Searching for the Holy Order and 23 High Priests Part 1

Joseph, Lyman & Harvey See
the Father and the Son

By OneWhoIsWatching

www.threewatches.blogspot.com

From JST Exodus 34 we learn that as a result of the wickedness and idolatry of the children of Israel Moses breaks the first set of plates that contained the higher law and he was commanded to hew two other tablets containing the lesser law;

And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them.” Exodus 34: 1-2, 14

From this and modern revelation we can surmise that the fulness of the Gospel and the LAW OF ZION sometimes referred to as GOSPEL LAW and the LAW OF CONSECRATION as contained in section 42 of the D&C, was contained in the first set of plates that Moses broke.

We are also informed that it is the Holy Order of the Priesthood according to the Son of God that must administer the LAW of ZION and ESTABLISH ZION.

Section 84 provides additional clarity pertaining to the holy order or highest portion of the Priesthood that was taken out of the midst of the Children of Israel.

Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;

And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory 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 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 mother’s womb.”

It is evident that Moses was endeavoring to implement the LAW OF CONSECRATION, sanctify his people and establish ZION just as Enoch and Melchizedek had done among their peoples.

As a result of the rebelliousness of the people, Moses was taken out of their midst along with the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, the higher law and the ability to establish Zion..

Old Testament Prophets however prophesied that in the latter days, the Highest Priesthood would be restored and Zion would be re-established after becoming “captive” for a period of time;.

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” href=”http://scriptures.lds.org/en/isa/52/1#1″>Isa. 52: 1

Providing additional clarity and context the prophet responded to a question about the above verses;

Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?

He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.” href=”http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/113/7-8#7″>D&C 113: 7-8

It appears from ancient and modern scripture that God will send one like Moses to offer the higher law once again and bring again Zion in the end times. He will enable the daughter of Zion who had previously lost the priesthood power to redeem Zion to put on their former strength and complete the final establishment of Zion!

If someone were to ask you to name the most significant penticostal events of spiritual endowment in the history of the Church between 1830 and 1836 what would you say?

Before studying this topic in depth, I would have suggested

However, I would submit to you that there is another event that took place in 1831 that rivals all of the amazing events listed above.

Curiously, it is not covered in lesson manuals nearly as often, or spoken of as frequently by LDS scholars and the details are not as widely known among members of the church.

I am speaking about the restoration of the Highest Priesthood upon the earth in 1831 at the Morley Farm in Kirtland Ohio.

On that occasion, the heavens were opened and people saw the Father and the Son. Additionally, 23 priesthood holders were ordained to the High Priesthood after the Holy order of God according to the voice of God out of the heavens. It appears they were ordained to the same High Priesthood that Melchizedek and Enoch had been ordained to. Even the same priesthood that is required to establish Zion.

As we shall see as this story unfolds, it appears the restoration of this priesthood upon the earth in 1831 was necessary for the establishment of Zion. That is why Section 52 was given the day after this conference, detailing the commission God gave to these High Priests and other Elders to travel to Jackson County and begin the holy order of consecration at the designated place, even the center stake of Zion. Shortly after that, those not commanded to plant themselves in Zion were to also establish the holy order of the law of consecration in Kirtland.

In late spring of 1831 Joseph Smith called a conference in Kirtland, Ohio. At this special conference 23 men were called to the 3rd and highest order of priesthood.

The elders of the church were commanded to assemble for this special conference by commandment from God. The revelation which is known as section 44 promises a spiritual endowment IF the elders are FAITHFUL;

1 Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, it is expedient in me that the elders of my church should be called together, from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, by letter or some other way.
2 And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.
3 And it shall come to pass that they shall go forth into the regions round about, and preach repentance unto the people.
4 And many shall be converted, insomuch that ye shall obtain power to organize yourselves according to the laws of man;
5 That your enemies may not have power over you; that you may be preserved in all things; that you may be enabled to keep my laws; that every bond may be broken wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy my people.
6 Behold, I say unto you, that ye must visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief, that they may be kept until all things may be done according to my law which ye have received. Amen.

Regarding the event that took place at the Morley Farm Joseph Smith said, “the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders. It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required.” History of The Church, 1:175-177

Several others including Lyman Wight stated that the Melchizedek priesthood was bestowed for the first in this dispensation at that conference.

Church apologists such as Elder B.H. Roberts and others conclude that the statement made by the prophet and others concerning the bestowal of the “Melchizedek Priesthood for the first time” is not accurate and that it the special conference deals with the restoration of the “office” of high priest for the first time, not the bestowal of the “Melchizedek Priesthood” for the first time. (History of The Church,1:176)

As we review the events pertaining to this special conference in the context of ancient and modern scripture and the words of those involved in it we shall be better prepared to determine if Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight and others were correct in his declaration that the Melchizedek Priesthood was being bestowed for the first time in this dispensation.

This controversial event that took place at the Morley Farm created a lot of indigestion for several leaders of the Church back at that time and, I suspect, based on the lack of interest in this event in contemporary lesson manuals, articles and books by LDS gospel scholars, it continues to create indigestion for some clear up to today.

A few years ago on one of my pilgrimages to Kirtland, while talking to a guide, he confided in me that there was a “secret document” circulating around, in the possession of some of the tour guides that listed who the 23 people were that were called and ordained to the high priesthood on that fateful day.

The list graded each of the 23 as either an “F” for “faithful” or “A” for “Apostate”.

The apostates were then categorized into one of three sub-categories depending, according to the creator of the document, on how much light they had previously received and how far they fell, judging by how much they eventually persecuted Joseph Smith and the Church, and, ultimately, whether they supported Brigham Young during and after the succession crises.

The secrecy of the document intrigued me and I pleaded with him to obtain a copy of it for me which he did.

I didn’t really see the significance of the event back then so I simply cataloged the document for future reference.

Recently, as I have been studying some priesthood issues, it occurred to me how significant that event was and I desired to review the document.

Unfortunately I could not find it so I tried to find out who these 23 men were by googling the topic. To my surprise, I was not able to easily find who these 23 High Priests were on the internet by simply doing key word searches. (and I am not too shabby with key word searches)

I then called the Visitors Center in Kirtland Ohio and asked the tour guides. They were not aware of the document I had previously obtained from their predecessors and did not have any record of who the 23 High Priests were.

They did, however, give me the phone number of the Visitors Center at the Morley Farm. I called there and asked the guide.

He did not know either and he commented how strange it is that such information its not easily found and that the event that took place there at the Morley Farm is not as highly profiled as the visitations of John the Baptist and Peter James and John, the vision Joseph and Sidney had in section 76 or the visitation of Christ and Moses, Elijah and Elias in the Kirtland Temple.

He asked me to send him the names of the 23 High Priests if I ever found out who they were.

Still not wanting to go through the many religious documents that I have collected over the years in search of the missing document, I decided to simply go to the greatest source of information I had pertaining to the early history of the Church in Kirtland Ohio. I dug out my book entitled “Joseph Smiths Kirtland”, a book I highly recommend. This book is one of my prized possessions because it details so many of the incredible Pentecostal events that took place in Kirtland.

It was written by Karl Anderson, a member of the church who, as I recall, was a stake president in the Kirtland area and who has spent much of his life researching the events that took place in Kirtland Ohio. He is affectionately referred to a “Mr. Kirtland” by some members of the church.

To my surprise and utter amazement, the book did not list the 23 High Priests, in fact, it didn’t even detail the events that took place on the occasion in which the ordinations of the first High Priests in this dispensation that took place at the Morley Farm!

Very strange indeed!

Luckily, I eventually found the missing document I had obtained in Kirtland. Since finding it, I have been informed that the names of all the priesthood leaders attending the conference and the names of the 23 men given the High Priesthood are contained in the Far West Record. I was able to get a copy of that and verify that the names in the document that I had been given were accurate.

[Update: the old link is no longer good however I have found the original paper with the names if the 23 High Priests and grading system that I was given in Kirtland. The pdf scan can new be viewed online on the links below. Please remember, I did not create the grading system nor do I agree with it!]

