presented with the opportunity, did we share all, most, a lot, a little or none at all?  Did we play favorites, sharing with him, her and them but not with those?  Or were we totally selfish, sharing nothing with no one and with an unwillingness and no desire to bless those around us with the good things of life?  Did we discard charity altogether and seek for its opposite, desiring and willing that others receive nothing but evil from our own hands or the hands of others?

Locations in heaven will be based upon charity or its lack

Those who receive the reward of exaltation (the ones who possessed charity in mortality) will reside in the midst of all things, like God Himself, at the center of the sphere of light (the created Universe or the kingdom of God).  Like God, they will receive all power (agency) from all things and all things will look to them (the center) and obey them for they have the same desire, willingness and now power to share everything they possess (which is everything) with all.

Persons who were less charitable in mortality will receive inheritances in other mansions or kingdoms (planets) which are located more towards the edges of the sphere of light.  These will possess less power (agency) than those who reside more towards the center of the Universe.

Repentance brings salvation (charity)

Obviously, almost all mankind will be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ, which means that just about everyone will eventually repent of their sins and go through Mormon’s steps, acquiring faith, hope, meekness, lowliness of heart and confessing by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ.  This means that they will finally obtain charity and become saved in the kingdom of God.  With this charity they will share all of what they have with everyone around them.  In the case of those exalted, “all of what they have” is everything there is to possess, even all that the Father has.  For everyone else, “all of what they have” is of a limited nature, but still everything that they were willing to receive, they not wanting or desiring to receive any more than the reward or gift which they obtained.

Only the sons of perdition lose out entirely, as they remain firm in their impenitence, refusing to receive charity, and being cast back into outer darkness.

Charity is not based upon a church

Baptism into a church is not what qualifies a person for the reception of the gift of charity.  It is one’s desires and willingness to share all with all.  Anyone who uproots the selfish spirit from their soul through Jesus’ words and the Holy Ghost’s actions, humbling him or herself before God, whether they are members of the baptized, covenant people of the Lord or not, can and will receive this gift and if so, they will receive the corresponding reward in heaven.  There will be many charitable “heathens” who will enter into greater rewards than uncharitable church members, regardless of how much tithing, fast offerings, service projects, temple work, meetings or callings they accept, attend or contribute.

The goal is charity

It may seem weird to bring up charity in the faith of God series, but I felt it was important to give an understanding of how charity fits in to God’s faith.  The faith of God is not the end of the matter.  It is merely a means to an end.  Through faith God obtains and maintains all things, granting Him possession of all things.  But possession is not the end all and be all.  The things possessed are to be used for a divine purpose.  Why get all if not to give all?  Underlying all that immense, godly power, knowledge and holiness is the divine motivation, which precedes both our own faith as well as God’s, for God works by faith in order to be able to share all that He has with everyone.  Charity, then, is God’s goal for both Himself and mankind.  Charity is both the first and the last principle.  It brought us into existence, it keeps us in existence, and using it, it can bring others into existence.  It is the reason for the happiness that is existence, the sharing of all things with all.  Charity is the Zion principle.

Everything that leads to charity is to be motivated by charity, thus, the Savior’s command of “freely ye have received, freely give” is according to the principle of charity and is to apply to all the gifts of God.  We are to use all that God gives us to benefit all His children and creations, freely, generously and openly, without reservation or respect to persons.  All are to be alike to us.

Next Faith of God article: The faith of God, part fourteen: God is a miracle worker, not a scientist

Previous Faith of God article: The faith of God, part twelve: Truth

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

Marriage without a marriage license is ordained of God


My text for this post is the following scripture:

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15.)

Between a man and a woman

To start with, let’s make it clear that the words “marry” and “marriage” in this verse referred only to marriage between a man and a woman. This revelation was given in March/May 1831 and there was no concept of same-sex marriage back then, only marriage between the sexes.

Who forbids to marry?

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15; italics added.)

Parents – Sometimes parents forbid to marry. If a young man or woman is underage, permission from the parents is needed in order for them to marry (with a valid state marriage license). In the high school I attended, there was a very pretty 16 year old girl in one of my classes who was legally married. She received permission from her parents and loved showing people her wedding ring. All the boys in the class (including myself) were kind of bummed that she was now off-limits. It was a strange situation because we all thought that parents normally would not give permission to one so young. She never had a teen pregnancy or anything. She just fell in love and wanted to get married and her folks said, “Okay.” But that doesn’t always happen.

