Tag Archives: Priesthood

D&C 112 thoughts


Here are a few thoughts after the D&C 112 lesson yesterday:

  1. I need to read the Revelations In Context chapter for this!
  2. Thomas Marsh was the head of the quorum of the 12 apostles because he was the oldest. That sounds so strange to us — we should pick who ever is the best, right? Most spiritual? Or whoever God manifests to us should be the head? And so forth. Obviously, God had a hand in picking out the whole quorum, and may very well have arranged it so that the oldest was someone he wanted to be the head. But another way of seeing the situation is that once the 12 were called, it didn’t really matter who was the head and who wasn’t. The structure of a head/council did matter — the existence of that hierarchy that then allows for revelation to come in a certain way did matter, but really, it didn’t matter who was at the head and who were the rest of the council. The structure doesn’t really work unless 1, we see the “head” as an arbitrary choice and trust the structure as such to work, or 2, there is some, somewhat logical reason why someone will be the head, so we can relax about it and let the process do its thing. So picking the oldest was maybe a way to do that. In our family there are times where Emma has more privilege or responsibility, or where Micah gets the extra cookie, or whatever, because everyone recognizes that the oldest and the youngest are somewhat different in their relation to the family. I can see how ordering the 12 by age was a good way to handle that. Also, Brigham was next, and when Thomas Marsh left we had Brigham there to get the Saints across the plains and settling new land. We look back on that and say “Only Brigham could have done that!” But we really don’t know that. It probably would have worked out fine, just done in a different way.
  3. The story of the Kirtland Bank is such a sad one! Instead of relieving debt it caused something like three times more debt. So many were affected, so many were angry, so many were in more desperate circumstances than they were before. But, this was a common problem throughout the US. It wasn’t just a Kirtland thing. Their small safety society was an attempt to avoid the problems that were going on. It didn’t work, but all that means is that they didn’t avoid something that was already going on. Should the prophet be blamed for this? I see how so many felt like he should have foreseen and protected them. He tried! As I’m reading the Book of Mormon I’m reminded how often wars happen when the people are being proud etc. So maybe the interpretation could have been that Joseph did what he could but the people weren’t righteous enough to avoid it? Or that God chastens his people and they could have been strengthened to endure it?
  4. Another lesson for me from the Kirtland banking story is that the Saints’ and prophets’ lives are always in the context of history, including the economic and political pushes and pulls of the nations. What happened in Kirtland was related to what was happening throughout the country they were living in. It affected the problem, it affected the idea Joseph had for fixing it, and it affected how people responded. All of this was in a context. That makes me think of so many things that have happened throughout the history of the Church. For example, the reason that the Relief Society started was because there were many women getting together to start charitable organizations. When a group got together to start one in Nauvoo, Joseph decided to make it something bigger and ordained by the priesthood. But it was originially started because women looked at what was going on around them, saw good in it, and started to follow suit. Things like correlation, teaching styles, Church-dress clothing styles, missionary approaches, and so on, are all products of or reactions do what is going on in the general culture. And that ought to be considered a lot more, I think. (In positive, charitable ways.)
  5. Love the words “feel after” in verse 13
  6. V. 20 sounds like D&C 84 and I want to think about that more
  7. Verses 20-21 remind me of Elder Oaks’ talk about priesthood and how women are authorized under the priesthood to do what they do. Right now I can imagine the Relief Society (as an abstract “object”) having hands laid on its “head” and being ordained.
  8.  v. 32 sounds like Abraham (he has the record that has come down from the fathers, he seeks after the blessings of the priesthood which came down from the fathers, even the first father…)

Receiveth in D&C 84


Yesterday in Sunday School Joe taught about D&C 84 and priesthood, so today I’m back to looking at some of my favorite mysterious verses in scripture!

Here’s what I’ve learned this time.

Verses 36 and 37 are a quotation or paraphrase of John 13:20:

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Also, interestingly, in John the next verses go on to tell the story of Judas leaving the last supper dinner to betray Jesus. D&C 84: 40 talks about severe consequences for breaking oath and covenant received. Maybe a connection, maybe not.

While sometimes it says “obtain” priesthood and sometimes “receive” priesthood, today I think it means the same thing.

