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By Benjamin Seeker
I started a thread earlier this year addressing some verses in D&C 86 on Joseph Smith and lineal priesthood. I recently followed up on it and put the puzzle pieces together.
D&C 86:8-10 appears to state that Joseph Smith had the priesthood through birthright. An early hint of JS' beliefs about his lineage come from 2 Ne 3, which teaches that JS is a descendant of Joseph (11th son of Israel), and though the lineage of Ephraim is one of leadership, it's not apparent that there is a lineal priesthood associated with it like there is for the Levites or the sons of Aaron. However, a Smith family lineal priesthood authority is actually well attested. JS established the position of Patriarch of the church, which originally was something akin to second in command, as a lineal position given to the eldest in a direct line from Joseph Smith Sr. This clear example of a lineal priesthood eventually disappeared when the position of church Patriarch was done away with due to conflict between the church Patriarch and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (EDIT: Robert points out later in this thread that the absence of the Church Patriarch can be seen as a result of the homosexual status of the second to last patriarch, and that the position may still be filled at a future point. Radio Free Mormon, and others I'm sure, have made other arguments, but this point is pretty peripheral to the discussion).
The position of Patriarch to the church is only half of the story. D&C 113 states, "What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse? Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power." It is common in Mormon thought to believe these verses apply to Joseph Smith, and that seems to be a correct assumption. The line of Jesse refers to the kingly line of David, and significantly, JS prophesied "the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage," which apparently referred to one of JS' offspring. He made this clear when he prophesied that his unborn son, David, would be a "church president and king over Israel."
In Mormon theology, a King in the kingdom of Israel is a priesthood position. Notably, JS himself was ordained as a King in this sense in the Council of Fifty, also known in revelation as the "The Kingdom of God and His Laws with the Keys and Power thereof, and Judgment in the Hands of His Servants, Ahman Christ." According to Nauvoo theology the priesthood role of King was the ultimate leader of the Church, and according to contemporary accounts, Hyrum Smith was to fill JS' shoes should he die. All of this together gives a pretty clear answer to the lineal priesthood mentioned in D&C 86. The Smith family was a royal family in Israel destined to lead the restoration.
The Daughters of MOTHER EVE
of Latter-Day Saints
1. We believe that God is a title that denotes more than one personage. Those personages are our Father and Mother in Heaven.
2. We believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of Mankind and Mother Eve the Comforter of mankind.
3. We believe that we were given the Sarahic1 Priestesshood in the pre-existence through Mother Eve.
4. We believe that the Miriamic1 Priestesshood is to help prepare women to take on the duties of the Sarahic1Priestesshood.
5. We believe that women should lead side by side and hand in hand with our brothers, husbands, and fathers.
6. We believe that our duty and calling is separate and complimentary to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
7. We believe that there should be no poor among us. To help the poor build a secure life with love and understanding.
8. We believe that poverty is instability in home ownership, food availability and job security.
9. We believe that through personal accountability and community support we can achieve the fullest measure of our creation.
10. We believe that holy script has been changed by false priests and evil transcribers to exclude and persecute those who were a different gender, race, nationality, and sexuality.
11. We believe through objective thought and careful prayer we will be able to strip prejudice from ourselves and our beliefs.
12. We believe that we are saved through Jesus Christ and we are here Because of the sacrifice of Mother Eve.
1 These names were chosen in the same manner that The Melchizedek and the Aaronic Priesthood names were chosen. Namely by calling them after Women that faithful to the Priestesshood, otherwise known as the Priestesshood after the Order of the Daughter of God.
