The Highest Order of the Melchizedek Priesthood
makes you a Possessor of All Things
[editorial note: some references still need to be added. You may need to do some key word searches for references]
“Let those who seek, continue seeking until they find. When they find, they will become troubled. When they become troubled, they will be astonished, and will rule over the ALL.” -Jesus Christ, Gospel of Thomas
Ok, if you have read the previous three parts of this series you are now in for a big surprise. I warned you to put your crash helmet and seat belt on because part 4 would be taking you for quite a ride.
Most of you are reading this series because you are one of those who are seeking. As a seeker you have undoubtedly found some hidden treasures of knowledge. In the process you have no doubt become a little troubled about some things you have found. Don’t give up, don’t become discouraged. Don’t lose you faith. You are getting close to the astonishment phase of seeking. Astonishment is on the path to becoming a ruler over all things.
The amazing thing about the doctrinally disruptive historical and doctrinal information you are about to read is that the most compelling documentation for it does not primarily come from obscure journals, unpublished revelations, claims of people involved in secret quorums claiming to have secret endowments or source material of questionable credibility… the most powerful documentation for the suppositions you are about to review is taken from the Doctrine and Covenants!
Revelations that were sustained by the law of common consent, published and in most cases, canonized for the world to see.
You are going to see passages from canonized revelations that have been available to the Saints for four generations and yet the significance of the meaning behind them have been without the full context because the restoration of the highest priesthood at the special conference at the Morley Farm incident has been minimized, distorted or covered over completely.
When viewed with the context provided by testimony of what really happened at the special conference at the Morley Farm, the meaning in the passages are illuminating and the implications are astounding, astonishing and powerful.
If you have been engaged enough to keep following this series with a desire to understand this event that took place at the Morley Farm and if you are willing to review the remaining parts of this article with an open mind, seeking the truth, sacrificing all of your preconceived notions on the altar of truth, you may find some answers to questions that you have been looking for. I know that I certainly have.
This part of this series regarding the restoration of the Highest Melchizedek priesthood is where the rubber hits the road… it is where we get to the next level of understanding pertaining to what took place at the Morley Farm about the three orders of priesthood that have been introduced into the Church and into the preliminary great work that began at the Morley Farm, but ultimately got hindered for a period of four generations.
I have been blown away with regard to how significant the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood was and is.
Up to now we have pretty much simply outlined what took place at the special conference where the powers of light and darkness descended upon the conference and how many of the believing and unbelieving gentiles struggled with the strange things that took place… with several of them rejecting it, claiming it was not of God. Others rationalized that it represented something different than what Joseph Smith claimed that it represented.
I would submit to you that this very well may have been most important event that took place between the publishing of the Book of Mormon up until today.
Everything that took place during the restoration movement from 1829 to 1844 was interrelated to, and most of it, predicated upon, what took place at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
One would think from the way this incident in LDS church history has been swept under the carpet and minimized that it was, at best, a spur of the moment, random event that took place with marginal significance.
Some, like Ezra Booth would later contend that this event and the entire restoration movement was either of the Devil or it was orchestrated by deceivers, while some of the early leaders of the Church like David Whitmer, would have you believe that the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the office of High Priest, was a deception which originated from a false revelation that Joseph got because he listened to the urging of Sidney Rigdon.
Lastly, many of the early brethren, like Brigham Young, (who wasn’t even present at the special conference, nor was he a member of the church at the time), would have us believe that the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood and associated endowment what took place at the Morley Farm was simply the introduction of a “priesthood office”.
He claimed it was simply an office within the existing priesthood that had been restored to Joseph and Oliver though Peter James and John. He and others erroneously believed that Peter James and John had restored the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Interestingly, the fact that Martin Harris was a Priest and only held the Aaronic Priesthood at the time he was called by the voice of God from the heavens to have the fulness of the priesthood bestowed upon him with the other 22 brethren, proves that Brigham Young’s spin on the event is wrong.
This is the foundational belief that the office of High Priest was only an office within a previously restored priesthood, became the prevailing doctrine within the LDS Church. To this very day the church teaches that there are only two priesthoods that have been restored by angels in 1829. The remarkable event at the Morley Farm in 1831 has been obscured into oblivion.
This false doctrine that the “High Priest” is simply an office in the “higher, patriarchal priesthood” that was restored by Peter James and John, is encapsulated in the recent response of a reader;
“There are six offices in the priesthoods of which we know a great deal, three offices in each of the two priesthoods. The offices of the high priesthood are high priest, elder, and bishop. The offices of the lesser priesthood are priest, teacher, and deacon.”
The above statement represents the belief of the LDS church today and of course it contradicts the testimonies of Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight and others. It contradicts the scriptures and it contradicts what was taught at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
In this part of this series we shall lay out some of the most illuminating and incriminating evidence showing that the above mentioned doctrine of the priesthood which permeates the church and even LDS fundamentalism today is FALSE DOCTRINE.
Let us begin by reviewing how this experience was characterized by Joseph Smith, John Corril and Lyman Wight;
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
The following statement from John Corrill is consistent with the observation of Joseph Smith;
“The Melchizedek priesthood was then for the first time introduced, and conferred on several of the elders. In this chiefly consisted the endowment—it being a new order—and bestowed authority.However, some doubting took place among the elders, and considerable conversation was held on the subject. The elders not fairly understanding the nature of the endowments, it took some time to reconcile all their feelings.”
Corrill’s recollection of what took place is consistent with the comments of Joseph Smith as recorded in the history of the Church.
Lyman Wight’s reminiscence provides yet another witness that the highest, Melchizedek priesthood was introduced for the first time. His remarks are consistent with the previous two accounts;
“On the 4th of June 1831, a conference was held at Kirtland, <Ohio> represented by all the above mamed [named] branches; Joseph Smith our modern Prophet presided; and here I again saw the visible manifestations of the power of God as plain as could have been on the day of Pentecost and here for the first time I saw the Melchizedek priesthood introduced into the church of Jesus Christ as anciently; whereunto I was ordained under the hands of Joseph Smith, and I then ordainded Joseph and Sidney and sixteen others such as he chose unto the same priesthood. The spirit of God was made manifest to the heeling of the sick, casting out devils, speaking in unknown tongues, discerning of spirits, and prophesying with mighty power, After the two days the conference broke up receiving the revelation which appointed 28 elders their Mission to Missouri”
I would submit that all three of these accounts are congruent with each other and accurate in their observation that the highest priesthood of Melchizedek was introduced for the first time at the special conference at the Morley Farm in 1831.
