Tag Archives: consecration

Consecrating priests, Holy Order, in the Book of Mormon

I did just a quick search in the Book of Mormon for “consecrate” and noted how it was used in a sentence when it was talking about consecrating people. I noticed that it could be a king who was consecrating another king; it could be a people who were consecrating a leader; it could be a high priest who was consecrating other priests and teachers; it could be a person who simply had authority to consecrate priests and teachers. The word is also used to talk about other things: God consecrated the land for the inheritance of Lehi’s people, for example; also, Jacob’s afflictions will be consecrated for his gain. The general sense of the word is “given purpose” or “set apart” or “designated” or “changed in nature in order to be used for a new purpose.”

As far as priests and teachers go, which was my original question, it seems to me that “consecrate” means to “give a person authority to be a priest or teacher.” It designated them as people who could perform baptisms and could teach. Sometimes those stories I found mentioned priesthood, sometimes they did not. They almost always mentioned that the person who consecrated them had authority to do so, but it didn’t say whether or not that authority was priesthood. In fact, in some cases it seems that a person’s kingship was enough authority to consecrate new priests. King Noah is a prime example. It may be that he had some sort of priesthood, but that isn’t what the text focuses on. I think it was rather that his position as king gave him authority to designate who would be his priests in his court.

“Holy order” works a bit differently. First of all, it’s only talked about in 2 Nephi 6:2 (Jacob), in Alma, and in Ether 12:10 (Moroni’s discussion of faith). It really is something Alma has made a central issue of his teaching and thinking. But the fact that Jacob brings it up is interesting, and that Moroni talks about many people who were after this order. Also, Alma talks about the holy order not just when he is talking about who is ordained to preach, he talks about whole congregations “walking after” the holy order, and that they have been “brought into this church” by the holy order.

There are several places where it seems clear that the holy order is all-but equated with the high priesthood. Several times in Alma we get the words “the high priesthood of the holy order of God” and later in Alma 13 Alma says “Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood…”.

It could be that what happens to Alma the elder is exactly a restoration of the holy order, and that when Jacob’s priestly lined died out so did the holy order. It seems like Mosiah reveres Alma as having some authority to do Church-related things that he himself doesn’t. So it’s as if kings have had authority over religious life, and still do, and can still consecrate priests and teachers, but there is something else going on with high priesthood as well.

Having the kingship replaced by judges may have opened up some room for confusion about the high priesthood. With kings, it seems there was the government, and there were priests the government set up to teach religious things. Then when Alma comes, we have government, priests the government set up, and then a Church with some who claim another priesthood not set up by the government. When the kingship is dissolved and judges replace them, what happens to government-sponsored priests? Are there any? Or could it appear to many that the Church priests are now the government-sponsored priests? If the have taken that role on, then are they seen government-consecrated priests or as they something different?

Those sort of complex cultural question seem to me to form part of the backdrop for Alma’s speeches in Ammonihah. He spends so much time explaining the holy order and high priesthood that I can only assume this wasn’t well understood in that city. Though, it seems it was in the cities he visits previously — those who are walking after the holy order, as it says.

Anyway, interesting clues to Nephi society, and potentially helpful clues to better understand Alma 13. ūüôā

Quotation from Elder Cook on choosing wisely; that is, on consecration


My intent is not to discourage participation in sports or the use of the Internet or other worthwhile activities young people enjoy. They are the kind of activities that require moderation, balance, and wisdom. When used wisely, they enrich our lives.

However, I encourage everyone, young and old, to review goals and objectives and strive to exercise greater discipline. Our daily conduct and choices should be consistent with our goals. We need to rise above rationalizations and distractions. It is especially important to make choices consistent with our covenants to serve Jesus Christ in righteousness. We must not take our eyes off or drop that ball for any reason.

This life is the time to prepare to meet God. We are a happy, joyous people. We appreciate a good sense of humor and treasure unstructured time with friends and family. But we need to recognize that there is a seriousness of purpose that must undergird our approach to life and all our choices. Distractions and rationalizations that limit progress are harmful enough, but when they diminish faith in Jesus Christ and His Church, they are tragic.

