The Holy Order, Part 2

The following talk was delivered on April 7, 2024, at “The Heavens Speak” conference in Geneva, New York.

This is… It’s gone back and forth, and right now the “forth” is that it’s gonna go out over the Internet because this particular venue has an adequate connection to the Internet. And it was supposed to start at 10 [o’clock], and it’s 10, and I like to be prompt. 

I appreciate the invitation to come. For those that are unfamiliar with how we conduct conferences, volunteers decide that they would like to host a conference, and then they organize it, they arrange for the venue, they take care of all of the responsibilities associated with making a conference work, and they do it largely “volunteering” and out of pocket. Now, meals are very often the subject of requests that you pay for your own meal. But anytime someone agrees to do a conference, what they’re agreeing to do is to SACRIFICE, which is an essential component of having faith. You cannot have faith if your religion doesn’t require that you make sacrifices. Therefore, if you’re looking to be compensated to participate in anything that we do, you’re sadly mistaken, because we would like to encourage you to have faith. Those who attend the conference, by and large, are here as I am, paying your own way, buying your own plane ticket, renting your own car, paying for your own hotel, and making a sacrifice. I mean, the invitation to come and speak is not an invitation to “not sacrifice.” 

Religion mandates that we sacrifice for it in order to give us the capacity to have faith. When you have a multi-billion dollar organization supporting and compensating you, it’s a matter of a truism, as Joseph described in the Lectures on Faith, it becomes impossible if you’re rewarded in order to have faith. And so I’m grateful for the faith of those that have organized and sacrificed to make this conference take place.

If you did not see and haven’t had access to what was presented last evening, it’s worth the time and the trouble of looking at. One of the things that happened was a report on the translation of the Book of Mormon into Hebrew—not just “Hebrew,” but “Old Testament Hebrew,” and not just “Old Testament Hebrew,” but the canon as it existed at 600 BC and earlier; and so the later prophets, who wrote after the moment that they departed from Jerusalem at 600 BC may have used slightly different vocabulary, added some words that didn’t appear in the earlier canon, or used grammar adjustments that don’t appear in the earlier canon. What is being done in the Hebrew translation is literally pre-600 BC Jewish Scripture, just as it would have been composed by the authors, although they used a different vocabulary. 

(Brian [McNulty]! How you doin’? We have a Scotsman here! [Brian responds,] “I’m doin’ okay.” [Denver responds in a Scottish accent,] “Yer doin’ okay.” Well… )

Salvation comes through Jesus Christ. He was assigned the role of Redeemer before the foundation of the world, and in all likelihood was the only one that could have fulfilled that role. Resurrection is only available through Jesus Christ. Forgiveness of sins is only possible because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. This talk is about how, from time to time, Christ sends authority and order into the world, for His purposes. How He chooses to establish order does not change His essential, central, and singular role as our Savior. 

Seven years ago, after a solar eclipse that traversed the United States, I gave a talk titled “The Holy Order.” Now another solar eclipse will traverse the United States in two days after this talk. This is titled “The Holy Order, Part 2.” Actually, the change in schedule: it’s tomorrow. Tomorrow there’ll be another eclipse.

The previous talk is both a paper that can be downloaded from my website and one of the essays in the book Eight Essays. The two talks (or papers) belong together. 

Footnote 9 to that earlier talk explains a concern when we receive more Gospel light (I’m reading that footnote): 

Although I am going to discuss this topic in only a limited way, each time I convey more of what God is now doing it gives God’s opponents more information they can use to deceive others. I hesitate to equip the pretenders, the well-intentioned but deceived, and the foolish with more ammunition to make a better pretense. Even those who hold good intentions are often tempted to run into errors because they possess only a tiny fraction of the truth. We should all only disclose what God approves…when He directs, and how He directs. 

I should add that one of the problems that I have seen (and this isn’t in the paper, this is an aside, which I probably shouldn’t do ‘cuz it’s just gonna make this thing longer), but one of the things that I have noticed is that big religious ideas overwhelm weak minds. And sometimes people, in their enthusiasm, display a lot of foolishness simply because the big religious ideas are beyond their capacity to handle.

I’ve noticed when something new is added, there are those who start discussing it as if it were their own insight—even when they have never said one word about it until after they first learn of it from me. The same caution as set out in footnote 9 in the earlier talk applies equally here. 

I am not going to repeat anything from the earlier talk but will assume you understand what was taught there, and this will follow up on that discussion. 

The earlier Holy Order talk explained the term “fullness of the priesthood.” It was used by Joseph Smith at different times with different meanings, but we can do better than that. This talk is going to clarify that term.

The fullness of the Priesthood, including the rites of the Holy Order, is not something that has ever been or can be publicly explained in complete detail. The fullness of the Priesthood is different from the fullness of the Gospel. The Book of Mormon contains the “fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The fullness of the Gospel was intended openly for everyone. In contrast, the “fullness of the Priesthood” (which is the Holy Order after the Order of the Son of God) is not something that was restored to the church Joseph Smith organized, nor is it publicly available, nor is it intended FOR everyone. It may SERVE everyone, but it will never be held by everyone. The fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ produces faith in the Savior and will save you if accepted and obeyed. The Book of Mormon reports that some of what Jesus Christ taught cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man (3 Nephi 9:5; see also 3 Nephi 8:4). Joseph Smith could not write all that God revealed to him. Much of those unspeakable things belong to the fullness of the Priesthood but will not be publicly available before the Lord’s return. 

Adam and Eve were the original priestly patriarch and matriarch to whom God gave the right of dominion over every living thing that moves upon the earth (Genesis 2:8-9). That appointment by God giving them dominion was (and is) part of the Holy Order. They held it jointly, as companions. Joseph Smith explained, 

[The Holy Order] was first given to Adam; he obtained the [first presiding position on the Earth], and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed, as in Genesis 1:26, 27, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the [Holy Order]; he was called of God to this office, and was the Father of all living in this day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven. The [Holy Order] is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven, whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from Heaven, it is by Adam’s authority. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, hereafter referred to as TPJS, p. 157; see also JSP Documents Vol. 6, pp. 542-543)

This (from Joseph) ties together parenthood, priesthood, dominion, and Holy Order. All of these elements were necessary for Adam and Eve to be at the head of the Holy Order and are necessary for it to exist today. In “Our Divine Parents” (a talk and paper you can also read on the website), the nature of eternal unity between the man and the woman and the dual nature of God were explained. 

The Holy Order is not synonymous with having your calling and election made sure. You can have your calling and election made sure without having the Holy Order. 

The Holy Order is not synonymous with being redeemed from the fall and returning to God’s presence. That also can happen without having the Holy Order. 

Nor is the Holy Order synonymous with having the fullness of revelations from before the creation of the world through the end of this cycle of creation. That, also, can be given to a person while they still lack the Holy Order. 

An individual does not need to possess the Holy Order to be able to enter into a covenant. Covenants have been offered mankind by God through the Holy Order. Once offered, covenants are still honored even if the Holy Order is no longer present. The condition for a covenant to remain in effect requires only that the covenant never change. If officiators make changes, the covenant is broken and is no longer in effect. 

Further, it is not required for you to be initiated into the Holy Order to become a member of the eternal Family of God. All those who will be exalted will be members. Only a tiny fraction of the Family will experience that in mortality. 

Finally, any position in the Holy Order may change after this life. Christ reminded the mother of Jacob (or James) and John that positions in the afterlife will be assigned by His Father. The Holy Order must return before the Second Coming to re-establish God’s “house of order.” But organizing and ordering for the afterlife will not happen until some time after the Lord’s return. Restoring and organizing God’s Family is necessary because of the disorder caused by the fall of Adam. That disorder has been compounded by additional repeated apostasies from the periodic restorations of the Holy Order. 

Despite what the Holy Order is not, it is important to understand. Most of our scriptures are the writings of members of the Holy Order. The Order must return. This talk is to confirm God is vindicating His promises, whether the world takes any notice or not. 

The Holy Order function requires both a father and mother and is the reason Joseph Smith wrote, 

…there are many teachers but perhaps not many Fathers. There are times coming when God will signify many things which are expedient for the well being of the saints but the times have not yet come but will come as fast as there can be found place and receptions for them. (JSP Documents Vol. 6, February 1838-August 1839, pp. 396-397) 

That time did not come during Joseph’s life, and therefore, the return of the Holy Order did not happen in his day. Because of the failure in Joseph’s day, the Family or House of God still needs to be set in order. As is always the case, there will need to be a temple prepared for the Holy Order to function. It was first given to Adam and Eve in sacred space, and therefore, sacred space like the Garden of Eden is required for its function.

Abraham received the records going back to Adam and were passed down through generations to him. Despite having the records and testimony of the first fathers from which he learned about the Holy Order, Abraham did not hold it merely because he learned of it. It inspired him to seek for the blessings of the [Father] and the right whereunto [he] should be ordained to administer the same (Abraham 1:1).

Adam [Abraham] spoke with God face to face (Abraham 5:3) when he was not yet a member of the Holy Order. God also revealed to Abraham a vision of the creation of this world and its destiny while still not a member of the Holy Order. 