23-11

23-22

23-33

23-44

23-55

23-66

A great resource for this topic is found at this link

In part one and part two of this post I want to summarize from seven credible corroborating historical sources what took place on that remarkable day and also the dynamics that may have been taking place between the strong personalities involved.

Fortunately we have a pretty good record of what transpired from the diaries and journal entries of Levi Hancock, Ezra Booth, Zebedee Coltrin, Philo Dibble, John Whitmer, John Murdock, John Corrill and Lyman Wight.

John Whitmer was the conference clerk.

Admittedly, Ezra Booth and John Corrill had apostatized by the time they wrote their remarks and became skeptics and enemies of Joseph Smith and the Church. Ezra Booth’s remarks are tainted a little bit from his bias which, in my opinion makes his recollection just as important as the others in getting a balanced corroboration of testimony of what took place on that occasion.

In future parts of this series, we will review the role that the third and highest priesthood was to play in implementing the law of consecration and establishing Zion.

I will also detail what we learn about the three different divisions of priesthood from this event and other teachings of the scriptures and the words of Joseph Smith.

I will use this event and a discourse on priesthood given by Joseph Smith as a context in which the concept of priesthood can be viewed and the three different levels of priesthood can be examined.

The results of this summary and the implications of what was taking place at that conference at the Morley Farm may surprise you. It may challenge your current assumptions about the priesthood. Most importantly, we can learn from history what to expect in the prophetic future, when the first laborers of the last kingdom return.

Here is a brief outline of what happened during the first part of at that amazing conference.

According to John Whitmer, a conference was called by Joseph Smith which promised a “blessing” if the Elders were faithful.

June 3, 1831. A general conference was called, and a blessing promised, if the elders were faithful, and humble before him. Therefore the elders assembled from the East, and the West, from the North and the South. And also many members.”

Others remembered the “blessing” that was to be poured out as being referred to as an “endowment“. This is the early and more accurate use of the term endowment in LDS theology;

“… About this time Solomon Came to see me and brought Zebedee Coltrin along he held some metings and wanted I should go to Kirtland with him we started the latter part of May got there by the Last of the month I lerned that on the fourth of June there was to be an indowment of some Elders” Levi Hancock

Others described the promised events as the beginning of the “great and mighty work” and that it would involve the “work of miracles“. (spelling corrections from these accounts have not been made. Many of these good people spell the same way I do!)

As the 4th of June last was appointed for the sessions of the conference, it was ascertained, that that was the time specified, when the great and mighty work was to be commenced, and such was the confidence of some, that knowledge superceded their faith, and they did not hesitate to declare themselves perfectly assured that the work of miracles would commence at the ensuing conference. With such strong assurances, and with the most elevated expectations, the conference assembled at the time appointed. To give, if possible, energy to expectation, Smith, the day before the conference, professing to be filled with the spirit of prophecy, declared, that “not three days should pass away, before some should see their Savior, face to face.” (Ezra Booth)

In his introduction, the Prophet likened the kingdom of God to a grain of a mustard seed and that some would live to see it put forth its branches.

He prophesied that some of those present would become martyrs.

The fourth of June came and we all met in a little string of Buildings under the hill nere Isaac Morleys in Kirtland Geauga County Ohio we all went to a school house on the hill about one fourth of a mile asending nearly all the way it was builded of logs they was filled with slab benches here the elders were seated . the meeting was opened as usual Joseph began to speak he said that the kingdom that Christ spoke of that was like a grain of musterd seed was now before him and some should see it put forth its branches And the angels of heaven would some day come like Birds to its branches just as the Saviour had said and Some of you shall live to see it come with great glory some of you must die for the testimony of this work” (Levi handcock)

Philo dibble testified that in Joseph’s opening remarks he prophesied that there were some in their midst that would see the heavens opened and bear record of the coming of the Son of Man before the conference came to a close.

The Prophet also prophesied that the “Man of Sin” would be revealed during the conference as well.

I saw Joseph Smith the Prophet when he first came to Kirtland, and was with him in the first conference held in that place, which was in a small school house. When he arose in our midst he said that before the conference closed there were those present who should see the heavens open and bear record of the coming of the Son of Man, and that the man of sin should be revealed

Apparently Joseph had prophesied of these events the previous day as well. John Whitmer notes that “Joseph Smith Jr. Prophesied the day Previous that the man of Sin should be revealed”

According to Ezra booth, the Prophet cautioned those in attendance in his preliminary remarks tonot be overcome with surprise”

According to Jared Carter, Joseph Smith, who was not a gifted speaker, became a talented speaker as he became filled with Spirit;

“Before this [i.e., June 6, 1831] was that memorable day when God first gave the fullness of the high priesthood to the elders of the Church of Christ. At the interview, Brother Joseph, notwithstanding he is not naturally talented for a speaker yet he was filled with the power of the Holy Ghost so that he spoke as I never heard man speak for God, by the power of the Holy Ghost spoke in him and marvelous was the display of the power of the spirit among the elders present..” Journal of Jared Carter, typescript copy, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah

John Whitmer noted that;

“The Lord made manifest to Joseph that it was necessary that such of the elders as were considered worthy, should be ordained to the high priesthood.”

Lyman Wight becomes the First High Priest of this Dispensation

Next, Lyman Wight takes the spotlight as the first man in this dispensation to be ordained to the High Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, also referred to as the highest division of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

This of course seems contradictory to those who thought that the “higher” priesthood that Joseph and Oliver had previously received by Peter James and John, which included the calling of Apostles, was the highest division of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

As we will see in later parts of this article, there are three divisions of the priesthood;

1- The “lesser” priesthood (Aaronic or Levitical, named after Aaron)

2- The “Higher” priesthood(Patriarchal named after Abraham & Moses)

3- The “Highest” priesthood (Named after Melchizedek)

Joseph Smith has stated that “all priesthood is Melchizedek”, nevertheless, there was obviously a higher division of priesthood than what Joseph and Oliver had received previously from Peter James and John.

According to section 84, the lesser priesthood after the order of Aaron and the higher priesthood after the order of Abraham and Moses are the two priesthoods necessary to govern the church, dispense the ordinances of salvation and reveal the mystery of Godliness.

Those two priesthoods are bestowed according to lineage and/or according to the “will of man”.

The highest priesthood which is called the Melchizedek Priesthood which was bestowed anciently and at the Morley Farm however, according to the scriptures, is not given based on a man’s lineage nor is it given according to the will of man. Rather, it is given according to the voice of God out of the heavens as we shall see from the following accounts of this amazing event that happened at the Morley Farm.

And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will..” (see href=”http://scriptures.lds.org/en/jst/4″>JST Gen. 14: 25-40 )

Opening events during the Conference at Morley’s Farm-

First let us review the recollection of Ezra Booth who states that Lyman Wight was the first to be ordained to the High Priesthood and to be given the honor of ordaining 16 of the 23 men who would be given the high priesthood, including Joseph and Sidney. It was Joseph’s privilege and responsibility to have it revealed to him from God who should be ordained to the high priesthood;

He then laid his hands on the head of Elder Wight, who had participated largely in the warm feeling of his leader, and ordained him to the High Priesthood. He was set apart for the service of the Indians, and was ordained to the gift of tongues, healing the sick, casting out devils, and discerning spirits and in like manner he ordained several others;

and then called upon Wight to take the floor Wight arose, and presented a pale countenance, a fierce look, with his arms extended, and his hands cramped back, the whole system agitated, and a very unpleasant object to look upon.

He exhibited himself as an instance of the great power of God, and called upon those around him “if you want to see a sign, look at me.” He then stepped upon a bench, and declared with a loud voice, he saw the Savior… It, however, procured Wight the authority to ordain the rest. So said the spirit, and so said Smith. The spirit in Smith selected those to be ordained, and the spirit in Wight ordained them…”.

