Defining Fullness of the Priesthood

FacsimileThreeIn response to a comment made by a reader on the previous post, I wrote, “The fullness of the priesthood, or that which was lost (D&C 124:28), is to be brought into the presence of the Father, by the Son, to be fully endowed with the power that Enoch received, the power to bring about Zion.” I would like to elaborate on that comment and provide some backup for my thinking.

Priesthood Power Not Same as Church Authority

Just as power in the priesthood is different from authority in the priesthood, offices in the Church do not constitute the priesthood itself. They are simply organizational offices in an institution. I know this can be a difficult concept to accept. Some may claim it is false doctrine. Perhaps we can consider together this quote from Joseph Smith on the subject. It may prove helpful:

All Prophets Were Ordained By God Himself

“All priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion that brought Moses to speak with God face-to-face was taken away, but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All prophets have the Melchizedek priesthood and were ordained by God himself.” (TPJS 180-181) Think about that last sentence from Joseph for a moment.

There is But One Priesthood of God

So Joseph teaches there is but one priesthood, yet we have a revelation (D&C 107:1) claiming there are two priesthoods, namely the Melchizedek and the Aaronic or Levitical. Add to this the idea of the Patriarchal priesthood, not defined in scripture, a phrase used by Joseph when urging the Saints to complete the Nauvoo temple. President Packer taught us a little more about this:

The Patriarchal Order of the Priesthood

“There are references to a patriarchal priesthood. The patriarchal order is not a third, separate priesthood. Whatever relates to the patriarchal order is embraced in the Melchizedek Priesthood. All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to [the Melchizedek] priesthood. The patriarchal order is a part of the Melchizedek Priesthood which enables endowed and worthy men to preside over their posterity in time and eternity.”

Priesthood Power Received From the Father

So there is but one priesthood which exists, but it is not contained within or conferred by the church. It comes from one source – the Father. The Son is involved because He is the gatekeeper. He alone decides if a person if going to qualify to receive priesthood power. The Son makes it his work, or His ministry, to bring a person before the Father. This process can take many years.

The Son Prepares Us to Meet With the Father

The Son will work with a candidate for as long as it takes, and as long as the individual is willing to accept correction and reproof, from the Savior, to cure all that is wrong, fix all that is broken, remove all that is impure and prepare the disciple to be brought into the presence of the Father. It is the Father who confers and ordains a man to the highest priesthood. This is not a new teaching.

Priesthood Power Cannot be Conferred

Priesthood in the beginning was called the Holy Order. Later it was called the Holy Order after the Son of God, or the Holy Order after the Order of Enoch, or the Holy Order after the Order of Melchizedek. We think that is what we have in the church today. We think that is what we give to Elders when we first ordain them. But Joseph Smith could not confer that on another person.

Offices in the Church are not Priesthood

Priesthood power is received only from God. We cannot confer power upon another. We can ordain them with authority to officiate in offices in the church, but we cannot give them power. The fullness of the priesthood is contained within the Holy Order that comes from the Father. Show me a man who has entered into the Father’s presence and I will testify he has a fullness.

Our Goal Should Be To Receive The Father

But show me a man, no matter what position or keys he claims to possess, who has not entered into the Father’s presence, and I will testify he has not yet received a fullness. No matter what keys he has, he cannot possess the fullness. For that, the Father has a role He alone is required to fulfill. Joseph taught no man has seen the Father but He [the Father] has born record of the Son.

Ordination is Only a Preliminary Step

Being ordained is only the first step. Although it allows you to administer in an office in the church, it is really but an invitation, and nothing more than to go and get real power from God. It requires us to be faithful unto the Lord, to do all He asks us to do, and He will ask things of His sons that are difficult, in order to prove them faithful and worthy of being brought to the Father.

Receive the Lord’s Messengers Sent to Us

D&C 84 teaches us the importance of receiving the Lord’s servants, or messengers. They may be angels He sends to teach us, or they may be mortal. If we receive His messengers, we receive the Savior. The time will come when the Savior Himself will come to deliver instructions to prepare us further to come into the presence of the Father, in a very literal way, while we are yet mortal.

Fullness Means Completion of a Process

The whole purpose of the priesthood, as far as the man who receives it is concerned, is to prepare him to come into the presence of the Father in order to receive the fullness or the completion of the ordination. That is one definition of the word full – to be complete – or to have accomplished something. The accomplishment cannot be brought about without the involvement of the Lord.

We Must Receive The Father In This Life

“He that receiveth me receiveth my Father.” I can’t tell you how many times I have read that phrase with my brethren in priesthood meetings and wondered when this is supposed to happen. Surely the Lord intended for us to receive Him in this life, to be ministered to by Him in a literal and physical way. We receive the Father in this life to bear His presence in the world of glory.

Fullness of Priesthood and The Powers of Heaven

Receiving the fullness of the priesthood allows us to associate with those on the other side of the veil – the powers of heaven – who are helping to bring about the Lord’s work of bringing Zion. The fullness of the priesthood is required to withstand the brightness of the coming of the Lord, when He returns with the City of Enoch. Otherwise, they that come with Him will burn us up.