Joseph Smith told us exactly when Abraham received his priestly appointment, the one that is without father or mother, beginning or end of days, but is endless and eternal. He also clarified who bestowed it. Despite all Abraham had received before, the Holy Order was not conferred upon him until he met and was initiated by Melchizedek. Abraham explained the process: it came down from the Fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning (or before the foundations of the earth) to the present time, even the right of the firstborn (or the first man — who is Adam — or first Father) through the Fathers unto me (Abraham 1:1). Melchizedek was a king and a priest and stood as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam (see Glossary: Melchizedek) and from him, Abraham received the required initiation into the Holy Order. 

In the talk “Religion of the Fathers,” I explained that the Book of Abraham covered events in Abraham’s life before he entered into Egypt. It was years after he left Egypt before Abraham met with Melchizedek and was initiated into the Holy Order.  Abraham honored the Order and received it because he was not aspiring to supplant Melchizedek, the man who presided. Instead, he respected and honored the rights that belong to the Fathers. Had he wanted to supplant Melchizedek, he would not have qualified for the ordinance: 

I sought for the blessings of the Fathers and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same. Having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a Father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a high priest, holding the right belonging to the Fathers. It was conferred upon me from the Fathers: it came down from the Fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning (or before the foundations of the earth) to the present time, even the right of the firstborn (or the first man — who is Adam — or first Father) through the Fathers unto me. I sought for my appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the Fathers concerning the seed. (Abraham 1:1, emphasis added) 

That could never have happened for Abraham if he did not obtain it in the right way, with the right intent, and from the one who could confer it upon him. Periodic fighting over who had the right was always evidence of aspiring, untrustworthy men seeking their own vainglory. Abraham was faithful and unaspiring, but also seeking and willing. 

The Lord trusted Abraham because he (Abraham) respected the man chosen by the Lord to stand at the head before him. By respecting Melchizedek, Abraham also respected all of the fathers, from Adam through Melchizedek, chosen by God as His representatives on Earth. Because Abraham was to become part of that Family, the Lord could say to him: 

And you shall be a blessing unto your seed after you, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations. And I will bless them through your name; for as many as receive this gospel shall be called after your name and shall be accounted your seed, and shall rise up and bless you, as unto their Father. And I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you. And in you (that is, in your Priesthood) and in your seed, (that is, [in] your Priesthood) — for I give unto you a promise that this right shall continue in you and in your seed after you (that is to say, the literal seed or…seed of the body) — shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of…[eternal life]. (Abraham 3:1) 

For the purpose of this talk, it is important to understand certain terms. The term “this gospel” does not just include the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ but also the fullness of the Priesthood. Those who become part of the Holy Order necessarily recognize Abraham as a Father to them, and they in turn become his “seed” or descendants. Abraham was adopted as son to Melchizedek, which made Melchizedek father to Abraham. Subsequently, all those who were added to the line holding the fullness of the Priesthood became adopted descendants to Abraham. That is why it is written they shall rise up and bless you, as unto their Father (supra). 

Melchizedek was “Father” to the righteous at the time Abraham was seeking for the blessings of the Fathers. Because Abraham honored the position occupied by Melchizedek, Heaven took notice. As stated before, Abraham was faithful and unaspiring, but also seeking and willing. If he hoped to displace, or compete, or stand independent of Melchizedek, he would not have been qualified, nor even considered by Heaven. 

If Lehi had not respected Jeremiah as the Lord’s messenger, the heavens would not have opened for him. If Nephi had not respected his father Lehi as God’s messenger, Nephi would not have had the heavens open for him. An aspiring spirit is toxic, and while aspiring men may gain some measure of spiritual understanding, they forfeit any blessing they might have been gained by accepting and honoring the Holy Order. 

Abraham received the promise from the Lord that: I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you (supra). Abraham qualified for this blessing because Abraham honored the position occupied by Melchizedek. Abraham was not like Nephi’s older brothers, who assumed because they were older that they were entitled to rule and not be ruled. As Nephi described his brothers: 

…they did seek to take away my life. Yea, they did murmur against me, saying, Our younger brother thinks to rule over us, and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler, for it belongs [to] us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people. (2 Nephi 4:1)

This refusal to respect God’s choice doomed them and their descendants to continual apostasy. That apostasy led to open warfare beginning with the first generation. Centuries later, Lamanite fighters were inspired by hatred because they believed your fathers did wrong their brethren, insomuch that they did rob them of their right to the government when it rightfully belonged [to] them (Alma 25:4). This hatred was grounded in religious resentment. Father Abraham was nothing like Laman. Instead, he willingly accepted and honored the Holy Order. Consider for a moment how unlike Abraham his great-grandsons were (the children of Jacob). They destroyed their father’s garment and perhaps other artifacts handed down within the Holy Order. 

The only qualified man in Abraham’s day (who obtained it from Adam through the Fathers), was Melchizedek. Although Abraham had been rescued by an angel, conversed with the Lord, had the heavens opened to him, the Holy Order could only be obtained from Melchizedek, who was the heir and officiator of that Order.

In the Restoration Edition of Scriptures, Abraham entered Egypt in Genesis chapter 7, paragraph 4. He left Egypt in paragraph 6. It is not until chapter 7, paragraph 14 (many years later) when Abraham met with Melchizedek. It was then he [Melchizedek] blessed him [Abraham] and said, Blessed Abram, you are a man of the Most High God, possessor of Heaven and earth (Genesis 7:14).

You should read that footnote when you get this paper. Oh, I’ll read it:

Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram (Genesis 7:17). It’s interesting to consider whether the description “possessor of Heaven and earth” were about “the Most High God” or about “Blessed Abram” in Melchizedek’s salutation. It could easily be either (or both). 

It may seem odd that this Order is so rare that it is withheld from righteous men who have stood in God’s presence. Nevertheless, there are good reasons, established before the foundation of the world, setting conditions that strictly confine the Order.

The Holy Order inducts couples into the Family of God. You can only have one father and one mother standing at the head at a time. Abraham could not receive it from anyone other than the singular couple who stood at the head. God’s House is a house of order, and there is never more than one parental couple at a time at the head. There is no more reason to aspire or envy that couple than there was for you to jealously want to replace your own father or mother. We should hope for it to return. Early Christians prayed for the Lord’s quick return: “µαρὰν ἀθά” mar’-an ath’-ah (Lord come quickly). We should also hope for His quick return. However, unlike others who follow the Lord without understanding the prophecies, promises, and covenants, we should also hope and pray for the return of the Holy Order that must be restored before His return. 

Unlike Abraham, people of this fallen world have rebelled against God’s governance. Despite mankind’s rebellion, God has been willing to gather people like a hen gathering her chicks under her wings, but we’ve rejected those offers. The heavens have not withdrawn, they have been evicted. A false “god of this world” has reigned from the rivers to the ends of the earth. He demands mankind worship him. And unfortunately, mankind has too often accommodated that demand with idolatry. For that to change, at least a small group of people must accept and welcome God’s governance. Abraham did not assert independence from, nor compete with, Melchizedek. Had he done otherwise he would not have qualified. He recognized the officiant, respected his position, and paid tithes to Melchizedek. 

There’s a footnote there: “Today tithes are gathered in fellowships and distributed there to those in need” (footnote 34). So you need to read the footnotes! 

This gained favor from God for Abraham. Had Abraham been aspiring to compete with or held any reservations about honoring the officiator Melchizedek, Abraham would never have received the “blessings of the Fathers and the right to be ordained to officiate in that Order.” 

Joseph Smith wrote a discourse the day after announcing plans to build the Nauvoo Temple. He explained, in relevant part: 

It is the highest and holiest Priesthood and is after the Order of the Son of God, and all other [powers] priesthoods are only parts, ramifications, powers, and blessings belonging to the same, and are held, controlled, and directed by it. It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing his glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth, and through which he has continued to reveal himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which he will make known his purposes to the end of time. 

Commencing with Adam, who was the first man, who is spoken of in Daniel as being the Ancient of Days, or in other words, the first and oldest of all, the great grand progenitor, of whom it is said in another place, He is Michael [Denver mistakenly said “Melchizedek”], because he was the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but…was the first to hold the spiritual blessings, to whom was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity unto the end, and to whom Christ was first revealed, and through whom Christ has been revealed from Heaven and will continue to be revealed from henceforth. Adam holds the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times; i.e., the dispensation of all the times have been and will be revealed through him, from the beginning to Christ, and from Christ to the end of all the dispensations that are to be revealed. (T&C 140:2-3) 

It may sound odd that Joseph Smith said Melchizedek “stood as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam” (JSP Documents Vol. 13 August-December 1843, p. 74). That is, however, the actual purpose of the Holy Order. Joseph Smith was not unique in teaching a man can act in the place of God for the benefit of God’s people. When Moses was called to restore Israel to God’s presence, Moses was given that same role:

And you shall speak unto him and put words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. And he shall be your spokesman unto the people, and he shall be, even he shall be to you in stead of a mouth, and you [Moses] shall be to him in stead of God. (Exodus 2:7) 

Joseph Smith’s comment on this scripture confirms the principle: 

These scriptures are a [mix] of very strange doctrines to the Christian world, who are blindly led by the blind. I will refer to another scripture. “Now,” says God, when He visited Moses in the bush, (Moses was a stammering sort of a boy like me) God said, “Thou shalt be a God unto the children of Israel.” God said, “Thou shalt be a God unto Aaron, and he shall be thy spokesman.” I believe those Gods that God reveals as Gods to be the sons of God, and all can cry, “Abba, Father!” Sons of God who exalt themselves to be Gods, even from before the foundation of the world, and are the only Gods I have a reverence for.” (TPJS, pp. 374-375; see also JSP Documents, Vol 15, p. 274) 

That’s a strange comment that Joseph Smith made. Well, hopefully by the end of this talk you’ll understand it a bit better.