Here is the recollection of John Witmer regarding the ordination of Lyman Wight

After he had prophecied, he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight (h) (swh) [and ordained him] to the High Priesthood after the holy order of God. And the Spirit [blank] fell upon Lyman and he prophecied concerning the coming of Christ He said that there were some in this congregation that should live until the Savior shoud decend from heaven with a shout, with all the holy angels with him.

He said the coming of the Savior should be like the Sun rising in the east and will cover the whole earth. So will the coming of the Son of man be. Yea, he will appear in his brightness and consume all before him. And the hills will be laid low, and valies be exalted, and the crooked be made straight, and the rough Smooth. And some of my brethren Shall suffer marterdom for the sake of the religion of Jesus Christ and seal the testimony of Jesus with their blood He saw the hevans opened, and the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the Father, Making intercession for his brethren, the Saints He said that God would work a work in these last days that tongue cannot express, and the mind {of} is not capable to conceive.

The glory of the Lord shone around At this conferen[c]e these were ordained to the high priesthood, namely Lyman Wight (h) (swh), Sidney Rigdon, John Murdock, Reynolds Cahoon, Harvey Whitlock, and Hyrum Smith were ordained by Lyman Wight excet S Joseph Smith Jr except Sidney Rigdon. The following [were ordained] by Lyman Wight by commandment. Parley P. Pratt (h), Thomas B. Marsh (h), Isaac Morley, Edward Partridge, Joseph Wakefield, Ezra Thayer, Martin Harris, Ezra Booth who denied the faith, Harvey Whitlock denied the faith, also Joseph Wakefield, Joseph Smith Sr., Joseph Smith Jr., John Whitmer. [In the Far West Record, Sidney Rigdon is ordained by Lyman Wight.

Levi Hancock recalled that Joseph “looked at Lyman Wight and said you shall see the Lord and met him nere the Corner of the house and laid his hands upon him and blessed him with the visions of heaven he then stepped out on the floor and said I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand let them kill me, I should not feel death as I am now”

Zebedee Coltrine stated; “Then Lyman Wight was ordained a High Priest. Joseph told him he should see the heavens opened and after he was ordained he stood on his feet and testified that he could see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

Following this conference, the majority of the 23 High Priests would be called upon to travel to Jackson County, preaching the gospel along the way. As Elder Wight traveled on this mission and others he would inform people that “he was a preacher of the gospel after the order of Melchizedek”

It should be noted that we have documentation of at least one other person besides Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight who also testified of having the heavens opened and of seeing the Father and the Son on that occasion.It was Harvey Whitlock. In fact Joseph Smith had specifically promised both Lyman and Harvey that they would see the heavens opened. According to the testimony of Zebedee Coltrin, Harvey was first paralyzed after his ordination but Joseph rebuked the power that siezed him and it left him “and he testified as Lyman had done, that he saw the heavens open, and Jesus standing on the right hand of the Father. This was the beginning in our day of ordinations to the office of high priest.”

This testimony of Joseph, Lyman and Harvey is very significant because the scriptures say that by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. At the Morley Farm restoration of the highest priesthood we have the testimony of three people who actually saw the heavens opened and saw the Father and the Son at that time.

In the next part of this article we shall consider the dramatic turn of events at this special conference that took place after Lyman Wight was ordained and bore witness of the Father and Son. After that, the power of the adversary was displayed and the “Man of Sin” was revealed.

To be continued…

[ click here for journal and diary references of the seven witnesses who provided testimonies about the events that took place at the special conference ]

Searching for the Holy Order and 23 High Priests Part 2

The Man of Sin is revealed

July 7, 2009

Categories: Articles by OWIW, Priesthood, Uncategorized . . Author: onewhoiswatching Edit this entry

23 Comments

  1. Comment by Troy on July 7, 2009 2:54 pm

    I am very much looking forward to the rest. This is fascinating! I personally have been thinking about priesthood a lot recently.

  2. Comment by NEPT on July 7, 2009 6:50 pm

    Watcher, pardon my bluntness, but it seems that you contradict yourself when referring to the division of the priesthood described in D&C 84. You state:

    According to section 84, the lesser priesthood after the order of Aaron and the higher priesthood after the order of Abraham and Moses are the two priesthoods necessary to govern the church, dispense the ordinances of salvation and reveal the mystery of Godliness.

    Those two priesthoods are bestowed according to lineage and/or according to the “will of man”.

    While I agree with that assessment–especially given the “line of authority” (or lineage-based conferral) described in the section just prior to the all important verse 25, “Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;–I don’t understand how you then jump to the proposal you put forth at the very beginning of the essay in which you claim that the priesthood spoken about in section 84 regarding that which was taken from the midst of the children of Israel is nothing but the highest order, aka Melchizedek.

    It seems like it should be one or the other. Or maybe there is a transition from one to the other that I am just missing. Could you help me figure this out?

  3. Comment by onewhoiswatching on July 7, 2009 7:23 pm

    NEPT

    I am not sure I understand your question, or the contradiction you are seeing.

    Hopefully this will make more sense as the priesthood doctrine is developed in later parts of this article. I plan on providing a much more detailed breakdown of the three priesthoods.

    It may be that you are assuming I am saying something about section 84 that I am not

    I would submit that while section 84 does a great job of detailing the first two degrees of priesthood, explaining the lessor and higher priesthoods, it also addresses the highest priesthood as well, although you don’t notice it and separate it out as being distinct from the first two unless you are familiar with what Joseph Smith taught about the three categories of priesthood and are looking for it.

    So just keep watching

  4. Comment by NEPT on July 7, 2009 7:47 pm

    After going back to section 84, I can be a little more specific in my question.

    Verse 6 states that Moses received the Holy Priesthood under the hand of Jethro. I assume that this refers to a patriarchal priesthood (sons of Moses/Abraham; my assumption is also based on the further explanation of the Lord given in verse ). And in verse 25 the Lord says he took Moses and the Holy Priesthood from the midst of Israel. A keyword search would bring “Holy Priesthood” up in both instances here. To me, Holy Priesthood refers to the same aforementioned division.

    I’m guessing that in your response to my question you are implying that verse 22 is a transition between the high and the highest priesthoods, for I believe JS taught that the Melchizedek PH was required to behold the face of God and live, with consequent sanctification. But if that is the case, it is not self-evident to me, since the word “this” in verse 22, regarding a division of the priesthood I assume, appears to reference “this greater priesthood” in verse 19, which would be the lineage-based PH described previously.

    So, while you succeeded in answering my question, it only brought out another! :)

  5. Comment by NEPT on July 7, 2009 7:49 pm

    Oops, I left out the verse number in my post above.

    The parenthetical statement should read:

    (sons of Moses/Abraham; my assumption is also based on the further explanation of the Lord given in verse 31)

  6. Comment by onewhoiswatching on July 7, 2009 8:47 pm

    NEPT-

    At the risk of getting a little ahead of myself and the development of the article, I shall dance around your comments the best I can

    My responses in caps-

    “Verse 6 states that Moses received the Holy Priesthood under the hand of Jethro. I assume that this refers to a patriarchal priesthood (sons of Moses/Abraham”

    [Yes that is correct]

    “And in verse 25 the Lord says he took Moses and the Holy Priesthood from the midst of Israel. A keyword search would bring “Holy Priesthood” up in both instances here. To me, Holy Priesthood refers to the same aforementioned division.”

    [Not necessarily. There are places where “holy priesthood” is associated with the Melchizedek Priesthood ie, “Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood” section 107]

    “I’m guessing that in your response to my question you are implying that verse 22 is a transition between the high and the highest priesthoods, for I believe JS taught that the Melchizedek PH was required to behold the face of God and live, with consequent sanctification. But if that is the case, it is not self-evident to me, since the word “this” in verse 22, regarding a division of the priesthood I assume, appears to reference “this greater priesthood” in verse 19, which would be the lineage-based PH described previously.”

