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.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

No really, we believe in the ministering of Angels (part 2)

While it is nice to make people feel comfortable about themselves by reading the secriptures

D&C 13:1 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.


D&C 107:20 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.

and then concluding that the ministering of Angels is hometeaching, or the unseen but watchful eye of our ancestors.

But if that is what the ministering of angels that is referred to is all about then there is not much point in D&C 129, which is mostly the following:

D&C 129:4 When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.
 5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.
 6 If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—
 7 Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message.
 8 If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.
 9 These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.

This is not about the unseen eye of watchful ancestors. This is not about hometeaching. This is about the ministering of angels.

And there is another point that needs to be made. If the keys of the Aaronic priesthood have no power to bring about the ministering of angels in every sense that angels ministered to prophets in the past, ,if those verses are really just about hometeaching or unseen events beyond the veil, then naturally we should conclude that the keys of the Melchizedek priesthood are not really able to bring us into the presence of the God. It would naturally imply that these verses are figurative just as the Aaronic priesthood verses would be:

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.

But if our priesthood has no power to bring us into the presence of God, then we don't belong to the real church. The real priesthood has power to connect earth to heaven. If the priesthood has no power to bring people into God's presence then it has no power to save them, for that is a part of what salvation consists of.

We really do believe in the ministering of angels. We really do believe that the rights and privileges, the power and authority of the Melchizedek priesthood is to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of hte kingdom, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and the church of the firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.


  1. Who holds those keys (of the ministering of angels)?

  2. Keys is one of those things I have been needing to study for some time and really don't know enough about. It is clear that the word keys was used more freely in the early church to mean basically anything that unlocks, and you still see that usage in Brigham Young's famous statement about the endowment ("key words") as well as the D&C 129 verses I cited ("three grand keys"). These days we have settled into much more specific usage of the word, which some people like to take advantage of to misinterpret older quotations to nefarious ends.

    We hold the keys, but I don't think we understand them that well. For instance the Stake President has keys but the High Priest Group Leader has no keys but an Elders quorum president has keys. But I have yet to have someone who could point to any statement or scripture indicating what keys an Elders quorum president actually holds. I remember discussing with various Elders quorums presidents what the keys were that they held (I was in the presidency, so it seemed relevant). Not one of them had any idea what keys they held. I don't say that as a criticism. They were good guys. I'm just saying that they didn't know what keys they held, even though they were the person who held them.

    When discussing the keys a Bishop has, I have generally taken them to mean that even though I have the authority to baptize, I actually can't baptize them until he "unlocks" that with his keys. I can't just go inform that Bishop that I baptized even my own children.

    That at least gives a notion of a Bishop's keys that has to do with unlocking. I'm not sure how long temple recommends have been used, or how long confession has been around. Neither were part of the early church, or at least Brigham Young openly opposed confession. I'm not saying that in a spirit of "we are doing things wrong now". I think the way we do things now is a perfectly fine way for the Lord to have things done now, and the way it was done early on was a perfectly good way for it to be done then.

    I think the difference has to do with a transition away from decency where people are more likely to harden their own conscience and be attending the temple when they shouldn't and rationalize away serious sins that they shouldn't and so the modern practices of temple recommends and confession are as inspired a way to do things now as the old ways were in their time.

    But that also means that while confession and temple recommends are both clearly "unlocking" something, and may thereby be exercising "keys", I'm not sure they would have been part of the keys a Bishop was originally said to hold.

    Well, enough rambling about keys. It's one of those "I really should study that" items that I haven't done yet, and you can certainly tell.


  3. I read my reply to Diane. She was surprised that confession wasn't part of the older church. Recommends don't appear to have been either from what context I can gather from conference talks.

    So I just wanted to add that at some periods of time the Lord required sacrificing an animal to count one's repentance as complete. Currently he requires confession to count one's repentance as complete for serious sin. And there is nothing wrong if at some point in time he felt like his members didn't need to do either.