I don’t get around to blogging much anymore, but I’m glad this site is still around when I need to find a quotation or talk or idea that struck me years ago. Thanks, wordpress, for being my filing cabinet. 😉
Today I want to have a place to keep some things I’m finding on the Aaronic Priesthood.
Here’s a few quotations from President Hinckley:
Then two men, good and true and faithful—one of them my father—placed their hands upon my head and conferred upon me the Aaronic Priesthood and ordained me to the office of deacon. I did not have any oath, slogan, motto, or law to memorize in connection with this. But I did memorize section 13 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and I have remembered it ever since. These are the words of an angel. They are the words of John the Baptist when he conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on May 15, 1829:
“Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” [D&C 13]
And this from this past conference (April 2018):
Young men, you are authorized messengers. Through your words and actions, you can bring faith in Christ to the hearts of God’s children. As President Russell M. Nelson said, “To them you will be as a ministering angel.”
Increased faith in Christ always leads to a desire to change or repent. So it is logical that the key of the ministering of angels would be accompanied by the key of the preparatory gospel, “the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins.”
Okay, so what’s striking me here is that the keys of the ministering of angels might not be what I imagined it to be. I used to imagine it to mean that someone could call upon God and have angels minister to them. The key opened the door and the angel was there, so to speak. But instead, what if it means that someone can call on God to have ministering angels sent to someone else? That is, the Aaronic priesthood is about teaching and preparing, so what if, while in that duty, they feel to ask God to bless someone they are teaching with the ministering of angels? Whether or not that person they pray for ever sees or hears an angel, perhaps angels still came to minister and prepare their minds?! Could that be what this key is all about?!?! That would make so much sense to me, and and the same time, be so very very amazing!
I’m thinking now of Alma the elder praying for his son, and eventually an angel was sent to minister to Alma the younger. The angel came to answer the prayers of his father. It is unclear whether Alma was specifically praying for an angel to come or whether he was praying for his son to understand the power of God in a less specific way, so I’m not saying this is a proof of this idea, but it does make me think of this. And, having read Alma’s story, I do have that in my head when I think of what Aaronic priesthood holders might pray for today.
So imagine a missionary teaching someone — I guess they could pray for such ministering? Or is this a very sacred, once-in-a-long-while thing?
Or of course, am I way off and it’s really again the idea that someone can pray to be ministered to by an angel?
But wait a second, I’ve been reading over and over again that the purpose of the priesthood is to bless others, not to bless oneself. You can’t baptize yourself, for example. So I think it’s worth keeping this other reading of the ministering of angels in mind.
ALSO I tend to remember that the Aaronic priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels, but I forget that section 13 goes to on say that it also holds the keys “of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.” I remember that these are part of the purpose or duties of the Aaronic Priesthood, but I don’t think of them as “keys” usually. But I’m trying to change my thinking this morning. These are keys as well. Keys of repentance, and of baptism.
I have to do more thinking about that!
But I will throw in one more thought I’ve been having. I remember, probably in Paul’s writings, the idea that the Aaronic priesthood in the Old Testament did things that needed to be repeated, but the Melchizedek priesthood (namely Christ, I think), does things that happen once. I don’t know if that holds up in today’s work, but I want to think about it. I thought about the sacrament immediately. It happens over and over again — something that’s not “done.” But baptism is only once… unless we connect it back to the sacrament. Baptism is a sign to God that you have repented, and in the sacrament we renew that. So in a sense, the combination of baptism and sacrament is an Aaronic, outward, repeated ordinance. Maybe?
Anyway, when I first thought of that it had a stronger affect on me, so I’ll come back to it if I think of a better way of putting that.
Lots to think about!