The State – The State is the major perpetrator of forbidding to marry, with all the marriage laws and prohibitions on the books. For example, the State forbids a man from taking a second wife while his first wife is still alive. It also forbids a woman from doing the same thing. It introduces a monetary price on marriage, so that everyone must pay for the permission to get married. It places age restrictions on marriage, as well as health restrictions. Those who don’t meet the qualifications, can’t get married. In other words, they can’t get a marriage license. Additionally, it has cohabitation laws on many of the books so that anyone who tries to marry without a valid state marriage license and then live together can still be prosecuted and thrown into jail, effectively discouraging anyone who wishes to skirt around the State monopoly on marriage authorization.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – The Church is another major perpetrator of forbidding to marry. Although it has no power to stop anyone from getting married, by preaching a valid state marriage license requirement to its congregation, it supports the State’s restrictions and monopoly on marriage. Also, by excommunicating those who marry more than one living spouse (with or without a valid state marriage license, but most often without a license), it sets up its own restrictions with attendant judgments placed upon those who marry.

These three institutions, then, are not ordained of God when they forbid to marry.

But I must add one more:

A spouse – Every man who forbids his wife from marrying another man and every woman who forbids her husband from marrying another woman is also not ordained of God when they do this.

Everything that is in the world is valid in the eyes of God…for a limited time

And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 132: 7, 13.)

What this means is that God recognizes “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” that are made among men “both as well for time and for all eternity,” regardless of who or what entity or entities ordained them, “whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be,” as perfectly valid and binding only until “men are dead,” at which point such “contracts…have an end.” This applies only to contracts, oaths, etc., that are not made by the Lord or by His word.

Marriage is a covenant

Marriage is accompanied by a covenant between a man and a woman (the marriage vows), therefore, it comes under the above conditions of the law of the new and everlasting covenant. There are three types of marriage covenants covered by the conditions of this law.

Marriage covenant #1: “not by me nor by my word,” for time only

Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. (D&C 132: 15.)

Here we have a man and a woman entering a marriage covenant, in which the man covenants to be the woman’s husband and the woman covenants to be the man’s wife. The covenant has a stated duration of “’till death do they part.” The marriage is not performed by the Lord nor by His word, therefore it is valid in the eyes of the Lord only until one of them dies.

Marriage covenant #2: “not by me or by my word,” for time and all eternity

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God. (D&C 132: 18.)

Here we have a man and a woman entering a marriage covenant, in which the man covenants to be the woman’s husband and the woman covenants to be the man’s wife. The covenant has a stated duration of “’for time and all eternity.” The covenant is not performed by the Lord nor by His word, therefore it is valid in the eyes of the Lord only until one of them dies.

Marriage covenant #3: “by my word, which is my law,” “in time, and through all eternity”

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (D&C 132: 19.)

Finally, we have a man and a woman entering the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, being married by the word of the Lord and having it sealed to them by the Holy Spirit of promise. He covenants to be her husband and she covenants to be his wife, for the duration of time and all eternity. This covenant is valid in the eyes of the Lord for as long as they abide in it.

All three marriage covenants are ordained of God

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15; italics added.)

The first two marriage covenant scenarios, which operate under temporal power and authority, are ordained of God until death. The final marriage covenant scenario, which operates under eternal power and authority, is ordained of God through all eternity.

Marriage is ordained of God because it creates permanency

God is all about creating permanency: things that remain.

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

The only difference between fornication (unlawful sexual relations) and marriage (lawful sexual relations) is the idea of a permanent union. God wants men and women to come together and have sex (become one flesh), and He wants them to remain together, continuing to have sex. The marriage covenant is a covenant or contract to remain together permanently, as husband and wife, either until death or throughout all eternity. It is the fleeting, temporary nature of fornication that makes it wrong.

When two people come together and make love, the love demonstrated and generated is intended by God to continue on forever. It is supposed to remain. The marriage bonds keep people connected (and gathered) so that they continue to nurture and grow the love generated between them. God is love, so the scriptures say, therefore, He is all-loving and never stops loving. To come together and make love and then leave (separate from one another) is akin to stop loving (stop becoming one). God wants us to continue to manifest our love for one another, through the marital covenants. In this way we learn to become like Him, all-loving and continually loving.

No mention of a State licensing requirement

In the scriptures, there is no mention of the need to have a valid state marriage license. All that is needed for a marriage to occur is that there be a marriage covenant between a man and a woman. That’s it. The marriage covenant can be written or verbal. It doesn’t matter. It can be ordained “by thrones, or principalities, or powers,” in other words, by the State, but it doesn’t have to be. It can simply be “ordained of men,” even the two people entering the covenant (the man and the woman), or even by “things of name, whatsoever they may be.”