Indeed the endowment received at that conference was the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was being conferred for the first time in this dispensation. It did represent a “new order” of the priesthood, separate and distinct from the first two that had been restored by angels. It is the highest order of the priesthood which rules over all other priesthoods in the universe. (nevertheless, as Joseph Smith said, “all priesthood is Melchizedek” in that it is all an appendage of the highest or greatest priesthood).
Adding to the testimony of the above statements, when Joseph Smith dictated his first attempt at a personal history in 1832 he made this remark:
“A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Christ the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brought forth and established by his hand firstly he receiving the testimony from on high
[The first vision]
secondly the ministering of Angels
[Moroni -Book of Mormon plates]
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
[John the Baptist (are Peter, James and John included here?)], forthly 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 [visit of Peter, James and John, or is this a reference to the restoration of the office of high priest?] and the continuation of the blessings of God to him &c”
As you can see from the comments in brackets which are inserted by Mormon scholars, it was difficult for traditional Mormon scholars to believe what they were reading but they had no other alternative than to accept the possibility that the reception of the “holy” priesthood, by angels, (plural), had to probably be referring to both of the first two priesthoods since the Aaronic priesthood was the first to be restored by just one angel.
This set up the next part of Joseph’s statement which speaks of the restoration of a “high” priesthood which is separate and distinct from the two previous priesthoods that were both restored by angels.
He identifies it as the “High Priesthood after the holy order of the son of God“
Again we see question marks in the brackets from the LDS scholars postulating that the third priesthood must have been referring to the restoration of the office of “High Priest” which is how the modern corporate church inaccurately defines the event that took place at the Morley Farm.
Finally, notice how the first two priesthoods were for the purpose of administering the “letter of the Gospel – the Law and commandments.. and the ordinencs” while the priesthood after the order of the Son of God was to “preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit”
This possibly explains one issue that I was never really clear on, ie, was the third priesthood necessary for the preaching of the fullness of the gospel or was it simply needed to establish Zion?
It would appear from the above statement from Joseph Smith that it has a greater spiritual power that is necessary in the final preaching of the gospel, when the gospel is taken to the whole world in POWER.
When the Gentiles finally repent and the first laborers of the last kingdom return in power, they will go forth not only with patriarchal priesthood authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel, ie, baptize and confirm, they will also be showing forth the spiritual fruits and powers that follow those with the fulness of the priesthood.
Section 88 confirms that elders who are ordained to be apostles do not really receive the fulness of apostolic power confirmed upon them until after they get their calling and election to the high Melchizedek priesthood of the Son of God.
It is not enough to be ordained an apostle, one must also be called and elected to the high priesthood and become a friend of God.
It is only after that spiritual endowment takes place that the spiritual fruits and powers are manifest in their missionary labors. Clearly, many of the original 23 who were called, were not chosen and most of those who were chosen, failed to get the fulness of the spiritual baptism/endowment during the special conferece.
When the 3rd begins and the servants go forth in power, there will be some some very obvious spiritual powers and signs that will follow them and those who believe on their words.-
“Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature.
And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends;
Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost.
And these signs shall follow them that believe—
In my name they shall do many wonderful works;
In my name they shall cast out devils;
In my name they shall heal the sick;
In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;
And the tongue of the dumb shall speak; And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;
And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.”
Very few experiences like the spiritual manifestations mentioned above happened following the restoration of the highest priesthood at the Morley Farm because the vast majority of the 23 failed to receive the fulness of the highest priesthood that was conferred and they temporarily lost the fulness of the priesthood because of fear and jealousy. (see section 67 and also 95:5, 124:28)
When Brigham Young was quizzed about the fact that he had never been called or chosen by God to be a high priest, he dismissed it by stating that it was not necessary because he had been ordained an apostle. He claimed that the apostolic priesthood holds all of the priesthood power that one can hold on earth.
Conceptually Brigham Young’s claim is true, if the apostle magnifies his calling and is also called by the voice of God to be a High Priest, such as the first laborers being addressed in the above passage. But his contention is accurate ONLY if an apostle has magnified his calling and been called and elected to the office of High Priest in the Melchizedek priesthood such as those being addressed in section 88!
Some Doubting Took Place
I would submit that when Corrill states that “some doubting took place”, he was making somewhat of an understatement…. Some doubting did take place at that time and Joseph had to really labor with many of the Saints for several months to help them try to see that the events of the conference were inspired.. but, as we can see from history, doubting and contention over the implications of the event has continued for four generations.. so much so, that this event has all but been written out of our lesson manuals and books on church history. Even LDS authors are reticent to write about it…
Although David Whitmer blames the Morley farm incident on the urgings and influence of Sidney Rigdon, (as I pointed out in a previous post) we are going to see that this event was prophesied of and spoken about in modern revelation before the Saints moved to Ohio and before Sidney Rigdon could have had any doctrinal influence on Joseph.
Again, the prevailing belief in Mormonism discredits Joseph’s proclamation that the Melchizedek priesthood was a separate and distinct division of the priesthood and was being restored for the first time and that it represented a greater power and authority than the other two divisions of priesthood that had been restored by angels.
The general attitude towards the events of the special conference is that they were questionable at worst and not that significant at best.
We shall now dig a little deeper into this event and view it through the eyes of modern revelation and ancient prophecy.
When we get done we will have a greater appreciation for the observation by John Corrill that “some doubting took place” and we shall see how that observation and the rejection of the true endowment that springs forth from the fullness of the Gospel, and the corrupt endowment and associated spiritual wife doctrine that crept in as a result of that rejection, during the Nauvoo period applies to the following prophecy by Christ in the book of Mormon;
“And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.”
I would submit to you that the greatest endowment that springs forth out of the fullness of the Gospel was revealed at the special conference and that ultimately, the minds of the Saints, in general, could not accept and embrace the gift that was being offered.
The dynamics of pride play a significant role in how some of the early leaders viewed the events at the special conference. After the Saints cumulatively rejected the highest priesthood endowment, lyings, deceits, mischiefs and all manner of hypocricy, murders, priestcrafts, whoredoms and secret abominations entered into the church.
This incredible priesthood endowment was ultimately rejected and lost because the minds of the Saints were darkened and in some cases became darkened.
The prophecy given by Jesus Christ coincides with the prophecy the Lord gave to Moses wherein he foretells how the descendants of the Children of Israel will go a whoring after other gods and break the covenant wherever they go, even in the latter days;
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither [wherever] they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?
And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods…For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.” http://scriptures.lds.org/en/deut/31/17-18#17
The Endowment of the Melchizedek Priesthood
“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 definition for the word endowment referred to a spiritual, pentecostal, manifestation from God. It represents the earlier and more accurate use of the term endowment in the four standard works and early 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 [I seldem attempt to correct the spelling in these historical entries.. I can’t spell myself very well!]