By Benjamin Seeker
If it's worth anything to anyone, so far I've come to the following conclusion on the earliest doctrines on reception of the Priesthood, so 1829-1830ish:
The verbal call from God is paramount in receiving the Priesthood (as far as I can tell, there is no reference to angelic ordination in this time period). Evidences include: Description of receiving the priesthood in JST Gen 14, dictated sometime between mid 1830 and early 1831: "29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name." Adam's reception of the priesthood in Moses 6, dictated in November-December 1830: "66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; 67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. 68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen." Verse 67's declaration that he is after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years is a declaration of priesthood. The Book of Mormon and JST frequently use holy order or after the order of the son of God to reference priesthood. The without beginning of days or end of years is included in the discussion on priesthood in JST Gen 14, referenced above, in Alma 13, referenced below, and is rooted in the description of Melchizedek in Hebrews 7. Description of receiving the priesthood in Alma 13, dictated in 1829: " 3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such." (Later evidence) The introduction of JS' 1832 history, which reference three events, the reception of the "Holy Priesthood" through the ministering of angels, the "confirmation and reception of the High Priesthood," and the "keys of the kingdom conferred upon him." (Later evidence) The 1838 history clarifies the most likely meaning of the "confirmation and reception of the High Priesthood." The 1838 history states, " We now became anxious to have that promise realized to us, which the Angel that conferred upon us the Aaronick Priesthood had given us, viz: that provided we continued faithful; we should also have the Melchesidec Priesthood... we had not long been engaged in solemn and fervent prayer, when the word of the Lord, came unto us in the Chamber, commanding us; that I should ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ, and that he also should ordain me to the same office, and then <to> ordain others as it should be made known unto us, from time to time: we were however comman ded to defer this our ordination untill, such times, as it should be practicable to have our brethren, who had been and who should be baptized, assembled together, when we must have their sanction to our thus proceeding to ordain each other..." There is an ordination, but it's the Holy Ghost that makes the ordination effective, not neccessarily, or ever explicitly stated, an unbroken line of priesthood ordinations back to Adam or God. Evidences include: Description of the ordination of Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons from the Articles and Covenants revelation (April 1830, see D&C 20:60): " Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon, is to be ordained according to the gifts and calling of God unto them by the pow er of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one who ordains them." Description or ordination of teachers and priests in Moroni 3 (1829), "4 And after this manner did they ordain priests and teachers, according to the gifts and callings of God unto men; and they ordained them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was in them." There is no reference to lesser and greater priesthood; however, there is a clear delineation between the authority to baptize and the authority to give the Holy Ghost. See 3rd Nephi 11 and Moroni 2. Baptism is also associated with receiving the Priesthood. Evidences include: Description of reception of the priesthood in Alma 49 (1829): " 30 Yea, and there was continual peace among them, and exceedingly great prosperity in the church because of their heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God, which was declared unto them by Helaman, and Shiblon, and Corianton, and Ammon and his brethren, yea, and by all those who had been ordained by the holy order of God, being baptized unto repentance, and sent forth to preach among the people." Description of reception of the priesthood in Alma 13 (1829): " 3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such." This preparatory redemption most likely references repentance and baptism (see D&C 84:27, dictated in 1832). Adam's strongly linked baptism in water, fire, and reception of the priesthood in Moses 6 (1830): "64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. 65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man. 66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; 67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. 68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen." (later evidence) Description of John the Baptist's ordination to the lesser priesthood in D&C 84 (1832, original wording here): "...and the lesser, priesthood continued which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministring of Angels and the preparetory gospel which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism and the remission of sins and the law of Carnal commandments which the Lord in his wrath swore caused to continue with the house of Aaron, among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up being filled with the holy Ghost from his mothers womb for he was baptized while he was yet in the womb, and was ordained by the Angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power" While the discussion here could be seen as only reference to John's mission as forerunner, it can also be easily interpreted as speaking specifically to the Aaronic Priesthood. The passages about John are in the context of describing the lineage of the Aaronic Priesthood, and as illustrated by the Book of Mormon and JST Moses examples, baptism and reception of the Holy Ghost are strongly correlated with reception of the Priesthood (Also, thank you Hope for pointing me to the original wording which makes the chronology of baptism-ordination extremely clear!). (EDIT. I almost forgot...) Joseph and Oliver's own reception of the priesthood directly correlated with baptism. See Lucy's history, JS' history, etc. The fact that the official history has them ordaining each other again after baptism doesn't have so much to do with them being members of the church per se, as Joseph Fielding (or F.?) suggests, but instead is fulfilling this doctrinal imperative that reception of the Priesthood follows baptism or a preparatory redemption. Some of the above is dependent on the secondary sources being discusses in the other priesthood thread right now, but some of these are just my personal conclusions based on the primary sources. I don't believe that this negates the possibility of JS and Oliver believing they had experiences with angels associated with priesthood. If that is the case, the interpretation of those events was likely still evolving and they weren't discussing them, even with other insiders, as Dan Vogel has clearly documented.
