Tag Archives: Priesthood

What if YM leaders became members of the deacons’, teachers’, or priests’ quorums?

A thought I’ve been having lately —

With the change of high priests meeting with elders and being in the elders’ quorum, I have been wondering about changing the way we think about deacons, teachers, and priest quorums. Just as a high priest is also an elder, an elder is also a deacon, teacher, and priest. What if the adult leaders who were called to serve with the young men actually joined their quorum, rather than being a leader-supervisor of the quorum? So if Brother so-in-so was called to serve as the YM second counselor, he would actually join and act in the roles of the deacon’s quorum.

I like the idea because of how seriously it takes the roles of deacon, teacher, and priest. I like it because adults and YM become members of a quorum who serve side-by-side. And, I like it because the adults no longer feel like they can’t attend their quorum meetings on Sunday. They just simply join another quorum.

I like the thought of a YM filling the role laid out in D&C 107:85, but it also kind of describes the current set-up, where an adult is teaching the deacons their duty:

And again, verily I say unto you, the duty of a president over the office of a deacon is to preside over twelve deacons, to sit in council with them, and to teach them their duty, edifying one another, as it is given according to the covenants.”

I actually really, really like the idea of an elder sitting with the deacons (or teachers or priests) and counseling with them, and teaching them, and being edified by them as well as edifying them. And it’s not just that they sit, teach, and edify as an elder, they sit, teach, and edify as a member of that quorum, because this elder is also has within himself the authority to act as a deacon, just like the YM.


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.