Others described the promised events as the beginning of the “great and mighty work” and that it would involve the “work of miracles“.
“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)
Now let us read the actual canonized revelation known as section 44 commanding the elders to assemble for the magnificent event that was to take place at the Morley Farm;
“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.
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.
And it shall come to pass that they shall go forth into the regions round about, and preach repentance unto the people.
And many shall be converted, insomuch that ye shall obtain power to organize yourselves [law of consecration] according to the laws of man;
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.
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.” (D&C 44)
Section 44 confirms that the event at the Morley Farm was commanded, by revelation and that the promise was given that God would pour out his spirit upon the worthy! It was given just four months after the law of consecration was given!
The restoration of the highest priesthood at the Morley Farm was foreseen and foretold by the Lord way back before the newly restored church even left New York to go to Ohio!
The above revelation brings to our attention what the Lord said in January of 1831, in section 38;
“Verily I say unto you, ye are clean, but not all; and there is none else with whom I am well pleased;
For all flesh is corrupted before me;
[remember the prophecy the Lord gave to Moses? “Ye will utterly corrupt yourselves”]
and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven—
Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned and behold the enemy is combined.
And now I show unto you a mystery, a thing which is had in secret chambers, to bring to pass even your destruction in process of time, and ye knew it not;
But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily some of you are guilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your weakness.
Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours.”
Despite the fact that the lesser and higher priesthoods had been on the earth for nearly two years with the ability to dispense the fullness of the Gospel which is the everlasting covenant, the Lord is acknowledging that ALL FLESH WAS STILL CORRUPT and the enemy was combined and plotting against the Saints.
There was a greater priesthood endowment that was possible now that the first two priesthoods were on the earth.
The higher priesthood restored by Peter, James and John had not made the Saints completely clean but it provided the keys by which to part the heavens and receive the highest priesthood endowment which could make them clean and give them the greatest priesthood power!
Continuing on in this section, the Lord now informs the Saints that he is going to give them greater riches and a LAND OF PROMISE!
“And I hold forth and deign to give unto you greater riches, even a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh;
And I will give it unto you for the land of your inheritance, if you seek it with all your hearts.
And this shall be my covenant with you, ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the inheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away.”
As we have already discussed in a previous post, section 52, given after the conference, promises that after the elder’s meeting in the land of Missouri following their missionary efforts, God will reveal where ZION, the LAND OF PROMISE is to be!
Clearly section 38 was a precursor to the commandment to gather to the conference at the Morley Farm in section 44 and the event that took place at the conference and the commandment the next day to go forth on missions and eventually meet at the next conference in Missouri where the promised land would be identified!
As we study the revelations prior to and after the event at the Morley Farm it becomes increasingly obvious that the magnificent event at the Morley Farm was the pinnacle of spiritual endowments at the heart of everything that transpired up to the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.
Now for another mind blower as we continue on in section 38.
“…the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives. …and that you might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people without spot and blameless wherefore, for this cause I gave the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give you you MY LAW; and there you SHALL BE ENDOWED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH And from thence, whosever I will, shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do ; for I have a GREAT WORK LAID UP IN STORE, for Israel shall be saved and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand… but beware of pride lest ye become as the Nephites of old”
The law of consecration and an endowment with power from on high was going to be given once the Saints got to Ohio to protect the them from a secret combination that was organized and plotting their destruction.
Before I became aware of this amazing event at the Morley Farm, I always assumed that the endowment that was to be given from on high in Ohio, mentioned in section 38, must have been referring to the spiritual gifts of visions and prophesying and speaking in tongues that eventually took place at the Kirtland temple dedication five years later.
However, this assumption never made sense to me since the endowment was interrelated to the law of consecration which the Saints had failed to keep in Missouri and had pretty much discarded in Kirtland by the time the temple dedication took place.
I now understand that the endowment that was promised in conjunction with the law of consecration in section 38 is undeniably referring to the endowment of the highest priesthood that took place at the Morley Farm!
The endowment of the highest priesthood was necessary for the protection of the Saints from the secret combination and the establishment of Zion! The event marked the laying of the foundation of the GREAT WORK which would take place in the 3rd watch! ( D&C 64: 33) We shall see as this story continues to unfold that the work taking place at that time would be HINDERED in the 2nd watch and would eventually need to resume in the 3rd watch.
realizing that most prophesies and many revelations have a dual fulfillment, one can read both section 38 and 44 and realize that what happened in Kirtland during the 2nd watch was a partial fulfillment preparatory to the final fulfillments of both of those sections that will take place in the 3rd watch when the servants return in power to fulfill their callings.
Now let us take the time to outline why the higher priesthood needed to be restored to the earth and what it entails;
- The protection of the Saints from a combined enemy that was/is seeking their destruction
- The ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness of times
- The calling of the 144,000 High Priests
- The restoration of Israel
- The redemption of Zion
In hindsight, it is now obvious from reading modern revelation and the events of church history that according to section 44 and previous sections;
- The two previous priesthood endowments prior to the special conference had not made the Saints clean. All flesh was still corrupt!
- The Saints must meet to receive a greater priesthood endowment which had the power to make them clean without spot
- The greater endowment of priesthood was needed in order to protect the Saints from the enemy and to go forth in power preaching the gospel and to gather the Saints and establish Zion
Are you beginning to see how the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood at the Morley Farm fits into everything that was taking place during the first six years after the legal restoration of the church?
The dynamics that were taking place in the Church here are amazing.
People like David Whitmer appear to have felt threatened and offended with the commandment to gather for a great priesthood endowment. This is because they had been going forth in the authority of the apostolic priesthood preaching the gospel, thinking they held the highest priesthood authority and power in existence.
You will recall from one of our prior parts of this article that David Whitmer said;
“The next grievous error which crept into the church was in ordaining high priests in June, 1831. This error was introduced at the instigation of Sydney Rigdon… Remember that we had been preaching from August 1829, until June, 1831—almost two years—and had baptized about 2,000 members into the Church of Christ, and had not one high priest. During 1829, several times we were told by Brother Joseph that an elder was the highest office in the church….
Brethren—I will tell you one thing which alone should settle this matter in your minds; it is this: you cannot find in the New Testament part of the Bible or Book of Mormon where one single high priest was ever in the Church of Christ. It is a grievous sin to have such an office in the church…. Now brethren, do you not see that the displeasure of the Lord was upon their proceedings, in ordaining High Priests? Of course it was” (An address to All Believers in Christ)
David Whitmer and others of the first missionaries could not understand why there needed to be a greater priesthood introduced than the one they had already been given! If they had already been ordained to do missionary work, why was another priesthood and the beginning of another separate and distinct missionary ministry necessary?