Seek to See the Face of God and Live

We have an association or brotherhood here on the earth which we call the priesthood. There is another brotherhood or association we should seek after, the association with the powers of heaven. D&C 84:21-22 teaches us the importance of priesthood in order to see the face of God and live. Obviously Joseph must have had priesthood when he saw the Father at age fourteen.

Attribution for Some of These Quotes

I recognize I have covered a lot in this post. It is all based on scripture, although I have not always provided the reference. You may also recognize a few direct quotes from some of the writings of Denver Snuffer. That’s because he organized ideas about priesthood in a way that make great sense to me. Otherwise, I would not have taken the trouble to study his writings.

Invitation to Receive of the Fullness

I finish as I started with an invitation to understand the fullness of the priesthood. It is simply to be brought into the presence of the Father, by the Son, to be fully endowed with God’s power, which can then be used to bless our fellow beings and to build the kingdom of God on the earth preparatory to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and those who come with Him in great glory.



sfort said…

This post had focus. It displayed a positive doctrinal piece. Good work. I see a lot of Denver flowing through it, which is only referenced through the scriptures but taught much by him. I remember in "Visions of Glory", Spencer said we had to learn to use the fullness of the Priesthood. He saw the Savior and He spoke to him, but the fulness of the Priesthood came slower to him. Of course that was his interpretation only he can relate based on "his" vision. Thank you for giving us what we must inculcate.
shylohw said…
"He that receiveth me receiveth my Father." [In this context, what he's talking about is the same thing that you find in the 14th chapter of the book of John, in which Christ says that He will not leave you comfortless, but He will come to comfort you. And then He and his Father will“make our abode with [you].” (John 14: 23.) This is not an abstraction. The idea that this is something that happens in your heart, you can read in the Doctrine and Covenants, is an old sectarian notion and is false. (D&C 130: 3.) It means a literal appearance of these holy beings to minister, to comfort, and ultimately to take up their abode. (DS Orem talk p 5)

I believe the fullness of the priesthood is in connection with the Patriarchal priesthood. In agreement with the temple portrayal, the telestial being on the level with the Aaronic orders, the terrestrial on level with the Melchizedek, I believe the Patriarchal order to be that of the celestial order. This makes complete sense to me, perhaps by nature of being a woman, because of my study of the powers a woman has rights to. She will be a priestess, a queen. So there must be another order in which these functions may be performed. The church is a temporary institution, the family is eternal.

I think perhaps women 'see' the priesthood differently. Maybe because I lack all the priesthood training over the years? I was elated that DS mentioned in his priesthood (Orem) talk that he held the Patriarchal priesthood to be that of the highest order. I think somewhere in here is also the blessings of the "second annointing".
shylohw said…
I meant this as a continuation of the above DS quote:

"Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, [notice now the reference is in the singular, implying it speaks now about the singular, fullest manifestation which comes from the Father] "receive this oath and covenant of my Father..." [This is not talking about abstractions, quorums, groups, churches and organizations, orders, and choruses among men on this side of the veil. This is talking about a direct covenantal relationship established by the Father with this, meaning the fullness obtained directly from the Father, which comprises “ this priesthood."
tomirvine999 said…
I am also interested in the power and authority which the Holy Ghost bestows, and how this relates to the priesthood.

17 And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

22 And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.

1 Nephi 10
jared said…
All this can be summed up in just a few words: First and Second Comforter.

Our first task is to acquire the first comforter: the gift of the Holy Ghost as Enos did. He obtained a remission of his sins.

I think it makes sense to focus our attention on first things first, then go from there.

My two cents.
EKB said…
Can you explain more about how the phrase "powers of heaven" refers to heavenly beings rather than simply a power. Is this inferred or is there a reference to this somewhere? By inferred, meaning that power is only found in a being and not independent of a being. Just trying to understand this more. Nice post BTW.
Tim Malone said…
From Denver's Orem Talk on the Priesthood, pages 10-11:

There is within the structure of the afterlife, different rungs on Jacob's ladder, and they leak through in our scriptures, though Joseph never bothers parsing them. And whether you are talking about an angel, or an archangel, or a principality, or a power, or a dominion, or a throne, or a cherubim, or a Seraphim, it doesn't matter which one you are referring to, it is appropriate, just like it is appropriate to refer to all those offices as Elder, to refer to any and all of them as "powers."

I want to be clear about this. ... This is talking about developmental stages of growth. Each is moving toward perfection. To be higher in your progression is to be more near to and therefore more like God. We err when we think of this as a dominion in which ranking gives any right to abuse those who are lower in station or degree. The only continuing tools used throughout this progression are persuasion, love, meekness and pure knowledge.

This is why so few who are in a position of being “called” in this life are ever “chosen” in the next. (D&C 121: 34.) They simply do not learn how these rights are inseparably connected with the same Spirit as our Lord and His Father. They never obtain the “mind of God” or Holy Spirit, or associate themselves with the third member of the Godhead.

