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Unknown Date Of Melchizedek Priesthood Restoration


consiglieri

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Tomorrow (5/15) is the date commemorating the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

The same two state they received at a later date the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James and John. But the date for the latter priesthood restoration has not been preserved.

I have read where people charge the lack of a date indicates the Melchizedek Priesthood restoration was made up. This usually runs into logical problems when the same people are challenged to believe in the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood which does have a date associated with it.

The point of this thread is to take the conversation one step further:

If Joseph Smith did, in fact, make up the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, would it not have been equally as easy for him to make up a date on which it happened? And would not such a made-up date give the concocted event a versimilitude it lacks without the date?

After all, he had already concocted the story of the Aaronic Priesthood restoration and assigned to it a date and place, thus giving to airy nothing a local habitation and a name. Why not just do the same for the Melchizedek Priesthood restoration?

Is it possible that Joseph Smith's failure to preserve a date for the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood is evidence for the actuality of the event, rather than proof that it never happened?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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I have heard that it came during a time JS and OC were returning from a conference in Colesville and returning to Harmony. I'm a history buff and I just found this out during the Joseph series that ran on BYUTV. I've often wondered about why this information is so hard to find.

I don't know how much JS felt dates were important. It is also possible that he didn't really understand what was happening at the time. Nor do I know if they were commanded to an extent.

Of course, this is from a believer. If I wasn't a believer, I fail to see how important it would be.

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If Joseph Smith did, in fact, make up the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, would it not have been equally as easy for him to make up a date on which it happened? And would not such a made-up date give the concocted event a versimilitude it lacks without the date?

I don't see this as a significant issue at all, but I am not moved by your argument, because making up a date after the fact might not have been as easy as you suppose. Perhaps Smith didn't want to risk contradicitng himself by positing a date that could be found inconsistent with the record he had already made. Alternately, the lack of record could also just be an oversight, with no consequence one way or the other.

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I think it is important to mention that the concept of the Melchizedek priesthood was known to Joseph Smith as early as the translation of the Book of Mormon, so the explanation I have heard that Sidney Rigdon suggested the idea to him can immediately be thrown out.

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We see so many arguments about the "con job" and how Joseph, Oliver, Sidney, et al, set the whole thing up as a hoax to get money, power, etc. So, why didn't these brilliant con men take care of the obvious details?

Good question, consiglieri.

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Let's see.

If we have a date, that shows that it really happened.

If we don't have a date, that shows that it really happened.

Is there any possible scenario under which you TBMs don't interpret things as showing that it really happened?

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I have always liked the Catholic concept of "it is true because it is a mystery". It's application here by Consiglieri as collateral proof is intriguing.

That's not a Catholic concept. The Catholic concept is "It is true because it is revealed. I can't explain how it works because it is a mystery. (All philosphical objections to it can be reasonably answered, but I cannot prove that it is so.)"

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Let's see.

If we have a date, that shows that it really happened.

If we don't have a date, that shows that it really happened.

Is there any possible scenario under which you TBMs don't interpret things as showing that it really happened?

I've got to agree here. I don't see how the lack of a date in any way tells us anything about the truth value of the claim "JS and OC received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James and John."

Is it possible that Joseph Smith's failure to preserve a date for the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood is evidence for the actuality of the event, rather than proof that it never happened?

It's neither, Consig.

Best.

CKS

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Let's see.

If we have a date, that shows that it really happened.

If we don't have a date, that shows that it really happened.

Is there any possible scenario under which you TBMs don't interpret things as showing that it really happened?

No. When you truly hold that priesthood, the mantle is not the same as anything else. It exists and must come through God. If He validates it, who am I to discredit it. Who is anyone to discredit the work of God on men's level of validating?

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I've got to agree here. I don't see how the lack of a date in any way tells us anything about the truth value of the claim "JS and OC received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James and John."

It's neither, Consig.

Best.

CKS

But really, if it were all a crock attempted to be supported by dates and places to lend it respectability, wouldn't we expect Joseph Smith to have come up with . . . (drum roll, please) . . . a date and a place?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

P.S. CKS, you forgot to mention my name on that other thread. Me. Your MoBro. :P

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Let's see.

If we have a date, that shows that it really happened.

If we don't have a date, that shows that it really happened.

Is there any possible scenario under which you TBMs don't interpret things as showing that it really happened?

Dear Sethbag,

I am not proposing that merely assigning a date shows that an event happened.

What I am proposing is that, if the event were fabricated, would we not expect Joseph Smith to have assigned a date as he did with the Aaronic Priesthood restoration?

Though I do like the win-win situation you propose, I unfortunately cannot whole-heartedly endorse it.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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I think the point trying to be made was not that the lack of a date for the restoration of the MP is evidence in itself for its actually having happened, but rather that it adds to a more realistic historical tapestry for the claims of JS having been real.

