The priesthood lesson yesterday was titled, “Honoring the Priesthood Keys Restored through Joseph Smith.” I suspect (assume) that the emphasis in our discussion was no different than most quorums throughout the world, studying the same topic. It was clear from the comments made in class, that all the men in my group associated keys with permission. They said, “All priesthood holders have the authority to act, but the keys hold the permission.” I have heard this time, and time again. But think that when we discuss the keys of the priesthood in this manner, the mark is missed entirely. Christ and God is the mark.
If life eternal is knowing Christ and God, then when you know them, you have their mind and will as your own. When the mind and will of God is in you, you will not ask anything contrary to His will, therefore, what you say, shall be done. Permission and jurisdiction is irrelevant when you have the mind and will of God. I asked a friend of mine these questions. Their responses were quite accurate:
- Q: If there are 400 members in your ward, and all 400 members knew the mind and will of God, who would you choose to lead you? A: If all members knew the mind and will of God, there would be no need for leaders!
- Q: If there are 400 members in your ward, and only 300 members knew the mind and will of God, who would you choose to lead you? A: There are still plenty of “those who know” so it would still be unnecessary to identify a leader. People would learn from the examples of those who know.
- Q: If there were 400 members in your ward, and none of them knew the mind and will of God, who would you choose to lead you? A: The person with the highest office, or the richest one.
When men are detached from the mind and will of God, they naturally associate the mind and will of God with an office. The Dueteronomists did it after Moses left. The Pharisees and Sadducees did it after Lehi left. The Christians did it after Christ and the apostles left. And the Mormons continued to do the same ever since Joseph Smith left.
When offices are viewed as possessing God’s mind and will, any defiance against the office is automatically a defiance against God, and is therefore considered blasphemy. When offices are seen this way, keys become associated with permission, …and not the mind and will of God. In this case, we set up hierarchies and assign levels of key holding, based upon a system of delegations.
I propose a question to you reader. Which is better, …one man who knows the mind and will of God, to lead and direct the lives of 14 Million people, …or 14 Million people who know the mind and will of God, and are not needed to be commanded in all things? We have set up too many stakes and are strangers to the mind and will of God, and must return and repent. My point is this, …we have wasted too much time, and placed too much emphasis in worrying about permissions and keys, that we have lost the skill of knowing the mind and will of God, through studying the words of Christ, … through revelations, …and through the gifts of the spirit. We would prefer offices, …over the mind and will of God.
I personally know a wise Indian Chief, who officiated in the office of chief, for over 10 years. He observed that his staff always went on retreats. They went to a health retreat for three days, a healing retreat over the weekend, a training retreat, and a team building retreat, etc. He threw his arms up and exclaimed:
“With all of our retreating, when are we ever going to attack!?”
We waste too much effort in retreats, defending our keys, permissions and offices, when we need to attack the real problem, knowing the mind and will of God. The foundation of knowing God’s mind and will is the words of Christ. There is no need for offices, hierarchy, keys, or permissions to …talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ, preach of Christ, and prophesy of Christ. When the people know the mind and will of God in the words of Christ, they too will have, within them, the mind and will of God, and will not need to be commanded in all things. They will not do anything contrary to God’s will. This will be a Zion-people.
Reversing the condemnation for resting the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the other commandments, …is another way of saying, “obtaining the mind and will of God.” That is how we escape God’s condemnation, …how we produce sweet fruits, …and how we are gathered into the garners and preserved up unto the season.
Conclusion: Christ spoke out against those professing offices as their salvation. They claimed to have cast out devils, prophesied, healed, and created miracles in Christ’s name. Christ told them to depart from me, I never knew you. In this response we can easily see that knowing the mind and will of God is far more important to Christ than the offices that command in all things.
I am not suggesting that anyone rebel against officers because of their weakness in knowing the mind and will of God. I am saying, focus on knowing the mind and will of God in the scriptures. Don’t feel threatened when the words of Christ teach you something different than officers tell you. There is power in the words of Christ. There is limited power in offices. Knowing the mind and will of God is always better than relying on the arm of flesh.
Each of us shall be judged by our fruits, by our works, and by our faith. Salvation will not come because you shook the hand of the prophet, you held an office, or you belong to an institution. When we know the mind and will of God, then we can produce the fruits, the works, and the faith. When we miss the mark and focus our attention on offices, the fruits will be bitter, the works will produce little oil in our lamps, and we will be left faithless. I repeat my plea to… feast upon the words of Christ, for the words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do.