The Powers of Heaven: Whatever rung these ministers may be upon, they are all "Powers." So I want to suggest to you, that the real definition of priesthood is an association between, mankind on the one hand, and those on the other side of the veil on the other hand. It is a brotherhood.

Oh my, and it is potentially also, a sisterhood. And it is a fellowship, and it is a ministry if you will, in which there is connected together, and the real definition of priesthood is a connection between, a fellowship between, the "Powers of Heaven" on the one hand, and you on the other.
Jared said…
Good job, Tim. This is very clear and concise. I really like it!
Eric said…
According to a couple online resources for the Greek New Testament, it looks like it is possible for "thrones, dominions, principalities, powers" in Colossians 1:16 to be referring to beings, and not simply inanimate objects or geographic areas.

>> "This is talking about developmental stages of growth. Each is moving toward perfection. To be higher in your progression is to be more near to and therefore more like God."

Once you get the Spirit, you have all knowledge and power (as has been quoted from Moses 6:61 and D&C 50:27 in another post).

"They who obtain a glorious resurrection from the dead, are exalted far above principalities, powers, thrones, dominions and angels, and are expressly declared to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, all having eternal power" (TPJS, 374).

So I assume these "developmental stages of growth" are referring to those in the 1st and/or 2nd degrees of celestial glory?
Good Will said…
You've done a wonderful service here, brother. Thank you. said…
Amen Brother Tim. Amen
Ruth said…
Hi, much of what you write I can agree with. However, the following statement I must take exception to: "Obviously Joseph must have had priesthood when he saw the Father at age fourteen".
Inspite of your presumption based on D&C, I do not believe that Joseph "had the Priesthood" when he first saw the Father and the Son at 14. He had only been studying the scriptures since he was a child and at 14 finally had the quote from John impress him to find out. I am sure the Spirit encouraged him in this, as the Spirit can prompt or impress anyone at any time, LDS, or other, or no religion.
There is nothing in any of the writings from Joseph or others that we have to indicate this was not the first time Joseph saw them. The appearance of the Father and Son was a gift given him to get him started on the path he was to take. He then later received the official Priesthood, both authority and power, by the laying on of hands and association with the Lord and HF. While I do not deny that the Lord and HF can do what they want, when they want, there is nothing, anywhere, to indicate Joseph had the Priesthood at 14. To me this is akin to Pratt's and Crowley's claims that Joseph would never err. Wrong.
While I was being converted, not yet a member, I received many visitors from the other side, angels, even visits from translated beings, and powerful dreams and visions to assist in my conversion and understanding. These were gifts to assist me as I learned and grew in my understanding. There came a time when I was told by the Spirit I had to be baptized in the LDS faith to receive the further instruction, light, and knowledge the Lord wanted me to have. I firmly believe that Joseph's first vision was of similar ilk. It was a gift to give him the courage to go through what he would have to endure prior to receiving the fullness.
Please remember that our ways are not the Lords ways, and our understandings are not always the Lords understandings.
The Priesthood is indeed a great power that many (if not most) do not understand, appreciate, or use to its fullness. I look forward to the day when many (men and women) will wake up to what is available through the Priesthood. I can promise it is greater than we imagine.
tomirvine999 said…
The Prophet Joseph Smith -

Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365)

Elder David A. Bednar -

Every man who holds the priesthood was foreordained to that very responsibility in the premortal existence. (“Teach them to Understand,” Ricks College Education Week, June 4, 1998)

See also: Alma 13:3, D&C 138:55–56, Abraham 3:22–23
Mike said…
Alma 13 addresses this, establishing that there are those whose priesthood hails from before their emergence into this world. Also see Jeremiah 1:5 and D&C 84:28 for examples of two more prophets in whose lives God moved and bestowed great power at early ages or before birth. Also in D&C 84 are verses 19-22, requiring Joseph have the "greater" priesthood before or at least upon receiving the First Vision, or he would not have survived it. These are just a few scriptures that address your comment. Indeed, God's ways are higher and thus different than ours.
Ruth said…
Thanks. My understanding of these verses has been enlarged. I had forgotten that many had been ordained before the world was and some others early in their lives. Good reminder. Need to get back to my studies of the scriptures! :)
tomirvine999 said…
The "Son has done only the will of the Father." I think that this principle has some layers to it with a sprinkling of divine capriciousness.

* * *

Matthew 15:22 – 28

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent (by my Father) but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

* * *

On the one hand, Jesus declared:

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

John 6:38

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

John 5:19

So Jesus was perfectly obedient to his Father.

* * *

But on the other hand, the Lord taught Joseph Smith . . .

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

Doctrine & Covenants 58

* * *

So I think Jesus went “off script” by blessing the woman of Canaan and her daughter. I believe he did this to be a good example for us in terms of D&C 58:26-27.

I realize that this outcome may have been the Father's intention all along.