Little did they know that the fullness of the gospel and the saving ordinances that they had been given authority to minister to people, were still in the process of bringing forth the full priesthood power that springs forth out of the fullness of the Gospel.
By rejecting the full power springing forth from the fullness of the gospel, they were rejecting the fullness of the Gospel!
They were fulfilling the words of Christ and the prophecy the Lord had given to Moses!
In fact everyone involved in the restoration movement up to the time that the Kirtland Temple was defiled, that rejected the highest priesthood endowment, was rejecting the fullness of the Gospel and fulfilling the prophecy of Christ by so doing.
Now for another great hidden mystery that is contained in the D&C which provides great understanding about the greater priesthood endowment that was to be given at the Morley Farm.
The Lord identifies the “greatest” priesthood which is about to be ordained by God himself out of the heavens at the upcoming conference.
The following passage is taken out of section 50.
Speaking about the priesthood endowment that was about to be poured out upon the worthy elders at the Morley Farm the Lord says ;
“..he that is ordained OF GOD and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, not withstanding he is the least and the servant of all.
Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ his Son.
But no man is possessor of all things except he is purified and cleansed from all sin.”
This is un-be-frekin-lievable!
Again, I would submit to you that the above passages are referring to the greatest priesthood that was about to be restored to the earth during the following month, at the Morley Farm!
The above verses address three truths;
- The greatest priesthood is ORDAINED OF GOD unlike the lesser two priesthoods that were previously restored to the earth. Those two priesthoods are ordained by men according to patriarchal lineage and/or the “will of man”. [clarification, they are called by prophecy, but nevertheless ordained by mortals as opposed to being ordained by God]
- Those who receive the greatest priesthood and become purified and cleansed from all sin become the POSSESSORS OF ALL THINGS. This is the power of creation. The Fulness of the Father. The power of Godhood!
- This priesthood that is sent forth BY THE WILL OF THE FATHER as opposed to the will of men, is bestowed by the FATHER, not just by men. (through divine possession)
As we drill down a little further, we shall see that the spiritual endowment which manifested itself at the Morley Farm, is mandated by the will of the Father. Although that great work was hindered, it will begin again in the 3rd watch.
The first laborers of the last kingdom will return and this power will be restored to them. It will manifest itself at an appointed time in the third watch. This greatest endowment will begin to happen to many people in the third watch and it is what constitutes the “WORK OF THE FATHER” mentioned in the Book of Mormon! (more on this later)
Again, this greatest priesthood is different from the lesser and higher priesthoods that were previously restored by John the Baptist and Peter, James and John.
Those priesthoods are bestowed by men according to lineage, according to mother and father, based on an earthly genealogy with an earthly beginning and ending. The lesser and higher priesthoods are bestowed according to the “will of men” as they are inspired of the Holy Ghost. There is certainly nothing wrong with recipients of the priesthood desiring to serve and receive the priesthood and their is nothing wrong with priesthood holders bestowing the Aaronic and Partriarchal priesthoods on others as inspired by the Holy Ghost!
The point that is being made, however, is that there is a third priesthood that is the greatest priesthood, and it is not bestowed on men according to their desire or by inspiration of priesthood leaders…. but rather they are called by the literal voice of God out of heaven It is bestowed by the will of the Father… It is not determined by the promptings of the holy Ghost it is ordained by His voice out of the heavens.
Perhaps one of the most profound and revealing passages of scripture which distinguishes the highest priesthood from the first two, is found in the JST of the Old Testament;
“And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God
And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; to put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to His will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world” JST Gen 14:25-40
Unlike the lesser and higher priesthoods, the highest priesthood is delivered unto men according to the voice of God the Father.
This amazing scripture in the JST Genesis 14 reveals the grand difference in how priesthood is bestowed between the highest portion of Melchizedek priesthood and the other two priesthoods. It also shows the fruits that come forth from the highest priesthood.
This is a great distinguishing factor of what was taking place at the special conference at the Morley Farm vs what had taken place with John the Baptist and Peter, James and John.
The first two priesthoods are ordained according to lineage and/or according to the will of man as directed by the Holy Ghost. The highest priesthood is ordained according to the voice of God out of heaven!
The protocol that was followed at the Morley Farm was very distinct.
According to the record kept by John Whitmer, only those chosen by God as revealed through Joseph Smith were to be ordained and they must be called and/or chosen by the voice of God out of heaven, not by the will of men.
God was speaking directly to Joseph smith and identifying who was being called and chosen. (as we shall discuss later, there is a difference between being called vs. being called and chosen)
Can you see how this protocol of bestowing the priesthood differs from the restoration of the Lesser (Aaronic) priesthood and higher (patriarchal) priesthood that was restored to Joseph and Oliver by angels and then bestowed to others by Joseph and Oliver and other elders of the church, as they determined by inspiration who should be called to the priesthood?
Joseph Smith had said, “…the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders.” History of The Church, 1:175-177
He wasn’t confused and he wasn’t deceived.
He knew exactly what he was talking about. The authority of the Melchizedek priesthood was indeed manifested and conferred for the first time on that occasion at the Morley Farm.
People like Ezra Booth were wrong, the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood at the Morley Farm was not part of an elaborate fraud orchestrated by Joseph Smith.
People like David Whitmer were wrong, office of the high priest did not end with Christ in the meridian of time. The restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood at the Morley Farm was not a deception orchestrated by the devil because Sidney and Joseph sinfully petitioned the Lord about a third level of priesthood.
People like Brigham Young and the modern general authorities are wrong, the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood at the Morley Farm did not simply constitute the restoration of a priesthood office in the priesthood that Peter James and John had previously restored. Indeed, there was at least on of the 23 high priests that had only previously held the Aaronic Priesthood and were not even elders when they were called by God to the Melchizedek Priesthood!
Once you have been ordained unto the highest or greatest priesthood, you then need to prove yourself in the eyes of God and go on to make your calling and election sure.
Many are called but few are chosen. You must receive of its fullness by becoming purified. Finally, you become a “possessor of all things” indeed you have power over all things and the elements obey your command! All spirits in heaven and on earth obey your commands.
This is the priesthood that gives you power to command the elements! All of the spirits in heaven and earth become subject to you.
This is the priesthood that Enoch and Melchizedek and Elijah and several of the book of Mormon prophets had when they were moving mountains and commanding the elements and translating the righteous Saints.
When one becomes a possessor of all things, one has received the “fulness of the father”… in other words, you have access to all of the power that the father has!
This priesthood could be called the priesthood of the “Father”, not to be confused with the priesthood of the “fathers” which is patriarchal priesthood passed down from Abraham and Jacob and Moses and others of the patriarchal “fathers”.