    [No. I was not implying a transition there. The Patriarchal Priesthood named after Moses (which Joseph and Oliver got from Peter James and John and which contains the keys of the Apostleship) has all the keys necessary to administer the fulness of the Gospel and the ordinances thereof.

    That patriarchal priesthood authority and the ordinances thereof have the keys necessary to unlock the heavens and see and converse with God. In fact it was this Patriarchal Priesthood that Joseph used, to unlock the heavens at the Morley Farm and to find out from God who was to be ordained to this High Priesthood.

    If Joseph had already held the High Priesthood, he would not have needed to be ordained to it by Lyman Wight under the infinite and infallible direction of God .]

    There are some other cryptic references in this section that refer to the High Priesthood. i want you to have the joy of looking for them between now and when I return to this topic in a later part of the article.

    I will point one other interesting thing. Later in the section, God refers to the Highest Priesthood which these seven servants had received at the Morley Farm according to the voice of God out of heaven… and he, at this time, during this revelation, “confirms” their previous ordinations as High Priests, according to his voice out of the heavens!]

  7. Comment by onewhoiswatching on July 7, 2009 9:16 pm

    PS

    I should have said “highest Priesthood” in the statements I made above to avoid confusion;

    In fact it was this Patriarchal Priesthood that Joseph used, to unlock the heavens at the Morley Farm and to find out from God who was to be ordained to this High[est] Priesthood.

    If Joseph had already held the High[est] Priesthood, he would not have needed to be ordained to it by Lyman Wight under the infinite and infallible direction of God .]

  8. Comment by TruthSeekerToo on July 8, 2009 12:51 pm

    So, if you need the Melc. PH to see the face of God and live where does that leave Joseph and his first vision? This seems very contradictory to me. It has bothered the edges of my brain before but I never really thought about it in depth.

    Plus, isn’t there an account of Joseph and Sidney seeing Christ and the Father during a school of the prophets session in Nauvoo? Did they, or didn’t they have the Melc. PH at that time? I thought it had been lost and I’m far too lazy to look up the account.

  9. Comment by onewhoiswatching on July 8, 2009 2:07 pm

    TruthSeekerToo

    The use of Melchizedek is very confusing because it means different things to different people.

    all priesthood is Melchizedek” in the sense that all priesthood is an appendage of Melchizedek priesthood.

    I don’t recall saying you needed to have the highest priesthood to see the face of God, although that conference at the Morley Farm may well have been the first time that Lyman saw God.

    We need to keep in mind that there may have been something more substantive, in addition to him seeing God that may have been going on… it may have something to do with what he was prophesying about, or it may have been a sanctifying process he was experiencing in front of everyone or it may have had something to do pertaining to and oath and a covenant that was taking place…

    We may need to look at the things transpiring that are not quite as obvious as other things taking place.

    Here are a couple things to keep in mind regarding you question.

    As I mentioned to NEPT, the second priesthood (”higher, patriarchal priesthood) holds the keys of the apastalic priesthood. It can administrate and dispense all of the saving ordinances of the fulness of the gospel, including the mystery of God.

    That is the priesthood by which Joseph Smith was conducting the conference initially, and receiving revelation on WHO God wanted to ordain to the highest priesthood.

    You can part the heavens and communicate with God with patriarchal priesthood. You don’t need the “highest” priesthood, which is named after Melchizedek to see the face of God.

    Secondly, people like Joseph and Sidney who are the literal seed and the literal Sons of Moses and Aaron, held patriarchal priesthood by lineage. That, plus FAITH is all they needed to see the face of God. No physical ordination was required as demonstrated by the first vision.

    Their physical “ordinations” from John the Baptist and Peter James and John pertained to administration in Gods church and kingdom.

    The following statement in section 84 seems to contradict Joseph Smiths ability to see God in the first vision since he had not recieved the ordinances;

    “And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh”

    It may be that according to eternal law, once the church is set up on earth, people must submit to the ordinances thereof and the administering priesthood before they can see the face of God.

    Lastly, JS pointed out that;

    it is one thing to be on the mount & hear the excellent voice &c &c. and another to hear the voice declare to you, you have a part & lot in the kingdom”

    Perhaps that is part of the distinction between the higher and highest priesthoods, one enables us to be on the mount and hear his voice, see converse with him, see his face, etc., the other enables us to eventually have our calling and election made sure.

    In a related statement he said; “It is one thing to see the Kingdom of God, and another thing to enter into it.”

    If I have not completely confused you, please let me know so that I can try again.

    Watcher

  10. Comment by TruthSeekerToo on July 14, 2009 12:52 am

    You have yet to completely confuse me. ;-) I am still not seeing the order of the thing, though. It isn’t resonating with me and I’m not getting any spiritual confirmation.

    I promise I am studying! I just have sooo many questions.

    You said:

    “I don’t recall saying you needed to have the highest priesthood to see the face of God, although that conference at the Morley Farm may well have been the first time that Lyman saw God.”

    You’re right, you didn’t. D&C 84:19-22 seems to say it. Even if it is talking about the middle PH, I don’t see how it is true. Joseph had no priesthood ordinances before the first vision that I am aware of. These verses seem to be saying that the priesthood ordinances are necessary for seeing God.

    “Secondly, people like Joseph and Sidney who are the literal seed and the literal Sons of Moses and Aaron, held patriarchal priesthood by lineage. That, plus FAITH is all they needed to see the face of God. No physical ordination was required as demonstrated by the first vision.”

    I still can’t reconcile this with D&C 84:19-22. It clearly states that the ordinances are needed. What are these ordinances???

    I also have to ask, if this is true, how does a woman see the face of God? Is by her faith and/or through receiving ordinances of the priesthood or something else? How was Mary able to withstand whatever she went through to conceive the Holy Child? Had she received the ordinances by proper authority or was she an inheritor of the priesthood by lineage.

    II have more questions, but I really wonder why I am up at 1:45 in the morning trying to figure this stuff out. LOL

    ACK! I’m so stinkin’ confused!

    When D&C 84 speaks of God taking the Holy PH and Moses out of the midst of the children of Isreal and leaving only the lesser/Aaronic PH what does that mean? They were left with ONLY the Aaronic PH or did they have 2 divisions still. Did Moses ever have the 3rd and highest PH-is that what was taken?

    Oh my goodness. I’ll stop now.

  11. Comment by onewhoiswatching on July 14, 2009 1:56 pm

    TruthSeekerToo

    Part 5 should address all of these questions and prove to you beyond any reasonable doubt that it is possible for you to be even more confused than you are now.

    Watcher

  12. Comment by weeping on July 14, 2009 2:28 pm

    Great post! I am looking forward to the rest.

    Another thought about joseph seeing God as a young boyperhaps we are defining the terms too strictly.

    Refering to section 88 and the parable in there,

    “Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.”

    As discussed in an earlier blog here, the kingdoms are the planets, the Lords creations.

    BUT, the whole of them and the work they are doing is literally GOD, moving in his majesty and power. We live in the mind of God and this is the order of things. Therefore, he that sees His face and contemplates it, receives the vision of all. All things, past present and future are before him, having ‘plugged-in’ to the mind of God who comprehends all things, at the speed of light, a urim and thummim himself. So, seeing his face and living requires a vision on the level of Nephi, Lehi, Moses, Enoch, Abraham, John etc… Wherein all things are made known.

    so, Josephs first vision where he talked the Lord in the Garden was only a personal visitation. It was not the time, space and mind expanding event that it requires to

    comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him”

    This HIGHEST order of the priesthood transcends any earthly limitations of church organization, it is the order of the Gods given to man to perform the work of Saviors on mount Zion, as Enoch did so well.

  13. Comment by onewhoiswatching on July 14, 2009 3:08 pm

    Weeping-

    Very well said!

    I think there is sufficient evidence in the scriptures and the words of joseph Smith to justify the supposition that the;

    “HIGHEST order of the priesthood transcends any earthly limitations of church organization, it is the order of the Gods given to man to perform the work of Saviors on mount Zion, as Enoch did so well.”

