Defining Power in the Priesthood

ReliefSocietyOrganizatonMy last post on Defining the Heavenly Gift went OK – not great – but OK, so I’d like to continue with the next phrase, only this time limit it to one. I think I tried to come to an understanding of too many key phrases in the previous post. I asked the Lord what the next phrase should be. He was very immediate, direct and emphatic. There was no hesitation He wanted me to understand this.

Even Apostles Interchange Power and Authority

I just re-read Elder Andersen’s wonderful October 2013 General Conference talk entitled, “Power in the Priesthood.” In fact, I watched or rather listened to the video as I read along. In his concluding testimony, he said, “The power of God’s holy priesthood is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Did he really mean power, or did he intend to say authority?

Church as an Institution or a Group of Saints

I guess it all depends on how you define “Church,” but I’m not going to make the same mistake I made on my post in which we discussed “The Heavenly Gift.” We’ll leave a discussion of that subject for some other time. Elder Andersen taught in that talk that power in the priesthood is not owned by the men of the Church, but that it belongs to God for the blessing of all His children.

Man Does Not Control Power of God

I love this example he used to explain the difference between authority and power: “A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings.” So, a man may be ordained, or have the authority of priesthood conferred upon him, but having power in the priesthood is a whole different story. Good so far?

Authority of the Church is Everywhere

In case there is still any question about the difference between the two, we can refer to President Packer’s General Conference talk on the subject of the Power of the Priesthood from April 2010: “We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide.”

Power is Not the Same as Authority

He continued with this contrasting statement, “But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.” I hope this distinction of the two is not new to anybody.

Keys and Authority Can be Delegated

I refer now to the April 2014 General Conference address from Elder Oaks entitled “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood.” I hope this talk is chosen by our stake leaders as one to study in our quorums and relief societies over the next six months. It’s interesting this talk was given in a priesthood session in which some women asked to be admitted to attend so they could be taught.

Women Have Power in the Priesthood

Elder Oaks quoted Elder Ballard thus, “When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which is priesthood power. … Access to the power and the blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God’s children.” Clearly, endowed women can receive priesthood power from God. Plainly, they must also have authority in the priesthood.

Women Have Authority of the Priesthood

In fact, Elder Oaks confirmed that with these words: “We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be?” Sheri Dew wrote a marvelous book in 2013 entitled, “Women and the Priesthood,” which is sitting on my shelf of books to be read. Women preside with authority in this Church.

How to Retain Power in the Priesthood

I referred to it in passing at the conclusion of my post on “Defining the Heavenly Gift,” but I’d like to consider four key words found in section 121 that we all need to understand a little better. This especially applies to priesthood leaders as they use priesthood power to act in their offices in the Church. These four words are 1) Control, 2) Compulsion, 3) Dominion and 4) Amen.

Priesthood Leaders Can Lose Authority

I have friends who have been disciplined for their blogs. If priesthood leaders try to control what members of their wards or stakes do with their blogs, or compel them to change what they write or the way they write, or use their dominion over their own members to enforce their own ideas of what is appropriate to read or write, then Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

Excommunication Does Not Remove Priesthood

Wow. So even if an LDS blogger is excommunicated for what he or she writes in their blog, as long as they are worthy, have not lied or cheated, committed adultery or broken their covenants with the Lord, then the priesthood being forfeited is not that of the excommunicant but of those who participated in the disciplinary council. Priesthood can only be removed by God, not man.

Exercising Priesthood Power in the Home

Power in the Priesthood does not require membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a profound concept we need to understand. A man can be excommunicated and asked to not exercise his priesthood in the church, but the church has no power or authority over what a man does in his own home, including administering the sacrament to his family.

Administering the Sacrament in the Home

Yes, I know what the handbook says about the Bishop holding the keys over the Sacrament. But if the Church has cast the man out, and he retains his priesthood because he is worthy, since we know priesthood power comes from God and not man, then he is justified in keeping the Lord’s commandment to administer the sacrament to his family, in spite of the excommunication status.

The Fullness of the Priesthood

Power in the Priesthood is not and cannot be passed from man to man. Authority to act in the church is what is being delegated when we confer priesthood or ordain a man in the priesthood. The fullness of the priesthood means to have power in the priesthood from God himself. It is only received from God. The heavenly gift of priesthood power is controlled only by God.

The True Order of Prayer

A man is authorized to lead his family in prayer in whatever way he feels the Lord approves, or in whatever way he feels directed by the Lord. If he has been taught or endowed in the temple, he understands and can practice the true order of prayer to converse with the Lord through the veil. I don’t know how much clearer it can be, even if these things are not taught openly in church.

Your Comments are Welcome

I know. I did not stick to what I wrote at the beginning of this post. I said I would only write about one thing. Well, I tried, but this is what the Lord wanted me to write so there you go. I thank you for reading through my thought process on this subject. You are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas if you care to point out where I may have gone astray in my logic. God Bless.

Comments

Daryl Brown said…
God bless you Tim Malone for writing the words of truth. Amen to everything you have written.
Jared said…
I do not believe that those with "church" priesthood authority have the right to control the power of the priesthood or how the priesthood is operated. God's priesthood belongs solely to Jesus Christ. He directs its use through the instrumentality of the Holy Ghost. When church leaders attempt to control the priesthood, beyond what takes place in church settings, they loose their priesthood.

Nowhere in scripture does it say that priesthood keys are required to bless the sacrament. In fact, it doesn't even say that conferred priesthood office is necessary to bless the sacrament except for within church settings.

As I’ve written before, within the home, the father and mother preside. Period. The church has no authority within the family or the home. Period. Parents may perform rites and ordinances within the home as directed by Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost. When the church seeks to control and dominate families, they loose their priesthood power.

The current trend of doctrine with all this emphasis and hype surrounding priesthood keys undermines faith in Jesus Christ (because faith is now focused on the church) and it undermines patriarchal leadership within the home (because church leaders dominate parents and children, and forbid the free exercise of priesthood within the home, taking precedence over the Lord to direct priesthood use).

Church leaders know nothing about the True Order of Prayer, how to converse through the veil, or the true doctrine of the priesthood. As evidence, they never teach it or encourage it, they seldom demonstrate efficacy in priesthood power, they forbid most applications of priesthood power, and they are in constant violation of priesthood doctrine.

My advice for anyone desiring to gain this power for themselves is to completely disregard everything taught in church by the church; search the scriptures for your instructions and understanding; follow the Spirit, especially when the Spirit contradicts church practice—this is a test. Obedience to God, not man, is essential.

Just be sure you are following the true Spirit of the Lord. You will know when you have a true connection with Christ. How? You just will.
Good Will said…
Bam! Amen!
Good Will said…
This topic arrives at the "heart" of the matter. Tim, you are going to get excommunicated over this paragraph:

"Wow. So even if an LDS blogger is excommunicated for what he or she writes in their blog, as long as they are worthy, have not lied or cheated, committed adultery or broken their covenants with the Lord, then the priesthood being forfeited is not that of the excommunicant but of those who participated in the disciplinary council. Priesthood can only be removed by God, not man."

Does it matter that you will get excommunicated? No. Because everything Jared has written above is true. And he is RIGHT! Especially this paragraph:

"My advice for anyone desiring to gain this power for themselves is to completely disregard everything taught in church by the church; search the scriptures for your instructions and understanding; follow the Spirit, especially when the Spirit contradicts church practice—this is a test. Obedience to God, not man, is essential."

And this:

"Just be sure you are following the true Spirit of the Lord. You will know when you have a true connection with Christ. How? You just will."

Because CHRIST IS THE HEAVENLY GIFT!

"For God so loved the world that He GAVE His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish but have everlasting life."

I KNOW I am doing the right thing because I am coming unto Christ.

The Church is a false god, an idol, a graven image, a man-made organization, run by men. Those in the Church who serve righteously do so by heavenly principles: of persuasion, long suffering, gentleness and meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge. They have NO POWER OR INFLUENCE to exercise CONTROL, DOMINION or COMPULSION upon the souls of men, in violation of any of the above principles. WHEN THEY ATTEMPT TO DO SO, THEY LOSE WHATEVER "AUTHORITY" THEY SUPPOSE THEY HAVE!

They also lose true priesthood power -- the kind that shakes the earth, casts out devils, and raises the dead.

The LDS Church has perverted "priesthood authority" to replace "faith in Christ" as the activating force by which miracles are done. THIS IS FALSE DOCTRINE. It is the greatest lie undermining the apostate church today and the one which inevitably destroys everyone's faith.

As Jared wrote:

"The current trend of doctrine with all this emphasis and hype surrounding priesthood keys undermines faith in Jesus Christ (because faith is now focused on the church) and it undermines patriarchal leadership within the home (because church leaders dominate parents and children, and forbid the free exercise of priesthood within the home, taking precedence over the Lord to direct priesthood use)."

Thank you, Jared. I'm just underlying, circling, high-lighting and adding exclamation points to what you wrote, dancing around while waving my arms!

Thanking you for joining the party. It's going to be a feast with friends, after all.

--Will
Tim Oaks said…
Tim,
I lady once explained to me the difference between authority and power in the PH. She said that authority simply meant one was authorized to perform ordinances in the church. Power comes as a person consistently lives in a Christ like manner, serving others and treating as we would want to be treated. This gives one influence with others, influence for good. When we have influence with others we are able to persuade them to do good and live in a Christ like manner also. This power of persuasion is all the power the PH has. (per D&C 121) She also pointed out that this power was available to anyone anywhere if they are willing to pay the price of following Christ. She explained it better than that but that is the best I can do. I think she was exactly right.
Tim Oaks
Tim Malone said…
Thank Denver for teaching this on his blog Sunday. I only wrote what the Lord told me to write after I prayed about it and asked for power to write it. You know what the Lord said as I prayed? I'll tell you. He said, "Tim, you know what to say already. It's in your heart. You don't need to ask for special power. Now just go and write it." And he was right. I could have been more direct and forceful, but I do not want to offend. I am trying to write in such a way that can be taught in a High Priest group meeting, an Elder's quorum or a Relief Society meeting. What better way than to use the teachings of apostles and prophets?

http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2014/05/excommunication-does-not-remove.html
Tim Malone said…
Thanks, Tim. I appreciate the example you shared. I feel like I've known this all my life but have never fully understood it until I put it down in writing. It seems I have to prepare a lesson or a talk in order to understand a doctrine correctly. I know not everyone agrees with this interpretation, especially the part about who loses power when an individual who has not sinned is excommunicated without just cause.
Rick said…
I don't know Tim. Are these your words, the Lord's words, or someone else's words?