My prayer is that as a body of priesthood holders, we will make our conduct consistent with the noble purposes required of those who are in the service of the Master. In all things we should remember that being ‚Äúvaliant in the testimony of Jesus‚ÄĚ is the great dividing test between the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms.¬†We want to be found on the celestial side of that divide. As one of His Apostles, I bear fervent testimony of the reality of the Atonement and the divinity of Jesus Christ, our Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

The promise I want to give Women In the Church

I’m still a bit overwhelmed at the lack of vision in Women At Church. Writing helps me, though. Whenever I read a review of it, I’m reminded of why I was looking forward to reading it. It is a peacemaking effort to combine the desires of women to add their work to the work of God with the current opportunities in our Church structure. Great! Perfect! But she spends so much time in the book affirming society’s models or the felt needs of women. Really, those are desires, not needs, and she leaves that unexamined. My need, or my desire, if I have one that stands out, is to know that what we are doing at Church is according to the Spirit and the eternal nature of the work of God. That is my need, my desire. I felt like, coming out of reading that book, that my need would be one of a thousand, a drop in a pond of many other drops. Are all needs and desires really equal? We are all equal individuals, but does that mean every desire is equal? I¬†think that is one thing that our current culture does actually believe. And I¬†think she believes it and presents is as self-evident. But¬†I¬†don’t believe it. I think we are placed here on earth to be, like Joseph Smith called himself, a “rough stone rolling.” We are going to have our desires changed and chipped a way. We are going to sacrifice and be challenged. We are going to be weak, and put in weak positions. All of this is to force us to realize we rely on Christ, and that is isn’t about our work but about God’s work. That sounds negative but it’s actually a huge relief. Whenever I sense that this is God’s work and not mine, I finally relax. I’m not anxious or upset. Sometimes I can see the great thrill it is that God is in charge and actually wants me to come along for the ride. That sense of being His servant is incredible! I don’t know how to describe it beyond the fact that is relieves all stress yet gets me fully to work. It’s a joy to be involved in that kind of work.

And so I think her book is missing something grand. Something I cherish that I found only through prayer, scripture study, grace, consecration, and so forth. Looking at my desires and needs made me miserable, but seeing God’s work unfold before me in clearer ways all the time made me relieved and happy. That this is possible is the promise I want to give Women In the Church.

Abraham wanting to be a Prince of Peace

After reading the JST for Genesis 14, I am left with some questions about how Abraham relates to Melchizedek.

Was Melchizedek an example for him? Did Abraham go to him in order to receive his priesthood? Abraham says, “I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same,” and finally that “I became a rightful heir, a¬†High Priest,¬†holding the right belonging to the fathers” (Abr. 1:2). Could that be referring to this particular visit with Melchizedek? The last verse of the JST for Genesis 14 says that:

And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.

It doesn’t mention the priesthood or appointments or promises concerning seed, etc., but, it does mention a¬†covenant,¬†and also a¬†blessing¬†given by Melchizedek. Who knows, but it could be that he received his appointment to the priesthood from Melchizedek (since Abraham says he received it from the fathers — he had to receive it from someone, and I don’t know of any reference of him going to see any other priesthood holder). Anyway, fun speculation, as always.

Also, Abraham seeks to be a “Prince of Peace” in Abraham 1:2, which is what Melchizedek was just called. Did Abraham want to do what Melchizedek was doing? Was he hoping Melchizedek could ordain him to be the same? Did he? But, if I understand right, Melchizedek was translated to heaven, but Abraham wanders on the earth. Was he appointed to stay on earth, like Noah was after Enoch’s city left? (see Moses 7:42). Abraham is even compared to Noah in Abraham 1:19, though I’m not sure exactly what the connection is (“As it was with Noah so shall it be with thee.”)¬†Was Abraham seeking to be someone who built up a city, but instead, was given the promise that he would be a¬†father,¬†rather than a prince¬†or¬†king?¬†I think there might be some interesting things to think about there.

Abraham will have lands for an “everlasting possession,” but his promised city is set in the future: “a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice” (Abr 2:6). The land that could be made into a celestial city isn’t given to Abraham in his lifetime: there is no possibility of building up a city for Abraham. It is something his future seed will need to do. But in addition, his seed is charged with teaching the whole world in such a way that anyone and everyone can be a part of Abraham’s seed¬†(Abr. 2:9-11)! Abraham sought to be a “Prince of Peace,” but perhaps he got instead the promise of being a father over, really, the rest of the world’s posterity. Interesting trade!

