"...for every man who wishes to save his father, mother, brothers, sisters and friends, must go through all the ordinances for each one of them separately, the same as for himself, from baptism to ordination, washing and anointings, and receive all the keys and powers of the Priesthood, the same as for himself."
The part about temple work is very familiar to us. If we leave that out though, what remains is an enigma to us.
"...for every man ... must go through all the ordinances ... from baptism to ordination, washing and anointings, and receive all the keys and powers of the Priesthood, the same as for himself." (TPJS page 362)
It is not that we are confused that our dead must receive the same things that we ourselves receive.
What is this really saying.
I have no idea. I have no idea what keys and powers are referred to, and particularly no idea why it says "all the keys and powers of the Priesthood".
It reminds me of another statement made by Brigham Young. I believe both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young knew truck loads more about the priesthood and about keys than I do. Brigham Young said:
"Who has received and understands such an endowment, in this assembly? You need not answer. Your voices would be few and far between, yet the keys to these endowments are among you, and thousands have received them, so that the devil, with all his aids, need not suppose he can again destroy the Holy Priesthood from the earth, by killing a few, for he cannot do it. God has set His hand, for the last time, to redeem His people, the honest in heart, and Lucifer cannot hinder Him." (Journal of Discourses vol 2, pages 29-33)
Sure, many had received their endowments. But in what sense were the keys among the saints and the priesthood could not longer be destroyed from the earth by killing a few men?
Other statements that are curious include:
Joseph Smith: "When we begin to learn this way, we begin to learn the only true God, and what kind of a being we have got to worship. Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. When we understand the character of God, and how to come to him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it." (TPJS page 349)
In Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith we read the following: "He spoke of delivering the keys of the Priesthood to the Church, and said that the faithful members of the Relief Society should receive them with their husbands, that the Saints whose integrity has been tried and proved faithful, might know how to ask the Lord and receive an answer".
It seems quite clear that these refer to those things bestowed in the endowment, which is where the faithful members of the Relief Society "receive them with their husbands".
The keys of the Aaronic priesthood and of the Melchizedek priesthood referred to are delivered to both women and to men in the temple. (Not realizing that spurs on some radical movements in the church such as the recent movement for women to be ordained.) They are keys comprised of knowledge, and not of authority or presidency, just as the three grand keys in D&C 129 are comprised of knowledge but not of authority nor of presidency.
But frankly, I think the knowledge is mostly lost on us. Which is no surprise. It is exactly as Brigham Young himself stated above: "Who has received and understands such an endowment, in this assembly? You need not answer. Your voices would be few and far between, yet the keys to these endowments are among you, and thousands have received them, so that the devil, with all his aids, need not suppose he can again destroy the Holy Priesthood from the earth, by killing a few, for he cannot do it."