Each of the three levels of priesthood have been named after some of the great prophets and patriarchs who held them;
- The lesser patriarchal priesthood is often referred to as the priesthood of Aaron
- The higher patriarchal priesthood is referenced as the priesthood past down by Abraham or Moses. That is the priesthood that Peter James and John bestowed upon Joseph and Oliver. It contains within it, the apostolic priesthood and the keys to administer all of the earthly ordinances of the fullness of the Gospel. It is sometimes called the evangelical priesthood.
- The highest priesthood which is not directly predicated upon a person’s genealogy and therefore does not take into consideration who ones mother and father is, is sometimes called the priesthood of Enoch or Melchizedek. This priesthood can be obtained by a gentile, after one has shown forth faith and magnified one or both of the first two patriarchal priesthoods of Aaron and Abraham, one can become the ELECT OF GOD. (see section 84:33-34) This final priesthood that makes you the elect of God is delivered by the voice of God out of the heavens. Although it is not necessary to have in order to govern the church of Christ, it is necessary to govern the Church of God and establish Zion. (more later about the three churches Joseph restored) This highest priesthood is only attained by experiencing the final spiritual baptisms of “fire” and the “Holy Ghost” which is bestowed by the Father.
The Baptism which is bestowed by the Father
One of the keys to understanding what was taking place with Lyman Wight and others as they beheld the Father and the Son, has to do with the baptisms of fire and the Holy Ghost that follows the baptism of water when one exercises the proper faith.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he [God the Father] will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” 3 Ne 11:35
After a worthy person is baptized with water, God the Father baptizes them with fire to completely cleanse them from all sin. Following that, he blesses them with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost which is the promise of eternal life.
We shall address this further, later on.
A possible distinction between the miracles performed by the patriarchal priesthood and those performed by the highest priesthood is that patriarchal priesthood exercises faith and calls upon God to command the elements.
The highest priesthood, however, does not need to petition God to command the elements. All of those who are possessors of all things have the power to command the elements themselves. They are possessors of all things, they have been given all of the power that the Father has.
The scriptures sometimes seem to characterize the first two priesthoods as having “authority” usually pertaining to priesthood ordinances, in conjunction with faith to call upon God for miraculous blessings, while characterizing the third and highest priesthood as having both “authority” and “power” over the elements.
Section one of the D&C is only the first listed revelation because of commandment. It was given AFTER the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood. That section now takes on much more significance with the proper context provided by the restoration of the highest priesthood. Keep in mind that the revelation now known as section one was given just four or five months following the special conference.
Realizing what we have just reviewed about the greatest priesthood having power over the elements, lets look at some of the declarations contained in section one;
“And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days. And they shall go forth and NONE SHALL STAY THEM. BEHOLD THIS IS MY AUTHORITY, AND THE AUTHORITY OF MY SERVANTS…. TO THEM IS POWER GIVEN TO SEAL BOTH ON EARTH AND IN HEAVEN, THE UNBELEIVING AND REBELLIOUS…”
That is another description of the fullness of the priesthood! Section one describes the power the first laborers of the last kingdom will have when the return in the 3rd watch to go forth for the last time. This is the priesthood that was being bestowed at the Morley Farm.
When the first laborers of the last kingdom go forth in power for the last time, they will be unharmed by any of the wicked that try to stay them from their course of missionary work. They control the elements. All things are subject to them. They have power to seal on earth and in heaven!
The True Melchizedek Endowment
Steps or Phases in attaining the FULNESS of the Highest Priesthood
One of the amazing things you need to realize is that everything pertaining to the highest priesthood was revealed and introduced in 1831 and 1832! The Nauvoo years were not about introducing the highest priesthood in this dispensation for the first time, they were about trying to RESTORE the highest priesthood that had been introduced in Kirtland and then LOST!
Sections 1 through 88 appear to provide a detailed explanation and protocol of the highest Melchizedek priesthood endowment! The TRUE original endowment. ( please notice it has nothing to do with robes, secret handshakes, penalties of death, secret oaths of vengeance or swearing by ones neck!)
From the initial experience of Lyman Wight when the heavens parted and he saw the Father and the Son, to the additional information and promises contained in the revelations known as sections 84 and 88, we can reconstruct several, if not all of the steps or phases of the Melchizedek priesthood endowment.
The initial ordination to the highest priesthood does not entitle the candidate to all of the associated powers of that priesthood.
It appears that the greatest priesthood is achieved in steps or phases and it is predicated on faith and magnifying what priesthood the candidate already has. (See section 84)
Here are several of the steps of the endowment I can see according to the events at the special conference and those provided in the scriptures. Please feel free to respond if you see additional ones in your research.
Let us begin with the CALLING. There is a calling of the candidate according to the voice of God out of heaven though his anointed prophet, such as took place at the Morley Farm. Among those who are called, there are also some that are chosen or elected. Those that are chosen are those who God, in his infinite foreknowledge knew that they would be faithful. It is at a later time, after demonstrating their willingness to sacrifice all things, that the candidate makes their calling and election SURE, or secured.
After some of the original 23 apostacized the Lord acknowledged that “But behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many who have been ordained among you, whom I have called but few of them are chosen. They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noon-day.” (96:5-6)
That passage is referring exclusively to those ordained to be Melchizedek High Priests, not just Patriarchal Elders. Again, context is everything.
In the protocol provided at the Morley Farm, God identified, through his anointed prophet, who he wants to ordain to the greatest priesthood. God then ordains them through the process of “divine investiture” or, perhaps more accurately, “divine possession”, through his anointed prophet and seer or another designated High Priest.
This amazing process of divine possession that enables God to ordain people with his own hand through the mortal hand of one of his anointed prophets is revealed in section 36;
“And I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom” D&C 36:2,5
OK, getting back to the Morley Farm experience… God first revealed to Joseph that he wanted to ordain Lyman Wight.
The candidate, if sufficiently prepared and faithful, has the heavens opened and sees the Father and the Son. (there were only two of the 23 who were called that saw the Father and the Son on that occasion. The others were admonished to keep seeking the face of God)
God then conferred the priesthood on Lyman Wight with his own hand through the hand of Joseph Smith.
(Eventually God began revealing who was to be ordained through Joseph but using the hand of Lyman Wight to do the ordaining via divine possession.)
After having the priesthood conferred and seeing the Father and the Son, a period of time transpired during which the worthiness of the individual in magnifying his calling is examined by the Lord, those that have been faithful become cleansed from all sin and their priesthood endowment is confirmed by the voice of God out of heaven as took place and recorded in section 84;
” And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received,[at the Morley Farm] which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you. And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God… And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.”