In his first letter, John mentioned there are those who are God’s “sons” and very like God: now…we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him… (1 John 1:13). 

Jesus Christ defended teaching He was the Son of God by explaining that there had been other mortal men who substituted for God. He taught that He was serving on God the Father’s behalf and got accused of blasphemy because of it: 

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law: I [say], you are gods? If he called them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, do you say of him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, You blaspheme, because I [say] I am the Son of God? (John 6:30) 

It is a hard matter to hear, and a harder one to teach. There is nothing about this subject that should be understood in a worldly sense. It involves a heavenly order of things and not something to be divided from God’s purpose to save all mankind and exalt those He can. Not everyone is suited to become part of God’s Family. The reality is that very few are.

Jesus taught from Isaiah and would certainly have been acquainted with the Isaiah passage that states, I am the Lord, and there is none else. …there is no God…besides me — a just God and a Savior, [and] there is none besides me. Look unto me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else (Isaiah 15:19). And yet Christ also recognized there are gods unto whom the word of God came (supra). Therefore, the idea of men who are called “gods” in scripture ought to be understood as an appointment to represent and a calling to teach, and never as making a man anything more than a fellow servant. In the Book of Revelation, an angel was sent to John and testified of his message that, These are the true sayings of God. John fell to the earth to worship the angel, and was rebuked for showing him honor: And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, Do you not see…I am your fellow servant? And of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus? Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 7:10). Bear in mind and understand that messengers can be acknowledged in scripture as “gods, even the sons of god”— while we are commanded at the same time to only worship the Father in Heaven and His Son. 

Jesus Christ, the greatest of all, is the best example of this principle in action. He stood as God and was in fact the Son of God. Yet when Christ was asked about His kingship and kingdom, He explained: 

My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now is my kingdom not from here. Pilate therefore said unto him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king; to this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world — that I should bear witness [of] the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice. (John 10:7)

This is an example of how the Holy Order should operate. He came to fulfill the role of  servant. Jesus Christ set the pattern and demonstrated how God’s House is correctly ruled: 

But Jesus called [unto] them and said, You know that the princes of the gentiles exercise dominion over them, and [that] they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister. …whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life, a ransom for many. (Matthew 10:3) 

The Lord’s Holy Order is not designed to impose rule, control, or assert dominion over the unwilling. It is designed to teach correct principles and then let those who are taught govern themselves. The Holy Order empowers and frees. It assumes the individual will decide to give heed to what is taught. In contrast, ambitious men crave control over others. They enslave and subjugate. They oppose freedom and self-rule. The Holy Order relies on man’s agency. The adversary wants to limit and destroy man’s agency. 

Christ explained His role, which is similar to the role entrusted to the Holy Order: 

My doctrine does not come from me, but from God who sent me. Anyone who walks in God’s path will understand his doctrine, because that path increases light and knowledge. I testify of that path. Follow it and you will know whether I am sent by God or [whether] I am not sent by God. Teachers who preach from their own understanding only gratify their pride, but a teacher of truth teaches only what God tells him, and that teacher provides a light worth heeding. (TSJ 6:5) 

If God gave Christ the words to teach, then those who believed and followed those teachings were following Christ’s Father. This is the same as when the angel asked Nephi if he believed the words of his father. Nephi said emphatically that he did. Upon hearing this, the angel proclaimed, Blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the Most High God (1 Nephi 3:6). Believing in the words of truth from a messenger is to believe in the Son of the Most High God! That is as true today as when the angel said this to Nephi. 

Enoch is another example of a teacher from the Holy Order. He was sent by God to teach a message. When called by God, Enoch responded, Why is it that I have found favor in your sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me, for I am slow of speech; why am I your servant? (Genesis 4:2). He was no braggart. The task sobered him; he believed himself unequal to the task. But he taught, some people repented, and without any compulsion, those willing to be taught lived together in peace. 

When he was commissioned by God to teach Israel, Moses reacted similarly to Enoch: And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before now nor since you have spoken unto your servant, but I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue (Exodus 2:7). Moses also described the difference between himself (all mankind) and God: Now for this once I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed (Genesis 1:2). 

Those who have been part of the Holy Order have been trustworthy to God because they know they are weak. When the Lord says He will make weak things become strong, I do not believe that means a man will become strong but instead means God will provide the strength to those who rely on Him. 

If every angel from Adam…

[Denver coughs] Excuse me. They gave me water, but I think this has been opened. It’s sorta like kissing the predecessor. That reminds me of a story. (Reed, you’re just gonna have to edit this thing.)

So, one year… I need to segregate this.

One year we went to the bike/the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, and that year we went to some rural road that’s north and south but not an interstate, ‘cuz you always take the back roads. And we were stopped at a gas station, and the fellow I was with had brought his daughter. And his daughter and I were sitting on a bench outside the gas station where we’d stopped to get a drink and to refuel and sally forth to our decadence in Sturgis. It’s like “Disneyland in Hell,” according to one of my friend’s wives. So we’re at the gas station, and this rather friendly fellow from Colorado came up to talk to her and to me, and he was just a welder who welded by trade. He had…  I think he had a Shovelhead; it was an older bike. And we had this pleasant exchange, but boy! He was non-hygienic! After he walked away, I said, “I think he had green teeth!” She said, “Yeahhh!”

Well, this bottle of water that she and I had been sharing, and after we’d shared it for awhile, the guy—Green Teeth—came back to get his water bottle he’d left on the bench that had been between the two of us, and I said to her, “Dude! That was like kissing Green Teeth…which is bad for you, but it’s so much worse for me!”

(K, you’ve gotta get that out of there!)

If every angel from Adam down to the present time who ministered to Joseph Smith were to minister to you, and if Joseph and Hyrum were added to those who ministered to you, and if you knew more about the heavens than any man now living, you would still be nothing. We do not and cannot comprehend enough to understand God’s works. The Lord explained to Moses, For my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease. Wherefore, no man can behold all my works except he behold all my glory, and no man can behold all my glory and afterward remain in the flesh on the earth (Genesis 1:1). Even if a man knows more about Heaven than anyone alive at the time, he still remains incapable of knowing all that God has in store for mankind. 

We are feeble, unprofitable servants. None of us have anything to brag about. Any boast about being great and having some wonderful assignment from God is arrogant and vainglorious. DO something for God, don’t claim you are going to do so. Then, if you accomplish something, Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips (Proverbs 4:49). 

The arrogance of men is astonishing. Nephi understood this vanity and described it: 

Oh the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves. Wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not; and they shall perish. (2 Nephi 6:9)

The Holy Order is not for the benefit of the holder. No one who views himself or herself as worthy has ever been trusted with it. They (the man and the woman) must be meek like Moses, Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth (Numbers 7:22). It is troubling, daunting, and perilous. There is no great reward in this life. Here, those who are members of the Holy Order will be doubted, criticized, envied, accused, feared, and cast out from those who they are asked to teach. Only a very few will be willing to give them heed, and many who do listen will still be poor disciples, wayward in their conduct, and misunderstanding what is taught. People rejected the Lord, and more have (and will) reject His messengers. 

God’s message given through a member of the Holy Order is not to be trifled with, either by the holder or by people who are taught. Everything is always voluntary, and teaching must still persuade. Pure knowledge and love unfeigned are the approved tools. Sometimes reproving with sharpness is necessary as well. Gratifying pride or vain ambition are forbidden. 

The approved tools are necessarily what the world regards as “weak.” It is intentionally designed by the Lord to be weak. It is the opposite of the “strong man” model. But if followed, the Holy Order can teach people to become strong in faith, hope, and charity. As it is written, If they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will shew unto the gentiles their weakness. And I will shew unto them that faith, hope, and charity bringeth unto me, the fountain of all righteousness (Ether 5:5). 

Just like Jesus Christ, we believe in being subject to and obeying the law. We are not our own “sovereign” but are subject to obey rules and laws of the land. We render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. There is something called the “sovereign citizen movement,” which has no place in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Sovereign citizens claim the right to reject laws, claiming they have no application to them. 