    I believe this is, in part why Lyman Wight had the mindset to go off and organize his own church and kingdom after the martyrdom. Once you have the highest priesthood, you have the power to start your own kingdom.

    In a Zion society, even though the concept of equality is practiced, autonomy is as well. Each high priest that has received their earthly and spiritual inheritance is ready to rule over their own kingdom and preparing themselves to become Gods..

    And yet it is interesting how God continues to utilize the high priests within the church organization within a consecrated order while the process of establishing Zion and performing the work of Saviors on Mt Zion is in process.

    Watcher

  14. Comment by TruthSeekerToo on July 14, 2009 4:25 pm

    Okay Watcher, I’ll try not to pout while you make me wait. Is this to try my patience? I’m not sure if I should be anxious to become more confused, though. LOL

    Weeping-I like much of your post.

    You wrote:

    “This HIGHEST order of the priesthood transcends any earthly limitations of church organization, it is the order of the Gods given to man to perform the work of Saviors on mount Zion, as Enoch did so well.”

    I agree and add my belief that the highest PH would have to transcend ALL earthly limitations including gender. I believe it has to be accessable to each and every one of God’s children.

  15. […] A Forgotten Event in LDS History? Filed under: History, Scripture — mahonri @ 2:31 pm OneWhoIsWatching is “Searching for the Holy Order and 23 High Priests“: […]

  16. Comment by onewhoiswatching on July 16, 2009 9:04 am

    LOL

    Anarchist- I don’t know if “Mahonri” plans on posting all of the parts of this series, but if he does, it looks like you get the last laugh!

  17. Comment by Derek P. Moore on August 3, 2009 11:37 am

    I tried to provide these quotes on the , onewhoiswatching, but they would rather not have this information about Peter, James, and John, and the keys of the kingdom and the Melchizedek priesthood which they restored…

    Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

    p. 157: The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. … Then to Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in this day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven. … Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as the head of the human family. … The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority.

    p. 158: The Priesthood is everlasting. The Savior, Moses, and Elias, gave the keys to Peter, James and John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before him. The Priesthood is everlasting—without beginning of days or end of years; without father, mother, etc. … How have we come at the Priesthood in the last days? It came down, down, in regular succession. Peter, James, and John had it given to them and they gave it to others. Christ is the Great High Priest; Adam next.

    p. 237: Wednesday, 4.—I spent the day in the upper part of the store, that is in my private office in council… In this council was instituted the ancient order of things for the first time in these last days. … (May 4, 1842.)

    1st Ed. Doctrine & Covenants—Section L.—Sept. 1830

    3. And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of my ministry: and of the same things which I revealed unto them: unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fullness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth: and also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world…

    Joseph Smith—History

    72. The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized.

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate—Vol. 1, No. 10—Jul. 1835

    When Peter, and James, and John went up into the mount with the Savior, Moses and Elias were there; and the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom were conferred upon them, Peter being at the head.—It is written in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, that after he (Jesus) ascended into heaven, he gave commandments, thro’ the Holy Ghost, unto the apostles whom he had chosen, that is, to Peter, James and John, they forming the first presidency of the church of Christ, after the meridian of time: hence we have a sample of the way and manner which God uses to give the scriptures to man…

    The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star—Oct. 1846

    His [J. J. Strang’s] last position is no better than the first, for he admits Joseph holds the keys of the kingdom in this world, and in the world to come. Well, how did brother Joseph get the keys conferred upon him? By Peter, James, and John, because they held them last on earth. Well, if Joseph had the keys conferred upon him by Peter, James, and John, and he (Strang) admits that Joseph holds them in the world to come, I ask how can Strang get the keys, or receive them from any other personage? He cannot, no more than Joseph could from any other than Peter, James, and John, for they held that authority.

  18. Comment by LDS Anarchist on August 3, 2009 12:43 pm

    LOL

  19. Comment by onewhoiswatching on August 3, 2009 1:42 pm

    LOL

    Regarding your comments, as i previously mentioned to you on my blog this AM, I don’t recall ever getting those comments. I had invited you to resubmit them.

    I’ll be happy to respond to them later on a post

    Watcher

  20. Comment by NEPT on August 3, 2009 5:02 pm

    Should be rather easy to respond, Watcher. Looks like you can formulate a rebuttal from the material that you’ve already posted in the High Priesthood series. There doesn’t appear to be any new issues.

    As already discussed, all priesthood is Melchizedek; the fact that one has received the highest priesthood doesn’t preclude him from conferring “lesser” (or subordiante) keys. Thus, Peter, having received the power to bind on earth and in heaven, is not rendered incapable of dispensing the keys of the Patriarchal, or apostolic, priesthood.

  21. Comment by NEPT on August 3, 2009 6:38 pm

    Hey Watcher, I suppose a simple rebuttal, but certainly not exhaustive, might include the oft spoken refrain…’all priesthood is Melchizedek’. LOL

    Striking a more serious tone, do you agree, Watcher, that possessing keys of the highest priesthood (being sons of God) does not preclude one from conferring keys of a ‘lesser’ priesthood? In other words, even if we assume that Peter was a High Priest of Melchizedek given that he had conferred upon him power to bind on earth and in heaven, that would not prohibit him from dispensing the apostolic keys of the Patriarchal priesthood. After all….

    .Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of my ministry….

    And didn’t Joseph say something to the effect that there is a greater priesthood than that of an apostle or prophet? I can’t find the reference right now, maybe you can help me out!

  22. Comment by NEPT on August 3, 2009 6:39 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t realize my former post had been accepted. I thought it got lost in cyberspace!

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21 Responses to Searching for the Holy Order and 23 High Priests Part 1

  1. “Prophet” is definitely not the highest title in the priesthood. I suspect the gift of prophecy has more to do with a spiritual gift than an actual title in the priesthood, but either way the Book of Mormon tells us that the gift of seership is greater than the gift of prophecy.

  2. Brand Nu says:

    All this talk of priesthood and seeing God makes my head hurt!I see God every day and every way!Jesus said he that beieveth without seeing is more blessed,so I could care less if I see God or not!The point being get up every day and be faithful to the spirit of God and things will work out.

  3. Brand Nu says:

    I guess I’ll write a few more things,my whole thing is follow the spirit of the Holy Ghost. I was converted to Mormomism from Catholism when I was 18,I found a BoM and read it in a couple of days told myself that it was true and 10 months latter was serving a mission.I realize now that my mission was over the top when it came to metaphysical things.When I was 26 years old Brigham Young visited me and told me that the time of the gentiles was fulfilled in 1890. I didn’t have a clue what he ment and at the time I did’nt even care!He told me a couple of other things that I won’t share except one and that is that my wife would leave me and that would be an oppurtunity for spiritual growth and it happened just like he said.The other things he told me have also come to pass in case you were wondering.When Spencer Kimball decided to give the cainnanites the priesthood I decided to pray about it and guess what, the spirit said hell no! I told my Bishop that I coud not support Pres. Kimball as a prophet and they kicked me out a year latter.Since that time the spirit of God has taught me the most marvelous things and that is why I say you have got to go by the spirit no matter what!

  4. Brand Nu-

    Your headache must be contagious because after reading your comments, now I am getting one.

    You seem to be dancing around the subject.

    Yes, we should all follow the spirit, no argument there.

    Yes, if you have seen any of God’s creations, you have in essence seen the creator, in a manner of speaking.

    Regarding the “more blessed…” point you made, I think you may be misinterpreting the scripture if you think it is really saying that a person is better off who has not seen God.

    Additionally we have been commanded to seek the face of God in the scriptures.

    Now then, for the sixty four dollar question, are you one of the lucky few that claims to have been transfigured and seen the Father and the Son, Like Lyman, Sidney and Joseph?

    Why do I feel a migraine coming on as I await your response?

  5. McKay says:

    I list 17 High Priests
    Who are the other six?