Basically you have said that those leaders who presided over the excommunications have lost their priesthood, not those who were excommunicated. I suppose since some have appealed, and the appeals were denied, you might even say the First Presidency have lost their priesthood. And then those associated with the SCMC, one or several apostles.

I think some are practicing taking the sacrament at home, even using wine.

It appears to me that several (many maybe?) are going to jump on the excommunication bandwagon. Or resigning, or just not attending.

It's looking like you are too. Not because of what you believe, but by going public with it.

This looks to be the fruits of following (or whatever you may want to call it) Denver.

I have no ill will, I like you Tim. Just my observations.
Bryan said…
I taught a primary lesson about the priesthood yesterday. I didn't agree with the definition of priesthood which the manual states as "the authority and power of God, which he gives to men so that they can act for him." I thought the power of God was just the power of God. So, I thought of it as the endowment of God's power, which is ultimately in His control (as D&C 50:26-27 states). Thinking of it that way seemed more clear. D&C 68:1-4 ties in the priesthood with the Gospel. This is because, as Paul states, the Gospel is "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16). The priesthood is preaching/administering the Gospel by the power of the Holy Ghost. So, to me, "power in the priesthood" seems to be kind of an odd phrase.
johnD said…
Tim,
Priesthood authority vs. power is a no brainer and has been, to me at least, for many years.
But I guess I hadn’t thought through the effect of the abuse of that power as described in section 121. I’m still pondering.
However notice D&C 121:37 says, amen to the authority, not just power, and even amen to the priesthood itself? So if you take that literally, it technically goes beyond what you’re saying here in this post, although it may in practicality mean the same.
If a worthy member of the LDS church is calling its leadership a pack of liars and deceivers, and truly believes that, then what’s the point of belonging? And what difference does it make in regard to their salvation if excommunicated?
That’s the road this is going down!
Because if a worthy, humble follower of Christ, and member of the LDS church has been excommunicated for teaching a true doctrine, and we can take the above as literal, then whatever priesthood authority, even the priesthood itself, has been taken from that bishop or stake president, all the way up the president of the church, if that member appealed to the first presidency?
Do you believe that is the case? Is that where you think we are?
Lizzie Nelson said…
If a man loses his priesthood power because of the law in D & C 121, does it come back when he uses his authority correctly? Does it come and go like the spirit? Or does he have to repent of his specific actions before it comes back?

Because, actually how long has the power been muffled and at the very top?

How ever in the world did we all become so converted to this faith--and including some very intelligent people--if there is no power in the church.

But there must be some power, because there are some amazing things that happen out there. Some small miracles anyway.
Tim Malone said…
Thanks Bryan. It's not an odd phrase if you think of the veil ceremony.
Jim said…
Tim,
I know you are certain that you are correct on the things Denver is teaching. I actually went out and purchased all of his talks on Cd's and several of his books. I have also talked to several people who know him. I will stipulate at the beginning we are members of the Aaronic Church since the higher laws have been removed. And that the brethren have made mistakes, including Joseph Smith.

I think Joseph violated sec 121 when he went and had the Navhoo expositor trashed. Did that mean he was fallen, NO. It just meant he was a man, we are all men and we all make mistakes period. I will follow the brethren and recognize that they are not perfect but this is the vineyard we all have been called to labor in. God has given all of us the ability to discern between the acts of men and those things which are Prophetic.

I can't as yet lay anything evil at the feet of Denver nor do I desire to do so. But I do know I have found some erring if not false doctrine in several of the things he has taught. Does that make him evil no, but we all must recognize we live in an imperfect world. As to the Power and Authority of the priesthood, I have always associated it in my mind with the access authority you find using wireless technology.

In this realm we are Telestial beings and as such are required to have the Holy Ghost to sanction our every move ( i call it priesthood with training wheels) where he is the one in fact directing the Holy Spirit to perform a certain action. When I pronounce a blessing it is not by anything that I can do that will help that person. It is the Holy Ghost who blesses the individual even if I am imperfect in the use of the my Priesthood and the verbiage I use.

This explains how miracles have been wrought by even the most unlikely priesthood holders. Can we increase our access, yes but not by anything we can do it must come from Christ who is (pardon the pun) the Spiritual web master. We must become sanctified through the atonement and become Terrestial beings.

Much Like Nephi the son of Helaman who had been using his priesthood and then was upgraded by the Lord. He had proven himself worthy as one who would never ask anything contrary to the will of the Son. This was the same type of priesthood authorized by the Lord to Balaam. But as we read he still was human and made wrong choices. Hence the angel was ready to lop his head off at the first sign of sinning.

But back to my initial point, I have watched this discussion over several months and see a trend that left to fester will destroy many lives and tender hearts as Jacob puts it. We all need to agree that we are human and mistakes will and have been made. And as Nephi so eloquently states we teach of Christ, we believe in Christ but still obey the Law of Moses because we have been commanded to (bad paraphrase).

It is not our place to straighten the ark, God will do that himself. It is our responsibility to live our lives as Christ has taught us and to develop charity. Only that love will enable us to be sanctified and to reach the real state of Zion.
Tim Malone said…
Hi John D. I would never call the leadership of this church, local or General, a pack of liars. That would be breaking a covenant for me. And yes, authority vs. power may be a no-brainer to you and me, but trust me, there are so few who have thought about it.

Based on my own personal anecdotal observation from over fifty years of attending LDS Church primary, mutual, seminary, institute, Gospel Doctrine classes, BYU Idaho religion classes, Mission instruction from General authorities, instruction from visiting General Authorities at Stake Conference, attendance in Elder's Quorums, High Priest Groups, Bishopric Meetings, High Council Meetings and individual conversation with members in their homes, less than 5% of church members have thought about how to interpret D&C 121:36-37 even though it has been taught over and over and over again so many times over the years.

Do I think the LDS Church has lost the power of the priesthood, or what I call the fullness of the priesthood (D&C 124:28)? That is a question I have promised my local leaders I would only discuss with them. You'll have to come to your own conclusions. You ask what's the point of belonging to a church if you believe it has lost the fullness of the priesthood. I'll tell you what you get for staying faithful: you get to associate with wonderful people each week and often during the week. You get to serve others by performing the responsibilities of callings you have agreed to fulfill. You get to praise the Lord in song and prayer and be taught the gospel by good, faithful believers in Jesus Christ.

I will respond to your question about what difference it makes to the exaltation of an individual who has been excommunicated when he was not guilty of offending the Lord. It makes no difference at all. If a man knows from the Lord that he has been accepted of Him for his obedience and sacrifice then that man has the Holy Spirit of Promise to ratify his ordinances, received in good faith in the temple of the Lord. He also has the more sure word of prophecy because he knows he has done what the Lord asked him to do, in spite of excommunication.

A man does not lose his priesthood power when excommunicated, only priesthood authority. He may be restricted from using it in church, but if and when he is baptized again, he is not re-ordained to the priesthood, or at least that's the way is was in the early days of the church. He may still hold priesthood power from God but he must comply with church requirements for membership.

Clarification: The excommunicated individual may still hold priesthood in the eyes of the Lord, but not the church. Upon being baptized again, those who were not endowed are ordained to the priesthood. For those who were endowed before being excommunicated, there is a readmission process in order to receive a restoration of blessings - temple and priesthood. It comes through the office of the First Presidency and may take years to receive.

Further clarification: Although there is a readmission process, and an ordinance performed to restore the priesthood and blessing, the individual is "NOT ORDAINED TO PRIESTHOOD OFFICES or endowed again, since all priesthood and temple blessings held at the time of excommunication are restored through the ordinance." (No, I did not run down to the stake offices and look that up in handbook one, but it's there on page 122).

Thanks for the probing questions John. Much appreciated. God bless.
Tim Malone said…
Lizzie, those are great questions I have not asked the Lord. Perhaps someone else who has asked the Lord can answer for us. And you are correct there are some amazing things happening in this church. I am a witness to that. I have seen the gifts of the spirit manifest in so many ways on so many days, and almost every Sunday, especially when good people seek and pray for inspiration to speak or teach or sing by the power of the spirit of the Holy Ghost.

Yes, there is both power and authority in this church, but what is the fullness of the priesthood, is it still in this church, does it include sealing power and can it be passed from one man to another? The scriptures teach us the fullness of the priesthood can only be received directly from God, not by the laying on of hands. We receive authority in the priesthood to teach, baptize, ordain, minister and administer, as well as participate in the exercise of many gifts of the spirit such as prophecy, revelation, the ministering of angels, tongues, administering to the sick and many more. Praise be to God for the Gifts of the Spirit we possess.
Tim Malone said…
Response to Jim: I hope you don't mind but I added a few paragraph breaks to your comment for ease of readability. All I can say is Amen. I do not disagree with you. We all make mistakes. We all have need to repent, including priesthood leaders low and high in this church.

I agree with your statement that Joseph violated the spirit of section 121 by his actions in ordering the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor. I am fairly certain he was frustrated and tired of waiting for the temple to be built. He knew it wouldn't be finished before his death.

I am grateful he revealed what he was able to reveal outside the temple. D&C 124:28 makes it clear the fullness of the priesthood was lost. I am grateful to have been taught how to receive it when I was endowed in the temple. I love the temple and want to be there.

I have no desire to lay anything evil at the feet of anyone in or out of this church, be it Denver Snuffer, President Monson or any one of the Twelve. I do not, cannot and will not judge them. I love them and will always sustain them with my faith and prayers and as long as I am a member of this church I will sustain them with my money.

I also have no desire to steady the ark. I only want to be honest as I answer the temple recommend questions. That is what started this whole thing for me. I do agree with, affiliate with and sympathize with some of those who have been cast out of this church for apostasy.

I want to do all within my power to leave the ninety and nine so I can minister to the one who is lost. If I can but help to bring but one soul to Christ, I will feel that my determination to continue this blog is worth the price. It is something I have asked of the Lord and He has given me this blessing. God bless us all to be loving and kind to one another.

Note: Just to be clear, when I wrote "leave the ninety and nine" I did NOT mean that I want to get myself kicked out of this church. I am enjoying my church membership very much, thank you. I simply meant that there is something in my personality - someone recently helped my identify a high level of empathic character traits - that wants to search out and help the underdog, the misfit, the one who feels he or she does not belong or fit the mold of the standard LDS member.