After having been elected to the highest priesthood by God the Father, and seen him and Christ, and being conferred and then confirmed, and after continuing in grace, offering up a sacrifice of humble heart and a contrite spirit, they become totally sanctified. This is demonstrated in section 88;
“Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you who have assembled yourselves together to receive his will concerning you:
Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.”
Once you have been elected, seen God and had the highest endowment conferred and confirmed and become sanctified (and had it documented in the book of the names of the sanctified) the worthy recipient then receives the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost otherwise known as another comforter. This portion of the endowment is the promise of eternal life. It is the promise that one will enter into the glory of the celestial kingdom where one is a member of the Church of the First Born;
“Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
Which glory is that of the church of the First born, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son
In section 39 we are reminded that the comforter is what teacheth the “peaceable things of the kingdom“;
“And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom“. D&C 39: 6
Once a person has completed those steps of the Melchizedek priesthood endowment, they are completely purified and sanctified. At some point after that they inherit all that the Father has, they become equal with Christ and they become a possessor of all things, possessing the fullness of the Father.
All spirits in heaven and earth are subject to them. They can command the elements, if that falls within their calling and stewardship upon this earth. This is the priesthood power by which Enoch, Melchizedek and Elijah commanded the elements and translated the righteous Saints.
It was not my intent to get so far into the doctrine of the priesthood in this post as we will provide a summary pertaining to the priesthood in part 5, however it was unavoidable inasmuch as the sections pertaining to the conference, which preceded the conference, specifically laid out and revealed that the coming priesthood endowment to be revealed at the conference would be the greatest priesthood and would make the faithful recipient a “possessor of all things”.
PLEASE NOTE THAT BY 1831-2 THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL CONTAINING THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD ENDOWMENT HAD BEEN REVEALED AND BESTOWED UPON SOME OF THE SAINTS OF THIS DISPENSATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is incredibly important to understand because it gives the proper context to what would later transpire in Nauvoo.
Once in Nauvoo, the Saints were trying to restore this highest priesthood which the Lord had taken away from them after!
By understanding the truth about the fulness of the priesthood and understanding what the true Melchizedek priesthood endowment consisted of, we are better prepared to discern the actions of Saints and the doctrines they taught during and after the Nauvoo era.
With this information we can see the folly in what took place in Nauvoo pertaining to the Spiritual Wife doctrine and the Masonic Temple Endowment, both of which contradict the book of Mormon and the revelations previously received by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
With this information we can identify the fact that the Church ultimately had lost the two higher priesthoods and had been downgraded to the Aaronic level of priesthood when they had to flee from Nauvoo. They had built their house on a sandy foundation prior and were forced to flee from the cornerstone of Zion and to wander into the wilderness of Utah.
How could the Saints fall so far in such a short period of time?
The problem is that the Saints began to doubt and question the experiences that took place at the Morley Farm! In the words of John Corrill “some doubting took place“. It was this doubting that led to the rejection of the highest priesthood of the Father and therefore, the rejection of the fulness of the gospel.
Lets review how the Lord characterizes the doubting that took place. A little over a year after the Morley Farm experience the Lord reprimanded the leading elders of the church;
“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief and because you have treated lightly the things you have received- which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
And this condemnation resteth upon the children of zion even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new [and everlasting] covenant, even the book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written-
that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Fathers kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. For shall the children of Zion pollute mine holy land? Verily, I say unto you nay!”
There you have it.
The Lord himself rebukes the leading elders for having “darkened minds”, “unbelief”, vanity and treating the Melchizedek priesthood, law of consecration and associated truths lightly.
Again, I’ll bet you have read those passages many times in the past without realizing that they were referring specifically to those who had been ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood and rejected the greater light and responsibility that was being offered.
The condemnation put upon the church at that time (and in another published but canonized revelation) would not be lifted until they remembered the commandments contained in the book of Mormon and the revelations received by Joseph Smith including the commandment to magnify their priesthood and to consecrate and redeem Zion.
The initial endowment of the Highest Priesthood had been restored. It was the spiritual equivalent of entering into the “gate”. It contained the spiritual power for establishing Zion.
Now the Saints and the leading elders of the church had come under condemnation for doubting the endowment they had been given and for not keeping the everlasting covenant which they had been commanded to keep.
Again, they were fulfilling the prophecy of Christ and the prophecy the Lord gave to Moses. The Gentiles were rejecting the fullness of the Gospel, even the priesthood of the Father.
They were also fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, they were breaking the New and Everlasting Covenant.
The Saints were given the greatest endowment of priesthood in Kirtland and they lost it and fell under condemnation.
The Fulness of the Priesthood was “taken away” and “lost” but it will be restored again in the 3rd watch.
When the Saints finally broke the covenant and fled Jackson, then defiled the Kirtland Temple and fled Kirtland, they attempted gathering in Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman. Shortly after they fled from those cities, they gathered to Nauvoo. Shortly after arriving in Nauvoo, section 124 was given. In it the Lord revealed that the fullness of the priesthood had been lost;
“..build a house to my name for the most high to dwell therein. For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and RESTORE AGAIN that which was LOST UNTO YOU, or which he hath TAKEN AWAY, even the fullness of the priesthood.” (124:28)
The Lord had “taken away… the fullness of the priesthood“. Now that the Saints had defiled the Kirtland Temple and were no longer “poor” as a group, having the means to build a temple quickly, the Lord made it clear to them that he would not “restore again” the Highest priesthood “which was lost…” until a temple was built.
If you are wondering why the ominous implications of verse 28 was not fully expounded upon by Joseph Smith, the simple fact of the matter is that IT WAS!
In a sermon given on May 16th 1841, first published in the Times and Seasons (vol 2:429-30) and later published in the History of the Church (4:358-60) and eventually in TPJS (187-189) The prophet Joseph Smith taught;
“The election of the promised seed still continues and in the last days they shall have the Priesthood RESTORED unto them and they shall be Saviors on Mount Zion and be the ministers of our God.”
He added that “If it were not for a remnant of Israel which was left then might we be as Sodom and as Gomorrha.” Of course his reference was verifying that Isaiah chapter one was referring to America as the “sinful nation” and to the latter day Saints as those who “forsake the Lord” and “are gone away backward“.
This is certainly not the first time the prophet Joseph Smith acknowledged that the highest priesthood had been taken from the Saints.
In 1838, while in Far West, shortly after the Saints defiled the temple and fled Kirtland the Prophet Joseph Smith interpreted Isaiah 52: 1-2 thusly;
“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“.
In the above passages notice how the “AUTHORITY” of the priesthood is patriarchal which Zion has a right to by lineage but the scattered remnants ALSO needed to RETURN to the “POWER” of the priesthood which refers to the highest Melchizedek priesthood power which is required to redeem Zion.
