In response to a comment made by a reader on the previous post, I wrote, “The fullness of the priesthood, or that which was lost (D&C 124:28), is to be brought into the presence of the Father, by the Son, to be fully endowed with the power that Enoch received, the power to bring about Zion.” I would like to elaborate on that comment and provide some backup for my thinking.
Priesthood Power Not Same as Church Authority
Just as power in the priesthood is different from authority in the priesthood, offices in the Church do not constitute the priesthood itself. They are simply organizational offices in an institution. I know this can be a difficult concept to accept. Some may claim it is false doctrine. Perhaps we can consider together this quote from Joseph Smith on the subject. It may prove helpful:
All Prophets Were Ordained By God Himself
“All priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion that brought Moses to speak with God face-to-face was taken away, but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All prophets have the Melchizedek priesthood and were ordained by God himself.” (TPJS 180-181) Think about that last sentence from Joseph for a moment.
There is But One Priesthood of God
So Joseph teaches there is but one priesthood, yet we have a revelation (D&C 107:1) claiming there are two priesthoods, namely the Melchizedek and the Aaronic or Levitical. Add to this the idea of the Patriarchal priesthood, not defined in scripture, a phrase used by Joseph when urging the Saints to complete the Nauvoo temple. President Packer taught us a little more about this:
The Patriarchal Order of the Priesthood
“There are references to a patriarchal priesthood. The patriarchal order is not a third, separate priesthood. Whatever relates to the patriarchal order is embraced in the Melchizedek Priesthood. All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to [the Melchizedek] priesthood. The patriarchal order is a part of the Melchizedek Priesthood which enables endowed and worthy men to preside over their posterity in time and eternity.”
Priesthood Power Received From the Father
So there is but one priesthood which exists, but it is not contained within or conferred by the church. It comes from one source – the Father. The Son is involved because He is the gatekeeper. He alone decides if a person if going to qualify to receive priesthood power. The Son makes it his work, or His ministry, to bring a person before the Father. This process can take many years.
The Son Prepares Us to Meet With the Father
The Son will work with a candidate for as long as it takes, and as long as the individual is willing to accept correction and reproof, from the Savior, to cure all that is wrong, fix all that is broken, remove all that is impure and prepare the disciple to be brought into the presence of the Father. It is the Father who confers and ordains a man to the highest priesthood. This is not a new teaching.
Priesthood Power Cannot be Conferred
Priesthood in the beginning was called the Holy Order. Later it was called the Holy Order after the Son of God, or the Holy Order after the Order of Enoch, or the Holy Order after the Order of Melchizedek. We think that is what we have in the church today. We think that is what we give to Elders when we first ordain them. But Joseph Smith could not confer that on another person.
Offices in the Church are not Priesthood
Priesthood power is received only from God. We cannot confer power upon another. We can ordain them with authority to officiate in offices in the church, but we cannot give them power. The fullness of the priesthood is contained within the Holy Order that comes from the Father. Show me a man who has entered into the Father’s presence and I will testify he has a fullness.
Our Goal Should Be To Receive The Father
But show me a man, no matter what position or keys he claims to possess, who has not entered into the Father’s presence, and I will testify he has not yet received a fullness. No matter what keys he has, he cannot possess the fullness. For that, the Father has a role He alone is required to fulfill. Joseph taught no man has seen the Father but He [the Father] has born record of the Son.
Ordination is Only a Preliminary Step
Being ordained is only the first step. Although it allows you to administer in an office in the church, it is really but an invitation, and nothing more than to go and get real power from God. It requires us to be faithful unto the Lord, to do all He asks us to do, and He will ask things of His sons that are difficult, in order to prove them faithful and worthy of being brought to the Father.
Receive the Lord’s Messengers Sent to Us
D&C 84 teaches us the importance of receiving the Lord’s servants, or messengers. They may be angels He sends to teach us, or they may be mortal. If we receive His messengers, we receive the Savior. The time will come when the Savior Himself will come to deliver instructions to prepare us further to come into the presence of the Father, in a very literal way, while we are yet mortal.
Fullness Means Completion of a Process
The whole purpose of the priesthood, as far as the man who receives it is concerned, is to prepare him to come into the presence of the Father in order to receive the fullness or the completion of the ordination. That is one definition of the word full – to be complete – or to have accomplished something. The accomplishment cannot be brought about without the involvement of the Lord.
We Must Receive The Father In This Life
“He that receiveth me receiveth my Father.” I can’t tell you how many times I have read that phrase with my brethren in priesthood meetings and wondered when this is supposed to happen. Surely the Lord intended for us to receive Him in this life, to be ministered to by Him in a literal and physical way. We receive the Father in this life to bear His presence in the world of glory.
Fullness of Priesthood and The Powers of Heaven
Receiving the fullness of the priesthood allows us to associate with those on the other side of the veil – the powers of heaven – who are helping to bring about the Lord’s work of bringing Zion. The fullness of the priesthood is required to withstand the brightness of the coming of the Lord, when He returns with the City of Enoch. Otherwise, they that come with Him will burn us up.
Seek to See the Face of God and Live
We have an association or brotherhood here on the earth which we call the priesthood. There is another brotherhood or association we should seek after, the association with the powers of heaven. D&C 84:21-22 teaches us the importance of priesthood in order to see the face of God and live. Obviously Joseph must have had priesthood when he saw the Father at age fourteen.
Attribution for Some of These Quotes
I recognize I have covered a lot in this post. It is all based on scripture, although I have not always provided the reference. You may also recognize a few direct quotes from some of the writings of Denver Snuffer. That’s because he organized ideas about priesthood in a way that make great sense to me. Otherwise, I would not have taken the trouble to study his writings.
Invitation to Receive of the Fullness
I finish as I started with an invitation to understand the fullness of the priesthood. It is simply to be brought into the presence of the Father, by the Son, to be fully endowed with God’s power, which can then be used to bless our fellow beings and to build the kingdom of God on the earth preparatory to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and those who come with Him in great glory.