Now I know that's going to be questioned as well, so let me explain: Anybody with eyes to see knows that the "ideal" Mormon being sought after by the church is a young, healthy family of well-educated parents (BYU preferred), happy, healthy and well-adjusted children and no problems, either financial, marital, or with addictions to any substance including food. It's tough to be single in this church and it's tough when family members don't "measure up" to the standards.
johnD said…
Tim,
First, thanks for responding to my comment and I agree with your response to me and Liz.
I knew where you were trying to go with this in your prior post, but wanted to see how things played out.
BUT, you see where this can lead people who are new to this line of thought!
D&C 121:37 doesn’t say anything about fullness of the priesthood or power! It says amen to the authority and priesthood for abusing it!
I think the answer lays somewhere in the definition of the words we’re using, Lizzies question about how fast the abuser can repent and, because of a calling or position in the church the offender holds, with the overarching priority being His children's salvation?
Contemplator said…
Tim,

Your discussion of priesthood authority and power is wonderful. I think you have given very good information and insight from the scriptures and talks by recent apostles. Later in the post, though, you may not be on the same solid ground. I don't know the answers, but I am not convinced that you have it reasoned out correctly. If your current presentation is correct, as has been pointed out by others, then the church likely has no priesthood (authority or power). This is not my experience, however. I see many church members coming to Christ, being baptized with fire, and even having their calling and election made sure. Thus, there seems to be at least some residual power in the church priesthood. Are there problems? Sure. But is there still power, and by inference, authority? I think so.

Lest you get too far down a path with possibly incorrect information. Here is an excerpt from Handbook 1 about restoration of priesthood blessings after being excommunicated. Notice that there is a new ordination for some men and there is an ordinance of restoration of blessings for the rest. In either case, it seems that priesthood blessings that are available through the church are revoked when a person is excommunicated. Personal righteousness may not be taken by the church. Similarly, a relationship with Christ cannot be taken away by the church. But, priesthood given through the church can, apparently, be taken by the church. Here are the comments from the handbook:

Brethren Who Previously Held the Priesthood but Were Not Endowed. Immediately after baptism and confirmation, these brethren have the priesthood conferred upon them and are ordained to the priesthood office they held at the time of excommunication. In this circumstance, a sustaining vote of members is not required. The bishop records the ordination information in the spaces provided on the Baptism and Confirmation Record so it can be properly recorded at Church headquarters. See also 6.13.3.

Brethren Who Previously Held the Priesthood and Were Endowed. After baptism and confirmation, these brethren are not ordained to any priesthood office and may not perform ordinances until their priesthood and temple blessings are restored (see 6.15).

Note that 6.15 describes the process for authorizing and performing the ordinance for restoration of blessings.

I hope this is helpful. I appreciate the conversations you spark.
Rick said…
I think Lizzie deserves a "nice" icon. Tim???
Astonished said…
For your consideration:

I know this seems to be settled. But why such an emphasis on a distinction between power and authority...the scriptures generally speak of Priesthood. It seems to me to be a "distinction without a difference."

Men like to distinguish between the two so even though they are unable to bear the fruits of the Priesthood in their lives (the power) they can still claim to have the Authority in order to tell you how God wants you to live your life.

Denver addressed this issue as it applied to the Catholic Church in PTHG, it is referred to as the Donatist Heresy. It appears that the LDS church has taken the same road as the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church claims to hold priesthood power and authority. We say "No". They ceased the ability to pass the priesthood authority. Why? We don't seemed to be worried about losing such an ability -- even if wickedness prevails -- after all, according to the church today, a wicked man's priesthood authority is just as valid as a righteous man -- lest how many would have to be re-baptized, re-annointed, re-endowed, re-sealed...?

Elder, Priest, Teacher and Deacon are offices in the church and not "Priesthood Offices". They were given duties at the organization but not power/authority. If we continue to read these offices as holding authority but maybe or maybe not power -- we will continue to bang our heads against a wall of understanding.

The temporal organization of the church is designed to impart knowledge that will allow individuals to exercise their agency and come unto Christ. Entering into a relationship with those on the other side of the veil, ultimately with Christ and the Father, and being given a commission to minister is to become part of the "True Priesthood". (Priest or Priestess). (see Alma 13 and 3 Nephi)

I believe the best example of the fullness of the gospel and priesthood is exemplified in the interaction of Christ with the Nephites in the Book of Mormon during his visit with them in Bountiful.

In the days of Joseph, we had a true High Priest at the head of the church -- a High Priest who had received his commission from Christ. We do not have a true High Priest at this time. Just another well intentioned individual. However, this individual and those who adore him have convinced themselves that they have Authority even when the Power is not present -- they believe power and authority are passed simply from man to man by ordination. They claim this right by virtue of their "historical" connection to Joseph through Brigham Young.

The good news is that the knowledge Joseph imparted is still available to mankind and anyone should be able to pick up what Joseph taught and apply it to their own lives and achieve the same results Joseph did. That is, if one can wake up from the deep sleep that currently plagues the minds of the members of the church and see and understand as Joseph saw and understood.

Astonished
David said…
I'm not persuaded that their is a general misunderstanding of priesthood authority v. priesthood power. I think this has been taught and taught well for decades. That may be the very point the Oliver Cowdery was making in his charge to the original twelve. (Which LeGrand Richards, in the early 70's, said still applies today)

I assume that your comment about blogs not being able to be grounds for church discipline would not extend to say, The Nauvoo Expositor. What one writes can, does, and should effect membership (The Tanners most likely believed they were following the will of the Lord)

As others have pointed out, Section 121:39 was not referring to Teamster bosses, but to Priesthood holders and "almost all" means just what it says. You, me, and likely every priesthood leader we have ever had at one time or another. Learning to rise above that is one of our quests of mortality. To protect against that is one of the purposes of councils and not individual action.
David said…
Verse 39 says it is the disposition of "almost all men" J Bonner Ritchie has pointed out that the Lord was not speaking of Teamster bosses but of priesthood leaders when he made that statement. Most likely any and every priesthood holder you or I have ever encountered has at some point taken an action that would fall within the scope of those verses. Hopefully many have learned to rise above that and by applying verses and tend more towards 121:41-45
Tim Malone said…
Yes, she does. Anyone can make a Gravatar icon at https://en.gravatar.com/ Otherwise, WordPress generates a random icon based on your email address. I just turned it on a few days ago because I was tired of seeing the same avatar on comments from different individuals.
drheath1 said…
Tim,

Do you really think that the Spirit we are experiencing in our Church is any less than that being experienced in churches around the world that aren't LDS? The LORD has promised that when any two or more individuals gather in his name...His spirit will be there. We should be seeing that simply because of our Faith in Christ. But we are talking about something greater here, something that was lost, something that other churches don't have. Aren't we? Isn't that the point? What was Joseph endeavoring to restore that other people were not enjoying? What is this thing?

I am a life long member (40 years old). All my family members are active. I must be intimately acquainted with hundreds of worthy solid high priests. They are all good and seemingly worthy men, husbands and fathers. NONE OF THEM consider the study of the gospel worth becoming an endeavor worth dedicating their life too. NONE OF THEM claim visions, revelations, the visitations of angels, Christ or God. THEY ALL CLAIM to somehow be special in the eyes of God because of their Priesthood. Yes, there is the occasional blessing where someone gets better -- there is the 'good feeling' that comes with living the gospel. But these sorts of things are regularly experienced by my born again friends too! NONE OF THEM EVIDENCE THE CLAIMS OF SCRIPTURE IN THEIR LIVES.

The Book of Mormon acquaints fulness with things such as: Glory of God, Fire from Heaven, Angels, Presence of Christ, Tongue of Angels, Visions, Things that cannot be written or shared -- these are what I am searching after. A connection with heaven. I can get a "burning in the bosom" at the Grace Bible Church down the street. I cannot get an audience with the Church of the Firstborn! These things seem all but abandoned by the Corporate Church. If you claim to have such things -- out the door you go. Why don't we just accept the fact that as a church -- we simply don't have it anymore. Have what? IT. Whatever Joseph had, whatever you want to call it -- the fulness of the Priesthood, the fulness of the Gospel, the everlasting covenant.

If even 1/3 of 15 million members have not only the Gift of the Holy Ghost, but the Priesthood as well....why are we as dull and boring as the rest of the world. Where is the shining city on a hill, where is Zion -- why is the world not running to us for solutions to problems -- Is the world so blind that they just can't see the glory of God shining out of us like a beacon in the dark? The Truth? I don't see it either....

I admire the direction you are going. Keep asking questions, I believe this is a key to opening the windows of revelation.

Astonished.
Tim Malone said…
Reply to JohnD: I have always been cognizant and concerned that we are all on different levels of understanding of the gospel. I know the Brethren also have this concern. It must be tough on them to prepare and deliver public discourses that teach truth so it can be understood by brand new members as well as provide nourishment for those who are more "seasoned" in the faith.

You are correct about D&C 121:37. I agree that defining words and phrases we use is important to come to an understanding of the true interpretation of the scriptures. It is also a difficult subject to discuss publically because most do not have access to Handbook One. For example, "Contemplator" below has added to my knowledge about how we deal with the return of those who come back to the church after having been disciplined through excommunication.

I have been counseled repeatedly by well-meaning individuals who are expressing concern to me in private emails about what I am doing on my blog. I have been told I have broken covenants, revealed secrets and in general, have caused misunderstandings and contention by the posts I write and the questions I raise. I have repeatedly expressed gratitude to those who correct me. For some reason, I am not a very good auditory learner. I am a kinesthetic learner. I seem to have to type things out, summarize in my own words what I am studying.

I express that gratitude again to you and to Lizzie for your comments. They have helped me see how easy it is to be misunderstood, even when I think I am being clear. I admit to making mistakes. I admit to making errors in understanding and interpretation of scripture. It's when I receive correction, such as what "Contemplator" has expressed below that I return to the Lord in prayer and ask for greater knowledge. In this case I have apparently conflated authority and priesthood with power in the priesthood, even when I tried so hard to keep them separate. And, as you pointed out, the verse says nothing about fullness of the priesthood.

Thank you for your contribution to my gospel study. I appreciate it.
"Or does he have to repent of his specific actions before it comes back?"

I believe repentance is required. Here's why:


* "The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven" (D&C 121:36)

* "The powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness" (id)

* When we lose priesthood authority the Spirit of the Lord is grieved and withdraws (v. 37)

* Therefore, to become in tune again with the Spirit of the Lord we would necessarily need to repent of what we had done to offend the Lord's Spirit

* Since "God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34) the same conditions must apply to everyone (from the newest Deacon to the presiding High Priest)


In his October 2010 general conference address, Two Lines of Communication, Elder Oaks said:

History provides us a vivid example of the importance of the Lord’s servants being in tune with the Spirit. The young Prophet Joseph Smith could not translate when he was angry or upset.

David Whitmer recalled: “One morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went up stairs, and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation, but he could not do anything. He could not translate a single syllable. He went down stairs, out into the orchard and made supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour—came back to the house, asked Emma’s forgiveness and then came up stairs where we were and the translation went on all right. He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful.”

