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What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 26 Sep 2018, 09:30
by Heber13
This may seem primary-ish to most of you...sorry...my mind is just asking questions on this topic and kinda just wanna kick around ideas and have you all teach me and remind me of stuff.

From LDS.org:
The word priesthood has two meanings. First, priesthood is the power and authority of God. It has always existed and will continue to exist without end (see Alma 13:7–8; D&C 84:17–18). Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He exalts His obedient children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39; see also D&C 84:35–38).

Second, in mortality, priesthood is the power and authority that God gives to man to act in all things necessary for the salvation of God’s children. The blessings of the priesthood are available to all who receive the gospel (“Priesthood Authority,” Handbook 2, Administering the Church).
So...some initial questions...because I guess I can see these ideas make sense at a broad level...but going a bit deeper on the subject...

What does it mean "Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He exalts His obedient children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man”?"
- Does this mean some people hold the priesthood and help God create things, and others didn't have the priesthood in the pre-existance and just hung around and watched and weren't involved?

Second, what blessings come to those who receive the gospel, for which priesthood is needed? What are specific examples?

What exactly IS the priesthood and why is it needed?

[Maybe this can be our sunday school class...and we can discuss together??] :smile:

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 26 Sep 2018, 10:37
by dande48
I've heard that the priesthood is basically interchangeable with "The Power of God", as with the first meaning. So, in essence, when we exercise the priesthood, we're using a facet of the power used to create all of existence. Going back to that other thread, I'm pretty sure this is what Oaks meant, when he said the endowment gives women "the priesthood". In fact, I'd say you could rope pretty much anything under that umbrella. Having children? The priesthood. Teaching Sunday School? The priesthood. You could pretty much say anything is on some level a facet of the priesthood, since just about everything leads to the creation of how things are and will be.

I think this first definition is mostly for giving us the "Woah!" factor. Everyone is special. Everything is eternal. We are gods, with divine potential. Etc, etc.

But in the second definition, it's more specific. This priesthood is conferred through the laying on of hands. There are those who have it, and those who do not. If you don't have the "authority" to preach the gospel, how do we know who is right? Who do we follow? It gives legitimacy to the Church and its leaders. It tells us who is in charge (so long as they have the proper keys).
Now we have this system. And we are handcuffed to it. But....what really are we accomplishing with priesthood authority to some people and not others?

I wonder if the options forward are:
1) give priesthood to women;
2) stop giving priesthood to all men.
I have always found it kind of funny they give the priesthood to all men. They certainly didn't under the law of Moses. I really doubt they did in the early Christian church. I think it was given, even after it was extended beyond the tribe of Levi, "as needed". In the early LDS Church, I could see it being more necessary to give it to every man, since our numbers were really low and it was important to spreading the gospel. But now, I think specific priesthood keys have taken the place of what the priesthood was originally meant to be. But we still give all men the "priesthood" to make them feel special and important, and to increase their sense of obligation.

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 26 Sep 2018, 12:34
by DoubtingTom
I’m of the opinion that the concept of priesthood authority being restored by the laying on of hands from John the Baptist and then Peter, James, and John was an idea developed sometime in the mid 1830’s and then later retrofitted through additions to the Doctrine and Covenants to make it appear as if it had always been that way prior to the organization of the church in 1830. The evidence of this is quite compelling.

At the time of the organization, it seems that simply having faith in Christ was enough to give one authority and then one could be ordained to an office such as elder to officiate in ordinances. But the concept of exclusive priesthood authority was foreign at that time until later around 1834 when the church had an authority crisis and then the idea of exclusive priesthood developed.

Therefore, I think the concept of priesthood authority is an invention of the church to meet a need at the time rather than a real concept from God. If so, then priesthood is just a means of the church clearly defining who has the right to officiate in ordinances of the church, which they have every right to do. But I think it’s just a construct - although at times useful, it can also lead to certain groups feeling excluded (like women). Of course, I recognize that my perspective is probably a minority viewpoint on this site.

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 26 Sep 2018, 20:21
by VioletFire
I think this is a super interesting question because back in the early days of the church women gave healing blessings all the time to other women. They didn't claim to have the priesthood but just did it in the name of Jesus Christ. I agree with the other poster it seems to be about "proper authority", but I wonder how necessary that is.