The “sovereign citizen movement” refers to a group of people who see themselves as answerable only to the laws as they interpret them, not as they are written. Members of the sovereign citizen movement include everyone from litigants and tax protesters, to those who promote financial schemes. They do not believe they are subject to the same governmental statutes that govern the rest of the country. ( 

The worst examples of this are Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols whose Oklahoma bombing killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children. They injured another 680 people. The most tranquil examples are tax protestors who refuse to pay federal, state, and local taxes. We should reject all of the “sovereign citizen” ideas because they are contrary to the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. They are contrary to the restored faith. 

While Christ declared His kingdom is not of this world (John 10:7), there are those who think they can found their own heavenly kingdom. The advocates display the worst form of hypocrisy because they cannot detect their own inconsistencies. I have a pamphlet that advocates a form of withdrawing from “Babylon” by denouncing U.S. Citizenship and claiming to be a citizen of the “Kingdom of Heaven.” The pamphlet advocating this is bound in a plastic spiral binding. This ignores the fact that the plastic is likely produced by hydrocarbons requiring an entire fossil fuel industry to provide the pamphlet’s binding. 

It is printed with ink. The ink-making process requires raw materials of pigments, binders, solvents, and additives to produce, all of which require multiple industries to provide the ink for the “Kingdom of Heaven” pamphlet.

It is printed on paper that uses cellulose pulp from a lumber operation, transported by logging trucks to mills, where sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide are used to break down the lignin of the wood for paper manufacture. 

The transportation trucks move along roads paid for by federal and state tax collection. They are safe because of federal, state, and local law enforcement that keep the roads safe for commerce to take place.

All of the raw ingredients used to make the pamphlet were produced and supplied by Babylon. The author is oblivious to his obvious dependence upon what he calls “Babylon.” 

While pretending to be separated from “Babylon,” their hypocrisy knows no limits. They are parasitic and require the ongoing support of the same society, government, and taxpayers they judge as morally inferior. 

Part of the difficulty with those who believe this way is that they seem to be possessed with a false spirit that will not suffer common sense to be spoken in their presence. They advocate their withdrawal from society relentlessly and do not see and will not hear how things really are. It is as if the spirit possessing them will not tolerate the truth to be spoken.

Those who believe they can be more pure by living “off-grid” are fooling themselves. Some, for example, use solar panels instead of connecting to the electrical grid. Solar panels are built using rare earth minerals, mined using heavy equipment, burning fossil fuels, transported using public highways, and utterly dependent on the proper functioning of a complex society that clothes, powers, protects, and serves them. We should be grateful to society, humble about our own dependence, and accepting of our plight. We may not like “Babylon” (as the fool calls the functioning society that succors them), but as long as it exists, we are not and cannot be independent of it.  

Unfortunately, I know people who have bought into these false ideas. Their lives have been burdened, and many of the responsibilities that they should take care of for themselves have been imposed on others. Some have lost family homes, one has been jailed, vehicles without licenses have been impounded, and countless difficulties have resulted from their lawlessness. They foolishly believe they are living a “more pure” and “godly” way of life, while the sad reality is that they are forsaking basic responsibilities they should discharge for themselves.

In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord gave us this instruction to follow:

Truly, truly I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? [No, they put it] on a candlestick, and it gives light to all that are in the house. Therefore, let your light so shine before this world, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. (Matthew 3:16; see also 3 Nephi 5:21)

How do you suppose rebellion and lawlessness to be “good works” that “glorify your Father who is in Heaven?” They will instead resent your imposition upon society. We may fool ourselves into believing we are independent of society, but we are not. All of us who obey, honor, and sustain the law are symbiotic with the government and society at large. Those who claim sovereign citizenship are parasitic. None of us are independent. We should acknowledge our plight and stop fooling ourselves.

There would have been no governments of man if the original Holy Order had been followed from the beginning. Because of rebellion against God’s plan, societies divided into governments that supplanted God’s order with kings, magistrates, governors, dictators, and ministers. For the present, governments are necessary for peaceful and ordered societies to function, and therefore deserve our obedience to their laws. But loyalty to God must remain. God’s “kingdom” is indeed not of this world. Man’s kingdoms will be supplanted by a returning Lord. Before then, we should respect and submit to the order of society and contribute to the peace and safety of our communities.

Society will only welcome us if we benefit others. Letting our light shine includes making our towns and neighborhoods better places by our service to others. People should want us. Because we are commanded to become the “salt of the earth” or the  “leaven” that benefits the entire meal, we cannot abandon principles that make us valuable to society.

The First Amendment gives religious societies exemption from taxation. Not individual taxpayers, but the society itself is exempt from taxation. The Lord’s House will be built when a command is given and will be exempt from property taxes. However, despite this Constitutional protection, a voluntary payment to support the surrounding community as an act of appreciation to neighbors is consistent with being “leaven” or “salt” or a “shining light.” I would hope everyone would want to do this.

While we should not be in rebellion against our government, sadly the time will come when:

With famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed ha[th] made a full end of all nations. (T&C 85:3)

That’s not something to look forward to. It will be a time of great mourning and sorrow. Whatever we can do to delay that day and preserve our nation we should do.

Prophecies in the Book of Mormon and modern revelation will be vindicated. Societies will degenerate into violence. The Book of Mormon warns us of the coming destruction of all the gentile nations upon the Americas and all other lands. 

But behold, in the last days, or…the days of the gentiles, yea, behold, all the nations of the gentiles, and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations. And when that day shall come, they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and with… great noise, and with storm and tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire. And all the nations that fight against Zion and that distress her shall be as a dream of a night vision. (2 Nephi 11:15)

Now, I said I would take a break every hour for about ten minutes, and it’s been an hour. And while that’s not the best places or the happiest note to… We’ll find out just how intimidated you are by how many people now visit the restroom! So, let’s take ten minutes.


Although there are gentile nations that seem sturdy, enduring, and capable, to God they are no more substantial than a dream. They will pass away. The Lord’s people do not need to fight against these governments, nor to cheer on their demise. Fleeing from the coming societal failure is first internal. Our fears, jealousies, shame, guilt separate us from God and each other. We owe honesty and candor to one another. We’re living a lie when we fail to honestly speak to each other. I’ve observed how we deceitfully fail to speak directly to one another but instead tell our complaints to uninvolved others.  That’s not only wrong, it turns an opportunity to improve one another with honest feedback into gossiping behind our backs. 

Gossiping about someone’s misbehavior only makes society worse. On the other hand, honestly confronting each other and truthfully sharing our concerns can heal society. We either grow together peacefully, honestly, and candidly, or we will never have peace between each other. We are told to prepare to live in peace and with our fellow man. Fleeing Babylon is first emotional and internal and will become physical and external as the world’s institutions fail. 

There is nothing about becoming radical, aloof, or isolated that shows we have fled Babylon. Although we should have our eyes open to the wickedness all around us, we can still have compassion on the victims of terrible ideas, false beliefs, and destructive and corrupting social and governmental trends. The world is flooded with lies. Lies were used by Satan to wrap the world in chains at the time of Noah. The widespread lies today are much like the days of Noah. If you want to escape the destruction of Babylon, study and hold tight to truth.

Mormon recorded a specific plea God commanded him to write to us:

Turn, all ye gentiles, from your wicked ways, and repent of your evil doings — of your lyings and deceivings, …of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and…your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations — and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins and be filled with the holy ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel. (3 Nephi 14:1)

Our world is filled with lying, deceit, whoredoms, murder, priestcrafts, envy, and strife. While the exact number is not known, it’s estimated that approximately 60 million American children have been murdered in the womb. When the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1973 that abortion was a constitutional right, the nation had no say about it. When that decision was reversed in 2022, the issue was returned to each state to decide. As soon as states were given the choice, the people became accountable for the continued slaughter of innocent children. The United States has engaged in a half-century of genocidal slaughter of unborn children. Continuing it when given a choice to end it by the voice of the people makes Americans complicit in mass-murder. Consider this warning from the Book of Mormon: And if the time cometh that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you. Yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction, even as he has hitherto visited this land (Mosiah 13:7). That warning is as applicable to us now as it was to the earlier people who inherited this land. France recently amended their constitution to call abortion a “right.” It is now legal in at least 75 countries (where 40% of the world’s women reside). 

Political parties have learned that fear motivates people to follow politicians who promise safety and protection. Class envy, resentment of others, false allegations of racism, and sexual confusion are political tools. If that course continues uninterrupted, the outcome will be violence. Already, the rhetoric of violence is justified as “restorative justice” and “ending oppression.” 

Eventually the gentile nations will become unsustainable as they descend into violence and confusion. The only preparation for that inevitability is to reject the growing tidal wave of lies. We cannot live in peace with each other if we believe lies about one another.

And it shall come to pass among the wicked that every man that will not take [up] his sword against his neighbor must needs flee [to] Zion for safety, and there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven, and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be said among the wicked, Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible, wherefore we cannot stand. And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion singing with songs of everlasting joy. (T&C 31:15)

There will be a place of safety. But “peace” is not possible if your mind has been demented by confusion and deceit. The truth alone can make you free. Jesus Christ was confronted by false religious teachers and explained why they missed the mark. He explained:

Only if you continue to follow my teachings will you be my students indeed, because you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. The leaders interrupted to claim, We’re Abraham’s descendants, and have never been slaves to any man. Why do you say we will become free? Jesus answered them, …I say unto you, Whoever misses the mark is the slave of errors. And such a slave will not be allowed to be within Abraham’s house in the resurrection, but the Son will remain part of God’s Family forever.