He further interpreted Isaiah as prophesying that the latter day Saints would need to “return to the Lord from whence they had fallen” at which time God would once again “speak to them or give them revelation“.
He explained that the “bands of her neck” are the “curses of God upon her” as a result of not consecrating and remaining in a “scattered condition among the Gentiles” (D&C 113)
To those who are watching the events of the restoration movement and searching the words of Joseph Smith, it becomes apparent that the highest priesthood received by many at the Morley Farm had been lost by the beginning of 1835 and that the 2nd priesthood (of Abraham) would eventually be lost in Nauvoo if the Saints failed to be obedient and finish the Temple.
Following the failure to successfully consecrate in Jackson and Kirtland, the Saints lost the greatest priesthood. Now they were left with the two priesthoods that had been restored in 1829 by angels, the two priesthoods they held before the special conference at the Morley Farm.
On August 27th 1843 the prophet Joseph Smith gave a discourse regarding the three priesthoods. We will get into detail on that discourse in a later part of this series however there is one statement from that discourse out of the Joseph Smith diary that deserves mention here.
The Prophet indicates that it was the 2nd priesthood, or “patriarchal” priesthood that was being used to build the temple in Nauvoo. The promise was that when finished, God would fill it with power, referring to the fact that the Highest, Melchizedek Priesthood endowment would be restored to the Saints after the temple was completed.
“2d Priesthood, patriarchal authority finish that temple and god Will fill it with power.”
As you can see, the second, patriarchal priesthood was sufficient to build the Nauvoo Temple. Once the temple was finished, the highest priesthood which had been lost could be restored.
September 11th The Appointed Time for the Redemption of Zion
If there is an approximate identifiable date on which the highest priesthood was lost, it would probably be sometime in 1834.
God, in his infinite mercy and longsuffering continued to speak to the saints. He had previously promised, in section 64 that Kirtland would be a stronghold until September 11th 1836.
On August 16th 1834, Joseph Smith wrote a letter to Lyman Wight and the brethren on the High Council in Missouri telling them that the spirit had informed him that the leaders of the Church in Zion must use-
“..every effort to prevail on the churches to gather to those regions and situate themselves to be in readiness to move into Jackson Co. in two years from the Eleventh of September next which is the appointed time for the redemption of Zion“.
As you can see, the Lord gave a set time when the redemption of Zion was to take place in the 2nd watch!
Critics of the Latter-day Saints often refer to these statements in the letter to demonstrate that Joseph Smith was a false prophet since the redemption of Zion never took place at the appointed time.
If one reads the entire letter and puts his statements in context it is clear that Joseph Smith was not prophesying that Zion would be redeemed on that date, but rather he was giving a conditional promise from the Lord based on obedience.
IF the Saints were faithful in exerting themselves, the redemption of the Saints would be accomplished on or before September 11 1836. On the other hand, if they failed in this attempt, they would be scourged!
In the letter, Joseph Smith warned them that;
“if we don’t exert ourselves to the utmost in gathering up the strength of the Lords house that this thing may be accomplished behold there remaineth a scourge.”
The date that Joseph Smith gave for the redemption of Zion coincides with the word of the Lord in section 64 which was also given on September 11th, in 1831:
“…I the Lord will to retain a strong hold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years in the which I will not overthrow the wicked, that thereby I may save some. And after that day, I the Lord will not hold any guilty that shall go with an open heart up to the land of Zion; for I, the Lord require the hearts of the children of men.”
We see from section 64 that three years prior to the letter Joseph Smith wrote to the brethren in Zion, the Lord had revealed that Kirtland would no longer remain a stronghold for the members of the church after September 11th 1836 and that if any were to enter the land of Zion at that appointed time, they would not be held guilty for their actions.
Section 64 is an amazing prophecy. How could anyone have known that Kirtland would remain as a spiritual and temporal stronghold for the Saints for 5 years and that after that, apostasy would break out, the temple would be defiled and the Saints would need to flee shortly thereafter?
Little did the Saints realize that after that period of time, they would fail to redeem Zion, enemies of the church would prevail, the Temple would be defiled, the highest priesthood that was given, in part to be a protective hedge against the enemy and a stronghold, would be lost and the Saints would need to flee from Kirtland?
Needless to say, the redemption of Zion never materialized on September 11th 1836 and the saints failed to restore again the Melchizedek priesthood that had been lost a few year before.
One of the main reason why the Melchizedek priesthood was restored was for the purpose of redeeming Zion.. A feeble attempt at restoring the Saints to their lands in Jackson County had taken place in the form of “Zions Camp” in 1832 but it failed in it’s mission and the Saints ultimately failed to redeem Zion at the appointed time in Jackson County.
Although the greatest Pentecostal event that took place was undoubtedly the restoration of the highest priesthood in 1831, September 11th 1836 appears to have been the apex of the restoration movement. Just months before that appointed time, the Savior appeared to Joseph and Oliver to accept the temple. It appears that the darkened minds of the Saints regarding the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood and their failure to live consecration and redeem Zion would ultimately result in the closing of the heavens shortly before Joseph would be martyred.
The Patriarchal Priesthood was also lost, leaving only the Aaronic
While the Highest priesthood was restored in 1831 and lost on or before September 11th 1836 in Kirtland, it appears the 2nd priesthood, or Patriarchal priesthood which was restored in 1829 by Peter James and John was lost sometime between January 19th 1841, when the revelation known as section 124 was given and the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum in 1844.
In that revelation the Saints were warned that they only had a short designated period of time in which to complete the temple and if they did not complete the temple within that period of time they would be “rejected as a Church with their dead”.
Since the main purpose of the 2nd priesthood is to govern the church and dispense the saving ordinances of the gospel, it follows that, that priesthood would also be lost to the Saints if God rejects the Church and hides his face and stops giving revelation to them.
The time period during which the Saints were to complete the temple was identified by the grace period during which they were able to do baptisms for their dead in the river.
“but I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me. But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God”
It is very interesting that the Lord did not give a specific date by which time the temple was to be built, instead, he assured them he was giving the a “sufficient time” if they “labored with all their might”
“If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy. And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place..”
He did however provide two time line markers that would indicate if the Church was ultimately rejected.
One marker was to be when the baptisms for the dead were not longer acceptable.
The other prophetic marker was if the Saints were forced to flee from Nauvoo as they had been forced to flee Jackson, Kirtland, and Far West. the promise provided in section 124 was that they would not be moved out of their place this time if they were obedient.
Those two events would testify that the Church was rejected by the Lord God.
On 3 October 1841, the Prophet Joseph announced that “there shall be no more baptisms for the dead until the ordinance can be attended to in the Lord’s House” (History of the Church, 4:426).