I'll post more on later developments as I find them and have time. The concept of angelic ordination and priesthood lineage introduced in 1832 is next...
By Cold Steel
One of the great blessings of the gospel in the latter days is the Lord's gracious gift of the priesthood, both Aaronic and Melchizedek. And the priesthood, defined, is the authority to act in God's name. But when it comes to using the higher priesthood, I've always wondered if it's always required to state the authority of the priesthood and if so, why? We hear stories from earlier times of the ancient church and our own early church where people just used the name of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith never once (except in ordinations, I suppose) ever spoke by virtue of the priesthood that I've been able to tell.
The thing about authority is that we know we have it, the Lord knows we have it; why do we have to state it?
This isn't to question the church. If it wants us to do it, they've got it. But I'm just wondering why it would be necessary?
In the event one is casting a devil out of a person, but not using oil, is invoking the priesthood counseled? In fact, if one is in such a position, is there anything even published about such things. When I was on my mission, a woman plainly had an evil spirit in her. She was an inactive member of the church and ostensibly we were there to teach her husband (at his request). But during the meal she began acting very strange. She laughed inappropriately, made inappropriate statements, laughed during the prayers and all the while her husband looked at her as though she had three heads! There also was a peculiar "spirit" there that frankly scared the daylights out of all of us, except her. I had only been a member of the church a little more than a year and my partner didn't know what to do. We finally excused ourselves and left, and we were surprised when the woman's husband walked us to our car. He told us she had recently become involved in some strange books and friends and that she had changed over a matter of weeks. He'd become so spooked that he'd asked for some elders to come tell him about the church, hoping they would pick up on the strange behavior of his wife.
So we squared our shoulders and did what we should have done in the first place...we took it to the bishop! (We weren't going back!)
The bishop subsequently told us that when he entered the home the hair on the back of his head went up. He refused to tell me what had happened (at the woman's request), but he took the teaching of her husband out of our hands and gave it to two of the Seventy to handle. (We later saw both the woman and her husband at church and she couldn't have been nicer. Her husband didn't tell us what happened, either, but said the problem was resolved and he was happy to have his wife back. He later was baptized.)
Well, I kind of got a bit off, but I don't know that such a situation would call for a blessing of the sick or a sharp rebuke. Many protestants use the name of Christ presumptively, without authority, and sometime in an offensive way. People get upset at us when we teach a man must have authority to baptize and maintain the kingdom of God; however, the key that Joseph Smith left us with is that if we follow the majority of the Twelve and the records of the church, we can never go astray.
So what are your thoughts?
LDSLiving just published an article concerning the release of a new book by the Church History Department on the First 50 Years of the Relief Society.
Apparently it is done in much the same style as the Joseph Smith papers, featuring a huge collection of primary documents.
Pricey little book but it seems to provide much information on topics of interest right now (from the article):
by 1880, women had developed a ritual to help those who were about to give birth, often calling this a "washing and anointing previous to confinement Relief Society general president Eliza R. Snow explained in 1883, “Women can administer in the name of JESUS [through faith], but not by virtue of the Priesthood Eliza R. Snow - “Is it necessary for sisters to be set apart to officiate in the sacred ordinances of washing, anointing, and laying on of hands in administering to the sick?
"It certainly is not. Any and all sisters who honor their holy endowments, not only have the right, but should feel it a duty, whenever called upon to administer to our sisters in these ordinances, which God has graciously committed to His daughters as well as to His sons; Wilford Woodruff - There is no impropriety in sisters washing and anointing their sisters in this way, under the circumstances you describe; but it should be understood that they do this, not as members of the priesthood, but as members of the Church, exercising faith for, and asking the blessings of the Lord upon, their sisters; just as they, and every member of the Church, might do for members of their families Given all the discussion currently taking place about women's roles in the Church this book seems like it could provide some invaluable source information.
Do you think if this book were to generate sales similar to the Joseph Smith papers, that this could provide clarification on some of these issues?
Is this something that the general population of the Church would even bother to read or will it be a curiosity for academia and apologists?
And could this be yet another example where the Church (ie Church History Department) publishes and makes this information readily available, but yet when the average member comes across this information they will say "the Church kept this secret", as certain gender advancement groups might claim?