If the Son sets you free from sin, you are free indeed. …If you were really Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. …I am a man that has only told you the truth that I have heard from the Most High God; Abraham would never do such a thing. You follow the example of your real father. …If God were your Father, you would love me, for I am sent by and represent God. I am not speaking my own words or pursuing my own agenda, but the Father’s words and agenda. Why do you fail to comprehend my words? Your refusal to hearken and submit to my teachings makes you deaf indeed. Your father is the accuser, and you share the envy and rebellion of your father. He was a rebellious destroyer from the beginning, and fought against the truth, …he [preferred] lies. [Because] he spreads a lie, he advances his agenda. He is the source of deceit in this fallen world. And because I am the Source of truth, you are unable to believe me. Which of you can truthfully show that I have missed the mark? And if I teach the truth, why do you refuse to believe me? Everyone who follows the Most High God hearkens to God’s words. Because you do not follow the Most High God, you cannot hear him. (TSJ 6:18-19)

The test for mankind is always the same. It’s no different now than when Adam, Enoch, Noah, or Abraham were here. It is no different now than when Christ was here. When the Lord commissions a member of the Holy Order to declare His message, some will hear and be numbered as His sheep. The rest will reject the warning and forfeit accordingly. It’s always been necessary for mankind to face and choose the truth while being confronted with widespread and relentless lies.

If you can find a messenger with a godly message, then give heed. The Holy Order will return as part of the end time being like the days of Noah. I doubt you will hear anyone with real authority from the Lord speak about it as if it were a credential. When it comes to something that is most sacred, fools will damn themselves by falsely claiming that which they do not have:

Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips, for behold, verily I say that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord and use it in vain, having not authority. Wherefore, let the church repent of their sins and I the Lord will own them, otherwise they shall be cut off.

Remember that that which comes from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care and by constraint of the spirit, and in this there is no condemnation. (T&C 50:14-15)

Those who hold it are unlikely to boast of it. Those who boast of it are not likely to be trusted by God. True holders let the false claimants go in peace. Abraham did not challenge the false, feigning claim of Pharaoh. 

Truth alone should be proof of the position. God will do work through whom He chooses and will provide whatever knowledge and authority is necessary to complete the work. Although His servant may be misunderstood, the Lord will see that he is like Moses and can be trusted with His work because he will pursue the Lord’s will and not his own. He will hardly mention authority or keys. There will be no need or desire for a hierarchy to accomplish the work. Much like Enoch and Melchizedek, they will teach.

In a letter from Liberty Jail, Joseph explained how the highest order of Priesthood, or any portion of it, should be used:

[Men’s] 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 — that the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven and …Powers of Heaven cannot be controlled nor handled, only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it[’s] 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. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left [to] himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it[’s] 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. Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood; only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned, by kindness and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul; without hypocrisy and without guile; …your bowels also [should be] full of charity toward all men, and to the household of faith; and virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly. Then shall your confidence wax strong in the presence of God, and the doctrines of the Priesthood shall distill upon your soul as the dews from heaven. The holy ghost shall be your constant companion, and your scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth, and your dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, …without compulsory means it shall flow unto you for ever and ever. (T&C 139:5-6)

God the Father, who upholds the worlds by His power, uses that power to bless and benefit all of us. Both the good and the evil benefit from the power of God the Father. Christ explained that we should treat one another kindly that you may be the children of your Father who is in Heaven; for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 3:26)

Generations have wanted to hear the words that are being taught today and have not heard them. To hear them is to become accountable for receiving and then acting on what is taught. 

King Benjamin put authority and “kingship” into perspective:

I have not commanded you to come up hither that [you] should fear me, or that [you] should think…I of myself am more than a mortal man. But I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind. Yet as I have been chosen by this people, and was consecrated by my father, and was suffered by the hand of the Lord that I should be a ruler and a king over this people, and have been kept and preserved by his matchless power to serve thee with all the might, mind, and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me…  

He did not presume that his position made him anything more than another mortal man, subject to infirmities. But he could not deny that the Lord had made him a ruler over the people. Continuing:

…I say unto you that as I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold, nor silver, nor any manner of riches of you, neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves [of one] another, or…ye should murder, or plunder, or steal, or commit adultery, or even I have not suffered that ye should commit any manner of wickedness, and have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord in all things which he hath commanded you… 

He was not motivated by wealth, but by service. He was a “ruler” and a teacher. And he taught his people to obey the commandments. Continuing:

…And even I myself have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and …there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne. …I have not done these things that I might boast, neither do I tell [you] these things that thereby I might accuse you; but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear conscience before God this day. Behold, I say unto you that because I[’ve] said…that I ha[ve] spent my days in your service, I do[n’t] desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God. …behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom, …ye may learn that when [you] are in the service of your fellow beings, [you’re] only in the service of your God… (Mosiah 1:7-8) 

This head of the Holy Order performs his obligation to God and his fellow believer by serving. He is not served. He labors with his own hands to support himself and his family. He does not receive compensation for serving God. Alma abandoned secular authority to serve in the Holy Order. Alma delivered up the judgment seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the High Priesthood of the Holy Order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy (Alma 2:5). Teaching and persuading are best accomplished without exerting authority. Continuing:

…Behold, [you] have called me your king. And if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then had not ye ought to labor to serve one another? And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service and yet has been in the service of God, doth merit any thanks from you, oh how had you ought to thank your Heavenly King! (Mosiah 1:8)

God chooses people to serve, and their role is to provide service. God approves those who desire to help others, bless lives, and lose their own ambition. Only a mere servant can be trusted with the Holy Order. This is why the Holy Order can act in the stead of God, and those who benefit from it are not trusting the arm of flesh. Quite the contrary, the words of a servant in the Holy Order are the words of the Lord Himself: 

What I, the Lord, have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself. And though the heaven[s] and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by my own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same. (T&C 54:7)

This principle of equivalency does not apply to pretenders. They certainly apply to the man and the woman of the Holy Order. They did apply to Joseph Smith in 1831. They would apply to Hyrum Smith in 1841 when he was given the assignment as Joseph’s older brother. When the Lord appoints such a servant to bless His people, then trust in that servant is not trust in the arm of flesh but trust in the arm of the Lord. It was not idolatry for Abraham to go to Melchizedek for authority and blessing, to pay him tithing, and to recognize and respect him as God’s king and priest. The name “Melchizedek” is a compound word that means “king” and “priest.”

That name-title was given to Shem, the son of Noah. Shem obtained it by descent from Adam through his father, Noah. As revelation explained:

Abraham received the Priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah, …from Noah till Enoch, through the lineage of their fathers, and from Enoch to Abel who was slain by the conspiracy of his brother, who received the Priesthood by the commandment of God, by the hand of his father Adam, who was the first man, which Priesthood continues in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years. (T&C 82:10)

The Holy Order was and is intended to establish a “house of order.” In 1836, the saints were invited to reestablish the Lord’s house of order. They hoped to accomplish that by their own initiative: The Lord wanted His House, Even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a House of God (T&C 123:3). They were offered the Holy Order or fullness of the Priesthood, but it was lost unto [them] (T&C 141:10) and taken away from that generation. This was not unexpected. The Lord knew they would fail and had previously promised there would come a time when His House would be set in order (T&C 83:4). This will happen when the Lord reestablishes the Holy Order. The Lord’s “House” is not merely a physical building but includes His Family/House as well.

Egypt’s first Pharaoh tried to perpetuate the Holy Order by imitating what had been in the first generation:

Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first Patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. (Abraham 2:3)

The name “Pharaoh” in Egyptian means “great house.” Pharaoh wanted to recreate the “House” meaning the “Family” of God. That is why he was trying “earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first Patriarchal reign.” He wanted to be the head of God’s Family on Earth. However, men cannot establish the Holy Order. It can only be established by God or, as Joseph Smith explained, through Adam (the original father and holder of the right) under the direction of Jesus Christ. 

Those who falsely claim to be apostles of the Lord are not to be trusted, and following them is putting trust in the arm of flesh. When Zion returns, it will be clear who the Lord’s servants are.

The Apostle Paul explained that you cannot have faith unless God sends a messenger to preach the truth: 

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they are sent? — as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! So then faith comes by hearing the word of God. (Romans 1:49)

Those who deliver a living message from the Living Lord are indispensible ministers whose work is needed so that the “residue of men” can have faith in God, but only God can save us. As it is written:

…neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, shewing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels…that they may bear testimony of him; [that] by so doing, God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the holy ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men. And Christ hath said, If ye will have faith in me, ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. And he hath said, Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved. (Moroni 7:6)

The Holy Order requires both a man and a woman in similitude of Adam and Eve. The couple holds dominion as a father and mother over the Family of God on Earth. That is different than acting as a priest and priestess. God’s House is a house of order. To set it right is something far more important than administering a church or performing priestly rites.