Since the general flavor of anti-mo argument here in the historical topics is that the overall historical picture has a distinct tendency toward showing JS to be a charlatan (as opposed to the existence of a single "killer example"), I don't see why a counterexample (one among many, I might add) cannot be used as evidence to the contrary.

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I don't see this as a significant issue at all, but I am not moved by your argument, because making up a date after the fact might not have been as easy as you suppose. Perhaps Smith didn't want to risk contradicitng himself by positing a date that could be found inconsistent with the record he had already made. Alternately, the lack of record could also just be an oversight, with no consequence one way or the other.

This makes sense to a certain degree. One thing I think we can agree on, however, is that if it were concocted after the fact, Joseph Smith would have had no trouble in getting Oliver Cowdery to go along with it, as he must have done so with regards to the date of the Aaronic Priesthood restoration. This would have been the big hurdle. Everything else would have been peanuts.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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I think one weakness in the whole argument is the idea that JS could have kept track of all the things he had going on and done the theoretically perfect charlatanic thing in every case. Just as you guys don't expect Joseph to have been the perfect Prophet and always to have done or said the right thing, I don't expect Joseph to have been the perfect Charlatan and always to have done or said the right thing to keep his game going.

Obviously Joseph didn't do everything perfectly, and get away with everything he tried to do. If he were perfect in this way, then why did he get kicked out of Kirtland? And then why did he get kicked out of Missouri? And then why did he get killed in Illinois? Joseph's thing was definitely a "win some/lose some" kind of thing. He sucked some people in deep and they never left, and some people figured out what was going on and left, and some people left and yet believed that it had at least been true at the start. Lots of different reactions, to lots of things, some of which Joseph did more cleverly than others.

"If Joseph were a fraud, wouldn't he have [covered all his bases somehow]? The fact that he didn't tells me he wasn't really a fraud." This kind of logic neglects to take into account human nature, the duration of Joseph's enterprise (from the 1820s all the way to 1844), and the fact that a lot of claims were involved, with a lot of people, a lot of places, a lot of money, a lot of sex, a lot of enemies, a lot of moving from place to place, etc. In that context, he can be forgiven by Loki the God of Mischief for having left a few ends untied.

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What I am proposing is that, if the event were fabricated, would we not expect Joseph Smith to have assigned a date as he did with the Aaronic Priesthood restoration?

Hey Consig--

I guess what I am suggesting would run as follows: even if one would tend to expect that (and I'm not saying that one should), there is no evidentiary trail running from "did not specify a date" to "the restoration was a true recounting."

There's just no way from A to B, here.

Best.

CKS

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This feels like a bit of a cheap shot at our Cathloic bretheren.

C.I.

What??? I suspect Catholics would be the first to tell you that "This life, which is life from God and in God, is the actualization of salvation. Man is saved in the Church by being brought into the Mystery of the Divine Trinity, into the mystery of the intimate life of God." The mystery of faith figures heavily into their theology.
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D&C 128:20-21 makes it obvious that there were events that occurred that are not fully recorded. Here Oliver has made references to several things, including vague statements about the priesthood restoration, of which this is the only mention of them.

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/128/20-21#20

D&C 128:20 says:

"The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!"

Is this the time when the church says the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored? It doesn't actually say it is.

However, it also doesn't say it was the time then the Apostleship was restored, either.

(My faith is that Peter, James and John restored the Apostleship when they came, but the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored BY REVELATION in Father Whitmer's home as recorded in the History of the Church.)

Richard

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What??? I suspect Catholics would be the first to tell you that "This life, which is life from God and in God, is the actualization of salvation. Man is saved in the Church by being brought into the Mystery of the Divine Trinity, into the mystery of the intimate life of God." The mystery of faith figures heavily into their theology.

Me

You caricature what Catholics mean by the term "mystery".

You

I have always liked the Catholic concept of "it is true because it is a mystery".

Me

I fear that you do not seem sincere about liking the concept you alleged upon us, except in the sense that it allows you to imagine that Catholics are so ridiculous as to think truth is synonymous with inability to understand. Instead of objecting because a non-Catholic thinks you are taking a cheap shot, maybe you should reconsider what you "have always liked" about what you think another religion believes. I know it is disappointing to find out that your opponent it not so stupid as you had hoped, but I would suggest a reevaluation of what "you have always liked" about Catholics beginning with the simple explanation given by soren above that I have quoted for your convenience below. If you are indeed sincere about the fact that you "have always liked" this concept, my apologies for doubting your sincerity, even if it raises my doubts about your sanity.

That's not a Catholic concept. The Catholic concept is "It is true because it is revealed. I can't explain how it works because it is a mystery. (All philosphical objections to it can be reasonably answered, but I cannot prove that it is so.)"
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Both Richard Lyman Bushman and D. Michael Quinn agree that all historical evidence points to the Melchizedek Priesthood being restored in 1831 and not in 1830. That is one year after the church was estblished.

This presents some ambiguities...with what authority was the church established and run for that year? Perhaps the historical evidence is lacking.

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