This means that two people who enter into a marriage covenant with each other, without a State marriage license, without a religious or civil ceremony, the man agreeing to be the woman’s husband and the woman agreeing to be the man’s wife, who then begin living together and making love, presenting themselves publicly as husband and wife, are not living in sin. They are not fornicating. They have nothing to repent of for they have satisfied the conditions of the law of the new and everlasting covenant. Their marriage is ordained of God.

No mention of a wedding ceremony

The scriptures do not state that a wedding ceremony is necessary for a marriage to be valid. Typically, wedding ceremonies do occur, according to the customs of the culture the two people are from, but they are not necessary for a marriage to be valid in the eyes of God. Only the covenant is the necessary part.

No mention of witnesses

A third person can be present while the two make their marriage vows (the marriage covenant), but that is not required by the law of the new and everlasting covenant. They can enter their covenant in private, just the two of them and it’s still valid in the eyes of God.

Conflict between God and the Church

This brings up a conflict because a married couple that does not get State permission to be married is seen differently by God and the Church. In the eyes of God, they are married. In the eyes of the (modern) Church, they are not. (It was not always so.  There was a time when the Church recognized marriages as valid even without a marriage license.)  As the Church holds the keys of the priesthood, despite a couple being validly married in the eyes of God, they can be prohibited from receiving baptism, confirmation, priesthood and the temple sealing, all required ordinances for their salvation. The modern Church, then, in not recognizing a marriage as valid in the same way God does, becomes a stumbling block to their eternal progression.

Consent in marriage

Both before and after a man and a woman come together in holy matrimony (and since all marriage is ordained of God, including non-temple marriage, all matrimony is holy), the law of common consent applies. So, for example, if the couple enters marriage with vows of fidelity, meaning that they promise to abstain from loving (making love to) other people, they must keep their vows. It is the law of the Lord that all our vows and covenants and oaths be kept, for it is a sin to break a vow. Thus, a man must receive consent from his wife to marry a second wife and a woman must receive consent from her husband to marry another husband.

If they enter the marriage with no vows of abstinence and they decide they want more spouses and they receive consent from their current spouses, they may freely marry without sinning. If, on the other hand, they enter the marriage with vows of abstinence and they decide afterward that they want more spouses in their family, they can, with consent, release one another from their vows of abstinence and then consent to additional spouses. This also is not sin, for vows can be freely made and released, as long as the person to whom the vow was made is doing the releasing.

Sin in marriage

The sin of adultery occurs when a married woman is with a man who is not her spouse. Scripturally, all women who enter marriage apparently do so under a vow of abstinence (fidelity), whether they are married by the word of the Lord or not. Therefore, if she is with another man that is not her spouse, she commits adultery.

On the man’s part, it is only if he has taken a vow of abstinence (fidelity) and is with another woman who is not his wife that he commits adultery. If, on the other hand, he has not taken a vow of fidelity, (in other words, his wife gives him permission to sleep around), and is with an unmarried woman who is not his wife, he has committed the sin of fornication (sexual sin) but not adultery unless the other woman who is not his spouse is married to another man, in which case he has committed adultery (See D&C 132: 41-44 and The many definitions of adultery for more on these laws.)

(The above two paragraphs may seem confusing, but it all boils down to this: if you sleep with someone who is your spouse, there is no sin. On the other hand, if you sleep with someone who is not your spouse, you commit sin. So, to avoid sin, either don’t sleep with a person who is not your spouse or marry him or her before engaging in sexual intercourse.)

If a husband separates from his wife or a wife separates from her husband, so as to purposefully and permanently live apart from one another, this also is sin. There is only one scriptural justification for marital separation and that is if the one being left behind has committed unrepentant fornication (sexual sin). The purpose of the temporary separation is to help the sinner to repent of his or her sin. Once repentance occurs, the couple should come together again and be reconciled, forgiving one another.

Polygyny is not sin

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified. (D&C 132: 61-62; italics added.)

If a woman gives consent to her husband to take additional wives, releasing him from any vows of fidelity he may have had, and giving him permission to marry this or that woman, he is justified in taking on the additional wives, for it is marriage with consent and marriage is ordained of God.

When taking on a second wife, the man needs the consent of the first wife. When taking on a third wife, the man needs the consent of the first two wives, and so on and so forth. As long as all give consent, there is no sin.

Polygyny, whether practiced in the new and everlasting covenant (the law of the priesthood), or practiced in a for-time, man-made covenant, is ordained of God as long as consent is given by the wife or wives of the man.

