Is this what Elder Boyd K. Packer was talking about in the April 2010 General Conference? Elder Packer talked about the church's lack of ability to disseminate power among the saints. Why is the church unable to disseminate power? Why is the church able to spread and distribute authority but not the power of God?”
Let’s look at the words recorded in D&C 121:36 "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."
Does this scripture provide us with a solution to the dilemma that Elder Packer was describing? Is there a distinction between authority and power? Is Elder Packer trying to tell us something? Is he giving us notice of something very essential and fundamental that is missing in the current state of the church? If the fullness of the priesthood has been lost or forfeited, can the remaining lesser priesthood bind or seal? Is it possible that many in the church teach one perspective of priesthood power, but the scriptures and the Word of God teach quite another? Is it necessary for God to personally bestow the priesthood with His own voice? Or is it sufficient for men to confer priesthood upon others by the laying on of hands from one generation to another? Alma 13:1
Let’s look at God’s word as recorded in Genesis 14:26-29 JST.
26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
What does it mean to be approved of God? Does a man need to exercise exceeding faith and righteousness to be approved? Alma 13:3 Is it necessary to fear God as did Melchizedek?
I like how C. S. Lewis describes fear as one being filled with awe, in which you "feel wonder and a certain shrinking" or "a sense of inadequacy to cope with such a visitant of or prostration before it". It is a fear that comes forth out of love for the Lord. The fear of the Lord is felt because one understands the fearful expectation of judgment This is not a fear that leads one to despair, rather it must be coupled with trust, and most importantly, love.
In other words, “Lord, if you take an entire record of our thoughts, our words, and our deeds during our mortal life, who can be in your presence without feeling complete inadequacy? Who can stand worthy before you at the judgment seat? Nobody can without being forgiven, but with you, Lord, there is forgiveness. Therefore, we trust you, respect you, love you, and fear you.” When we come humbly in awe unto God, we willingly place everything we have to offer on the altar and seek forgiveness and redemption from the only One who can provide salvation. Mosiah 16:13
So, is it worth having faith and trust in God and putting Him above all other gods? Does this really mean that all things must take a subordinate position to God? Is sacrificing all things required of a true follower of Christ? Must one be willing to sacrifice reputation, social status, and religious rank or position? Does a humble follower of Christ seek to be recognized, acknowledged, distinguished, or accepted as a spiritual and holy celebrity? How about ego, conceit, arrogance, smugness, self-importance, or pride? What about fame, popularity, or worldly wealth? Does any of this get in the way?
Does this mean that one is required to sacrifice anything that stands between him and God, even his own life, if necessary? If one wants to be prepared and called by God, does he or she need to walk this path? Is it God himself that determines the qualifications and credentials of a candidate before a holy ordinance occurs? What does being ordained a high priest after this order mean? Melchizedek was ordained a high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch.
28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
Is this the same order of priesthood that we receive from men today? When men in the church confer priesthood authority, what is really being conferred? Is there any power from heaven involved? Is it enough to be interviewed and approved by a church authority such as a Bishop, President, or Pope? Is it sufficient to be sustained by a church congregation at a meeting or conference? Can a leader, religious head, bishop, or church president ordain priests unto this high priesthood after the order of the Son of God? Or should we take God’s words at face value, connect with heaven, receive approval from His own voice, be called with a holy calling, be ordained by God with a holy ordinance, and receive from heaven the high priesthood of the holy order?
Do the ordinances of salvation, including sealing you up to eternal life, require power to be given to you from heaven? Does this mean that power in the priesthood must come directly from God Himself? Do you think exercising sealing authority and having one’s calling and election made sure necessarily go together? Can a man hold sealing authority and exercise power from heaven if his calling and election has not been made sure? How does the ability to exercise power come to a man? D&C 132:46-49, Helaman 10:4-7
If a man has not repented, been willing to take upon himself the name of Christ, been baptized, received the Holy Ghost, experienced sanctification and baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, been able to speak with a new tongue and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel, known Him, been admitted through the gate by the gatekeeper 2 Nephi 9:41, and been taken to the Father to receive the fullness of the priesthood and become part of the heavenly family, do you really think the man would have full connection with heaven or be able to obtain power in the priesthood from God? 2 Nephi 31:13-14
If power comes from heaven, can any religious institution ever manage or control this power by passing it down from man to man? Or can they enviously prevent others from connecting with heaven and receiving this power directly from God?
What does this power look like anyway? “For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.” Genesis 14:30-31 JST
Sounds like this power is not only valuable but essential.
Where does this kind of power come from? Do you have to be connected to heaven to obtain it? D&C 121:36 If so, how do you get connected with heaven?
To be continued . . .