I’ve added two new words to my vocabulary: “Neglect” and “Indifference.” Considering the sealing power from on high, I wonder if these two words stop our ability to develop authority into power.
Scriptures: When it comes to the study of the scriptures, neglect and indifference are our greatest sins. But sins can be quickly forgiven, when people choose to repent, meaning to “turn to God.”
Neglect is when a leader, ruler, or parent-figure, fails to provide the basic needs for those subjected to them. Neglect is a passive abuse, and often goes undetected, until too late. It is most common in a parent-child relationship. Indifference, on the other hand, is simply a lack of interest or concern. Indifference is an individual problem of “disinterest.”
When these two words are applied to the study of the scriptures, those who are responsible for teaching the truth, have neglected that responsibility; and those who have scriptures in their possession, and take no interest in them, choose the sin of indifference.
Authority and Power: “Neglect,” by church leadership, to emphasize the importance of a personal connection to heaven, has produced “indifference” in the saints to seek out POWER in the priesthood. Elder Packer, in general conference, lamented, saying that the church has done well in distributing AUTHORITY, but haven’t done so well in distributing POWER. Elder Packer was claiming accountability, from the leadership, for the church’s failure to distribute POWER. And he called to the saints to put off indifference, for them to obtain POWER. He referenced section 121 as the foundation of his argument.
“36. That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.”
Too often those who claim having the priesthood “conferred” upon them, think that having the AUTHORITY entitles them to the POWER. The truth is that only when the authority fits into the bounds the Lord has set, is real POWER given.
Real Power: The Lord knew that men would take their conferred authority, and use it, as if conferred authority was literally POWER. He warned that this conferred authority has a negative effect, when combined with the natural man, saying:
“39. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”
Joseph Smith “experienced” this in the times of the early saints, at the restoration. We suffer from this unrighteous dominion even more in our day. The Lord clearly agrees with Elder Packer, that AUTHORITY and POWER play different roles. And that real POWER would not exercise unrighteous dominion, but would remain inseparably connected with the POWERS of heaven.
Joseph Smith obtained real POWER, sometime between 1829 and 1843 (it’s not clear when). It is recorded in D&C 132:45 & 48. Here, Joseph was given the keys of sealing POWER. Verse 48 reads, “with my power, saith the Lord:” indicating WHO gives that power, and how that power is given; by the mouth of the Lord, and not by the authority of men. That is where all must turn (to Christ), to receive power, to be inseparably connected to the powers of heaven, to qualify for the rights of the priesthood.
Conclusion: “Neglect” is the sin of administrative leaders, wether they are kings, magistrates, rulers, officers, or parents. The sin be upon the heads of their fathers, is God’s charge for the neglect of the fathers to teach correct principles, and provide the necessary care, for the children. However, “Indifference” is the sin of the individual. It is a heart condition, that clearly indicates where our treasure is: on earth, or in heaven.
We cannot be satisfied with AUTHORITY, void of POWER. Authority can be conferred upon us, it is true, but only when we know the words of Christ, then we can exercise authority properly, to qualify for real POWER.
The scriptures matter, and have gone far too long neglected, at all levels of authority. This doesn’t need to be the case for our family. We need not continue to be indifferent and disinterested in the scriptures, despite our leaders neglect. God desires to make you His, but you make the decision to receive His words.