But going back to the JST again, at the least it seems to be that Abraham gets his blessings, whatever they amount to, in return for his tithing. It says, “Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had … more than that which he had need.” Melchizedek is “the keeper of the storehouse,” and the one “God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.”¬†And in return, Melchizedek, “being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God,” “lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram” with riches, honor, lands. It sounds more like consecration of Joseph Smith’s time: consecrate what you have, and you will be given a stewardship back!

I don’t know if I’ve got any right answers, but I do think there are definitely details in there that deserve some more thinking!

Self Reliance (November 2013 YW lesson)

I’ll have to be very quick, but here’s how our lesson went:

We went through King Benjamin’s speech and noted several passages where he talks about our relationship to each other and to God. We made a triangle on the board of “us” “other people” and “God.” Then as we discussed passages or other quotations we drew arrows and wrote words to describe the relationship. In addition to King Benjamin, we talked about Pres. Kimball’s quote: “God does hear us but it is usually through another person that he meets our ¬†needs.” We talked about how God relies on us to help other people (Arrow from God through us to others) and how we can’t think that self-reliance means never receiving help. We added lots of arrows and words throughout the lesson.

Then I told a story about my kids fighting over a water bottle. It was one they were given when we were not at home and the two boys were to share it. They barely used it. We were home having a snack and one boy remembered the water and got it to drink during snack. The other boy remembered that he hadn’t had much so he yelled at his brother for taking too much and yanked it out of his hands! I picked up the water and returned it to the first boy, and picked this brother up and put him on the couch! I explained that we had plenty of water at home and there was no need to be mad or to force his brother to give him water! He could have 300 glasses of water if he wanted!

The point of the story was that if we erase God (or Mom, in this story) from the triangle, then we’ve still got arrows going back and forth between us and others but without any clear picture of what that means. My son forgot that there was any other way to get what he needed except from another person and since he didn’t think asking nicely would work, he resorted to force. How true is it in the real world, that when we forget that God is in charge we resort to fighting, harsh feelings, arguing, gossiping, etc.?

Then a lovely prompting came, and we went back to King Benjamin’s speech and read the part where he says if you always remember your weakness and his greatness you will always rejoice, AND, you will live peaceably and not have a mind to injure one another. I thought that was fascinating. If you remember God is in charge and you are only his servant, you won’t fight! ¬†You won’t, because there is no need when you are relying on God.

Then we looked at the word Self-Reliance again and reviewed everything we had learned. We added above the word self “secret:God”. The weeks before we had talked about becoming Christlike and had read 3 Nephi 12-13 where Christ talks about having a pure heart. We talked about how God seeth in secret, etc. So we brought that back in and said that what matters in self-reliance is our heart, like always. We’ll need others and they need us, but the point is that we are always relying on God. All money or food etc in the world is really God’s. If we’re relying on him, then we’ll have what we need. He might ask us to give a million dollars to someone else, or he might prompt someone to give a million dollars to us. And we have to be okay with it. But, what we can’t do is assume that we want or need something, and that someone else¬†has to give it to us. Then harsh feelings come.

My partner had related that she is in charge of an office and if others don’t do their work she has to still keep things in order. She jumped in here and said that God really was her secret. She couldn’t do it without him. I mentioned that probably to her office staff it looks like she is very self-reliant and on top of things. She laughed and said that was probably true, but they didn’t know her secret. ūüôā

So we ended up saying that self-reliance is when it looks like you are content and independent, when in reality, you are depending on God in such a way that you don’t covet or misuse what you have. It’s a secret relationship with God that makes you truly self-reliant.

I’d add more or explain better but that’s the extent of my time this morning. ūüôā

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings”

Alma 37:37 says: ¬†“Counsel¬†with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for¬†good.”

I have thought a lot about those words, and what it means to “counsel” with the Lord. A conversation with me about this would only really make sense if the other person had read Elder Ballard’s book¬†Counseling with our Councils.¬†In summary, at least, a council is made up of a president, who is responsible in the end for the decision, and counselors, who give the president counsel about particular issues and questions. But a council can only function properly if president and counselors are praying for the Spirit, and, if everyone understands their roles. The counselors¬†need to counsel. They need to share their thoughts, feelings, concerns, ideas, etc. with the president. The president needs to¬†listen to all of those concerns, ask specific questions, etc., and feel where the¬†Spirit¬†is guiding. The ¬†president has the granted rights to receive revelation for the council, but the counselors need to realize that their counsel is also given via the Holy Ghost. (And all of this of course pertains whether the counselors or the president is female or male.)