    1-Lyman Wight,
    2-Sidney Rigdon,
    3-John Murdock,
    4-Reynolds Cahoon,
    5-Harvey Whitlock
    6-Hyrum Smith
    7-Parley P. Pratt,
    8-Thomas B. Marsh,
    9-Isaac Morley,
    10-Edward Partridge,
    11-Joseph Wakefield,
    12-Ezra Thayer,
    13-Martin Harris,
    14-Ezra Booth,
    15-Joseph Smith, Sen.,
    16-Joseph Smith, Jr.,
    17-John Whitmer

  6. `18- Samuel H. Smith
    19- Jacob Scott
    20- John Corrill
    21- Solomon Hancock
    22- Simeon Carter
    23- Wheleler Baldwin

  7. McKay says:

    Thanks

  8. Joshua says:

    Would you please elaborate on the lack of opposition by Satan? One would think that those that received the highest priesthood would have had the greatest opposition.

    Satan would have given them some resistance, and would have tried to stop them from obtaining the highest priesthood.

  9. Hi Joshua

    Satan did give them a tremendous amount of resistance.

    I don’t know how many of the parts of this serious you have read, but I think I cover that topic somewhere along the way.

    Within just a short period of time after the highest priesthood was restored, it was taken from the priesthood was taken from the earth.

    On April 26 1832 (Section 82) the Lord spoke directly to some of the high priests and said

    “Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned.. And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way”

    Very few people understand the proper context behind this alarming declaration. In the first part of the declaration the Lord is speaking to and about his recently ordained High Priests that were called at the special conference at the Morley Farm. He was informing them that they have all sinned and gone out of the way with the rest of the world.

    Back in October 1830 the Lord had given the first of a three part keyword sequence in modern revelation demonstrating that only a few of the saints were “doing good”up to October of 1830. Now this revelation is declaring that as of April 26th 1832, none of them were doing good.

    Between those two dates the Lord had restored the high priesthood of Melchizedek and admonished those who were called to seek the face of God but few of them saw the face of God before the Lord let them all know that they had all sinned.

    We know from the Book of Mormon that the phrase “doeth good” means that a person is working by the power and gifts of God. Therefore, when there is none which doeth good, it means the gifts of God have been taken from the saints because of unbelief:

    “And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief. And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.” (Moroni 10:24-25)

    In December of 1830, the Lord would use the phrase a second time demonstrating that those who are ready to recieve the fulness of the gospel “doeth good”. This would indicate that a person must be working by the power and gifts of God under the authority of the patriarchal priesthood, before they can be ready to recieve the fulness of the gospel.

    “And there are none that doeth good except those who are ready to receive the fulness of my gospel, which I have sent forth unto this generation.”

    Finally, in April of 1832 the Lord makes the following declaration to a council of High Priests who had recently been called to the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood but failed to prepare themselves sufficiently to recieve the blessings promised.

    “Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned.. And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way”

    One cannot fully appreciate the significance of the above declaration until they learn about the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood which took place at the Morley Farm in June of 1831.

    This amazing declaration is being addressed to the newley called High Priests of the Church who were to lead the church in establishing Zion. It is verifying that shortly after the Melchizedik Priesthood was restored in 1831, the newly called group of High Priests had all sinned against the calling and commandments they had been given.

    The sin committed by the entire High Priest quorum had to do with jealousies, doubt and unbelief. These feelings prevented most of the members of the quorum from seeing the face of God and recieving the more sure word that they had been not only called, but chosen and sealed up. Those who had previously recieved greater enlightenment had temporarily fallen from grace of God.

  10. [John Whitmer mentioned this occasion also and said that Joseph] saw the heavens opened, and the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father making intercession for his brethren, the Saints. (F. Mark McKiernan, An Early Latter-day Saint History: The Book of John Whitmer (Independence, MO.: Herald Publishing House 1980), 67)
    For future ref.
    Also, to clarify statements made in some of these posts, although LW saw the father and the son, it was Joseph that saw the father and the son first at the meeting at the Morley Farm and stated that he would not feel death if people were to kill him in the state he was in
    As Joseph cast the evil influence out, a great vision opened to him, and he exclaimed, “I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand, let them kill me, I should not feel death as I am now” (“The Life of Levi Hancock,” copied from his own journal by Clara E. H. Lloyd, typescript, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p. 33).

  11. Ryan says:

    Watcher,

    I know that the Church “lost… the fullness of the priesthood” (D&C 124:28) and that JS was no longer the “President of the office of the High Priesthood” (D&C 107:91) but a “presiding elder” (D&C 124:125).

    However, how do you read D&C 124:123, where it states the “officers belonging to my Priesthood… even the Priesthood which is after the order of Melchizedek, which is after the order of mine Only Begotten Son?”

    Is that referring to the higher and not the highest priesthood?

    Thanks!

  12. We know from verse 28 that it cannot be referring to the highest, Melchizedek priesthood as you have already pointed out.

    We also know from verses 91-96 that the priesthood spoken of in section 124, that was overseeing the church was the PATRIARCHAL PRIESTHOOD that is a priethood of lineage and ordination, not the highest priesthood that is recieved by the voice of God out of the heavens.

    It is the birthright priesthood that comes down through the fathers from the promise of God to Abraham that he would have a seedline that would have the privelege of taking the everlasting gospel to the nations of the earth. (See “Reading Abraham While God Winks)

    Verse 95 informs us that this priesthood that Hyrum had was the same priesthood that Oliver had way back in the beginning when he was made the second elder and co-president of the church, before the Melchizedek priesthood was even restored. After the fulness was restored and then lost, sometime in or before 1834, it was the same patriarchal priesthood of Abraham that enabled Joseph and Oliver to behold Christ and angels behind the veil in 1836.

    It was that same priesthood that Joseph and friends had when they fled to Nauvoo.

    Verse 124 specifically refers to Hyrum as a “patriarch”. (ie, patriarchal priesthood)

    From all of this it appears that in this context, the phrase-

    “the Priesthood which is after the order of Melchizedek, which is after the order of mine Only Begotten Son…”

    Appears to be making reference to the three orders of priesthood and how the patriarchal priesthood “is after” or, in other words “comes after” the order of the Melchizedek priesthood with regard to the three degrees of priesthood.

    Melchizedek (which is after the order of mine Only Begotten Son)
    Patriarchal
    Aaronic

    The thing that makes the verbiage confusing to me is the dual use of “is after the order” in one verse where each use is used a little differently

    When thinking of the hierarchy of the three priesthoods, one might say that the patriarchal “is after the order of Melchizedek” meaning that it is next in line, or under it.

    Notice a similar word play showing how the three different priesthoods related to each other from the discourse that Joseph gave on Auguest 27 1843.

    The difference is that he is describing them from lowest to highest instead of from highest to lowest.

    ” Paul is here treating of three different preisthoods, namely the preisthood of Aron, Abraham, and Melchizedeck, Abraham’s preisthood was of greater power than Levi’s and Melchizedeck’s was of greater power than that of Abraham.” (http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1843/27Aug43.html Burgess Dairy)

    That is my in interpretation 😉

  13. VJ says:

    Hello OWIW, I’ve been reading through this, and I do find it interesting. I had never heard of the Morely farm event until a few months ago, and I don’t think I’ve read anything where it’s been addressed like this before.
    I’m wondering though where you think Joseph and Oliver hearing the voice of God at Father Whitmer’s fits into the priesthood story. I believe I’ve read or heard Denver Snuffer state that the Father Whitmer event was likely where Joseph and Oliver received this level of Melchizedek priesthood for the first time (wish I could remember in which talk). Denver may address this more fully in his next talk in November, which is supposed to be focused on the priesthood. However, I haven’t really come across anything on your site yet that talks about where the Father Whitmer experience may fit in. Joseph makes a reference to “the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer” in D&C 128, but he doesn’t talk about the Morley farm experience there. Could that be due to Joseph received the fullness of the M. priesthood at Father Whitmer’s by the calling of God’s voice, and it was the other elders and priest who received it at Morely’s? Would kind of support the idea that even if Joseph had already received it, the calling of God was still needed to bestow it on others.