At times I’ve wondered if receive priesthood could mean receiving those individuals with priesthood who offer knowledge and ordinances. The reason I wondered this is because verse 33 talks about “obtaining” priesthood. It’s only 2 verses later that we read the words “receive this priesthood.” I checked Webster’s 1828 dictionary, and it emphasized a difference between the two words — obtain means some sort of effort was required, but receive could go either way.

I did some more looking around scripture, and realized that “receive” the priesthood is the language throughout the genealogy of priesthood lineage earlier in this section, as well as throughout scripture. So I settled on the idea that v. 35 and v.40, etc., are talking about receiving the priesthood itself, as in, being ordained.

So what is point of vs. 35-40?

Perhaps this is how to read these verses:

All those who receive the priesthood become the “sons of Moses” “sons of Aaron,” and “seed of Abraham” mentioned in scripture. But not only that, they receive me. Do they see me? Well, not necessarily. Remember he that receiveth my servants (such as Joseph and Oliver), receive me.

And also, remember that all that receive me, receive my Father too — just like I said in John 13:20.

And those who receive the Father receive all he has. This is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.

That is, it is possible to receive this oath and covenant because once you receive him, you can receive the oath and covenant of the Father

Further question

I still don’t know what to make of the words “according to” and “belongeth to.” I’ve spent many a study and blog post coming up with possible meanings. Today, I just don’t know. 🙂 I could see it meaning that receiving the Father is what the priesthood promises. This is in accordance with vs. 22-25.


Alma 13:3-8


I felt drawn to revisit Alma 13 this morning.

Years ago, Kim and I did a study of Alma 13 together. She suggested that “manner” (that oh-so-confusing term in Alma 13) might mean the trio of “calling, ordinance, priesthood.”

Reviewing verses 3-8 with that in mind, I see the flow better than I had before (or at least, better than I have since we did those readings together….)

Verse 3 introduces the idea of “call.” Verses 1 and 2 mention ordination, but not calling. Verse 3 emphasizes that God had planned this long in advance. It was not a new idea, nor an idea that men came up with.

And beyond that, the individuals that he will call were also planned long in advance. Thus, these people are “called with a holy calling, yeah, with that holy calling which was prepared.” Calling here, not meaning what we commonly use it to mean — not a job, an temporary occupation in God’s service. But calling here meaning something more straightforward, as in God “calling” out someone, through His Spirit, through a vision, through another priest/prophet, etc. The point here, I think, is that God is initiating the process.

(?Verses 4-5 explain that God will reach out to those who will not reject this calling, knowing in advance through prior actions if we will or will not reject?)

Verse 6 introduces “ordained,” but really skips over that one to the “high priesthood or the holy order.” It explains (what I take to be) the purpose of this priesthood: “to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest.” Verse 1 said something similar: “The Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order…to teach these things unto the people.”

Verse 7 goes on to explain priesthood more. For now, the point is that it existed “from the foundation of the world.”

Verse 8 wraps these three things together: “Now they were ordained after this manner — being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is with out beginning or end — Thus they become high priests.”

Verse 8 also added slightly to the “ordain” part of the trio. They are “ordained with a holy ordinance.” Whatever that ordinance is is left unsaid, but there is some event, some moment, some procedure that makes this legitimized.

As I re-read verses 3-8, I see a clear organizational pattern, something that has often eluded me in Alma 13.


A few thoughts on Relief Society & Priesthood (from Chapter 8)


President Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth President of the Church, said, “There is a power in this organization [of Relief Society] that has not yet been fully exercised to strengthen the homes of Zion and build the Kingdom of God—nor will it until both the sisters and the priesthood catch the vision of Relief Society.”

Priesthood quorums organize men in a brotherhood to give service, to learn and carry out their duties, and to study the doctrines of the gospel. Relief Society accomplishes these same purposes for the women of the Church.

It hadn’t quite dawned on me to ask why priesthood-holding men were organized into groups; I just knew they were according to the scriptures. But yes, why? Well, to organize service, to teach each other, to study, to counsel. And yes, that is exactly what the Relief Society does as well. We are an organized, authorized, energized group of women ready to do the work of the gospel.


Search results for “Blood” and “Garments”


Tonight at study group we are studying some places in the Book of Mormon where a priest says that if they don’t teach the people, the sins of the people will be on their garments. (Jacob 1:19 and Mosiah 2:28 particularly, though also Mormon 9:35 and Ether 12:38)

So I thought I’d do a search for “Blood” and “Garments” first, just to see what interesting results there might be.

