Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The rights and privileges of the priesthood

We often quote D&C 121

D&C 121:34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
 35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
 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.

But what are the powers of heaven in question? What are the rights of the priesthood in question? They are found in D&C 107:18-19
D&C 107:18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—
 19 To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.
 20 The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.

The "privileges" of the priesthood in D&C 107:19 are the same as the "rights of the priesthood" in D&C 121:36. A privilege is something you have a right to do. If you gain a right to something, that is a privilege you have. The rights of the priesthood listed in D&C 107:18-20 above are quite really clearly inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.


We live in a day when the belief that the rights of the priesthood can be controlled other than upon the principles of righteousness seems to be gaining more and more support. We have members quoting Rough Stone Rolling to convince us that God could use Joseph Smith as a prophet, but that didn't mean Joseph Smith wasn't a horrible person. In truth, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the powers of heaven can only be controlled or handled upon the principles of righteousness, so as he was a prophet, he was also peculiarly righteous. We have people who want the church to redefine what constitutes sin, or to weaken their stance on one moral issue or another. But they cannot, because the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled, only upon the principles of righteousness.

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