  14. Vj

    Great question. I was kind of hoping no one would ask it because it kind of forces me to point something out that is kind of disconcerting, I just wanted readers to individually arrive at it on their own while reading the pdf, but since you asked, I will attempt to try and articulate an answer.

    It is interesting how much the interpretation of statements and events that is new to someone is colored by their current beliefs and perceptions.

    My entire life, before I came across the Morley Farm event, and the knowledge of when and how the true Melchizedek priesthood was restored for the first time, I always interpreted the experience relating to the chamber of Father Whitmer the way that Denver and many people in the mainstream church do.

    Once I had my epiphany regarding the Morley Farm experience along with the confirming information contained in the priesthood discourse of Joseph Smith in Nauvoo and the entry in Joseph’s journal, it became clear to me that when John the Baptist promised Joseph and Oliver that they would be getting the Melchizedek priesthood, he was actually referring to the upcoming event that would be taking place at the special conference at the Morley Farm that would grow out of the commandment for the elders to gather, from section 44.

    The ordination to be elders was an interim event that had to take place before the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood could take place.

    It was stepping stone to that great event.

    The calling of the 23 high priests could never have taken place if Joseph and Oliver had not become the first and second elders of the church, with the ordained patriarchal power stemming from the promise of God to Abraham, to preach the gospel, etc.

    It is important to realize that a preparatory missionary effort (that lasted about two years, from 1829-31) had to take place before the Morley Farm could have even taken place so that there was a pool of priesthood holders from which God could identify some faithful candidates that had magnified one of the first two priesthoods.

    You will notice in section 84 that a person must magnify one of the first two priesthoods before they could be elected by God to the final priesthood.

    Please notice the first portion of the quote provided by Edwin from church history:

    “We now became anxious to have that promise realized to us, which the angel that conferred upon us the Aaronic Priesthood had given us, viz., that provided we continued faithful, we should also have the Melchizedek Priesthood, which hold the authority of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. We had for some time made this matter a subject of humble prayer, and at length in order more particularly to seek of the Lord what we now so earnestly desired; and here, to our unspeakable satisfaction, did we realize the truth of the Savior’s promise- “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”

    The corporate church interprets the above statement to indicate that Joseph and Oliver had already accomplished the act of showing forth their faithfulness and therefore, they were given the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    I once agreed with that interpretation, but I don’t anymore.

    I now interpret the above statement to indicate that Joseph and Oliver sincerely wanted to prove their faithfulness but they realized they needed a priesthood ordination and calling that they could magnify and enable them to prove their faithfulness and also enable others to show forth their own faithfulness by magnifying their priesthood calling and office.

    They were asking for that door of opportunity to be opened to them and it was in the form of the ordination to the office of elder in the patriarchal priesthood.

    This is totally consistent with the process described in section 84 which states that the sons of Aaron (Aaronic Priesthood holders) and the Sons of Moses (Patriarchal priesthood holders) could eventually become the ELECT of God (ELECTED TO THE MECHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD) upon magnifying their priesthood responsibilities.

    Because they were praying for the next window of opportunity to enable them to show forth their faithfulness, they were given the privilege of being ordained by each other to th e particular office that God wanted to call them to. With that office, they could magnify it and show forth their faithfulness. That also gave them the opportunity to begin ordaining other elders who would have the opportunity to show forth their faithfulness-

    “…for 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.”

    That ordination was a necessary preliminary event that needed to take place before they and other priesthood candidates could be called by God to be High Priests in the Melchizedek priesthood.

    One of the things that is really quite curious, and seems to throw a wrench in the works of how the corporate church views priesthood, yet I cannot deny that the documentation exists, is the fact that in Joseph’s journal, he differentiates the third priesthood from the first two heritage related priesthoods by characterizing the first two priesthoods as the authority to administer the “letter of the Gospel”, the “law of commandments” and the “ordiances”-

    Quote:

    “…thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Angels to adminster the letter of the Gospel the Law and commandments as they were given unto him and the ordinencs..”

    He then characterized the third and highest priesthood as the priesthood necessary to preach in the administration and demonstration of the spirit”-

    Quote:

    ” a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him and the continuation of the blessings of God to him &c”

    In my opinion, this is saying that it is the High priests that actually have the power to preach the gospel in power! Not the elders!

    As uncomfortable as it made me feel when I first read it, I must confess that the full demonstration of the spirit that is detailed in the Bible, Book of Mormon and the D&C, regarding the incredible gifts of the spirit that will take place when the final work begins, rarely shows up in the history of the Church.

    There are a few isolated instances but they are few and far between, and they are usually associated with those that had the Mechizedek priesthood.

    This is why the Morley Farm endowment was essential before the next phase of missionary work and the attempt to establish Zion could be embarked on!!!!

    I believe that Lyman Wight, Joseph and a few others had a short window of time when great power began to manifest itself after their ordinations to the Melchizedek Priesthood but that window of time was cut short because the church cumulative offended the spirit by doubting and taking things lightly, and the fulness began to dissipate.

  15. Tony Giles says:

    The link for the 23 members who obtained the High Priesthood at the Morley Farm didn’t take. Could you re-do the link or tell me where I can view. Thanks

  16. Tony

    Sorry about the bad link. You can see a listing of who the 23 are at the following link

    https://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2009/07/30/patriarchal-priesthood/#comment-2018

    If I come across an online link to the original source or the paper I got in Kirtland I will post in the article

    Thanks

    Watcher

  17. JennyP1969 says:

    Hi Watcher…

    I’ve been re-reading your articles on LDSA site. Good stuff. In particular, I have been going over the ordinations of the 23 HPs and the subsequent reactions to heavenly and Satanic manifestations.

    In our day, I have observed that when someone shares a spiritual experience, reactions are quite varied. I’ve heard some bear a testimony at times of special manifestations, but if I know the person and they are a little “weird” I symbolically role my eyes with inward skepticism. I’m ashamed, but it’s true.

    On the other hand, there are others I have believed. Not that my belief or doubt has anything to do with truth.

    I can’t imagine being at the Morley farm and having Lyman Wight speak of seeing the Father and the Son. If I was trying my best to help grow a fledgling religion and others were having spiritual manifestations but I was not, I would simultaneously be worried about myself, as well as the people in this new little church.

    And manifestations of this caliber and power only happen to men who bear that priesthood. Where do women factor in to being called or chosen? If there is opposition in all things, where are the 23 women? Can this be done only through a man and never on a woman’s own merits by grace? Is it even a reality that women are ordained to become queens and priestesses to our husbands?

    Forever studying the scriptures with so, so little known about women. If God is so precise and exacting, why is there precious little taught specifically to and/or about half the population? Why is the little available often about harlots, Jezebels, and murmuring? Are women really as important as men? What proof in scripture is there that they are?

    I’d be interested in your take on this if you have time sometime.

  18. Jenny-

    You have done a great job of capturing some of the dynamics that were at play regarding the amazing spiritual manifestations that were taking place during the Morley Farm conference of the church and the surrounding months and years. I have wondered how I would have reacted to the incredibly strange events that took place at the Morley Farm. Even as a believer, I am uncomfortable with some of the things that are described at that event.

    It would have been extremely uncomfortable for me to be watching some of my brethren witness of seeing God while I struggled to gain the testimony for myself, particular since God had expressly stated that I needed to gain that witness for my calling to be complete.

    Just prior to that conference and the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the Lord gave Section 50 which warns the Saints about the false spirits that had gone forth in the earth. I believe that section 50, followed by the Morley Farm offers a type for us today. We are living right before the light of the fulness of the Gospel is about to burst upon the earth and be restored. That probably means that a host of false spirits have been unleashed to deceive people. It also means that once the light shines forth, additional good and bad manifestations will be unleashed.