So far I am seeing these categories:

  1. Aaron being sprinkled with blood in order to sanctify his clothes, the temple, etc.
  2. Blood on garments because there was just a war, or saying there will be blood on garments because a war coming soon
  3. (Similar to #2) Someone is unclean because they have touched blood
  4. (interesting: Women with issue of blood touches garment
  5. Garments made white through Christ’s blood
  6. Blood of another’s sins upon priest’s garments
  7. Garments made clean from the blood of this generation (D&C 88)

Talks by Elder Oaks on Priesthood (just collecting them in a list)


There’s more, certainly, but these are a few I want to refer to often:

2005: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/10/priesthood-authority-in-the-family-and-the-church?lang=eng

2010: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/two-lines-of-communication?lang=eng

2014: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/power-in-the-priesthood?lang=eng

I also found this 1992 talk on the Relief Society, quoting a lot from the early minutes. Here are a few passages which either highlight how I see it anticipates his later talk in 2014, or that I just find intriguing:

“To save souls opens the whole field of human activity and development,” Elder John A. Widtsoe later declared. “Relief of poverty, relief of illness; relief of doubt, relief of ignorance—relief of all that hinders the joy and progress of woman. What a magnificent commission!” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987, p. 308.)

Here the Prophet declared that the Relief Society was to receive instruction and direction from the priesthood leaders who presided over their activities. Like the quorums of priesthood holders in the Church, the Relief Society was to be self-governing, but it was not to be an independent organization. It was an integral part of the Church, not a separate church for women.

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “While the sisters have not been given the Priesthood, … that does not mean that the Lord has not given unto them authority. Authority and Priesthood are two different things. A person may have authority given to him, or a sister to her, to do certain things in the Church that are binding and absolutely necessary for our salvation, such as the work that our sisters do in the House of the Lord.” (Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1959, p. 4.)

No priesthood keys were delivered to the Relief Society. Keys are conferred on individuals, not organizations. The same is true of priesthood authority and of the related authority exercised under priesthood direction. Organizations may channel the exercise of such authority, but they do not embody it. Thus, the priesthood keys were delivered to the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, not to any organizations. (See Topical Guide, “Priesthood, keys of.”)

Under the priesthood authority of the bishop, the president of a ward Relief Society presides over and directs the activities of the Relief Society in the ward. A stake Relief Society president presides and exercises authority over the function to which she has been called. The same is true for the other auxiliaries. Similarly, women called as missionaries are set apart to go forth with authority to teach the everlasting gospel, and women called to work in a temple are given authority for the sacred functions to which they have been called. All function under the direction of the priesthood leader who has been given the priesthood keys to direct those who labor in his area of responsibility.

In considering the Prophet’s instructions to the first Relief Society, we should remember that in those earliest days in Church history more revelation was to come. Thus, when he spoke to the sisters about the appropriateness of their laying on hands to bless one another, the Prophet cautioned “that the time had not been before that these things could be in their proper order—that the Church is not now organized in its proper order, and cannot be until the Temple is completed.” (Minutes, 28 Apr. 1842, p. 36.) During the century that followed, as temples became accessible to most members, “proper order” required that these and other sacred practices be confined within those temples.

Some leaders at various levels of the Church have neglected to apply these basic principles. Some have failed to have the regular consultation with auxiliary leaders that is specified in our Church handbooks of instruction. President Spencer W. Kimball taught the governing principle to the priesthood leaders of the Church when he said: “Our sisters do not wish to be indulged or to be treated condescendingly; they desire to be respected and revered as our sisters and our equals. I mention all these things, my brethren, not because the doctrines or the teachings of the Church regarding women are in any doubt, but because in some situations our behavior is of doubtful quality.” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 49.)


“Priest unto”


I just want to think about that phrasing. What does it meant to be a priest “unto” someone or something?

A quick search shows that (I think) these are the references that have the exact words “priest unto”:

  • Judges 18:19

    19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?

  • 1 Kings 2:27

    27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord; that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

  • Ezekiel 44:13

    13 And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.

 

This quick (and not conclusive) search has two uses of “unto.” Two results seem to use “unto” to refer to who you are under, who you serve, what order you are apart of, etc. But one result seems to use “unto” to refer to which group you are over. I suppose these aren’t mutually exclusive uses here:

God

Priest (serves God) (serves people)

People

But I still want to think about what the difference really is by saying a priest serves unto God or a priest serves unto a people.

More to think about…