We know that Adam is the one with authority over the Holy Order. Adam holds the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times; i.e., the dispensation of all…times [that] have been and will be revealed through him, from the beginning to Christ, …from Christ to the end of…the dispensations that are to be revealed (T&C 140:3). However, the identity of “Adam” is not just the first man but includes his helpmeet. It is the first couple who are named “Adam,” and Eve stands as partner in this order. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; in the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam in the day [that] they were created and became living souls in the land… (Genesis 3:14).

The role of the woman is greater than most have imagined. We have enough in modern revelation to know of the mother’s importance and power. Consider these words from the Answer to the Prayer for Covenant:

I say [un]to you, Abraham and Sarah sit upon a Throne, for he could not be there if not for Sarah’s covenant with him; Isaac and Rebecca sit upon a Throne, and Isaac likewise could not be there if not for Rebecca’s covenant with him; and Jacob and Rachel sit upon a Throne, and Jacob could not be there if not for Rachel’s covenant with him; and all these have ascended above Dominions and Principalities and Powers, to abide in my Kingdom. (T&C 157:42, emphasis added)

The covenant-making to secure a throne requires the direct participation of the woman. The Holy Order involves both the husband and wife. Refer back to “Our Divine Parents” regarding the Heavenly Mother and the other mothers involved in the Holy Order. The Heavenly Mother declared, By me kings reign and princes decree justice. By me princes rule and nobles, even all the judges of the earth (Proverbs 1:36). That talk went on to explain that it was Eve who identified the successor to Adam. That was her right, just as it is the Heavenly Mother’s right over Her offspring. It was Rebecca’s right to choose Jacob over Esau. We should therefore expect the woman/mother/wife/priestess to be involved directly with the covenant making, who positions her husband in the Holy Order. And we should anticipate that the senior-most mother would also likewise have a say in who succeeds her husband as heir-successor in the Holy Order.

It was the Holy Order that existed as the singular government organization for mankind at the first. There was no “church” or other institution. There was only a family, and it had at the head a father and mother set there by God. They were given dominion over all others. They were to be “husbandmen” to raise up righteous posterity who would walk in the pathway leading back to God.

With the exception of Abraham, all subsequent dispensations were organized different from the first. But the end will return to the beginning, and what was once will be again, for the prophecy must be fulfilled: Now this same Priesthood which was in the beginning shall be in the end of the world also (now this prophecy Adam spoke as he was moved upon by the holy ghost) (Genesis 3:14).

This Order has been offered in earlier dispensations but can be and has been repeatedly rejected. For example, the Holy Order was refused by the Israelites and, therefore, taken from them:

And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew two other [stones of tablet], like unto the first, and I will write upon them also the words of the law, according as they were written [on] the first on the tablets which you broke. But it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the Priesthood out of their midst. Therefore, my Holy Order and the ordinances thereof shall not go before them, for my presence shall not go up in their midst lest I destroy them. But I will give unto them the law as at…first; but it shall be after the law of a carnal commandment, for I have sworn in my wrath that they shall not enter into my presence, into my rest, in the days of their pilgrimage. Therefore, do as I have commanded you, and be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me in the top of the mount. And no man shall come up with you, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount… (Exodus 18:5, emphasis added)

Modern revelation explains this was a terribly significant loss for ancient Israel.

And this greater Priesthood administers the gospel and holds the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God… 

It is their responsibility to “know”—but not necessarily to teach. Some things are necessary for the greater priesthood holder to understand but to be kept in sacred silence. 

Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest, and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the Priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto man in the flesh, for without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live…

Part of the instruction of the knowledge of God’s mysteries is given through “ordinances.” These are also kept from public display.

Now, this, Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God, but they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence. Therefore, the Lord, in his wrath (for his anger was kindled against them) swore that they should not enter into his rest — which rest is the fullness of his glory — while in the wilderness.

Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also. And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holds the key of…ministering of angels, and the preparatory gospel, which gospel is the gospel of repentance, and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron, among the children of Israel, until John, whom [the Lord] raised up, being filled with the holy ghost from his mother’s womb. (T&C 82:12-14)

Like Israel at the time of Moses, the Latter-day Saints at the time of Joseph and Hyrum also rejected the Holy Order. In January 1841, the LDS were commanded to build a house unto my name for the Most High [God] to dwell… For there is not place found on…earth that he may come and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he has taken away, even the fullness of the Priesthood (T&C 141:10). Although Joseph Smith restored the fullness of the Gospel, he was unable to deliver the fullness of the Priesthood or Holy Order after the Order of the Son of God. The required temple was never completed, and the time and opportunity available to them passed. That rejection was foreshadowed in an 1831 revelation foretelling a future moment when the Lord will speak from Heaven declaring:

Hearken, O you nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you: O you nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you would not? How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by my own voice, and by the voice of [thundering], …by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and …the voice of earthquakes and great hailstorms, …by the voice of famines and [pestilence] of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgments, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but you would not? (T&C 29:8)

The question remains open as to whether we will allow the Holy Order to function among us. The Lord will permit it. He’s willing to identify those He will permit to enter into His House (meaning His Family). The question is, who will welcome it? The conditions today are the same as at the time of Adam, Enoch, Melchizedek, and Abraham. Few there will be that will find it.

Predictably, as soon as some learn of the content of this talk, they will claim to be worthy, perhaps even in possession of the Holy Order. All such claimants are liars and deceivers. Whenever there is a couple appointed to the Holy Order, there are always competing voices, pretenders, opponents, and deluded others acting in direct opposition. 

The Book of Mormon explains for us the direct connection between repentance and obedience in obtaining this Order. This was and is required not only for Melchizedek but also for the people who will welcome the return of the Order:

Now as I said concerning the Holy Order, or this High Priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God. And it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish. Therefore, they were called after this Holy Order and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb. Now they, after being sanctified by the holy ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence. And there were many, an exceeding great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God. And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest. Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same Order which I have spoken, who also took upon him the High Priesthood for ever. And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes — yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed. Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his Order, or…being his Order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord.

Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem, and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abominations — yea, they had all gone astray; [and] they were full of all manner of wickedness. But Melchizedek, having exercised…faith and received the office of the High Priesthood according to the Holy Order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent. And Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore, he was called the Prince of Peace, for he was the King of Salem; and he did reign under his father. Now there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater. Therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention. Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; [and] if ye will wrest them, it shall be to your own destruction. (Alma 10:1-2)

When he was the servant, Melchizedek preached repentance. He didn’t claim self-importance, establish an organization, or claim an office. He preached repentance.  

In a sermon on August 27, 1843, Joseph Smith explained, “The Holy Order is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation, and every important matter is revealed from Heaven” (JSP, Documents Vol. 7, p.435; TPJS, p.166-167; WJS, p.38). Because it is the mechanism God uses to reveal from Heaven what is necessary for the salvation of mankind, His messenger will preach repentance. 

This world was organized to provide an opportunity for every soul sent here to be added upon (Abraham 6:2). But it was never expected that souls would develop equally. Because of apostasy, an overwhelming number of mankind have lived without any opportunity to receive and accept the Gospel. It will nevertheless be “tolerable” for them in the resurrection. But when the Gospel is taught to and rejected by people, the resurrection will not be “tolerable” for them. People who live and die without learning of God’s law are also redeemed and unaccountable for what was never shown to them.

From among the few who have the Gospel preached to them, the “fullness of the Priesthood” has been available to teach very few indeed. How often God would have gathered people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings? But mankind has continually returned to a state of apostasy, rejecting the gift that was (and now is) continually offered by a gracious God:

You who are quickened by a portion of the Celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fullness. And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fullness. And also, they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fullness. And they who remain, shall also be quickened. Nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they [were] willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. For what does it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive[s] not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift. (T&C 86:4)

If there is a need to fix blame for the limited opportunities mankind has had for being gathered by God and protected by Him, then the blame is upon our ancestors who rejected the Gospel. The blame is not on a willing God. Our unwillingness to let Him govern us through the Holy Order has resulted in this world descending into chaos and sin. The path back is through repenting and returning to God’s path.

The Holy Order was established before the world and was conferred on Adam. It could have been a continuous guide to all of Adam’s descendants, but men loved sin and surrendered to carnality because of their weakness. Even as Adam was preaching the truth, Satan came among them, saying, I am also a Son of God. And he commanded them, saying, Believe [it] not. And they believed not, and loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish (Genesis 3:5). 

Although mankind rejected Adam’s preaching, God never withdrew Adam’s commission. He continues to hold that position and will do so until the end of this cycle of creation or the end of the world. All of the later forms of priesthood are inferior to the original.

The Holy Order requires a restoring of great knowledge that’s hidden from the world. The fathers knew it would be restored in the last days and anxiously anticipated its return. 