But I also think that the dilemma that Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden regarding abstaining from the forbidden fruit versus partaking that "man might be" is a recurring model that is under-appreciated in the LDS Church, the Temple presentation notwithstanding. i.e. Sometimes we must disobey a lower law (or policy) in order to keep a higher law.
Log said…
But I forebear caution when one finds fault with the Lord’s chosen vessels.

Doctrine and Covenants 112:11
11 I know thy heart, and have heard thy prayers concerning thy brethren. Be not partial towards them in love above many others, but let thy love be for them as for thyself; and let thy love abound unto all men, and unto all who love my name.

James 2
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Mosiah 23:7
7 But he said unto them: Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king.

Romans 14
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

A just man will be not partial.
Log said…
James 3:17
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

1 Timothy 5:21
21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

For myself, I will defend the Brethren against unjust accusations, and I will defend Snuffer likewise, and I will defend any upon the same principle, for I hate injustice, which is inequality, which is inequity, which is iniquity.
Yet Another John said…
I don't think 'ordain' or 'foreordain' mean what you think it means in this context. I am of the understanding in this case it reads "appointed."
marginalizedmormon said…
Good Will, I just read your essay "God, Angels, and These Witnesses"--

you hit another one out of the ball park.

Thank you. :)
marginalizedmormon said…
a message to Good Will above under his comment--

Thank you.

I don't have any ideas about any of this right now. I'm afraid when it comes to the priesthood I am 'blank'.

I think it hinges upon righteousness, though.
marginalizedmormon said…
oh, and there are quite a few varied definitions of righteousness; that is a problem.
Tim Malone said…
To add one more way of viewing the idea of Joseph having priesthood at the time of the First Vision, I offer this quote:

Joseph Smith beheld the Father and Son in a vision while yet in his youth (JS-H 1: 17-20). He saw the Father. Therefore Joseph had at that very moment, while still a youth, possession of the highest order of priesthood (D&C 84: 21-22). Despite this, Joseph would be later ordained by John the Baptist to Aaronic Priesthood (JS-H 1: 68-70). The Aaronic Priesthood has the keys of ministering angels (D&C 84: 26). Yet before receiving this form of priesthood, Joseph had an angel minister to him (JS-H 1: 30-41). So before Joseph received "keys" from John the Baptist he was exercising the keys belonging to the priesthood he would receive.

I could go on but these illustrate the point. Events involving God do not necessarily follow the same time-line as we would expect them to follow. When, however, Joseph received angels, you can know for certain he held priesthood. When he was visited by the Son, you can know he held priesthood and keys for that. When he was visited by the Father, Joseph Smith had priesthood. It was necessarily present and was in him. Don't ever doubt that. Even if you don't quite understand it at present, it is nevertheless true. So also you can receive things from God which are apparently out of sequence with the time-line we live in here.

Tim Malone said…
Link to Will's post:
For those who claim that some held the priesthood before their ordination here on this earth I wonder under what doctrine that could be found? And how would that doctrine explain Saul's (Paul's) experience in Acts 9: 3-6. He had assented unto Stephen's death as well as many others in the church at the time of his conversion. And he saw the Lord.

I believe sometimes we make things too complicated. Why was it that the Prophets brother Alvin was found in the Celestial Kingdom (D&C 137) before his work was done. Is it that the Lord can see all things before Him at all times (and The Holy Heavenly Father) and can thus allow the work to move forward as if it were already accomplished.

It is the same principle when every repentant person experienced the purifying effects of the Atonement many hundreds of years before our Savior's advent here in mortality. Because of the foreknowledge of God He can act in the past, present, and future because it is all before Him continuously, thereby acting in present tense at all times...for He is God and must follow His own truths.

I realize that we must strive to understand the mysteries, and I believe that The Father is working His work in these latter days, but we must be careful to not look beyond the mark.
Log said…
I find myself dissatisfied with Snuffer's take on Alma 13. "What is God's foreknowledge based upon?"

Well, I dunno - his knowledge of the future? After all, if all things are before him, both past, present, and future (D&C 130:7), and all is indeed as one day with God (Alma 40:8), then the source of all necessary knowledge on God's part has been accounted for. The game has been played, from his perspective, and he already knows the final score.

Alma 13 does not necessarily say the individuals in question were "ordained" before this life, but only necessarily says they were "called and prepared." They were called and prepared because by his foreknowledge God knew who would choose good and exercise exceeding faith.

But, in the end, the point is not to come up with a systematic theology, a summa theologica, or a creed, but to present mysteries and challenges which motivate the children of men to ask of God what these things meaneth. The way to stop men from inquiry is to make them believe they already have the answers they're seeking.