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 27 Sep 2018, 13:28
by Roy
https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Ques ... aptisms%3F
Whenever men can find out the will of God and find an administrator legally authorized from God, there is the kingdom of God; but where these are not, the kingdom of God is not. All the ordinances, systems, and administrations on the earth are of no use to the children of men, unless they are ordained and authorized of God; for nothing will save a man but a legal administrator; for none others will be acknowledged either by God or angels.[5]
A man can do nothing for himself unless God direct him in the right way; and the priesthood is for that purpose.[6]
Quotes above are JS as recorded by B.H. Roberts in History of the Church (on some few occasions some of the quotes in these volumes seem to have been altered to better justify the leadership of the church at the time under BY. However, the 7 volume work seems mostly reliable)

I provide these quotes to support the common understanding that priesthood is required for saving ordinances to be effective or recognized by the powers of heaven. I have heard many times that a baptism without this authority, regardless of the intent and sincerity of the participants, is no more effective at the remission of sin than taking a bath.

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 28 Sep 2018, 15:48
by Curt Sunshine
I am fine with "the power of God delegated to humans". I like the idea that every person has inherent godly power as children of God, covenant godly power through baptism / acceptance ceremony (of nearly any type), more covenant godly power through "endowment" of commitment, etc.

I actually like, conceptually, our mixture of the Protestant horizontal "priesthood of believers" and the Catholic "vertical Priesthood of authority" - even though I don't like how we restrict the hierarchical Priesthood.

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 30 Sep 2018, 09:03
by Heber13
These are great responses. It is good to review these things.

I also think there is some value to ceremonial things and traditions our families and friends can share in and build faith with together.

Perhaps it can go too far at times and become a control mechanism to restrict relationships with God unless priesthood is given...and we err in thinking it is more important than it is.

But it can be helpful to the organization.

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 30 Sep 2018, 09:11
by Heber13
DoubtingTom wrote:
26 Sep 2018, 12:34
I think it’s just a construct - although at times useful
I also could believe this.

Pres Oaks said...
The entire keys and knowledge necessary for this “dispensation of the fulness of times” (D&C 128:18) are given “line upon line” (verse 21). Additional keys were given in the Kirtland Temple seven years later (see D&C 110:11–16). These keys were given to direct priesthood authority in the additional assignments being given at that time, such as baptism for the dead.
It is possible that line upon line...keys to women holding the priesthood could be given and officiating in the church.

Our constructs can be done in ways that do not invalidate prior prophets, and can be made to fit in with scriptures and can continue to be helpful to people seeking the Divine in their lives.

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 09 Dec 2018, 17:05
by LadyofRadiantJoy
Heber13 wrote:
30 Sep 2018, 09:11

It is possible that line upon line...keys to women holding the priesthood could be given and officiating in the church.

Our constructs can be done in ways that do not invalidate prior prophets, and can be made to fit in with scriptures and can continue to be helpful to people seeking the Divine in their lives.
We have scriptural references to women being Judges in Israel (Deborah), and being Prophets (Ana), and having the Priesthood (Phebe). The thing is, the church says that such women (and I only named three there are many examples) did not actually have the Priesthood. So really our idea that it's only for men is bunk, and with the way Joseph Smith was going, saying that Emma and other RS women were "ordained" that we would have had full Priesthood rights and responsibilities but he died, and instead, slowly, our right to bless our own children, and to give healing blessings, etc was taken away from us entirely in the very early 1900s. (BY actually encouraged it, one thing he did right, but after him it went down hill on that front, I have lots of issues with BY, but this ain't one of them.)

"Prophetess
"See also Prophecy, Prophesy

"A woman who has received a testimony of Jesus and enjoys the spirit of revelation. A prophetess does not hold the priesthood or its keys. Though only a few women in the scriptures are called prophetesses, many prophesied, such as Rebekah, Hannah, Elisabeth, and Mary. "
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/prophetess?lang=eng

So yeah. We have the foundation for it, but it's blatantly denied.

Re: What IS the Priesthood and why is it needed?

Posted: 09 Dec 2018, 17:22
by SamBee
I really feel the whole priesthood thing is overegged in our church. I think God does everything anyway and not man. I also believe women have the priesthood just that our church won't admit it.

In the Gospels, Jesus is told that someone - not a disciple - is going around using his name to cast out devils and Jesus does not condemn him, but says that "he is not against us".

What I can't fathom are a lot of references to abuse of priesthood. So you can sell your priesthood for hire, but how exactly do you do it? Refuse blessings? Wither fig trees?