The Holy Order was conferred during the creation, when Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden and were given dominion over the creation. Then, after the fall, Adam’s initiation into the Order continued in this documented event:

And it came to pass [that] when the Lord had spoken with Adam our father that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was [carried] away by the spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the spirit of God descended upon him. And thus he was born of the spirit and became quickened in the inner man. And he heard [the] voice out of Heaven saying, You are baptized with fire and with the holy ghost. This is the record of the Father and the Son, [and] from henceforth and for ever. And you are after the Order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from…eternity to all eternity. Behold, you are one in me, a son of God. And thus [all may] become my sons. Amen. (Genesis 4:10)

Adam would teach his descendants these principles as part of the initiations. Our Scriptures do not provide the details. However, we learn more about the Holy Order from the account involving Melchizedek in The Old Covenants, Genesis 7:17-23: 

And Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed [him]…  

Melchizedek ordained Abraham. However, details are missing. But the record tells us why Melchizedek was chosen to hold the Holy Order:

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. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained a high priest after the Order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, it being after the Order of the Son of God, which Order came not by man, nor the will of men, neither by father nor mother, neither…beginning of days nor end of years, but of God. And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed [in] his name.

For God, having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself that everyone being ordained after this Order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, …divide the seas, …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. And men having this faith, coming up unto this Order…were translated and taken up into Heaven.

…now Melchizedek was a priest of this Order, therefore he obtained peace in Salem and was called the Prince of Peace. And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained Heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world, and has said and sworn with an oath that the heavens and the earth should [not] come together, and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire. And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the King of [Peace] by his people…

…he lifted up his voice and he blessed Abram, being the high priest and…keeper of the storehouse of God, him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor. [Therefore], Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him, more than that which he [needed]. And it came to pass that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession, according to the covenant which he had made…according to the blessing with which Melchizedek had blessed him.

And it came to pass that after these things, the word of the Lord came [to] Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram. I will be your shield. I will be your [exceeding] great reward. And according to the [blessing] of my servant, [the “blessing of my servant” is referring to Melchizedek], I will give unto you. And Abram said, Lord God, what will you give me, seeing I go childless and Eliezer of Damascus was made the steward of my house? …Abram said, Behold, to me you have given no seed and [no] one born in my house is my heir. …behold, the word of the Lord came unto him again, saying, This shall not be your heir, but he…shall come forth out of your own body [and] shall be your heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and…said, Look now toward heaven…tally the stars, if you[’re] able to number them. …he said unto him, So shall your seed be. …Abram said [to the] Lord…how will you give me this land for an everlasting inheritance? And the Lord said, Though you were dead, yet am I not able to give it to you? And if you shall die, yet you shall possess it. For the day comes that the Son of Man shall live. But how can he live if he be not dead? He must first be quickened.

…it came to pass that Abram looked forth…saw the days of the Son of Man, and was glad. And his soul found rest, and he believed in the Lord, and the Lord counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 8:18-23)

The Book of Mormon has 25 different places expounding on the Holy Order. The Book of Mormon has more information than any other book of Scripture about that subject. It is first mentioned in 2 Nephi chapter 5 in The New Covenants version.

The words of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, which he spake unto the people of Nephi: Behold, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, having been called of God and ordained after the manner of his Holy Order, and having been consecrated by my brother Nephi, unto whom ye look as a king or a protector and on whom ye depend for safety, behold, ye know that I have spoken unto you exceeding many things. (2 Nephi 5:1)

For Jacob to have been “called of God and ordained,” it required someone to ordain him; he identifies Nephi as the source. 

When and how did Nephi obtain the Holy Order of God?  Before his family migrated across the Arabian peninsula, God spoke to him, 

…the Lord spake unto me, saying, Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently with lowliness of heart. And inasmuch as ye…keep my commandments, ye shall prosper and…be led to a land of promise, yea, even a land which I have prepared for you, a land which is choice above all other lands. …And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren. (1 Nephi 1:9)

Those words, “a ruler and a teacher” identify a role that belongs to the Holy Order. But this is a conditional promise of a future ordination. After that promise, by faith Nephi obtained the plates of Laban, studied the records of the fathers and the prophets, broke the bands from his hands and feet, beheld a vision of God’s condescension, witnessed things not lawful for him to teach, held the power of God in his hands, built a ship and led others across the oceans to a promised land, recorded God’s dealings in Scripture for his people, and summarized God’s blessings to him in these words:

I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support, he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep. He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh. He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me. Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, …he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night time. And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high, and angels came down and ministered unto me. And upon the wings of his spirit hath my body been carried away up on [an] exceeding[ly] high [mountain]. And mine eyes have beheld great things — yea, even too great for man — therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.

…I have seen so great things, [and] the Lord, in his condescension unto the children of men, hath visited me in so much mercy… (2 Nephi 3:7-8)

These accomplishments are evidence of Nephi’s ordination, however, he omits mention of the actual event for himself. He does record his brother, Jacob’s, ordination to the Holy Order by him. This is also typical of someone having authority. The evidence is not in proclaiming status, but in providing service.

The Holy Order continued for generations with the descendants of Nephi. Alma the Younger claimed to have been called after the Holy Order, and what he taught about it is the best proof he was a member of the Order. Here is what he wrote about his calling:

And Alma went and began to declare the word of God unto the church which was established in the valley of Gideon, according to the revelation of the truth [and] the word which had been spoken by his fathers, and according to the spirit of prophecy which was in him — according to the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who should come to redeem his people from their sins — and the Holy Order by which he was called. And thus it is written. Amen. (Alma 4:2)

Alma the Younger gives the best scriptural exposition and the foremost description for why an individual is ordained to the Holy Order in this life: 

And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children. And I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests after his Holy Order, which was after the Order of his Son…

This clarifies that Alma is speaking of the original Holy Order that was after the Order of the Son of God. This is the priestly authority that many of the Nephite prophets held. This is why Joseph Smith called the record of the Nephites the most correct book and the keystone of our religion.  The text was composed by people within the Holy Order who were adept in the required knowledge, experience, and wisdom to compose a correct amount [account].

…to teach these things unto the people… 

This is the primary role of the Holy Order. Enoch led a city to peace by teaching. By obeying Enoch’s teachings, his city was translated into Heaven.

And those priests were ordained after the Order of his Son in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption… 

Now we’re getting into some pretty deep water that I don’t want to interrupt for lunch. It’s a little ahead, and I’m gonna end there for lunch. And I’ve had a couple people ask me if I was willing to take questions. Here’s the problem: You don’t know what’s gonna be said as we’re going forward, so the answer to your question is very likely gonna be heard a little later in this same talk. So, ONLY in relation to anything that has been said up to this point and nothing further. Does anyone want to ask a question, or would you like more time to eat lunch?

Okay, we’ve got one hand up here. Someone’s not all that hungry.


QUESTION 1: Just a question of… Earlier you’d said that it’s not (I don’t know the exact word, but…) “permissible” with someone who the Lord said identified as holding the Holy Order, so it made my thoughts go to Paul and Peter. Did Paul make a mistake there? Or is that something different?

DS: No, in fact, the two of them are described…

[Audience interjection]

Oh, the question was, it’s not appropriate for people within the order to compete with one another; what about Peter and Paul?

Okay, Peter was a very rigid man, and Paul was a very enthusiastic man, and in terms of personality types, they were probably two of the most incompatible people that you will ever meet. And yet, both of them were servants of God and called and asked and given assignments. Peter primarily labor,ed as Paul with disgust pointed out, among the Jews, so much so that he accommodated them in ways that Paul would not. But then later… Later, Paul gets Timothy circumcised, rather abruptly, in a non-hygienic way that would never be approved by a modern physician who would be considerably more hygienic in the process of accomplishing such a feat. And so, when it came right down to the rub, there were moments of conduct by Peter, on the one hand, accommodating the Jews, and Paul, on the other hand, accommodating the Jews, that you could put either of them in the exact same place and you would detect no difference between how they were proceeding and what they were doing. That being said, when they got together, Paul talks about how he “withstood Peter to his face.” Well, good on you, Paul. Peter probably needed that. And Paul probably needed his comeuppance. 

Look, the primary focus and the primary reason for calling Paul was to take a message into the gentile world. Peter was indeed the one who saw the blanket descend with the unclean animals on it and received the admonition to “take and eat” and then protested that that would ceremonially violate the law to which he was holding fidelity. But he got the vision! He was the one that it was instructed. It was Paul, however, who became the messenger to the Gentiles. And so, I mean, it’s… So between the two of them they licked the platter clean. You didn’t get the job done with one, and you didn’t get the job done altogether with the other. You actually needed both of them in order to accomplish the work. Paul did NOT supplant Peter. And Peter did not supplant Paul. They were disagreeable with one another…which oughtta be another lesson about how godly people don’t necessarily have personality traits that are fully and completely compatible. I mean, “Hail, fellow well-met,” is not necessarily the greeting that…

In fact, Joseph Smith, in a revelation, gave words that are supposed to be spoken when a brother meets a brother at the entry to the temple, and they are to greet one another with a holy kiss. And the words of greeting are proscribed! It’s not, “Oh, crap! He’s here! ‘Hey….’” It’s specific words. “Art thou a brother?” or if it’s more than one, “Art thou brethren?” And then you greet one another with a recitation and a holy kiss. It’s kinda French. It’d make Aaron feel at home. Maybe he’ll be the greeter!