    This is one of the many reasons I am so skeptical of all of the people popping up claiming they are having the second comforter and their calling and election made sure when in fact the fulness of the Gospel is not even on the earth and they are not even living the required law of the gospel.

    We need to be vigilant in seeking the true spirit and not being deceived.

    Regarding women and their role in all of this, I recently read a passage of scripture that really jumped out at me. It is one that is offensive to many women, but I noticed something quite interesting about it. It is 1 Timothy 2:1

    “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
    But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
    Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if THEY continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

    Not withstanding what appears to be harsh, chauvinistic content packed into the passage with all of its possible implications, the “they” in the verse really jumped out at me.

    “they shall be saved” JOINTLY, predicated upon their continued “faith and charity and holiness with sobriety”.

    I love how Paul says THEY shall be saved instead of SHE shall be saved. That is another way of saying that salvation is a joint process, “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.”

    I think one of the problems people run into when thinking about the salvation of men and women is the mindset that they are saved individually but they aren’t. They are saved jointly as a unit. Even when a couple is not equally yoked when one is a believer and one is not, it doesn’t matter, God has a mystical way of adjusting things in the resurrection so that the believer is saved with an equally yoked partner. The important thing to realize is that the salvation of a man is a joint thing with a woman. The salvation of a woman is ultimately a joint thing with a man.

    Now then, after reading 1 Timothy 2:1, I was curious to see of the JST had any corrections to make and any softening of the chauvinistic rhetoric. Even a minor change of any kind was hoped for because it would assure me that the seers eyes had reviewed the passages and either accepted them or made the necessary changes.

    To my delight, there was a minor word change with a major implication.

    You will no doubt be sad that no softening of the chauvinism was evident, however the change that was made is one that I find really quite profound. Here is how it reads:

    “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. For I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
    Notwithstanding THEY shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

    JS changed the “she” shall be saved in childbearing to “they” will be saved in childbearing.

    I think that is AWESOME! It is about the last thing I would have expected Paul to say. Frankly, I am not sure if the JST is always restoring passages to their original state or if in fact, God’s seer was simply correcting and improving upon what the ancient apostles were saying…

    Anyway, the implication of the change to me is simply a reinforcement that salvation is a package deal.. two parts of a whole.

    THEY shall be saved in childbearing if THEY continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

    Of course the most important active ingredient of the passage is the faith, charity and holiness that is required through the grace of God.

    Now then, in answer to your question, in my opinion it is not the role of women to experience all of the same spiritual manifestations as men. If it was, they would have been mingled among the men at the Morley Farm, being ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood and acting like fools running around showing people their cloven hands, etc.

    Your question “are women really as important as men?” implies separation and division and enmity. I don’t think it is the right question to be asking because it glorifies how important a man or a woman is, instead of glorifying how great God is. God is who we glorify, not man or woman.

    It is interesting how the passage notes that woman is of man and man is by woman, but most importantly, all things are of God:

    “the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.”

    The question in my opinion is, “does a man and a wife really require each other to be saved according to God’s laws?

    Yes.

    A man cannot be saved without a wife and a wife cannot be saved without a husband. They are dependent upon each other to be saved upon their joint faith, charity and holiness before the Lord.

    I want to share with you a youtube that I just watched. I am curious to know how you will respond to the presentation given by LDS feminist, Valerie Hudson at the recent “Lady of the Temple” symposium sponsored by the Academy for Temple Studies.

    I will withhold my views so as to not bias you any more than I already have attempted to. LOL

    Enjoy

  19. Pressing Forward says:

    Thank you very much, Watcher. I always appreciate your perspective. I value it.

    I am very familiar with Ms. Hudson’s “Two Trees.” it’s quite flawed, but a sweet effort.

    I understand men and women being intertwined in salvation.

    I do not understand why all men are blessed because Adam was not deceived, and all women are denied blessings because Eve was. I believe the 2nd AoF. Men receive priesthood power and endowments, including spectacular spiritual manifestations. Women receive a difficult monthly hormonal anguish, difficulty in pregnancy, pain throughout both circumstances, and horrors during menopause. Women hold no power, nor carry keys, nor have a voice in church quorums that decide many things that effect them and their families. They have no spectacular manifestations like the sacred grove or the Morley farm.

    All worthy men have great blessings.

    Many worthy women never marry or bear children. Yet they cannot receive the gifts men are given.

    I know this sounds petty and immature. Please know it’s not born of such things that I seek to understand.

    This weighs heavily on me as we are Wintering in Mesa, AZ this year and the headline news story a few nights ago on every Phoenix channel was a Bishop arrested for luring minor-aged exchange student young men into sexually explicit Facebook chats with intent to commit them in person.

    I know all men are susceptible to sin. I know “Satan maketh war upon the saints of God.” But such sad examples cause me to ponder again why women — all women — must spend their lives dealing with the physical trials men do not, must pay for Eve’s transgression, must stay home cleaning house and the upper rooms of the church while dealing with fighting children, sick children, and the woes of the whole ward’s cancer and bipolar victims, etc. while men are excused from these things to go to the Morley farms of life.

    I have no hope of such sacred things.

    Let’s pretend I am a piano in Any Ward of the church. I am a thing without gender. Pretend I can observe very closely and unceasingly.

    I look at who is on the stand every week. I observe who comes to PEC. I observe HC meetings. I see who holds courts. I see who conducts and who presides. I see women always faithful, burdened, but without authority, keys, and power. I watch women weep from fatigue, burnout, and inferiority because their lot is subjection—- to their complex endocrine systems (approx. 300 hormones to men’s approx. 30), their allotted role, and no hope for the good things men enjoy.

    As a piano, it is obvious to see that scripture and church government prefer men over women. I never met a man who wanted to have babies, go through pregnancy, or ever want to deal with anything female. Imagine that, lol! My husband once said he couldn’t bear life if he had to do what I do. At the time I was spending 12 hours a day with a mother throwing up in a bucket I held every 15-20 minutes for 17 weeks. He lamented that traditional women’s callings drove him crazy, like teaching Primary.

    I love when I get to teach anywhere anytime…….

    As a piano, I see objective evidence that men rule and reign, preside and have glorious power and experiences. Women have nothing that comes close. They are important in all supportive roles in the Kingdom. But it appears that men are, have, and deemed so much more. Even the concept of taking woman out of man makes her just a part of someone else, but never her own, glorious whole. Even the term “patriarchy” is an elitist expression.

    We have become masters at spin. Our apologetics are smooooth. We write books (Sheri Dew’s are the best, IMO), talks and stories and fables to make it all sound fair, just, and of God. But this piano didn’t fall off the ivory truck yesterday. 😉

    It appears unspeakably heartbreakingly condescending. :\

    I have no desire to take anything away from men. I love, love my father, grandfathers, husband, brothers, sons, and grandson. I love the brethren I have served under and with. I have no wish to be a man. But I yearn beyond expression for a much better eternal paradigm and treatment of women.

    Come soon, Dear Jesus….come soon.

  20. Pressing Forward says:

    Hey….obviously, I’m working through a huge struggle and hope you know I don’t expect you to resolve it for me. I just value talking it through with you somewhat — I can’t put decades of study and prayer here…… But such as this is, I truly value your insights. Sisters often say they don’t feel less than or that they love how things are divied up. But equality is not a feeling. True equality stands on its own and needs no defense or apologetics. It is holy. And in my opinion, we have a long, long way to go.

    But thanks again for listening, and for your response above.

  21. Pressing Forward-

    I have no response, other than to observe that I never realized what a cakewalk it has been being a man until I read your comments! Now I am a little embarrassed about all of the whining I have done all my life… LOL

    I thank you for several profound quotables, including these two:

    “it’s quite flawed, but a sweet effort” boy did you hit the nail on the head on that one! My response was not nearly as charitable.

    “But this piano didn’t fall off the ivory truck yesterday. 😉 ” LOL

    Keep on pressing forward, Pressing Forward, some day this is all going to make sense…

    ..I hope.

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