Why do you think we have nearly the same broken text of Isaiah as in the KJV, when "great are the words of Isaiah"? (No, Good Will, it's not because Joseph knew the Bible - he didn't, as the witnesses to the translation attest; Joseph, at the time, didn't even know Jerusalem had walls.)
dutson58 said…
I tend to agree with you "but" would add these thoughts and questions, tell me what I’m missing?
How did we demonstrate faith and good works in the preexistence?
By faith were the worlds created. In the preexistence “we” demonstrated that same faith!
How did we choose good over evil?
By choosing and supporting the Father and the Son and over Satan and his followers!
How did we do good works?
By preaching and teaching to Gods children the plan of salvation and the mission of Christ and His atonement, to counter the plan of Satan and contend against him.
Who are these beings?
The noble and great ones, who also as did Michael, help in the creation of the world, demonstrating faith and good works!
Were we required to have some form of priesthood to do these things in the preexistence?
Log said…
How did we demosntrate faith and good works in the preexistence?
Oh ye of little pop culture exposure:

The assumption that these events transpired during the preexistence is not necessarily supported by the text.

But what does linear time mean to God? What does causality mean to God?
Contemplator said…
I think we get too caught up in the assumption that D&C 84:22 is talking about living in mortality. Thus, we enter into all kinds of logical gymnastics to give priesthood to anyone who sees god. If we instead assume that verse 22 is talking about eternal life the problem fades.

The Savior said, "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." Of course we all die a mortal death. Thus, for Jesus' statement, in order to be correct, must be referring to eternal life. Thus, even though we go through mortal death, we come unto Christ and are made eternally alive. We will all return to God's presence. But, the wicked will have to leave again. Thus, to the extent that the ordinances of the priesthood help us to be righteous, we get to see God, and live eternally.

Just a thought.
Karl said…
Tim, I side with Log on this one. I don't think priesthood itself was part of the premortal existence (for us as spirits that is). God seems to be foreordaining us to priesthood in mortality, based on his perfect ability to predict the future, and our future exercise of exceeding faith. As for all your other questions, I think these are insoluble, since we are embedded in time & space, and obviously God is either outside this construct, or exaltation is beyond it altogether (probably). Hopefully when we all arrive there (in the Celestial Kingdom), we can compare notes. As for what we did before this life, obviously we choose God's plan, but beyond that what "faith" or "good works" are in the premortal life is probably impossible to say really. It can't be exactly what we are going through in mortality, otherwise why would we be going through the stress and trouble we are enduring here? As a missionary I taught that in premortal life we walked by sight, and in this life we walk by faith. Oh well--if you find any good resolutions to the questions you posited let me know.
Eric said…
Tim (or anyone), if the fulness of the priesthood is to be in the presence of the Father, and if everyone was premortally in the presence of the Father, does that mean that to you, everyone has the fulness of the priesthood?
Tim Malone said…
D&C 93:11-14

11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.

12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;

13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;

14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.

D&C 76:20: And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness;

John 1:16 - And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

D&C 76:94 - They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;

To what kind of "fullness" do each of these refer?
Again, it's easy to get confused as we discuss eternal principles that have not been fully revealed to us. We were unorganized intelligence's before our "Heavenly Parents" created us, in similar manner as to the mortal experience.
Obviously a Celestial Resurrected body can produce spirit matter that is coupled in the process with this previously unorganized intelligent matter, thereby creating the "Spirit Child".
One obviously has to have a beginning as such and grew in intelligence as one experienced our environment. Could we sin there, obviously we could because 1/3 of he host's of heaven followed Lucifer's plan. And in so doing they went contrary to God's will, thereby sinning.
We had to have the option of following the one or the other of our choices. What were not told is virtually anything about that existence other than what has been expounded in the scriptures. By the choices we made there we proved our worthiness to follow God's plan with our Savior being our Atoning blood for our wayward courses. I have to believe that we could have found forgiveness in the pre-existent life in similar manner as those who were forgiven sins they committed many hundreds of years before the advent of our Savior here in mortality.

So it is a clear principle that when it comes to eternal principles that time is not as we see it here. To God there can be no time, He is from Eternity to Eternity. As stated before the Fullness of the Priesthood is to have the very power of Heavenly Father, wherein all things are in subjection to one's will and power. Now we would never do anything but what the Father would have us do and that is part of the covenant relationship we have with the Father at that time.

There is so much more to this and other interesting items that relate to the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.

Brethren we need to get busy with the hastening of the work and seek understanding from our Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ.
It's difficult to follow each of these. But first we need to understand that Jesus Christ, as God's Only Begotten, had Eternal "spirit" in His veins; 23 chromosomes from His Father, an Immortal, Resurrected, Celestial Being, and 23 chromosomes from his mortal mother. That is why He could endure things that a mere mortal could never ascent to, i.e., fasting for 40 days, bleed from every pore, endure the beating of 40 stripes save 1, endure the horrendous pain of the Atonement, twice (once in Gethsemane and again on the cross) -- all without dying. The Eternal matter that flowed in His veins gave Him the ability to endure all this and more.
So He did not receive the fullness of the Father as a child, nor as a teenager, not quite as a young man, but He did receive of the Fullness on the Mount of Transfiguration, and what about Peter, James, and John who were with Him on the Mount. That is why John states they He ("we") received, and grace for grace. John 1:16.