Polyandry is not sin

In the new and everlasting covenant, there are two ways in which a woman get can an additional husband. One way is that she is simply sealed to a second (or third, etc.) husband.

And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed. (D&C 132: 41; italics added.)

The second way is that her husband breaks his marriage vows and commits adultery, whereby she is taken and given (married) to another man. She remains married to the first husband, for the word ‘taken” doesn’t explicitly mean that she has received a divorce.

And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many. (D&C 132: 44; italics added.)

Outside of the new and everlasting covenant, a woman may obtain a second marriage through consent of her current husband or husbands, in the same way as discussed above for polygyny. Like polygyny, polyandry is ordained of God, as long as consent is given by all parties involved.

Objections to polyandry unfounded

LDS men may object to polyandry based upon the following scripture:

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified. (D&C 132: 61-62; italics added.)

These verses only state that a man cannot commit adultery with a wife that belongs to him and to no one else. They do not state that a man commits adultery with a wife that belongs to both him and someone else. The gospel is all about joint-ownership, or becoming joint-heirs with Christ of all things that the Father has. There is no gospel law against a wife belonging to two or more husbands, or to a husband belonging to two or more wives. The scriptures do not prohibit such an arrangement. To make this assumption is to wrest them.

Not giving consent to marry is sin

When a man wishes to take an additional wife and his current wife or wives do not give their consent (the keys of this power), they sin because they are forbidding him from marrying, making them not ordained of God. Likewise, when a woman wishes to take an additional husband and her current husband or husbands do not give consent, the husbands become sinners in forbidding her from marrying.

The law of Sarah is applicable to both men and women:

And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.

Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife. (D&C 132: 64-65; italics added.)

The transgression consists in forbidding to marry, which makes the person doing the forbidding “not ordained of God.”

A secondary and third transgression

When consent is not given, because marriage is labeled sin, a second transgression occurs: calling that which is holy, or ordained of God, evil. Satan wants no one to be married. He would rather that everyone sleep around without entering into marriage covenants with each other. When monogamy is labeled holy matrimony but polygyny or polyandry is labeled sin, this works into his hands, for then he can tempt mankind to break their marriage vows and commit sin. Giving consent to marry more than one spouse keeps the law of chastity intact, stopping Satan in his tracks.

The third transgression comes from judging others as sinners, who have done no sin. All marriage between a man and woman, whether singly or in multiple spouse form, is ordained of God, but if the multiple spouse form is looked upon as sin, or if a marriage without a marriage license is looked upon as sin, then the people who engage in these righteous practices will be looked upon as sinners.

Plural marriage engenders charity

In particular, modern LDS need to stop painting plural marriage (the multiple-husband multiple-wife marriage system) as undesirable or evil. Under such a system, children have multiple fathers and multiple mothers (though only one biological mother). Any husband will look upon all children born to his wives as his children, regardless of whether they are his biological seed or not. This engenders charity, because all husbands/fathers will care for all the children, not just their own. In other words, all children will become alike to them:

And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation. (Moro. 8: 17.)

Plural marriage retains agency

Agency remains fully intact with plural marriage consent, allowing people to open up their hearts and love those around them in the most intimate manner possible, all the while remaining justified before the Lord. This more fully knits people’s hearts together in unity. Without such consent, love must be limited, even if the desire to love more fully exists, which also limits agency and causes distance between people.

Plural marriage creates Zion

And ye shall hereafter receive church covenants, such as shall be sufficient to establish you, both here and in the New Jerusalem. (D&C 42: 67.)

There are certain covenants given to the Gentile Mormons that are sufficient to establish them in Zion. One is the law of consecration, in which they freely share of their substance. Another is the United Order, in which they bind themselves by covenant to establish Zion. Yet another is the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (plural marriage) in which they freely give of their love and hearts in plural marriages, essentially sharing their spouses with other spouses.

Of the three covenants, though, plural marriage is probably the most powerful, for if one is able to give consent to freely share one’s spouse with other spouses, effectively eliminating all jealousy and envy, sharing everything else would be a snap.

Plural marriage corresponds to nature

As the research revealed in the book Sex at Dawn reveals, by nature mankind’s sexuality is a multiplemale-multiplefemale mating system. God has ordained marriage to exactly correspond to our natural sexual desires and nature, so that we may live out our lives free from guilt and shame, in joy, happiness and pleasure.