This statement from the prophet indicated that either the Saints had had a sufficient period of time to build the Lords house OR they had already defiled the undertaking by their “follies and abominations” that they were practicing before the Lord (D&C124:48)
It is not clear if the sanitizers of the History of the church diluted the ominous implications of the announcement by adding “until the ordinance can be attended to in the Lords House” but we know from reading the exact language from the revelation that God’s grace period for accomplishing the task at hand had expired regardless of whether it was ended by the Saints not laboring with all their might or whether it was ended by other abominations that were being practiced.
The following statement was made by Lyman Wight who became convinced that the Lord rejected the church because of their leisurely slothfulness in completing the temple-
“The church mostly went from there Kirtland Ohio to Missouri where they commenced another house from which they were driven to the State of Illinois where we were commanded to build a house or temple to the Most High God.
We were to have a sufficient time to build that house during which time our baptisms for our dead should be acceptable in the river.
If we did not build within this time we were to be rejected as a church we and our dead together.
Both the temple and baptizing went very leisurely till the temple was somewhere in building the second story when Bro Joseph from the Stand announced the alarming declaration that baptism for our dead was no longer acceptable in the river, as much to say the time for building the temple had passed by and both we and our dead were rejected together.
The church now stands rejected together with their dead The church being rejected now stands alienated from her God in every sense of the word” Church History Vol 2 p 790
We know that the Saints failed to build the temple in the “sufficient time” for two reasons. One is that the Temple was never completed in the designated time period because it is a historical fact that it was never completed at all before the Saints fled Nauvoo.
Although historical revisionists sometimes imply that it was finished, we have many testimonies including the journal entry of Brigham Young in his diary verifying that it was not finished when the Saints fled Nauvoo.
The other reason we know it was not finished is because Joseph Smith gave a discourse revealing that the tower (temple) referred to in the parable of the redemption of Zion in section 101 was referring to the Nauvoo Temple, and the parable reveals the remarkable prophecy that the Saints would fail to complete the temple because the Saints would not labor with all their might, questioning among themselves;
“what need hath the Lord of this tower….”
It is a curious fact that the Saints quickly resumed doing baptisms for the dead BEFORE the temple was finished and properly dedicated. Although several attempts to dedicate portions of the temple were made, none of the accompanying pentecostal endowments that accompany the acceptance of a holy temple were ever enjoyed.
Regarding the resumption of baptisms for the dead before the temple was completed, the following journal entry informs us that “The following month, a temporary font was constructed and dedicated in the temple basement, and ordinance work resumed. At least 11,500 proxy baptisms were performed between 1840 and 1845.” (See M. Guy Bishop)
We don’t have enough information to determine if the Saints were authorized by revelation to resume the work for the dead in the unfinished temple or if this was one of the abominations which the Saints were practicing before God during this dark time in the history of the Saints;
“For instead of blessings, ye by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord.” (124:48)
Of course the fact that the Saints had to flee Nauvoo shortly after the martyrdom, is the second sign and witness that the Church was rejected with their dead and the patriarchal priesthood necessary for governing the church and dispensing the saving ordinances of the fulness of the Gospel had, most probably, like the highest priesthood, been taken away.
This left the leaders of the church with the Aaronic priesthood with which to take the preparatory gospel to the inhabitants of the earth.
Now then, it has been shown from the history of the church in conjunction with the holy and infallible word of God that the calling of the conference at the Morley Farm was indeed inspired and that it did represent the restoration of the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood for the first time in that dispensation.
It has been shown that the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood interrelates to virtually every other event that took place during the Kirtland years.
With this new context for background, the D&C should take on a much greater meaning.
It has been shown that the highest priesthood and the law of consecration were essential for being protected from the secret combination that had already combined and was plotting the destruction of the Church.
It has been shown that there is a great distinction between being called to the highest priesthood by the voice of God out of heaven vs, the ordinations to the two lesser priesthoods made according to lineage or the will of men.
It has been proven that the priesthood endowment given at the Morley Farm was greater than the lesser and higher priesthoods previously given by John the Baptist and Peter James and John and that it is defined as making the recipient a “possessor of all things”, which is the power of creation, or Godhood.
We have detailed and itemized the several steps of the true Melchizedek priesthood endowment in attaining a fullness of power after the initial ordination to the Melchizedek priesthood.
It has been shown by the scriptures and the events of LDS church history that because of the cumulative wickedness of the Saints, the Lord God of Israel took his anointed servant out of the midst of the people along with the holy partriarchal priesthood of Abraham as well as the fulness of the holy Melchizedek priesthood, just as Moses had been taken out of the midst of ancient Israel.
Unfortunately the length of this post does not allow me to cover the absolute necessity of living consecration and the associated consequences of not living it. That will come in the next post.
As you can see, the holy order of the priesthood and the law associated with it were given very early in the history of the church… within the first three years after it was restored.
As discussed in this and some of my previous posts, the fullness of the gospel was rejected by the gentile church by about 1834, followed by the Kirtland apostasy which resulted in the failure to redeem Zion on or before September 11 1836 and resulted in the defiling of the Kirtland Temple and the Kirtland apostasy.
Joseph Smith notified the Saints that God had revealed to him that “something new much be done for the salvation of the church”. He then established foreign missions to take the Preparatory gospel to the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah.
We have demonstrated according to modern revelation and church history that the appointed time for the redemption of Zion was September 11th 1836 and that the failure on the part of the Saints to magnify the highest priesthood, redeem Zion and live the law of Consecration resulted in the withdrawing of the fullness of the Priesthood as ominously pointed out by the Lord in section 124;
“For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”
From this we see that it was game, set and match before the Saints were forced to flee Kirtland. The prophecies of Christ and Moses had been fulfilled and the Latter day Saints had rejected the fullness of the Gospel long before the Saints even got to Nauvoo.
The Saints had been weighed in the balance and found wanting at the end of the first six years of the restored church. After that, the greater light they had been given was taken from them.
LDS fundamentalists that think God would continue to give a greater laws to the Saints in Nauvoo when in fact they had already sinned against the greatest law and the greatest light there is, in Kirtland, are gravely mistaken. Indeed the Lord sent a “strong delusion” to those who “received not the love of the truth”, that they might “believe a lie.” (See 2 thes 2)
The rejection of the fullness of the gospel by the Gentiles on or before September 11, 1836 and the taking of the preparatory gospel from the gentiles to the Jews after that date is a great mystery that few people understand. We shall touch on that later.
But there is another mystery that is even deeper.
The restoration of the highest priesthood at the special conference at the Morley Farm was not done in vain.
God, in his infinite wisdom and foreknowledge had a plan “B” in mind when he bestowed the highest priesthood. That plan would prevent the Saints from being wiped off the face of the earth. …more on that when we resume with part 5.