Those who are members of the Church of the Firstborn are they whom all things are in subjection to. They have received both the calling and election and the Second Comforter. They are they whom has entered into that covenant relationship with the Father wherein all things are done according to their word. When they speak the Heavens listen. They see as they are seen (sameness), know as they are known (sameness), and through His grace from His only Begotten, we too can receive all that the Father has, Eternal Life with Him who's we are.
Eric said…
Is it possible to be in God's presence and NOT receive the fulness of the priesthood?

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?" (Job 1:6-7).
Tim Malone said…
D&C 93:29 - Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

Abraham 3:18 - [S]pirits ... have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal.

Joseph Smith - The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal [co-eternal] with God himself…. I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man…. The intelligence of spirits had not beginning, neither will it have an end…. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven. (History of the Church, 6:302-317)

The spirit of man is not a created being; it existed from eternity and will exist to eternity. Anything created cannot be eternal; and earth, water, etc.—all these had their existence in an elementary state from eternity.... The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man and organized them. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 9)
grip347 said…
I have enjoyed reading this conversation here, and I think I absorbed most of what was being said. I do have a question, ok maybe not a question but an observation.

It occurs to me that the best way to find all of the answers you are looking for is to have the doctrine of the priesthood distill upon your soul as the dews from heaven. So, while learning and discussing what the fullness might be, wouldn't it be better to just meet the conditions required for this understanding to be given? He is a much better teacher than we can be to each other. I am not saying there is no value in teaching each other, quite the opposite, but I am certain that this is only something that can be learned directly from the Lord, and it requires certain conditions to be met. There might come a point where we each have to turn to the Lord to learn so there can be experiential fruit.

Besides, isn't the goal to start receiving revelation, or so the temple seems to say? Sounds win / win to me.

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

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

(D&C 121:45-46)
Julie said…
You are absolutely right, I think. I was thinking about it earlier, when the discussion of Alma 13 began, that none of the explanations quite sit right with me, which only means that I've got to go to the source to ponder it out and understand it for myself. Thanks for the reminder. The discussions are still productive, however, because thinking critically about important topics and discussing them openly and without prejudice often opens the door for the Spirit to communicate with us.
Tim Malone said…
I agree. We need to learn these things directly form God Himself.

Here are the steps to receive of the fullness: 1) Angels minister to you and confer power, light and truth. They prepare you to 2) receive the Lord. He ministers to you and confers promises, administers covenants, takes away your awful shame, and gives you promises. He prepares you to be 3) introduced to the Father. The Father makes you a son by accepting you through His Only Begotten Son.

Along the way you will know for yourself the things which occur on the other side of the veil, where God and Christ dwell in glory. You will then learn about: angels, and then archangels, and then principalities, then powers, then dominions, then thrones, then Cherubim, and then Seraphim. Seraphim being those who dwell in everlasting burnings, the glorious ones, the ones who dwell in flames of glory.

But first you have to part the veil. God bless us each on that path.
Tim Malone said…
By the way, here's another point of view on D&C 84:21-22 about not being able to see the Father without the priesthood. The explanation offered in the apologetic article is the word "this" refers to the power of Godliness and not priesthood. Just thought I would throw that into the mix. Here are the relevant verses. In my mind they are the same, but you can decide for yourself:

[19] "And this greater [i.e., Melchizedek] priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. [20] Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. [21] And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; [22] For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live."

Eric said…
. . . and since "time only is measured unto men," there is a possibility that events can occur out of (temporal) order, according to God's will, grace, and pleasure.

"I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15).

Assuming that the angel is speaking words from God in 1 Nephi 12:10, then God in His foreknowledge knows that the Twelve Disciples "ARE [not 'shall be'] righteous forever." Sounds like "Judgment Day" occurred for them before they were even born mortally.
jmhiatt said…
Last Sunday with the priest quorum, I taught them the principle this and the last few posts have been focused re: the priesthood. Mainly, I discussed how one can have the priesthood conferred to legally perform the duties of the priesthood (authority) and then added that the power of the priesthood is based on personal righteousness that comes directly from God. I referenced Elder Packer’s conference talk. Everyone seemed to totally understand this concept – it wasn’t foreign to the priests, nor the YM leaders. I felt the Spirit present. I believe this principle needs to be directly taught within our quorums and classes within the church. It’s really not such an eye-popping, jaw-dropping concept. It's rather easy to swallow actually.

Now on to something that perhaps should not be taught directly...the discussion re: our pre-mortal life. Could it be possible that our belief (I believe it came from B.H. Roberts) that we were intelligences, then birthed into spirits is incorrect? Tim’s references seem to suggest as much.

Remember, if we use Joseph’s King Follett discourse, we see that anything that has a beginning must have an end. If we were birthed into a spirit, then it has a beginning and an end. If we receive a resurrection, then it has a beginning and an end. If we get married, it must have a beginning and an end. What are we exactly? What of us is eternal?

As for Snuffer’s First Three Words / Alma 13 concept that some of us having passed through an eternity already – I can believe it, especially if we have always existed. That’s a long time. Eternal rounds, eternal lives, exaltations to exaltations, and eternity to eternity - makes sense to me.