Joseph muffed things up with Emma but he sought for and obtained forgiveness from her and from heaven. I've muffed plenty up in my own life, so rather than be critical of him (or anyone) I'm grateful for the practical example of how to make things right after a mistake.

Thankfully the Lord is merciful, patient and ever ready to forgive any and all of us who repent with sincerity of heart (see Mosiah 26:29-32).
Astonished said…
There you go thinking again! These questions are not to be thought about -- the thinking has been done! Just answer already, there are 8 more people waiting in the foyer!! :)
Michael A. Cleverly said…
When I renewed my recommend recently I told the counselor interviewing me "oh, just the same ones you do: Republicans, Democrats, the Boy Scouts of America, my non-member neighbors, etc."
Tim Malone said…
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

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

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

44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

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.
Tim Malone said…
Contemplator. I stand corrected. I should have known this. I have read this before but it has been a couple of years since I served in a Bishopric where we reviewed the manual regularly.

Priesthood authority given by the church can be taken by the church. That stands to reason and agrees with the handbook quote you so graciously provided. This was extremely helpful to the discussion.

And, as you noted, personal righteousness cannot be removed, nor can a relationship with the Savior. Great points. Also, my experience has been similar to yours in how I see church members grow spiritually.

I also see many church members coming to Christ, have read many shared testimonies of being baptized with fire and yes, I am aware of several who have claimed to have received the Second Comforter.

God bless and thanks for the correction. It shows where our focus should be: personal righteousness and building a relationship with our Savior and our Heavenly Father (and not worry about how the church is managed). :-)

But just because I'm a stickler for detail, I emailed a friend who knows more about these things than I do. He suggested I read a little further on page 122 under Restoration of Blessings, where we can read the following:

"Endowed persons who were excommunicated and later readmitted by baptism and confirmation can receive their priesthood and temple blessings only through the ordinance of restoration of blessings.

SUCH PERSONS ARE NOT ORDAINED TO PRIESTHOOD OFFICES or endowed again, since all priesthood and temple blessings held at the time of excommunication are restored through the ordinance."
johnD said…
Reply to Tim,
Tim,
Just for the record, much of what I say here is me thinking out loud in response to you expressing your thoughts and or beliefs. As often as not, my questions to you are also to me. It’s healthy!!!! We need more of it! It keeps us out of ruts, lazy thinking and believing!
That to me is what’s wonderful about this “church”! How realistic is it to suppose we could enjoy this kind of online community with without it? Not likely, there are thousands of pages of unwritten understanding that we have already established without communication here because of our shared back ground in this church.
It’s also why I, like you, enjoy my membership, in spite of the issues we discuss here.
And maybe, those who are in the highest leadership positions of our church will get out of their lazy ruts and thinking and begin to openly address the desires of our hearts in seeking further light and knowledge?
But if not, it’s ok, after all, what we seek requires no mortal, it’s between us and our Savior. And that, is the good news of the gospel!
johnD said…
Reply to drheath1
Your comment is exactly why we are here at this site communicating!
Many, if not most here feel the same way and see the same things.
I have come to the conclusion that the best approach to the problem, crisis? Is by testifying, teaching preaching, loving, and guiding those in my sphere of influence by direction of the spirit to those who may be receptive. Hopefully those 5 or 10 people in each ward becomes 10 or 20 and from there all things are possible.
Kathryn said…
Opps...Now you know my personal e-mail address. Oh well. One of these days I get this logging in thing down... For a the time being, be patient with me.
Tim Malone said…
I will remove it. Never seen someone's address show up directly in the comments before. Sorry.
Tim Malone said…
JohnD: I had to laugh at your comment but I'm going to have to disagree. You'll never read anything negative from me about the Brethren who now sit in the red chairs. My sister is Elder Perry's secretary and has shared with me, on occasion and discreetly, just how hard these Brethren work. Some of them are octogenarians or older.

On one of the mission tours he was conducting a couple of years ago, Elder Perry visited fifteen missions in twelve days. Besides speaking to all the missionaries, he met with individuals who had to meet with a General Authority for one reason or another and conducted mission president interviews along the way - usually in the car.

She said she would schedule 15-minute "power naps" each day to help him stay awake for his evening meetings. Elder Perry is an amazing powerhouse and bundle of happy, positive energy. He is a man filled with light. I can attest to that. My sister loves him and loves working for him. The man is 91 years old, the oldest of the fifteen.

Carol and I met Elder Scott in the Salt Lake airport one afternoon a few years back. He was on his way to his car after a long flight. He looked so tired we simply smiled and waved at him. He seemed appreciative we did not try to delay him. I know these men - those who are well enough - do a whole lot of travelling. That's part of the calling.

"The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling." (D&C 107:23) I used to travel regularly earlier in my career. I didn't enjoy it. I'm grateful these men are willing to go to the people when they can. God bless them.

I believe the only ones who don't do much travelling these days are President Monson, Elder Packer, Elder Hales and Elder Scott. We pray for them by name in our family prayers. I love these brethren. They have blessed me and my family. I always enjoy listening to them at General Conference and on other occasions when they speak.

The only thing negative I'll say is that because they travel, teach and administer so much, perhaps they have to rely too much on the multitude of research surveys the church conducts to know in which direction the people need to be led, where they need to be helped and what changes they would be willing to tolerate.

As you noted, the responsibility for our salvation is our own. A man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge. The only thing I would wish those who sit in the highest councils would consider is a way for those who are more mature in the gospel to be challenged in their gospel study. But, I know changes are coming so I rejoice and patiently wait.

God bless you my friend. I thank you for contributing to my blog.
johnD said…
Reply to Tim,
I see your point about being misunderstood here!
I didn’t mean to say the brethren are physically lazy, my intent was to say these discussions here on your site challenge our minds and keep us from lazy beliefs and thinking. My hope is that the brethren see this and get away from what I see as a lazy approach to teaching the gospel using milk only!
Tim Malone said…
Amen. I'm grateful for the positions I've held over the years that allowed me to teach. Preparing a lesson blessed me each week, and, when I was teaching seminary, blessed me each day. Mental discipline is really nothing more then exercising faith. Cheers. The Lord wants us to be cheerful.
Tim Malone said…
Astonished: I remember reading about the Donatist Heresy in PtHG. I also catch you point about the distinction without a difference. As I see it, and I believe this is what you are pointing out, the authority of the priesthood we commonly refer to is really the authority to officiate in the institutional church.

It is power we should be seeking - power from God. Power to open the heavens and power to commune with those who reside there who are ready and willing to teach us as the true messengers they are in order to endow us with true priesthood power. I am striving for this in my life.

I don't need to add anything more to your uplifting comment. Thanks.
Kathryn --
I have fully enjoyed your comments. I believe the time is now and not far distant when the Father will perform a "strange work" among His children. Even with the Book of Mormon our Father in Heaven loves His children so much that He is willing to show His "work" unto the convincing of many of the truths of His "Good News".
In addition I pray the God of Heaven bring you this worthy "soul-mate" to your front door that you may start your questions to the Lord.
It's refreshing to see so many seeking to do the right thing and to do it the right way.
There are many a Sealer in the Temple of our Lord who could shed "light" into our attempted conversations about whether there is power in the priesthood in this the Church of Jesus Christ. There is much evil in the world in which we live, and even among the Saints, there is much and many who are following the adversary and his minions as they lead many into apostate paths wherein the mist of darkness has enveloped them, even whilst they held onto the rod of iron.
I know of their reality for I have seen them, not with the spiritual but with my natural eyes. I think we will be sorely amazed as to the extent that the "great deceiver" has experienced success among the saints and even more so among to masses of our Heavenly Fathers children.
The Brethren have always said they are imperfect. The beauty is that we each have the gift of the Spirit to discern what is coming from man and what is coming from the Father of our Spirits. If it is spoken by the authority of the Holy Ghost then it is scripture -- and each of us need not be misled about what the Holy Ghost is the testifier of.
The Brethren are not lost and powerless. There are in reality keys that are held that open doors to the Heavens and give us access to the World of the Gods. That is the summa summarum of being added upon from our first estate.
Contemplator said…
Tim,

Thank you for the gracious reply and I apologize for any tone of correction. These are worthwhile ideas to explore and to better understand. You are correct about the subsequent verbiage and that men who were endowed are not ordained again. Rather, their blessings are restored through an ordinance.

In other comments there is mention of the relationship between faith and priesthood relative to healing. Healing, or being healed, is a gift of the spirit. A priesthood ordinance is not necessarily involved. But, it stands to reason that faith in Jesus Christ is necessarily involved.

I appreciate the comments that are focused on raising our vision of what is possible for humble followers of Christ. As I said before, I see the problems in the church. But, I am not sure where else there is such a concentration of scripture, temple ordinance, and teachings of Joseph Smith. I hope we can all bring this expanded view of what is available to others who are open and seeking. And, I find many such people in the church.
Contemplator said…
I know I am new here and I am hesitant to jump in the middle of this conversation. There is one other idea that I would like to throw in the mix.

Recall from Genesis 14 (JST):
27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

Notice a couple of items from this. First, Melchizedek was ordained a high priest. He was not given a thing called "priesthood." Rather, he was ordained to an order of high priests. Priesthood is not a thing to be held. In fact, nowhere in scripture can there be found the words "hold the priesthood." Priesthood is a status of being a member of an order of priests (or priestesses, or high priests, etc.). Just as fatherhood is the status of being a father, motherhood is the status of being a mother, knighthood is the status of being a knight, etc.

Second, Melchizedek was ordained, not by man, but by the voice of God. This is a different thing that we have in the church. Section 107 begins with, "There are, IN THE CHURCH, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood (emphasis added)." These are church priesthoods that are being described. And, they administer ordinances that can prepare a person to receive the ordination described in Genesis 14:27-29. In other words, they represent an invitation, offered through the church, to receive the real thing from God.

The use of the term "Melchizedek priesthood" is confusing because it may be associated with church priesthood (the invitation) and ordination by God (the real thing).

These are just ideas that I am trying to sort through. I hope this is of some use in the context of this conversation. It seems to me that, as discussed above, the church can give, or take, its priesthood. But, only God can give, or take, His ordination of a high priest.
Tim Malone said…
I am simply overwhelmed by the amazing comments shared on my blog today. Most of you don't know me, although I've tried to be as open and candid as I can about my life both in my regular posts and my about-tim section. I wrote, edited and linked this post in about two hours last night or early this morning, getting to bed about 2am.

