Tag Archives: priests

Priestcraft?


The other day I was reading 2 Nephi 26, and a different way of reading these verses struck me. What if all three of these verses are about priests? What if “laborer in Zion” meant a priest who was preaching? In this reading, verse 30 is reassuring the priest, saying that you shouldn’t rely on the Church for your support, but if it turns out that you find yourself needing help, the Church can help you because they should help everybody. But then comes the warning in verse 31: just because you know they can help you, doesn’t mean that’s why you’re laboring.

29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.

31 But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.

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This sounds a lot like Mosiah 18 to me:

26 And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God.

27 And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.

28 And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul.

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This way of reading these verses also sounds like D&C 24, where Joseph is told to plant his fields and then go preach, and the Church will take care of his current needs. Emma is told that the Church will watch over their family. There seems to be a big difference between watching over needs and getting paid, though it’s subtle.

24:3 Magnify thine office; and after thou hast sowed thy fields and secured them, go speedily unto the church which is in Colesville, Fayette, and Manchester, and they shall support thee; and I will bless them both spiritually and temporally;

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Study group on Jacob 1:19 (blood/sins on garments)


We spent a study group looking at Jacob 1:19 and other verses in the Book of Mormon that talk about other people’s blood on someone’s garments unless they teach & preach.

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We looked at the Old Testament passages that talk about the blood sacrifices in the temple, and especially the ones where blood is sprinkled on the priest.

Jacob’s calling/office would have been consecrated by blood, we assumed.

We also talked about the Day of Atonement, where one goat is killed to sanctify Israel and the priest, and the other goat is given all of Israel’s sins and then banished to wander in the wilderness.

We noticed that Cain & Abel fit that model (one is banished, one dies)

We also noticed that Judah & Joseph fit that too (Judah sends a goat to the prostitute, and Joseph’s brothers use goat blood to pretend that Joseph is dead)

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We realized part way into our study that there’s a New Testament verse about shaking sins/blood from garments. In Acts 18:6, Paul shakes clothes to symbolize that he’s tried to teach Israel, then he goes to teach Gentiles.
We also thought it was interesting in some way that Paul says in Act 20:22 that he held clothes: “And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.”
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Alma & Alma the Younger? Thyself destroyed, not on parents’ head?
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Finally, we wrapped it up by talking about whether this talk of having blood of others on you unless you teach them was just for those in a certain priesthood office who had willingly taken on them the responsibility to teach, or whether through places like D&C 88 and D&C 68 this is now spread to every member of the Church?
We talked about stewardship and what that may mean and not mean.
We read D&C 121, which warns priesthood holders that it is tempting to use priesthood authority to force or control. If you think it’s your job to save everyone else so that you aren’t responsible, it could be tempting to use priesthood authority in the wrong ways. We thought it was particularly important that is says that you can’t go about your priesthood office in order to cover sins (don’t go around warning/judging/teaching others about their sin in order to distract from your own!) and that you can’t go about your office in vain ambition (don’t be so ambitious about preaching judgments on others! Don’t think you’re going to save them yourself!). D&C 121 seemed to us to be very applicable to our discussion.
We also noted that D&C 68 could be referring to those parents which teach children to not believe — that is, teach them that belief is not important, that repentance is not important, that faith is not important. This lines up with how the Book of Mormon talks about Laman & Lemuel in 2 Nephi 4 and how the Nephites began to dwindle in unbelief in 4 Nephi.
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We also talked about the difference between works & grace here. If you think you have to teach everyone or else you’re out of heaven, you are working on a works model. It’s Christ who saves, not us! We thought about 3 Nephites who, out of love, wanted to stay on earth and keep teaching. That seems to be the idea here — people who willingly want to teach because of love.

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)

“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…