If anyone has ever thought about this or read anything about this, please respond to the following. Question: Can we receive our calling and election and the Second Comforter in the spirit, meaning in the spirit world after we die? Or, can it only be received in the mortal flesh? This question is significant to how we view our present probation. (Perhaps Tim could address this in a future post...)
Eric said…
Before, I used to simply think that the power of godliness = the power of God.

However, in the New Testament, "godliness" comes from the Greek eusebia (or theosebia), which may be more like reverence / respect / piety / devotion...
Darin said…
You quote Snuffer as though he was Joseph Smith or the prophet, be carefull. You can see why Snuffer got in trouble. People begin quoting him like he was in charge and was The Prophet. This is not good. You have some good ideas, but I implore you to follow the twelve and the FP, as they will lead you in the ways of salvation. Be carefull in not going beyond the bounds the Lord has set. So if all this does not happen to us in this life are we just damned? Should I live my life in depression because these things have not happened to me or even some of the most righteous people I know? I am not a new comer to all this, meaning I have studied and thought and prayed on these things for years. I am not saying you are totally wrong, but straying a little can take you far off the path. There is great wisdom in staying with the main part of the church and its apointed and known leaders. Best wishs to you.
Eric said…
If your definition of Second Comforter is seeing/meeting God, then I believe it can happen in the spirit world.

". . . the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life" (Alma 40:11).

". . . all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom" (D&C 137:10).

"The Lord takes many away even in infancy . . . they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth" (TPJS 196-7). It's hard to say if the organ-damaged newborn who mortally lives only a few hours in the NICU will see/meet God in those few hours. It might be more likely that they meet God in the spirit world, and then find that their calling and election has been made sure. And/or, they knew that they had their calling and election made sure premortally as spirits (or intelligences?), like the 12 disciples who "are righteous forever".
Karl said…
Well, if you read Charles Harrell's "This is My Doctrine," the ideas you are stating as obvious will disintegrate. In fact everything you thought was rock-solid Mormon doctrine will dissolve also. It's on sale for about $15 on Amazon, and it's the best buy for LDS theology (500 pages). Best regards.
Tim Malone said…
Darin: I liked your questions. I wrote a response in the next post:
Log said…
"The second anointing" is the apparent referent here. It is because of the existence of this ordinance that I cannot accept at face value any claims to "the more sure word of prophecy" in the modern Church; any claims to such may, and very probably does, mean that the claimant has merely undergone another temple ordinance (D&C 131:5), like Tom Phillips, notorious ex-mo who sued President Monson for fraud in the UK. Just as to be endowed with power from on high is not the same thing as having participated in an endowment ceremony (see Acts 2 for the fulfillment of the promise of Luke 24:49), so also is the more sure word of prophecy, as used by Peter (2 Peter 1:19), a different thing than merely having undergone an ordinance in the temple. It is the difference between being confirmed by the imposition of hands, and being baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

In Passing the Heavenly Gift, a rather pointed and clear account of J. Reuben Clark's experience with respect to the second anointing is given. What is missing is painfully obvious.
Eric said…
All the principles and ordinances of the gospel are in a sense but invitations to learning the gospel by the practice of its teachings” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, 215; bold added).

Much of what you say I can see and have no problem understanding. So if one is going to start throwing out endowments and ordinances of the Temple where does one stop? Shall we throw out the first endowment? Shall we throw out the "baptisms for the dead"? Shall we throw out "Celestial Marriage" and the attendant promises.
I don't have to take my education from someone in the UK who see's dollar bills as he tries to impugn a religion, one that he dearly embraced until he lost the drive to endure to the end.
The separation of what you are saying is apparent. But the validity of one does not necessitate the abolition of the other. There were those in the early church who witnessed both the Father and the Son yet had no Temple endowment what-so-ever.
Again, if the Lord has promised us that all things will be revealed in this dispensation (D&C 121), if you want to obfuscate "the second anointing" then we might as well throw out baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost -- just because it was done with mortal hands.
Again, just because the richer endowment of having the heaven's open to us wherein we witness the Father and the Son does not mean we eradicate another ordinance because it too is performed in the Temple and done by the ordination of hands. Like I said if we do where do we stop? A slippery slope for sure.
Another point is that we know that human nature is to complicate sublime and beautiful concepts, there is much mystery and denouement in this thing called mortality.
Log said…
But the validity of one does not necessitate the abolition of the other.

I am solely explaining why [in our culture, within which, analogically speaking, receiving an invitation to a party is nearly universally mistaken for having attended it] I don't take certain things at face value.

It's not really all that important.
Log -
Love you Brother....
Charles Harrell's whole theory is that in researching the many theologies of the past one can come to a determination, or share a theory of such of other peoples theory. Much of what he shares is simply a re-statement of arguments come and gone. Many a writer before "This is My Doctrine" have espoused the same nugatory. How can anyone form a firm foundation from such? I do have to say I love to read rhetoric as it causes me to challenge myself to understand just how firm are my foundations.