As this is Memorial Day and a day off from my work, I thought I would spend the day cataloging some of the books in my library - something I usually do when I have absolutely nothing else to do. It is now after 10pm. The comments, both private and public, started very early this morning and have filled my day. Thank you so much to each of you.

I don't know why so many of you have graciously come to my blog and shared such thoughtful and insightful comments. There are other LDS forums (such as LDS Freedom Forum) and other private groups that are set up specifically to discuss the gospel and the works of Denver Snuffer. I have been richly blessed and spiritually fed on this day.

I thank you again for your comments and for adding to my knowledge of the gospel, of the church, of the goodness of people who believe in Jesus Christ and want to do all within their power to love and serve Him. I promise you that is my desire. Thank you for helping me in my gospel study. Yes, I use this blog to get me into the scriptures daily.

God bless you all. I express my love and gratitude to each of you. I'm only sorry there aren't more hours in the day to ponder each of your comments and engage more fully in the dialog. I promise you I read all your comments including those sent privately. I sense your faith and your desire to live the gospel more fully. I rejoice in that shared desire.

Tim
awaketozion said…
We talk about 'holding' the preisthood. What does that mean? Maybe all we really hold is a key of knowledge that God will ratify and sustain words and acts spoken and done in righteousness according to His will. We 'hold' or 'possess' only knowledge and/or faith. The more I think about it the more I am convinced that priesthood 'ordination' is a symbolic ordinance designed to increase the faith of the participant or audience involved.
chris hendrix said…
Have read much, all on a desire for further light and knowledge, some 2000 hours last year with much prior seminary teaching. Today I was blessed with so many "items that can't be addressed ". Your responses, which I read along with much from others, was a answer to help the one I love was a very quick, like 7 hour detailed sumary. You are blessed and continually will be...
MarkinPNW said…
In my two callings in my local congregation (I am an Elder), I am presided over by women, specifically the Primary Presidency. I am a primary teacher, and an assistant 11 yr old scoutmaster, both of which come under the Primary.
Good Will said…
I have had this same realization. Where does all this talk of being a "priesthood holder" and "by the power of the priesthood" come from? Is it biblical? scriptural? Book of Mormon-ical? I don't see it.

No, I see righteous men standing up and saying "In the name of Jesus Christ...." or "by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ...." No so much "priesthood".

I agree with those who have commented here. "Aaronic" and "Melchizedek" "priesthood" are established, recognized orders of "authority" to conduct categories of ordinances and administrate duties and functions in the Church. This provides order and accountability and supervision in the organization.

I agree with awaketozion, whose comment is below:

"We talk about ‘holding’ the preisthood. What does that mean? Maybe all we really hold is a key of knowledge that God will ratify and sustain words and acts spoken and done in righteousness according to His will. We ‘hold’ or ‘possess’ only knowledge and/or faith. The more I think about it the more I am convinced that priesthood ‘ordination’ is a symbolic ordinance designed to increase the faith of the participant or audience involved."
johnD said…
I think your on the right track, it makes sense. The heavenly Gift given to man while on earth comes from God himself while receiving the Second Comforter and that persons faith becomes knowledge, dependent upon no other, then that faith based priesthood authority, becomes knowledge based power, the fullness of the priesthood?
Lori Taylor said…
From your comment to Jim, found below:
"Note: Just to be clear, when I wrote “leave the ninety and nine” I did NOT mean that I want to get myself kicked out of this church. I am enjoying my church membership very much, thank you. I simply meant that there is something in my personality – someone recently helped my identify a high level of empathic character traits – that wants to search out and help the underdog, the misfit, the one who feels he or she does not belong or fit the mold of the standard LDS member."

This is exactly how I feel!!! Thank you, Tim, for sharing this understanding, for it has helped me gain understanding into myself. I have been able to make some important connections that have been matters held only my heart for most of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel like the Lord responded to a deep, inner need I've had through these brief words you shared. I am so happy to realize that there are a few, perhaps many, who have these inner desires and yearnings. It is a testament to me that the Lord has a purpose for me.
Jean Piere Peralta said…
Tim:

I think the Church has a "Priesthood." It is an organization of men who desire to work righteousness, in whatever degree they deem to see right. God's own Priesthood is righteous principles exercised; it is power. The Church "Priesthood Organization" is simply a group of men who know some of the principles, and, according to what they know, seek to administer the portion of God's Power/Priesthood they are aware of. This organization is very...organized. They ordain to offices, and limit what one can do based on office, particularly within their own organization. This constitutes, what I view as, "Church Priesthood Authority." However it is not a fullness, or all of God's own Power and Priesthood. Indeed, the Church Authority and the Power of God are two different things. When the D&C refers to losing "authority" I believe it is referring to losing sealing power: if one is unrighteous or breaks covenants, one is temporarily unable or unauthorized to to use the sealing power; they temporarily lose the "authority" to use it.

-JP
dustin said…
My experience with the priesthood comes from my own experience. I have had times when I have really been close to god, my heart and desire was to do his will. During these times I have given powerful spiritually prompted priesthood blessings, and have know that my words were being honored by God. Then I have had times where I have been asked to bless and proceeded even though I was struggling with God over something and my words seemed more canned and flat. I have also had times where I am pretty sure I was given a powerful impression in spite of my being at odds with God because God loved the person I was blessing so much he looked past my sins.

I have found that God often uses me in my weakness because I am the best he's got at the moment. His love for others seems to be enough of a reason to look past my own unworthiness at times.

One thing I do want to point out, is that in the Book of Mormon
Priesthood authority didn't seem to be governed much by the church.

It is true ordinations happened, but the first alma who was a priest of king Noah began baptizing and ordaining other priests without any sort of special church calling. Just because the church sets up rules for maintaining a form of order does not mean god is abound by our laws.

I also think it's relevant to point out that in most of my blessings I have been prompted to call down on the support of angels to enlighten and comfort. I have had more blessing where I have cast out darkness or evil spirits and have called for light and a time of protection and learning and peace, and these blessings along with the inspired counsel have always been the most powerful for me and the receiver of the blessing. I have never been prompted to pronounce someone whole or healed, and I have wondered if it was my own fear holding me back. So one time I tried it and it didn't really work out. I think the priesthood I have exercised has exclusively been of the aaronic variety, casting out darkness and calling on the administering of angels.
Eric said…
When trying to define “power in the priesthood,” I wonder if it’s helpful to tell if it’s the same thing as one or more of the following:

“power of priesthood” (D&C 113:8)
“power of the priesthood” (D&C 112:30, 128:8, 132:45)
“power of the Holy Priesthood” (D&C 131:5)
“powers of the Holy Priesthood” (D&C 128:11)
“power of their priesthood” (D&C 128:21)
“power and the keys of this priesthood” (D&C 132:7)

Some of the above comments also made me think again about the priesthood in general:

“Priesthood is divine authority which is conferred upon men that they may officiate in the ordinances of the gospel. In other words, priesthood is a part of God’s own power” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 3:80, italics in the original).

The Light of Christ is the power of God (D&C 88:13).

Putting those 2 quotes together, then, the priesthood is a “part” of the Light of Christ (Spirit of the Gods).

“There are three grand orders of priesthood referred to here. . . . The Holy Ghost is God’s messenger to administer in all those priesthoods” (HC 5:554-5).

“There are two concepts that over the years have been expressed in defining the meaning of priesthood. One is that priesthood is the authority given by our Heavenly Father to man to authorize him to officiate in all matters pertaining to the salvation of mankind upon the earth. The other concept is expressed by another meaningful thought that priesthood is the power by which God works through man” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, 251-2).

So the power of God, or light of Christ, encompasses at least 2 things:

1. The priesthood, “the power by which God works through man.” This also includes the authority to officiate, to be responsible for the organizational structure of the Church and most ordinances. This would be a relatively “static” aspect of the Spirit.

2. The power by which God “works not through man,” such as the power to beget mortal life. With less of an emphasis on outward structure and ordinances, this would be a relatively “dynamic” aspect of the Spirit.

This could explain why women and nonmembers can also have access to the power of God.

“It is the prayer of faith that saves the sick; faith in God not in some particular man, although some men seem to have more of the gift of healing than others, that is true, but the authority in the Church is vested in the elders. True, a priest, of course, can, a teacher can, and so can a deacon . . . he has not the authority, but he may lay hands on the sick and pray God to heal them; so can a member. So can people out of the Church, and so they have done. Having faith in God, they have asked God in the name of Jesus Christ to heal the sick” (Charles W. Penrose, Conference Report, April 1921, 198-9).
Tim Malone said…
JohnD: Profound and motivating summary. Truth :-)
Tim Malone said…
Wow. Hadn't considered that. Brings up a question in my mind. Is that what happened to Joseph? We know he had the sealing power - that's clearly declared by the Lord in section 132:45-49.

But we also know that section, although recorded in 1842, was revealed to Joseph previously, perhaps as early as 1831 or even 1829 according to some.

So, when we read in section 124:28 about "that which was lost" and the "fullness of the priesthood," could it be referring to the sealing power? Section 124 was received and recorded in 1841.

Back to your comment: How temporary is temporary? Hours, days, weeks, months, years or until a certain something takes place? God measures time by events, not hours.

When the Lord said the fullness of the priesthood could only be restored in the Nauvoo temple, and the Nauvoo Temple was not completed before Joseph's death...

Do you see where I'm going with this? Thank you for your thought-provoking comment. God bless you, Jean Piere. Your comment has blessed me as I have pondered it.
Tim Malone said…
"...he has not the authority, but he may lay hands on the sick and pray God to heal them; so can a member." I know I've read this quote before but I've never asked this question.

Does this imply that women, a mother for example, can lay hands upon her sick child and pray God to heal them? I say yes. What say ye? And what says the handbook?

It states, "Only Melchizedek Priesthood holders may administer to the sick or afflicted." Hmmm...Did I misunderstand Elder Penrose?

https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/priesthood-ordinances-and-blessings?lang=eng#206

Perhaps these are two different things - laying hands upon the sick and praying for them versus a priesthood ordinance.

Great comment, Eric. I'm still pondering all the definitions presented in the beginning. I think I'm looking to receive power "in" the priesthood.
johnD said…
Tim,
This is from TPJS pg. 225
Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick he further remarked, there could be no evil in it, if God gave His sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration.
Eric said…
“I met the members of the ‘Female Relief Society,’ and after presiding at the admission of many new members, gave a lecture on the Priesthood, showing how the sisters would come in possession of the privileges, blessings and gifts of the Priesthood, and that the signs should follow them, such as healing the sick, casting out devils, &c., and that they might attain unto these blessings by a virtuous life, and conversation, and diligence in keeping all the commandments” (HC 4:602).

“Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, he [Joseph Smith] further remarked, there could be no devil in it, if God gave His sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration” (HC 4:604).

I've been working on drawing an analogy between the Church and a (spiritual) hospital. Men "holding" the Priesthood are like physicians having a medical license. If a patient in the hospital is bleeding, anyone (nurse, family member, etc.) can stop the bleeding, even though the physician is the one "authorized" by the hospital to control the bleeding and is (supposedly) overseeing the patient's care. A bad physician can have his or her license revoked. By virtue of having a license, the physician keeps records of things done to the patient, offers suggestions for treatment, etc. Anyway, this is a work in progress . . .
Tim Malone said…
Eric: That seems like a great project for a physician :-) There are so many good quotes in the History of the Church that I don't see in our regular curriculum. I can find the quote in the reference provided, which is also available online, but nowhere else on lds.org. As far as I could see, no book, no manual, no General Authority address quotes this.

http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-c-1-2-november-1838-31-july-1842?p=500#!/paperSummary/history-1838-1856-volume-c-1-2-november-1838-31-july-1842&p=500

Because of this exclusion, are we to assume the Church a) No longer believes this, b) No longer encourages this or c) has deliberately excluded this from the curriculum because it doesn't fit our "correlated" view as not something we want to make known or encourage? No need to answer. This is a rhetorical question.

I really mean that about your project. I would love to see it come to fruition. I am starting to see citations from some of your previous books being quoted in the LDS forums and private discussion groups. Would that I were as diligent in gospel study as you are. Thanks for the great example. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/eternalround
Eric said…
I apologize to johnD for duplicating his quote. I'll need to remember to refresh the page before posting.

I'll add President Penrose's words from immediately before the previous quote from him: “I have had sisters visit me and ask me if they did not have the right to administer to the sick. ‘Well,’ I have said, ‘yes, you have in one way; Jesus Christ said, “These signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”’ As I say, there are occasions when perhaps it would be wise for a woman to lay her hands upon a child, or upon one another sometimes, and there have been appointments made for our sisters, some good women, to anoint and bless others of their sex who expect to go through times of great personal trial, travail and ‘labor;’ so that is all right, so far as it goes. But when women go around and declare that they have been set apart to administer to the sick and take the place that is given to the elders of the Church by revelation as declared through James of old, and through the Prophet Joseph in modern times, that is an assumption of authority and contrary to scripture, which is that when people are sick they shall call for the elders of the Church and they shall pray over and officially lay hands on them."

Out of those D&C quotes listed, 128:8 might be one of the most interesting, since there seems to be a connection between "the power of the priesthood" and the sealing power.
Tim Malone said…
Thank you for sharing and for your kind comment to Kathryn above. The difficulty with public discourse is we do not know each other, but as far as I can tell, most participants on this blog are seeking one thing: to come unto Christ and be like him.

To me, kindness without judgment is the best way to be like the Savior. Tolerance of individuals who are on different levels of progression is also key to Christ-like dialog. Some who comment here have been hurt by excommunication. I pray we will love and accept them.

To use a popular phrase, "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." Please don't think I'm being critical. We know these are sacred subjects and that's how we are trying to treat them. Otherwise we would be on the Recovery from Mormonism board.
Log said…
There is only one earthly organization that professes to use "holy and consecrated oil" in the administrations to the sick in the household of faith.

... Let me guess... the Catholics, consistent with the character of a Catholic priest, right? What did I win?

Mmmm... chewy nugatory....
Log said…
Packed with peanuts, Snickers really satisfies!
Julie said…
Here is a great article on the history of the practice: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/029-16-25.pdf

I thought it might be something Tim and Carol might be interested to read. :)
Tim Malone said…
Awesome. I've printed it out for study.

Two observations or questions: 1) I've never understood why some leaders and members don't like or appreciate the contribution of Sunstone over the years. Are they threatened by what they find there?

2) I immediately noted what appear to be contradictions in what was taught in the early days of the church and what is taught, or rather, not taught in today's church. I'm not surprised, just noting this example of "Phase Two Mormonism" compared to "Phase Four Mormonism."

http://latterdaycommentary.com/2012/12/25/the-four-phases-of-mormonism/
Log said…
John 8:29
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

D&C 89
12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

An interesting thought that occurred to me as a result of the current comma kerfluffle at the Interpreter.
Kathryn said…
Thank you gentlemen. I appreciate what has been shared by several of you concerning women, the power of faith and priesthood. I was fortunate, as I explained my previous post, to have learned this concept early on. Your contributions and examples have strengthened my testimony of these doctrines.

Tim... I believe the curriculum has been narrowed down so small that this subject on a deeper level, as well as other subjects, are not even considered and are thought to be unnecessary. The lessons never seem to get beyond the “milk” of the gospel to the “meat,” which is so necessary for our progression toward a "Zion" mind.

For years, under the Correlation Department, we have been limited to what is presented over and over again and never have the opportunity to learn or explore deeper doctrines with each other in classes. Like over-protective parents, they don’t want us to stumble and fall or get any “funny ideas.” Lessons on the priesthood, at least in RS, are “Milk Toast.”

The “meat” of already reveled truths are now considered “mysteries” and are off limits for discussion in our meetings. And, private study groups have been discouraged or rather “condemned” for fear we might be led astray.

I don’t understand the “control” issue except that perhaps they feel obligated to constantly appeal to “new members” who may not be ready for the “meat.” As it stands now, I believe it is up to each individual to seek for greater understanding through study, prayer, temple worship and joining with like minded people.

That is why forums like this are so important, so people of "like mind" can explore and discuss revealed doctrine that our leaders must considered too "deep" for our small minds to examine in a classroom setting.

If the women, who are pushing so hard to receive Priesthood Ordination, had been taught the information that is in this post, I doubt they would be standing outside of General Priesthood meeting begging to get in.

(By the way... who would want to be included in a meeting where it seems you guys are always being "bawled" out? Condolences!

Women just want is to be taught... to understand how they fit in to the whole scheme of the gospel under priesthood leadership. It is a simple request that could be settled by understanding deeper doctrine. The watered down explanations feel condescending and just don’t cut it by evidence of unrest.

The Brethren seem to have forgotten Joseph Smith’s counsel: “Teach Correct Principles and Let Them Govern Themselves.”

They just don’t seem to trust us.
Astonished said…
Well, that is an interesting story. I hope it happened. It is anecdotal at best and since I have read it on several different blogs . . . it seems to be very popular.

That being said, it is not very useful. It really doesn't teach us anything and may be entirely made up for all we know. If you truly do want to write more. I wish you would. Instead of relating questionable stories. One of the problems we have experienced in the church is a culture where everything truly spiritual is all of a sudden made so special that it can't be cast before swine.

I appreciate all those who are taking the opportunity to articulate and teach. Opening the scriptures and at the same time my eyes to ideas I had not considered.

Believe me, the people participating in this blog are not your average church member. Everyone I know here is seeking. Going out of their way to learn. The humor on this site is at times refreshing as we know that we are all dealing with the most serious of issues -- it can take an emotional toll.

(Wish that priest had been wearing white or at least a white shirt and tie so that I would have recognized his true priesthood!! :) The Catholic garb makes me think that the Catholics must still have the keys!! (j/k) If I am that girl, I am going back to church -- and not the Mormon church.)

Astonished
Astonished said…
Kathryn,
I don't know if you have seen this book, but it is a good read and full of interesting and little known insights from Joseph's organization of the Relief Society and a female priesthood.

Latter-day Saint Women and the Priesthood of God: A Believer’s Exploration by Mark Koltko-Rivera

It points out an interview with Pres. Hinckley where he indicates that an All Male Priesthood is a point of doctrine that could be changed if there was impetus for it within the church. I am not sure how I feel about that at this point but I think it is an interesting confession.

I have always thought that if men AND women were actually basking in the blessings of a living priesthood --(ie. the baptism of fire and a connection with heaven, entering the rest of the Lord, etc. see Alma 13) -- no one would care who actually exercised the authority. The lack of these blessings in the church as a whole drives some to seek other ways to possible receive these blessings. You seem to realize the truth already -- being ordained doesn't necessarily help.

Astonished.
Tim Malone said…
Referring, of course to: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/questioning-the-comma-in-verse-13-of-the-word-of-wisdom/ (to save everyone the trouble of looking it up)
Tim Malone said…
On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Latter-day-Saint-Women-Priesthood-God/dp/0615995020
shylohw said…
Yes, Tim, mothers can lay hands upon sick children and heal them. I have done it several times. The Lord has ALWAYS answered. It has greatly increased the faith of my 4 year old who often wakes at night with severe growing pains in his legs. He has been instantly relieved of his pain. I routinely bless both my children as I am moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

“And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues. They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18)
“all these gifts come by the spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man [or woman] severally, according as he [or she] will” (Moro. 10:17).
And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed; and to others it is given to have faith to heal” (D&C 46:19-20).
If God is no respecter of persons, women naturally are included in these statements. Our history is FULL of accounts of women laying on hands.

I am CONVINCED that healing has less to do with priesthood and much much more to do with Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; which just just more 'proof' to me that we really don't understand the priesthood as we could/should.

If this topic is of interest you, might I recommend 'Women and Authority'.....Edited by Maxine Hanks (excommunicated as part of the "September Six" for her part in this book--she has just rejoined the Church in the last year), and also contributed to by some of my other favorite writers Michael D Quinn (chapter 17), Todd Compton (chapter 7) Margaret Toscano (chapter 18). Chapter 19 is good too.

http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=840
kathryn said…
Hi Astonished. I agree with what you said in your post about basking in the light of the Living Priesthood as it stands now. I'm not sure I want Priesthood ordination even if it was offered. I have more than enough on my plate let alone take on additional responsibilities.

I have never felt neglected. However, I have been a bit muffed when priesthood authorities negate my thoughts, concerns or point of view because I'm a woman.

I have quit attending the by-yearly woman's conferences. As well intended as the talks are, I feel the are very condescending. Do they really think women are so insecure that we have to be reminded how "Wonderful, Righteous and Compassionate" we are? Every conference? "Milk Toast... Milk Toast." It makes me think that they feel they are obligated to rave on and on as a substitute for women not holding Priesthood Authority.

At each conference, the rhetoric is the same. I wish they would move on to more a honest commentary, like they do the men. We could use a bit of down to earth counsel on occasion.

Thanks Astonished for the book suggestion and thanks Tim for the link. I looked the book over and will probably order it tomorrow. I have a Prime account and should get it by Tuesday.
EvenTheLeastSaint said…
Tim Malone posted:
"The Fullness of the Priesthood

Power in the Priesthood is not and cannot be passed from man to man. Authority to act in the church is what is being delegated when we confer priesthood or ordain a man in the priesthood. The fullness of the priesthood means to have power in the priesthood from God himself..."

