Tag Archives: Moses 6

Priestess in my family


I’m a sloppy blog writer, so apologizes as always —

There are so many ways in which my role as a mom (parent) over my children is similar to the role of the priest over a group of people. The Book of Mormon’s priests considered the sins of the people to be their fault unless the priests taught the people sufficiently. D&C 68 states that if parents do not teach their children to understand the gospel by age 8, the sins of the children will be on the heads of their parents. That’s a striking similarity, I believe. And a serious one. I never want to just write about these things to say “hey look women are cool too” — I want to seriously think through what work God has given me.

In addition, the temple gives certain roles, gifts, powers, and knowledge  to me that certainly give me a responsibility. It may be that these are not exercised fully outside of the temple, or family, or callings within a priesthood structure, but they are certainly still serious.

In addition to those thoughts, I am so struck, maybe even convinced, that the Book of Moses sets up Eve and Adam as a two-person priesthood pair that presides over their family. It is only after there is a righteous son and grandson, in a sea of wicked family members, that the word “priesthood” actually appears. This priesthood seems to be a structure set up to induce preaching in each generation, by those called of God and with authority to perform ordinances. But within each family, there is potentially a mother and a father with the same roles and rights and responsibilities that Eve and Adam had.

That is, I think it is fair to say that each woman is a priestess within her own family, and this is especially the case if she has been to the temple to be initiated and endowed.

Recently I reviewed this Primary song. You’re familiar with it. It says, “Mine is a home where ev’ry hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood pow’r, With father and mother leading the way.” Mine is a home where every hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood power. That is your responsibility, sisters, to help your home be a home that is blessed every hour by priesthood power. It isn’t just when Dad is there. It’s not just when Mom is there. It’s not just when a priesthood ordinance or blessing is being performed. It’s every hour as covenants are kept. –Julie Beck

 

 

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Eve, Adam, and the Priesthood


Moses 5:4 says: “Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord.”

Moses 6:4, 7 says: “And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord … Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.”

I think there is a lot going on here in these three simple verses. What Adam and Eve do (call on the name of the Lord together), is later referred to as “Priesthood” when a group of men do it.

What do we make of that?

Here are some ideas:

1) Here, way back in the book of  Moses, in taking about the first man and woman, I think I see the same situation I’ve wondered about recently: women can do Priesthood-like things without an ordination to the Priesthood (i.e., temple endowment, missions, leadership callings)

2) What Adam and Eve do comes first, and Priesthood comes second.

3) The Priesthood seems to be a matter of generations, while Eve-Adam version isn’t?

4) From #3, could we say that the Priesthood is vertical (multi-generational) while the Eve-Adam version is horizontal (immediate, temporal, lateral)?

5) D&C 128 links Priesthood unmistakably to uniting generations.

6) Why today do we have a presidency consisting of 3 men of any generation or family, whereas with Adam, he needed 3 generations? What could we learn about the priesthood from that?

7) Did that change with Abraham? Are we all considered Abraham’s seed, and so any three men will do?

8) Did Abraham’s covenant change anything for women? Do we still operation with the Eve-Adam version?

9) What about women not married? Eve of course was, so I don’t see what we can learn directly there. However, it’s incredibly important to remember that women, married or not, can receive temple endowments, serve missions, and serve in leadership without Priesthood ordination. (Note that when we had a “Priesthood ban” for black member, they could not receive endowments or sealings. The situation for women is actually quite different.)

10) What other things should I note from these 3 verses?


Alma’s speech & Alma 13


This is going to be a growing post of my thoughts on Alma 13. I’m working them out here so my post at dewsfromheaven won’t be so scattered and rambly! 🙂

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Yesterday, I decided to take some time and work through the last part of Alma 12 and then all of 13 and look for connections within the text. I get so easily bogged down in the first half of Alma 13 that I felt like it was wise to step out and get some fresh air. — The theme of some receiving messages from God and then imparting them to others, while others do not receive messages because they harden their hearts, is not new with Alma 13. Alma 12:9-10 introduce the idea already:

And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

Also, he compares this dichotomy to the final judgment:

 …judged according to our works. Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned.

I find that same pattern in the rest of Alma 12 and 13. Sometimes he is talking about the final “rest of the Lord,” and sometimes he is explaining why some are priests in this world and some aren’t.

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Alma 12 could be talking about just Adam and Eve. Verse 21 first parents, 22 Adam, 23 Adam, 26 first parents, 27 men, 28 man/them, 29 them/men, 30 they/men/them/them/their, 31 men/they/first commandments/placing themselves/their, 32 them, 33 men. Then Alma applies this to Ammonihah. There is no mention of “a people” here like there is in Alma 13, for what it’s worth. Chapter 13 wants to cite our minds forward, but even with our previous reading it’s still a little sticky. Here, the Lord God gives commandments “unto his children.” Who is considered to be in this group? That seems an odd title for Adam and Eve (who have always so far been described as parents, not children). Could it be that “his children” actually does mean a time later than Adam and Eve?