If one follows the promptings of the Holy Ghost, one need not be moved by every wind of doctrine that comes floating along on the wings of prepossessing for hire (financial gain).
Karl, I can love you as a brother yet nothing Charles Harrell shares in his book moves me off my foundations. What has been revealed to me was never "rock-solid Mormon doctrine", ever. I believe that the Father is working a mighty work and revealing things that have never before been understood.

With sincere faith, prayer, and pondering over long periods of time, one can come to their own determinations of what is "doctrine". I can allow my brother/sister to have his/her beliefs, but it need not knock me off my course....there has been too much shared to me for that to ever happen. I can feel quite comfortable in what has been revealed to me, yet always seeking greater knowledge and a little and there a little.

What I know, I know and that stands independent of any else's theory(s). To each have their own individual path to salvation, though it be so very narrow and strait. Read all, ponder each, study and learn, but in the end only keep that which the Holy Spirit confirms. Thanks for your share though...
Here is another blog that is seeking to share The Lord like Tim and others....and may the word of the Lord spread far and wide that we may hasten the work of the Father in these later days.


Copy and paste to your browser or just click...and enjoy more of the same.

sorry for the mistake...
jmhiatt said…
Thanks to all who answered. I really appreciated your comments and insights.

Another question:

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. – Alma 34:33

What is the “night of darkness” and when do we experience the inability to perform labors?

It seems a common thought that we never really lose our ability to progress eternally. You hear repeatedly within the church, “it will be worked out in the next life.” Even Joseph Smith said in the King Follett discourse,

“When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel: you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the vail before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world: it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.”

Are these two quotes contradictory? Any additional thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Eric said…
That does appear to be a way of synthesizing the two ideas. So the key would be that "labor" in Alma 34:33 refers to "physical labor."

Other comments here brought up some questions in my mind regarding "from eternity" and "to eternity:"

"From eternity"

Do any scriptures support or oppose the possibility of one or more PRE-mortal probations? (In addition to the "to go no more out" scriptures.)

Could it be that either we have gone through one or more "plans of salvation," or "cycles of the eternal round," before this current one, with mortal probations but no resurrection; &/or we had one or more "immortal" probationary periods when our intelligences/spirits were temporarily away from God's presence to gain experiences?

"To eternity"

Do any scriptures support or oppose the possibility of one or more POST-mortal probations?

Could there be a possibility, for example, that exalted people become an "Adam [& Eve] on earth" (Brigham Young, JD 4:271) and "produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children" (Brigham Young, JD 6:275)?

The "to go no more out" scripture would need to be interpreted (wrested?) to mean that you don't leave the Kingdom of Heaven, but since exalted persons have the Kingdom of Heaven fully realized within them, wherever they go, there is the Kingdom of Heaven.

"Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known" (D&C 130:10).

Does "made known" mean the same thing as "made able to enter into"?

If so, what does this mean about the "no progression between kingdoms" idea? Can resurrected bodies change in glory? (I'm not necessarily opposed to that, since translated bodies are said to be of the terrestrial order.)

If not, does that mean all of us have already been judged to be (at best) "celestial material," and we can't progress to a higher order of kingdoms, but can only know about them?

“. . . when we have passed into the sphere where Joseph [Smith] is, there is still another department, and then another, and another, and so on to an eternal progression in exaltation and eternal lives. That is the exaltation I am looking for. . . . The kingdoms that God has prepared are innumerable. . . . How many kingdoms of glory there are, I know not; and how many degrees of glory there are in these kingdoms, I know not; but there are multitudes of them. Paul speaks of three, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw three, and multitudes more have we seen by the Spirit of revelation, according to the capacity of our understandings” (Brigham Young, JD 3:375, 8:155, 9:107).

“Paul saw the third heavens, and I more” (TPJS 301). (Although I suppose this could mean that he also saw, say, the 2nd heaven.)

“Every man will be rewarded according to the deeds done in the body. Those who have received pure and heavenly principles, and lived up to them, and kept the celestial law of God, will enjoy a celestial kingdom. . . I believe, furthermore, that there are eternal grades of progression, which will continue worlds without end, and to an infinity of enjoyment, expansion, glory, progression, and of everything calculated to ennoble and exalt mankind” (John Taylor, JD 1:159).

But anyway, does anyone know any scripture regarding these ideas (for or against)?
Nathan Shackelford said…
@ Log -- speaking of this topic (ie. Alma 12 & resurrection) ... this seems to be an article right up your alley (maybe), as I was completely lost :) Of course, many (not all) of the articles I have read from ldsanarchy site have been so mind blowingly incredible for me ... they just stretch and rip me! Maybe it was just more the analysis and detail that brought you to mind :)
Log said…
I reject all commentary.

It is through commentary that the philosophies of men are mingled with scripture.

If you understand 1 Corinthians 2, quoted above, the meaning of speculation in matters religious is apparent.
Nathan Shackelford said…
Razor sharp ... as always!

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