LDS familiar with the endowment should recall that "power in the priesthood is received at the hands of Christ "through the veil". This point in the endowment is representative of Calling and Election "made sure".

There is also the "fulness of the Father" which is referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants. A type of this fulness would be the three Nephites who were caught up into heaven, we can assume to receive their "power in the priesthood" at the hands of God the Father, if they could have received these things at the hands of Christ, why be caught up into heaven? The powers of this order are outlined in JST Genesis 14:25–40.

31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world. [by the will of the Son but never the less this order is conferred by the Father].

32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this ORDER OF GOD, WERE TRANSLATED AND TAKEN UP INTO HEAVEN. JST Gen 14:31,32

This is the power that Joseph Smith wanted to endow the saints with in Nauvoo upon completing the temple.

27 And with iron, with copper, and with brass, and with zinc, and with all your precious things of the earth; and build a house to my name, for the MOST HIGH to dwell therein.
28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and RESTORE AGAIN THAT WHICH WAS LOST UNTO YOU, or which he hath taken away, even the FULNESS OF THE PRIESTHOOD.

It is the fulness of the Most High or The Father which was lost to them or to Joseph which needed to be restored. The Saints were supposed to be completing a place for The Father to come to bestow the Fulness of the Father. If the Saints were to complete the temple then God could promise them they would not be moved out of their place (in Nauvoo). From the description of powers above we can see why God could make that promise. To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, and so forth would have granted them ample protection, even without the Nauvoo legion. Joseph was serious about bringing about Zion in his day, complete with translated beings and all of the power in the priesthood had by Enoch and his people.
Tim Malone said…
That's it. You got it. I mean, I got it now. To me, that's a clear teaching or explanation of D&C 124:28. I've been wondering when someone would come out and share that. I arrived at that conclusion the first time I read PtHG. It made so much sense to me, but I wasn't sure if anyone else got it.

The fullness of the priesthood, or that which was lost, 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 am so excited. Someone else "gets" it. I didn't want to come out and say it. I wanted to see if I was alone. Now I know.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Tim Malone said…
Calling Michael: Thanks for coming back and adding more detail. I agree with your explanation of the NDE. I have noted the same thing with many NDE's - that the people see what is familiar to them. For me, this paragraph you shared helped increase my understanding:



As far as priesthood goes and what was the messengers authority to perform said anointing we need to think outside the box. Priesthood offices are a mortal experience. The priesthood in the heavens is called, “The Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God”.

Remember in verse one it says, “There are, in the church…” . So what priesthood did this messenger use in fulfilling his errand from the Lord? I would submit that there is only one priesthood that the heavens need recognize and that is the “Holy Priesthood,…” and there is no need for another priesthood.



Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Now I know there are people out there who get what I was trying to bring out without me coming out and saying it myself. You help me test and confirm the knowledge I felt I received by revelation as I read and study in PtHG and elsewhere. God bless you my friend.
johnD said…
Reply to Tim
I have been studying TPJS this week and just found this, read it carefully, it definitely supports our thinking on the priesthood!
From TPJS page 237
Highest Order of Priesthood Revealed
Wednesday, 4.—I spent the day in the upper part of the store, that is in my private office * * * in council with General James Adams, of Springfield, Patriarch Hyrum Smith, Bishops Newel K. Whitney and George Miller, and President Brigham Young and Elders Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards, instructing them in the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to washings, anointings, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church of the Firstborn, and come up and abide in the presence of the Eloheim in the eternal worlds. In this council was instituted the ancient order of things for the first time in these last days. And the communications I made to this council were of things spiritual, and to be received only by the spiritual minded: and there was nothing made known to these men but what will be made known to all the Saints of the last days, so soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper place is prepared to communicate them, even to the weakest of the Saints; therefore let the Saints be diligent in building the Temple, and all houses which they have been, or shall hereafter be, commanded of God to build; and wait their time with patience in all meekness, faith, perseverance unto the end, knowing assuredly that all these things referred to in this council are always governed by the principle of revelation. (May 4, 1842.)
Eric said…
I'm open to the possibility that "the fulness of the priesthood" = "the fulness of the Holy Ghost" &/or "the fulness of the Son."

However, I'm not sure if "the fulness of the priesthood" = "the fulness of the Father" in the Standard Works.

D&C 84:36-38 seems to indicate a progression: Receive God's (authorized) servants (whether mortal or angelic; note that the ministering of angels falls under the Aaronic, or pre-Gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood) -> Receive the Holy Ghost -> Receive the Son -> Receive the Father.

Fulness of the Holy Ghost:

"And do thou grant, Holy Father, that all those who shall worship in this house may be taught words of wisdom out of the best books . . . And that they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost" (D&C 109:14-5).

Fulness of the Son:

"And as many as believe on his name shall receive of his fullness. And of his fullness have all we received, even immortality and eternal life, through his grace. For the law was given through Moses, but life and truth came through Jesus Christ" (JST John 1:16).

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

From the above 2 scriptures, it sounds like man can receive the fulness of the Son in mortality.

"And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned" (D&C 132:6).

"But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory" (D&C 84:24).

From the above 2 scriptures, it sounds like man can receive the fulness of the Son's glory in mortality. (So perhaps "the fulness of the Son" = "the fulness of the Son's glory.")

"Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God" (D&C 107:3). This makes it clear that the priesthood is after the order of the Son, not the Father.

To me, entering the terrestrial room is representative of receiving a terrestrial glory, which is the level of calling & election made sure. "These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father" (D&C 76:77).

Fulness of the Father:

To me, entering the celestial room is representative of receiving a celestial glory.

"I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness. For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father. . . . I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth; And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments. He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things" (D&C 93:19-20, 26-28).

I can't comprehend the possibility of a mortal having the same glory as the Son and the Father, and knowing all things.

Therefore, to me, receiving the fulness of the Father isn't possible in mortality.
EvenTheLeastSaint said…
Thanks Tim. Your right, it does feel great to find someone else who understands. :)
Eric said…
"Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead" (TPJS 170).

"Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers. The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected and made sure" (TPJS 323).

"The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood . . . Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood. . . . The spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, and Messiah last. Elias is a forerunner to prepare the way, and the spirit and power of Elijah is to come after, holding the keys of power, building the Temple to the capstone, placing the seals of the Melchizedek Priesthood upon the house of Israel, and making all things ready; then Messiah comes to His Temple, which is last of all. Messiah is above the spirit and power of Elijah, for He made the world, and was that spiritual rock unto Moses in the wilderness" (TPJS 337, 339-340).

Joseph seems to say that concepts such as the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and calling and election made sure fall under the spirit of Elijah, so is subordinate to the spirit of Messiah.

Can any mortal become a Messiah, create worlds, and be a spiritual rock for the prophets?
EvenTheLeastSaint said…
Eric said: "To me, entering the celestial room is representative of receiving a celestial glory."

I believe everything in the endowment is representative of things that pertain to the mortal state, thus the need for mortal proxies.

Eric said: "I can’t comprehend the possibility of a mortal having the same glory as the Son and the Father, and KNOWING ALL THINGS."

7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, EVEN TO THE UNFOLDING UNTO THEM ALL MY REVELATIONS, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. (Ether 4:7)

Receiving the fulness of the Father is not about receiving the glory of exalted beings while in this life, but receiving the fulness of all that is available to mortals, including promises.

To the nine Deciples Christ said, "after that ye are seventy and two years old ye shall come unto me IN MY KINGDOM; and with me ye shall find rest."

But to the three Deciples he said, "... and then shall ye be blessed IN THE KINGDOM OF MY FATHER.
Eric said…
“I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men” (D&C 93:3-4).

". . . and all those who keep His commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of Him who fills all in all; being filled with the fullness of His glory, and become one in Him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one” (Lectures on Faith 5:2).

“The rest of the Lord, in eternity, is to inherit eternal life, to gain the fulness of the Lord’s glory” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 633).

"I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father; And he received all power" (D&C 93:16-17).

"And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father. . . . ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one" (3 Nephi 28:8).

The 3 Nephites were promised that they "shall be" (future tense) blessed in the Father's kingdom and "shall be" as the Father and Son.

But Lectures on Faith 5:2 connects the fulness of the Father's glory with being one with Him, so I still don't believe that "the fulness of the Father" can be obtained in mortality, the way "the fulness of the priesthood" can.

"Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness" (D&C 88:29). To me, the fulness of the Father is equivalent to the fulness of celestial glory, and not a portion of it.

We shall agree to disagree. :)
Eric said…
Actually, the point we disagree on is just a minor(?) semantic issue: What is the fulness of the Father? (I hope I'm not digressing too far from Tim's OP question about what is power in the priesthood.)

Is it equal to the fulness of the priesthood, which can be received in mortality? Or is it equal to the fulness of the Father's glory, which cannot be? (Or neither?)

I did a brief search through lds.org to see if anyone else made any comments about it:

"Eternal perfection is reserved for those who overcome all things and inherit the fulness of the Father in his heavenly mansions" (Russell M. Nelson, "Perfection Pending," October 1995 General Conference).

"The name of the kind of life that God our Father lives is eternal life, and eternal life consists of two things: the continuation of the family unit in eternity, and an inheritance of what the scriptures denominate the fulness of the Father or the fulness of the glory of the Father (see D&C 76:56)" (Bruce R. McConkie, "Celestial Marriage," Ensign, June 1978).

"Thus those who gain eternal life receive exaltation; they are sons of God, joint-heirs with Christ, members of the Church of the Firstborn; they overcome all things, have all power, and receive the fulness of the Father” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 237).

"The gospel of Jesus Christ promises the incomparable inheritance of eternal life, the fulness of the Father" (Dallin H. Oaks, "The Challenge to Become," Ensign, November 2000).

"And in section 93 we are taught that Christ received not of the fullness of the Father while in mortality, but went from grace to grace until, after the resurrection, he received all power both in heaven and on earth" (Joseph Fielding Smith, "The Most Important Knowledge," Ensign, May 1971).

The endowment symbolically ends in the Father's presence, not just the Son's (this is confirmed by the closed-captioned version).

"In a symbolic way, the teachings and rituals of the temple take us on an upward journey toward eternal life, ending with a symbolic entrance into the presence of God" (Endowed From On High: Temple Preparation Seminar Teacher’s Manual, 24).