Plural marriage causes rapid formation of super-strong tribes

Because marriage bonds go in every direction, everyone becomes related to everyone else, in the most intimate way. The concept of distant relations becomes blurred, as all become intimate members of one’s immediate family through marriage. The group, being linked in this way, becomes and acts as a tribe, but also as an intimate family, everyone seeking the interest of his neighbor, for his neighbor is a close family relation.

Instead of tribes growing slowly as tribal members have children who grow up and marry and have children of themselves, plural marriage has the ability to rapidly infuse a tribe with large groups of people, while retaining the intimate relationship aspects of the immediate family. Child-birth is maximized, so that every woman who wants children can have as many as she desires, thus allowing the tribe to grow as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15.)

When taken at face value, the above scripture is plainly shown to be true. Marriage is a divine institution which has been given to us to maximize our happiness here on Earth, in accordance with the principles of nature, and in preparation for glory to be added in heaven. To remain on God’s side on this issue, men, women, parents, churches, the State and spouses need to follow and encourage others to follow this two-step rule:

1) Don’t forbid anyone from marrying (not even your own spouse) and 2) look upon all marriage between a man and a woman as ordained of God.

Inspiration behind this post

I had read the arguments that Christian polygamists make about not needing a valid state marriage license, but had never actually taken the time to do any research and come to any conclusion about it. It was Justin’s Tribal Relationships post that introduced me to the Sex at Dawn research, which, upon reviewing it, got me thinking about what exactly marriage is and what it is all about. This post is a result of my decision to take a look at the scriptures with the Sex at Dawn research in mind. If you still don’t know where I’m coming from, I encourage you to read the following posts, as this article is influenced by, and builds upon, them: Tribal worship services, Establishing the tribes of Israel: the real reason for plural marriage, The tribal nature of the gospel, The Return of Polygamy, The many definitions of adultery, Deep Waters: How many wives? How many husbands?, and An alternate view of the keys.

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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.

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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.

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A note from Stan Tenen


Note: The following is a private message that Stan Tenen sent to me on March 17th, 2010, via my Facebook account, concerning the post Bringing Stan Tenen and The Meru Foundation to the Attention of all LDS [alternate title: Doing what4anarchy’s Job] and its comment section.

While searching for something else, I ran into your LDS Anarchist website, and found the materials related to me and my work.

This is all very sad. It’s a sad commentary on the state of education, and on the emptiness of our society.

Instead of engaging a new idea, it just gets picked to death by children.

This is why I’ve pulled away from LDS (which previously was a strong supporter of my work from several quarters) and other religions. People involved in religion — with rare exception — are, as Marx and Freud taught, merely hiding from their own mortality. Intellectual honesty is not possible from people who are “scared to death of death”, and don’t even know it.

For people who don’t understand why I’m elucidating the fluid rabbinic form of the alphabet, all I can say is, you really haven’t a clue about how science is done. I follow the data.

I didn’t know that the letters at the beginning of Genesis would form a particular geometry. I didn’t know it would be a model hand. And I didn’t know it would be related to the alphabet, or any particular alphabet. I followed the data.

The letter-text led to a particular geometry.

I first took this geometry to represent a model light or flame.

Later, I realized that this was not functional, even though it generated shapes that matched all the Hebrew letters of a particular alphabet.

Later, during an exploration of the Jewish ritual of tefillin, I realized that what I had taken to be a flame was actually a model hand, and given the known properties of our hands, everything else then fell in place.

I didn’t choose the alphabet. I found the shapes that matched, and then identified them. I’m sorry if religious believers and scholars have become fascinated by many other alphabets. I didn’t have a choice. When you’re doing science, you don’t force-fit. You take what you find and try to make sense of it.

Anyone going to the trouble of actually checking out more than the headlines of what I’m proposing would know the audit trail from the Canaanite to the modern letters. (I’m proposing two separate lines of development.)

I’m no Newton, but I like his methods. Newton taught how gravity worked, but said he didn’t have a clue as to why it worked that way.

It’s for critics to explain how come one alphabet comes from hand gestures and the others don’t.

I found the alphabet in the letters of the first verse of Genesis. I found the letters matched a particular alphabet, and not other alphabets; and I provided a theory that makes sense of this — i.e., hand gestures are universal among all self-aware creatures. (All intelligent creatures know that when you point to something, you’re drawing attention to it — etc.)

Please feel free to post any or all of this if you’d like.

If there are any serious responses, please pass them on to me via email. I don’t do websites, and I don’t do blogs. (Life’s short.)

Have a happy LDS Passover/Easter. Whichever, whatever.

Be well,
Stan

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