Alma 13:1 is also the first time we get the idea that there will be someone to teach “the people.” In chapter 12, we always had “them” or “men” but never “the people.” Does this mark a time in history when there was a sizable group? The time of the Exodus is an obvious possibility. I like that one because of God calling them “his children.” That was one moment in history where God became God to a specific group of people, by covenant and everything. Let me lay out why the time of Moses 5-6 would also be a good choice. The text said there had been many children born to Adam and Eve, and these children were old enough to divide two & two and have their own families (Moses 5:2-3). It’s after that detail that the angel comes to teach Adam about why he offers sacrifices, etc. Then, after that, we get Cain, Abel, and soon Seth and Enos. By the time we get the first mention of priesthood in Moses 6:7, there is definitely a group we could call “the people.”

But, of course, some of the details of Alma’s story don’t entirely match Moses 4-6. Wish as I might that scripture was less sticky, well, here we are. 🙂 But I do think that the time of Adam-Seth-Enos shouldn’t be thrown out anyway. Alma 13:1’s words of citing forward may mean jumping from the time of Adam and Eve to the time of Adam’s grandson, likely several hundred years later in the story (I should go do the math shouldn’t I…).

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The discussion of choosing good or evil in verse 3 is obviously connected to Adam and Eve and the fall, but I found another detail that interested me. When chapter 12 starts to talk about the way commandments were given and that there was a choice between good and evil, it never finishes the story. It jumps to the time of Ammonihah and the choice they have to harden their hearts or to repent. The story never finishes. Did men choose good? Would we have been talking about Adam and Eve and their choices in light of further commandments?
We are left hanging. So in Alma 13:3, when we get the talk of “left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good…” it could very well be picking up from the story in chapter 12.

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My summary of the Abrahamic Covenant (posted at Feast Upon the Word Blog)


http://feastuponthewordblog.org/2012/11/17/the-family-of-adam-and-eve-the-abrahamic-covenant/


Promise concerning the “seed”?


So, I’ve always kind of liked the image of “seed” to describe posterity. We’re like plants; we produce seeds that can grown into their own plants, which can produce not just one seed but many many seeds, each of which grows not just into one, say, apple, but a whole tree of apples all with seeds to produce not just one apple, but a whole tree of apples with many seeds each! The abundance that one seed can produce is extraordinary!

I was thinking today of the phrase from Abraham (and of course elsewhere) where he is seeking after the promise concerning the “seed.” I have lots of things I want to ask here, but for right now I am thinking about that word that he uses there.

I did some research on “seed” in pollination etc. 🙂 But I also did a search on lds.org to see where it was that “seed” was first used to refer to human children rather than plants. It doesn’t take too long: Genesis 3:15. And to my surprise, it wasn’t even a male being addressed! (In all of the technical reproductive definitions I was reading, both human and plant “seed” is the male part of the deal.) It isn’t to Adam, it isn’t to Abraham; the first mention of human seed is to Eve:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Fascinating, to me. This is hers? Why is it hers, and not Adam and Eve’s collectively? Why is the responsibility or lineage through her? Eve is the “mother of all living” but why isn’t Adam then the “father of all living?” Adam is “earth” or “dirt” or “clay.” Why is he that? Let’s see, dirt/earth/clay is what they were created out of. Adam is the material that is molded into life, but cannot actually give life? I did see that in reproductive definitions, the female egg is “dormant” until the male part wakes up the egg to get going. She already has life in her, but it needs to be awakened/activated. Is this why she is so associated with life? But still, what of Adam being dirt? The earth was created first, then Adam out of earth, but then Eve out of him, but specifically out of a bone, not out of his clay-ness or “earthiness.” Dirt sounds easily moldable; bone does not. Why then is she created out of bone? Is she considered more solid? More protected? Already made? = Already containing life? I’m not sure what to make of it, but I think that it is interesting and I want to keep it in the back of my head.

So, the promise concerning the “seed.” At first, though I love Sister Beck’s applications, I wondered if this actually truly was a male promise. But after thinking about this reference first to Eve, I don’t think I can jump that far to that conclusion. Second, I know that I can’t ignore the idea that there was a chosen seed from Adam on down that was supposed to live as long as the earth will stand. I know that sounds odd, because of course whoever is still alive at the end of the world is going to be related to Adam! 🙂 So there is something more to it. I mean, if you are Noah (pre-flood) or Abraham or someone along the way here, then knowing your seed will last until the end does mean something real. Nephi and Lehi receiving the promise that their seed will be preserved means something. They know very well that their lineage could die out at any point (especially with how the contention is going among them…!) But what of the promise given way back when to Adam? Note here what Eve says: (Eve? Again? this is getting interesting!)