"He [David O. McKay] said: ‘I believe there are few, even temple workers, who comprehend the full meaning and power of the temple endowment. Seen for what it is, it is the step-by-step ascent into the Eternal Presence'" (Truman Madsen, The Radiant Life, chapter 10).
Karl said…
Yes, the current leadership doesn't want us to go deeper, because it will break to pieces the glass version of simplified modern Mormonism, which is mistakenly taught as the only orthodox, "proper" version of Mormonism. For the past 75 years it has been increasingly taught as though the way we see it now is the rock-solid way Mormonism has always been taught. However, a mere blush at the history and doctrine of the church, will convince you of how little orthodox "doctrine" has ever been fixed in Mormonism. Our interpretations have developed continuously, and must continue, because frankly when the onion of Mormonism is peeled back to the core, it is a very small core indeed. Until the time of Joseph F Smith, what we believed was open-ended, dynamic and expansive. It didn't bother the authorities to get up, express several contradictory views back to back, and try to hammer out understanding over time. This began to change with the 1916 Doctrinal Exposition, which fixed the nature of the Godhead for LDS people (probably erroneously in major respects), and since that time Mormonism has been continuously codified, organized, regulated, systematized. What we have now is merely one plausible version of Mormonism, descending from Joseph F Smith to Joseph Fielding Smith to BR McConkie. Is it The Truth? No, just one point of view. The problem here is that this one point of view is masquerading as The Truth. Read Charles Harrell's: This is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology. I guarantee that you will never see Mormonism the same way again. What the internet is doing to Mormonism is "hastening" the demise of this brand of rigid, orthodox Mormonism. And good riddance, because it will give us the chance to rebuild a version of Mormonism that should be able to resist the onslaught of internet attacks by Anti-Mormons. I believe, with due respect for the office, that most (perhaps all) of the current members of the 12 have only a cursory understanding of our history and development of theology. It is easy for current members of the 12 such as Packer, Oaks, Nelson, and Bednar to simply reinforce this current simplified version of Mormonism, and to look askance at anyone who questions the "party line." I believe that with time and a softening attitude, most of the 12 will come up to speed on this issue, and see the light of a more tolerant view on many issues. And frankly, since half the quorum are very old, there will be a golden opportunity for the 12 to put Mormonism back into a progressive gear, since probably half the quorum will turn over in the next 10 years. Let us pray that the Lord inspires the President to bring in some new members that actually have a background in our history and theological traditions. Best.
David said…
Speaking of back to back differences of opinion. I've noticed some comments mentioning that we get mostly milk and not meat from the correlated church. As I read those thoughts, a mental picture and an experience and impression from my past came to my mind.
In the 70's, the church published an addition of the Bible with many study helps, including excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. While I had been in college, a few years before that, I had read through the JST, (or at least the New Testament, Genesis, and Isaiah), comparing it to my Bible from my mission, and I wrote significant (to me)changes in blue pencil in the margins of my Bible. When the church, a short time later, made the JST changes available to all, my first thought was: "That's not fair. I put a lot of work into gaining that knowledge, and now anyone can have it without effort."
Upon reflection now, I realize that while some things are available to anyone, the growth, experience, and feelings I had from doing my own study I retain. I have it and others, who do not make the effort, do not.
The mental picture I have is of a baby chick struggling to break out of its shell. To have too much assistance would doom it. I believe the church can provide the assistance we each need, but there comes a point (Alma 12:9-10 talks about that point) when a certain amount of growth and study each needs to do for them self, lest we have too much assistance escaping our shells and our development becomes stunted.
Log said…
“And in section 93 we are taught that Christ received not of the fullness of the Father while in mortality, but went from grace to grace until, after the resurrection, he received all power both in heaven and on earth” (Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Most Important Knowledge,” Ensign, May 1971).


I have learned, by sad experience, to check President Smith's claims.

D&C 93
15 And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.

16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;

17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.

D&C 93 lacks the detail that "Christ received not of the fullness of the Father while in mortality, but ... after the resurrection, he received all power both in heaven and on earth."

Indeed, this may plausibly be read as pertaining to mortality - and, in fact, that is how I read it. For the Father dwelt in him, as he said.

John 14:11
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

After all...

Moses 6
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;

61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

And notice it is speaking of the same events - baptism by water, and by fire.
Log said…
This is an hard saying - who can hear it?

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

27 Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son.

28 But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.

29 And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.

30 But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.
Eric said…
(Okay, scratch that JFS quote. It assumes that there is some lapse of time between D&C 93:15 and 93:16.)

Jesus and Adam were worthy enough to be baptized by fire right after being baptized by water.

If a person can receive all power in this life, that must include power over death.

Jesus, of course, had power over death.

Adam having power over death could be very interesting to ponder, but perhaps digresses too far from Tim's OP. . .)
Eric said…
It appears that I was approaching the definition of "the fulness of the Father" from the angle of quotes that are not part of the Standard Works.

EvenTheLeastSaint wrote, "Receiving the fulness of the Father is not about receiving the glory of exalted beings while in this life, but receiving the fulness of all that is available to mortals, including promises."

So now it looks like I agree with EvenTheLeastSaint (and Tim) with that definition after all. :)

So that means I need to rescind all my beliefs about different "fulnesses."

So going back to Tim's OP, things are looking like: Power in the priesthood = the fulness of the priesthood = the fulness of the Father = the fulness of the Son = the fulness of the Holy Ghost = the fulness of the Godhead.
Eric said…
So back to Tim's other post, it may follow that the heavenly gift (Ether 12:8-9), which to me is the gift of the Son (Ether 12:11), is the equivalent of all of the above as well.

Maybe I shouldn't flip-flop quite all the way to the other side regarding fulness. There could be a way to reconcile both viewpoints.

IF the fulness = the rest of the Lord, then the fulness can be used in 2 ways: [1] mortal fulness/perfection and [2] immortal fulness/perfection (eternal life).

". . . ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, [1] from this time henceforth until [2] ye shall rest with him in heaven" (Moroni 7:3).
marginalizedmormon said…
someone said something about how no man can come between Jesus Christ and any person who loves Him.

But I can't find it now to comment on it.

That if the priesthood is connected to men and not to Jesus, then it comes between Jesus and that person.

This is clumsy.

I appreciate hearing about Elder Perry, Tim.

Now--

I don't know any of them, at all. I think that makes a difference.

But I'm not sure if it's good or bad. After all, I shouldn't be judging them, whether I know them or not. Either way. There are people who manage blogs who say things I appreciate, places I feel I can speak up. I will say that, as it is the case. When men speak in conference, I will know whether or not it uplifts me. If one of them says something that disturbs me, then I need to work it out, and Father has told me, "don't worry about it; let it go; it doesn't apply to you" before--
sfort said…
Power in the Priesthood has relation to unsterstanding clearly the doctrine of the Savior. 3rd Nephi is the greatest chapter on the Sacrament and displays some things the Church seems to dismiss. The Sacrament is for those under covenant of baptism. Sin, nor transgression prevents the Sacrament from being taken, only the baptismal covenant not taken prevents the Sacrament from the individual. Disfellowshipment and excommunication as a reason not to take the Sacrament is from handbooks. If there is transgression in a person's life, the Sacrament helps them to consider the Savior in their road back to his presence. Worthiness is ill defined in the Church and precludes true repentance by denying the Sacrament.

7 And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.

11 And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are "baptized" in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.

28 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;(this is referring to repentance and baptism)

29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

Next:

11 And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized.

12 And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen.

13 And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

14 And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record; and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them.

It seems that Nephi needed to be baptized again when the Savior came. He had been baptized before. But it makes no mention of Priesthood, just that he went out and baptized. Also the Holy Ghost came down immediately upon them. The power here is evident. The automatic assumed ordinances we practice are a far cry from what we witness in the Book of Mormon. Is something ajar?
Deila said…
Kathryn -- I loved your thoughts and experiences. I have been thinking and reading a lot about women and power in the priesthood. Healings and miracles are promised to those who have faith, and that was evident in your story. I believe power in the priesthood comes from God, and your personal qualifications, for men and women.

I thought it strange reasoning from the leader that said your husband had to still have the priesthood to keep the children sealed. Sealings have to be sealed by the holy spirit of promise to be valid anyway -- for anyone. I guess from that leader's perspective I am in oblivion and doomed -- I was born in the covenant but my parents divorced, my mom getting a temple divorce and being sealed to another man. My sisters and I are just in limbo. But I don't worry about that. All these ordinances are dependent on being ratified anyway.

I think we get opportunities to make covenants and receive ordinances without knowing what it really means -- it is for those who want to apply some effort in seeking, and accept the suffering that is necessary for any ascent. It sounds like you are one of those people preparing for Zion.
Eric said…
There are people who have claimed to have received the baptism by fire, but they do not have all knowledge or all power.

That leaves at least 2 possibilities:

(1) They did not truly receive the baptism by fire, or

(2) There can be a lapse between the baptism by fire (D&C 93:15) and then receiving all power (D&C 93:17), since we spiritually progress more slowly than Jesus did.
Log said…
There is no set timing on anything. Baptism by fire can precede baptism by water (Helaman 5), standing in the sod of YHWH can precede everything (JSH - 1), and, frankly, there is no merit to attempting to come up with a systematic theology, or stakes to limit the operations of God, because there is an exception to very nearly every rule one tries to come up with.
marginalizedmormon said…
As a person who puts the Book of Mormon above all other scripture, yes, I think something may be 'ajar'.

I'm not sure what it is, though. And that is a frank answer. I'm baffled by it all.
Log said…
Those who have been baptized by fire and don't have their prayers answered, neither are taught from on high, do not abide in Christ.

John 15: 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
[…] You could have heard a pin drop. (comment by Kathryn) […]
noche32 said…
So do you believe Denver Snuffer received the fulness? If so how would you reconcile that with his excommunication for priestcraft?
Log said…
People have been wrongfully excommunicated over the years.

Persons sometimes say that they have enjoyed the spirit of the work as much since they were cut off as while they were in the Church. Have they enjoyed the Spirit? Yes. Why? Simply because they were wrongfully cut off. They were cut off in such a way that it did not take the Spirit of God from them. And the reason why they were cut off was because they did not come up to the particular standard of perfection of those who dealt with them, or they did not come up to their feelings. I have heard of a man who was cut off because he did not believe Adam was our Father and God. "Well, but was it not so?" Its being so does not change the fact that we are sinners and need salvation, and such preaching does not help men and women to repent of their sins. I call all that preaching senseless which cannot be applied.

Millennial Star, Volume 24, No. 7, February 15, 1862, p. 100

There is much to commend from whence that was taken.
Mike said…
You might say Christ suffered the ultimate excommunication from his church in his day, did he lose any of his power as a result?
Good Will said…
I thought I had the same attitude, Tim, little good it did me. :o)
Eric said…
Were you referring to Romans 8:38-39?

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

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