It’s a bit like the body. The brain makes decisions on how to use the body. But the brain can’t tell the hand to move away from the hot stove unless the hand feels the heat and sends the message up to the brain that there is pain! Then the brain can quickly tell the hand to move away from the stove. Etc. Everyplace in our body there are nerves sending messages up to our brain. That information is then used to make a decision.

It’s of course different when we are talking about a group of people instead of a group of organs, appendages, etc. But the imagery helps me to think about councils, as they are supposed to work.

When Alma says we are to counsel with the Lord, what does he mean, exactly? Are we the president or the counselor in this situation? Do we “counsel with,” in that we ask God for His input? And then He will “direct us” for good, meaning, He will give you really good counsel? Or are we the counselor, and God is the president? If that is the case, I see that we would go to God with¬†all of our thoughts, feelings, concerns, and ideas. Then we would trust God to take those into consideration and return with a decision or direction for us to go. Councils are meant to bring everyone to unity (but not because it’s democratic or not because they all discuss until everyone thinks the same). Councils allow everyone to share all that they feel is important or concerning, but then after that they can trust that their president will receive the necessary spiritual guidance to know what to do next. When that trust is there, the whole council can get behind the direction and move forward in unity. But, as I understand Elder Ballard, the words of the counselors – according to their full honesty of what they think they need to say – is necessary in order for the president to really receive revelation on how to proceed.

If we apply that to us and God, what exactly are we saying here? Are we saying that in order for God to direct us, He first wants us to share all of our thoughts, feelings, concerns, and ideas? I think so, actually! I think when I am honest to share all that feels important to me, it is much much easier to feel God directing me on what to do next. And we read of God having a council in heaven, right? Perhaps God will always be wanting us to share with Him our thoughts and ideas, and then giving us direction on how to proceed in the salvation of others.

Counsel with the Lord – it’s not totally up to you to make all decisions, nor is it appropriate to wait all the time for God to command in all things. You counsel¬†together.¬†Work, study, research, think, be concerned, etc. Then tell God all about it and allow Him to “direct thee for good.” A pattern – I think – that works forever.

Note: I also find that working, studying, etc. and then sharing it with God is also what I understand consecration to be. I work and then give up that work to God, who then decides what to do with it and how to direct me next (what stewardship to give to me). When I do this and trust Him, I know that if it is important God will give me that direction, and when it comes it feels like a true gift from Him to me. (Yay! Grace and Consecration!) 

Priesthood and Genealogy? So much to figure out still…

I was thinking (of course) about the Abrahamic Covenant. I was thinking about how it appears with Abraham, a covenant promise of a specific inherited land was included in his covenant. Then I remembered that section 85 of the D&C also talked about inherited land, so I went to look at it.

What an interesting section!

So, from what I can quickly gather (so I may be way off), those in Zion who consecrated and received back an inheritance didn’t just receive something “sufficient” or “their part in the community” or whatever. They received a covenant inheritance meant to bless their entire family line, going backward and forward? That seems suddenly impossible, how could they all share that much land? But perhaps it means something else? But all the same, there is something about¬†having a consecrated land that means they are in good standing with God, and those who don’t have an inheritance or who apostatized don’t have that land forever (and their names are not written the the Book and their genealogy isn’t either? What do we do about that today?).

Specifically, those who don’t live the law of consecration aren’t considered part of the priesthood. But, that happens at the last day. The last verse of D&C 85 says they will be like those mentioned in Ezra 2:62, who sought to find their priesthood genealogy but it was muddled and unclear, so they were put out from the priesthood. Is that part of what we are doing with¬†genealogy¬† If, at the last day, we can have a clear line running from us to Adam, with everyone in the middle having received¬†ordinances¬†and covenants, even if they didn’t keep those covenants, then we can have a part in the priesthood??

So it appears. We’ve got so much to figure out still about what priesthood is and how it is meant to be viewed, meant to function, and how it will work in the end when everything is set right again.