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

“Seed” here means something more than just “child.” Cain was still alive; many other children, it appears, where alive. But something was different about Abel. What? I don’t see Genesis explaining it much, but D&C 107 seems to say it was a matter of Priesthood. But why was the Priesthood only for one person in each generation? I don’t know, but here is some of what D&C 107 has to say:

40 The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.

41 This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:

42 From Adam to Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of sixty-nine years, and was blessed by him three years previous to his (Adam’s) death, and received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth; …

There was something about Seth (who replaced Abel) that was different. (Also, why did Adam wait so long to bless Seth? Three years before he died? Could only one person have this promise at a time or something?) So this is where I get the idea that the “chosen seed” means being kept alive and preserved: “that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth.”

But why is this important? From what I can gather from here and Moses 5-6 and elsewhere, it has something to do with a righteous line that would preserve the Priesthood. (That seems to be what Abraham wants to do, to be that link in the chain that keeps his covenants and preserves the Priesthood power on the earth.) (What we do with the “Apostasy” I’m not sure; but of course that could be one reason the Restoration is such a huge event; it not only restored knowledge, it restored the Priesthood lineage that will last until the end of the earth – and, as Abraham is told, it is this lineage that all the other families have to be grafted into in order to be blessed with the gospel blessings..)

Back to Moses 5-6 for a moment. Look at what I just noticed here in Moses 6:2 (!):

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth. And Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

Here it is Adam, not Eve who talks about being appointed another seed. (What do we make of the role women play in Genesis based on this little difference?) Here Adam rejoices in another seed. Either way, of course, it’s the same person and same purpose, but I do think it’s interesting to see the same words spoken by both parents but in different accounts!

A few verses later (verse 7 to be exact), we get this bit of information:

Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.

I tend to hear “Priesthood” and think “power, ability, authority,” etc. But in fairness, the word I think should also be heard “priest”-hood. Like “neighbor” -hood. A neighborhood is where all the neighbors are collected together. So when this verse mentions “Priesthood” it comes just after three generations all being to call upon the name of God, write, etc. There is a group formed at 3, for some reason, and this “priest”-hood will be in the end of the world also. Hmm. Note that it doesn’t say continue uninterrupted, but that it will “be” in the end also. Interesting.

And for some reason, the “seed” here is important. Why? Why can’t God pick anyone on the earth at any time? What is it about the seed? About generations? About lineage? It seems like an unjustified inequality to us, but yet God chose it and sticks to it. Why?

Also, as Abraham is told, it is by this lineage that “all the families of the earth” will be blessed (see Abraham 1 and 2). So, then, God isn’t proposing to only bless or save one family line. There is one family line with Priesthood – one group who calls upon God? – that then has… the work of saving the others? Is it a specific assignment? A call? A job? A responsibility? And still why make it in one family line?

And do we really seal ourselves in our own lines to Adam, or are we sealing ourselves to Abraham’s family? If there is one chosen seed, are we all really sealing ourselves and our ancestors and our posterity into that line? A sort of skeleton on which everyone else can hang on to? A line which is guaranteed to be connected from Adam to the end?

There is something of that, I think. Abraham is told that whoever accepts the gospel will be counted as his seed, right? And there needs to be with “welding link” Joseph says in D&C 128… but it’s not actually sealing, it’s baptism – baptisms for the dead, in D&C 128, that connects generations together. Is he referring less to family “units” but rather to sealing us all to Abraham? Being counted as his seed? Making a welding link to us and to Abraham? Making everyone  thus of the chosen seed? (And only by that do we have any right whatsoever to the Priesthood?)

D&C 128 seems to say some such thing like that. To be bold and half-baked for a moment, could we say that baptisms for us and for the dead put us in Abraham’s family, count us as his seed, open us up to all the blessings of the gospel “even of life eternal” – but, the sealing ordinance is what seals this lineage upon us in such a way that we can then “administer” it to others? (See Abraham 1 again). Abraham wants the promises and he wants to administer them to others. By being sealed, do we become not just a branch on Abraham’s tree, but now a flowering, seed-producing branch that adds to the family? ie, we not only are added, but now we do adding? We do collecting of souls? (Or “winning” of souls? Abraham brings the souls he had “won” with him). Is that the difference, there? Baptism brings us all the blessings of the gospel (we receive them) but sealing makes us like Abraham (we can give them). We become another point on the line that can branch out and include others; we are a grafting point; we are a split off where so many more rely on us as the sure place where they can be hung?

Like I said, bold, and half-baked. But something I’ll also keep around in my mind to see if it sprouts at any point. 🙂