The constant battle with you (my family) and “my opinions” can be easily summed up in the question, “Why Prophets and Apostles?” Identifying the reason for prophets and apostles will do wonders in clarifying “keys of the priesthood.” Once we understand the purpose of Prophets & Apostles, and keys of the priesthood, …perhaps our energies can be focused on using the word as a compass (wordcompass), instead of bickering, fighting, and getting offended for the disrespecting an officer (which I am falsely, and frequently accused of doing).
Why P&A’s: We have inappropriately changed words of Prophets and Apostles into “titles.” At the beginning of the restoration, the term prophet was never intended to be used alone. It was usually combined to include “seer” and “revelator.” However, in our ignorance of what they mean, individually, we have lumped them together, and have oversimplified them to be identified as an all inclusive Prophet! If you were to take a closer look at the individual terms, you would see how it relates to the three fold mission of Christ’s ministry.
Christ’s ministry has three significant roles:
- Creator of the Cosmos
- Savior or deliverer from Satan (the accuser)
- Redeemer (making you one with God and Christ)
Each of these roles work hand in hand, and feed off of one another, but must be understood individually in order for them to be appropriately used for it’s …proper function. Although a hammer, a saw, and a tape measure, are all used to build a house, it would be silly to cut a piece of wood with a hammer, to take measurements using a saw, and to drive a nail with a tape measure. Yet, we have done this for years with the roles of Christ, and the roles of P&A’s.
It would be too lengthy to describe each role of Christ here, but that would make for a great conversation on the phone (just saying). However, it is the point here to connect the three roles of Christ with the three roles of P&A’s. They fit as we see the role of a Seer as the ability to see things as they were (past), the role of Prophet as the ability to see things as they are (present), and the role of Revelator as the ability to see things as they will be (future).
The roles of P&A’s fits the role of Truth. Truth is defined as knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they are to come (D&C 93:24). This covers all time past, present and future. And since all truth is circumscribed into one great whole (Christ), we can see that Christ is the Spirit of Truth! And the Holy Ghost, while it can teach us the truth of all things (…or lead us to Christ), it is not spirit of truth. The Spirit of Truth is Christ alone. Thus, the 3 roles of P&A’s fit to assist the 3 roles of Christ:
- Creator- Seer (past)
- Savior- Prophet (present)
- Redeemer- Revelator (future)
The doctrine of Christ was meant to make real men and women of us, …so that we can put away childish things (which we haven’t done yet, and that’s why we contend). When Nephi describes the doctrine of Christ in 2 Nephi 32, he says that no more doctrine, but the doctrine of Christ, will be given you, …until after you shall see him in the flesh! Then, when you have accomplished seeing Christ in the flesh, you will be given more doctrine. That doctrine is not included in the doctrine of Christ. It is often referred to as the doctrine of the Father. Therefore, the 3 roles of Christ, and the P&A’s who assist Him, is to finish the faith, by obtaining the doctrine of Christ in the flesh. And in order to finish the faith, there must be the presence of Christ, or one who comes from His presence, to teach this process. The process is better referred to as the giving of keys of knowledge.
Keys of Priesthood: Although the LDS members fight constantly over who has keys, no one really knows what they are. We call it God’s power, given to man, to act in his name. And this means that when someone acts under these keys, it’s as if God were there himself. Yet, many claim that they have healed in God’s name, and cast out evil spirits in God’s name, and Christ denounced them saying, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” We have claimed keys, without the necessity of “knowing Christ!”
Our modern confusion comes, with the assistance of the Bible, where Christ takes Peter, James and John up to the “mount of transfiguration,” before the atonement in Gethsemane. There, Christ receives His full glory, and Moses and Elias (John the Baptist) appear to give instructions. The three were given strict instruction, not to tell anyone about this experience until Christ resurrected from the dead. This experience has been taken out of context to claim that authoritative keys were distributed among the three men.
Although that is all the record says, somehow this experience has caused men of our time to assume that “Authoritative Keys” were given at this point, and now we have something that matches our current structure, a first presidency. We have ignored the necessity to enter into the presence of Christ in His full Glory, in exchange for a much simpler form of “Authoritative Keys.” From this assumption, we claim that a New Testament structure has returned in the form of Prophets and Apostles, when this was never the case.
What happened on the mount of transfiguration was not to be told to anyone, not even the other Apostles. Therefore, the only ones who KNEW anything was the three who were in the presence of Christ at the time of His fullness of Glory. That is the end of faith, coming into the presence of Christ in the fulness of His glory. That is the fulness of faith. That is to know the savior in the fulness of His Glory, which is the Glory bestowed upon Him by the Father. Therefore, the keys of the priesthood is not passed on by the permission or delegation of men. It is given by the voice of God, accompanied by “knowledge” of Christ, in the fulness of His Glory.
For the rest of the Apostles, and for all true Apostles, for that matter, they weren’t able to have that same experience until Christ revealed Himself to them in the flesh, after the resurrection. That is when they became true Apostles, or in other words, that is when they became “special witnesses” of the resurrected Christ. Their faith was ended when they came to know Christ. Knowing Christ, in His fulness, is receiving the keys of the priesthood.
Mixing With Prophets: When P&A’s mix with men who are ignorant of Christ, they teach men, using the words of Christ. The words of Christ had more power over men, than did the sword. Elder Packer said that studying the gospel can change behavior faster than the study of behavior. If we cannot receive the words of Christ, we will not receive His servants the prophets. And if we cannot receive His servants, we will not receive Christ in the flesh. For this reason, those who know Christ, because they have finished their faith by returning into the presence of the fulness of Christ, …all they teach is the words of Christ, “to try your faith.”
3 Nephi 26:11
“11. Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.”
Our faith is being tried by the way we receive the words of Christ. Someone with keys of the priesthood uses scriptures to expound the scriptures, so that the words of Christ can reveal, to that candidate (or initiate), the Christ whom they are seeking, …if that’s what they are seeking! When they receive the words of Christ, then they will recognize a “true messenger” who comes from the presence of Christ (a Seer/Prophet/Revelator). And when they can authenticate that messenger, and receive their instructions, …then they can receive the Christ! It all teeters on how we receive the words of Christ.
Conclusion: Please reconsider our frustration with one another. Accept the fact that we have treated lightly the scriptures, and because of it we maintain the 183 year old condemnation. Only by realizing that condition can we repent and begin to make a constant serious effort to understand it, outside of our false traditions of unbelief, before the tragic day when the time has past, and we have procrastinated the day of our repentance.
I am no special witness, yet! Of this I expect to become. But, even if I were, all I would do is talk about the scriptures anyway. So you wouldn’t know the difference between me and those who claim an office, if you are ignorant of the words of Christ. In that state of ignorance, you too would be casting stones at a true prophet (a Samuel the Lamanite archetype), because it just doesn’t fit your idea of an officer.
Consider the messages of all your meetings, including General Conference, in this light. Who has keys of knowledge of Christ in His fulness of Glory? Who uses the scriptures to direct you to obtain the same keys of knowledge, or priesthood? You must be held accountable for your choice of whom you will serve. No man can serve two masters.