Yes, okay!

QUESTION 2: Sorry, I just wanted… I wonder if you’re gonna speak more about the woman’s role or what it means to a woman or… [crosstalk]

DS: Maybe. Maybe. Maybe we will, and maybe we’ll just have her [Stephanie] get up here and talk for a little while about something or another. She…yeah.

Look, this is all one singular, self-contained exposition about a subject, the most alarming portions of which will come after lunch. Now I know you guys had the sacrament and you drank wine, and it put people into a…one of those wine comas. I’m hoping that you don’t come back in a food coma for this afternoon because there’s something valuable about having the content sounded live in your own ears in the moment that it gets offered. And I can’t… I don’t think I can adequately express the importance of the content of this material. It will, I think, dawn on you at some point. I’m hoping not while we’re still together, and that I can catch an eclipse. 

But we’re gonna go ahead and end early for lunch ‘cuz it’s gonna take awhile. There is a lunch that people have paid for, and that… You’ll [Joe Jensen] take care of that? Okay.


K, so the primary responsibility—primary, probably the foremost responsibility—is to teach. But we have this in Alma’s description: 

…those priests were ordained after the Order of his Son in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption…

So there’s a connection between the manner in which the ordination is done and proving up the mission of Christ. They’re intended to reflect the Son of God. It’s the Son of God who’s going to provide for the redemption. But only one generation was there and heard Him teach. Other generations needed examples that allowed them to believe in and anticipate the redemption through the Son of God. And that is also needed now.

The Son of God would only teach what the Father told Him to teach. I am Son Ahman, and that I have done nothing on my own; but as my Father has taught me, I repeat his words (TSJ 6:16) This is what the Son of God would do and what every one ordained after His Order would likewise do. That’s the manner to look forward to Christ and to also look back and understand about Christ. 

…this is the manner after which they were ordained: being called and prepared from the foundation of the world, according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works in the first place, being left to choose good or evil; therefore they, having chosen good, and exercising exceeding great faith, are called with a holy calling — yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such… 

Probably the most important single description of how the Holy Order operates.

All the qualifying individuals for the Holy Order—all of that qualifying—happened before this cycle of creation. When the “foundation” or beginning planning of the world was first underway, God in His Wisdom knew it would be necessary to send messengers who would reliably teach others. Those chosen had already proven to be loyal to God and shown great faith in God’s Son. However, even if they were prepared before the foundation of the world, they needed to be initiated into the Order in mortality. Abraham was chosen before the creation but still was not part of the Holy Order in mortality until initiated by Melchizedek.

…thus they hav[ing] been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds (while, if it had not been for this, they might have had as great a privilege as their brethren — or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren — thus, this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts…

That happened BEFORE; it happened before this creation. That was when the qualifying took place. That’s when Abraham qualified. Some showed unwavering devotion to God. They had proven reliable. Others would not qualify because they would risk failing and leading souls astray. They risked rejecting God’s spirit because of hardness of hearts—or in other words pride and lack of humility. They questioned and argued, doubted and challenged. They had an inconsistent record of conduct, sometimes hesitating when others remained steadfast and true.

The risk of blind guides falling in a ditch and leading others to fall in that same ditch was disqualifying. And yet we still see those who, without possessing the required calling and ordination, claim they should be leaders and teachers. Even the pre-qualified still need  to be “called” here.

The Holy Order is not for the benefit of the servant. Its purpose is to allow others to “enter into his rest” or receive the redemption of the Son of God offered to all. The Holy Order is to “teach his commandments” in a reliable, authorized, and dependable way. It’s not to get acclaim, attract a following, or preside over anyone. The responsibility is to teach God’s commandments.

…which Order was from the foundation of the world, or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity according to his foreknowledge of all things… 

Because the qualification and ordination was first accomplished from the foundation of the world, it took place before the first day was set for this world. Therefore it is without any beginning of days. And because that authority will endure into the afterlife, it will not come to any end in this world where years are counted. Hence it is “from eternity to…eternity.”

Now they were ordained after this manner, being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance… (Alma 9:10)

An ordinance is required. Alma confirmed there is a required “holy ordinance” for someone who qualified before the foundation of the world. They need to receive that holy ordinance before they are part of the High Priesthood of the Holy Order. That’s why Abraham went to Melchizedek to obtain the ordinance. 

The description of those who obtain the Holy Order was given in the Vision of the Three Degrees of Glory on February 16, 1832. They are identified as those,

…who overc[a]me by faith and are sealed by that Holy Spirit of Promise, which the Father sheddeth forth upon all those who are just and true.

They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

They are they into whose hands the Father hath given all things [dominion].

They are they who are priests and kings, who, having received of his fullness and of his glory, are priests of the Most High [God] after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the Order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God. Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. And they shall overcome all things. Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let them glory in God who shall subdue all enemies under his feet. (T&C 69:10-13, emphasis added)

Here the scripture uses the present tense to call them “gods, even the sons of God”; not that they will be, but that they are presently in that position. And yet, consistent with all we have been told about worship of God only, this same description teaches, “let no man glory in man, but rather let them glory in God who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.” These are consistent statements. The appointment to the Holy Order does not make the recipients anything other than servants, teachers, and guides who can reliably report on their errand from the Lord. They deliver God’s words but are not to be worshipped. 

While these words have been around since 1832 and generally regarded as promising status to the faithful in the afterlife, when understood in light of the Holy Order, they take on a different meaning. They describe specifically and exclusively that group.

Some comparatively few qualified for the Holy Order before this world’s current cycle of creation. But remember, the course of the Lord is one eternal round (1 Nephi 3:5). Things repeat, and there are worlds without end (T&C 69:28). 

This is not our “first estate,” nor will it be our last. Creation is endless, and God has declared that His [words] are without end, …for they never cease (Genesis 1:1). God explained to Moses:

For behold, there are many worlds which have passed away by the word of my power, and there are many [worlds] also which now stand, and numberless are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

And it came to pass that Moses spoke unto the Lord, saying, Be merciful unto your servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens; and then your servant will be content. And the Lord God spoke unto Moses of the heavens, saying, These are many and they cannot be numbered unto man, but they are numbered unto me for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come. And there is no end to my works, neither my words. (Ibid. 6-7)

We have a partial account of events before this cycle of creation. There were those who rebelled during this earlier existence or estate. Because it happened prior to this cycle of creation, it is referred to as the “first estate,” but it might as well be called an “earlier estate” or a “prior estate.” We read:

And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon, and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; …they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

And the Lord said, Who shall I send? …one answered like unto the Son of Man, Here am I, send me. And another answered and said, Here am I, send me. And the Lord said, I will send the first. And the second was angry and kept not his first estate, …at that day many followed after him. (Abraham 6:2-3)

The second who did not keep his first estate was cast down and drew a third of the stars of Heaven with him as he fell to Earth. It’s described as,

…an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten…(whom the Father loved, [and] was in the bosom of the Father), was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, and was called Perdition, for the Heavens wept over him. (T&C 69:6)

That earlier tragedy before this cycle of creation is not dissimilar to a description of events to happen later, at the end of this cycle: 

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be set loose out of his prison and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city. (Revelation 8:6)

It is all one eternal round, worlds without end, opportunities to prove faithful without end. Accordingly, we can prove faithful in this present estate so that what comes in the next cycle will let it be said of us:

…being called and prepared from the foundation of the world, according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works in the first place, being left to choose good or evil; therefore they, having chosen good, and exercising exceeding…faith, are called with a holy calling… (Alma 9:10)

We tip the scales by our choices, and by so doing, we change all eternity. We change eternity by the choices we make here (T&C 159:13).

There is an eternal balance, with infinite results, hanging on our every choice. We stand in peril or stand in glory depending upon our every thought and deed (Ibid. 14).

Five minutes of mortality are more precious than all the prior eternities of pre-earth life. Only here can you demonstrate the faith from which creation itself was born (Ibid. 15).

Why not view this moment as another “first place” and choose to obey God, in faith, to have your good works follow you into your next estate?

Our noble acts and righteous deeds are celebrated in joy and song in the corridors of Heaven. As we choose God and His ways, the Hosanna Shout rings out in Heaven for such choices. We are the place where eternity’s conflicts are now being played out. We are the battleground between infinite good and infinite failure (Ibid. 17).

What you do with your thoughts, words, and deeds NOW matters. Whether you will repent and follow Christ determines an eternal course.

In contrast, those consigned to hell to suffer until the end follow a religion with only a form of godliness, while denying the redemptive power of following Christ’s servants. They are described in the revelation in these words:

These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. These are they who suffer the wrath of God on…earth. These are they who suffer the vengeance of Eternal fire. These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fullness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work, when he shall deliver up the kingdom and present it unto the Father… (T&C 69:27)

They love lies because they’re comforting. Lies tell you there’s no need to repent. Lies promise you salvation without obedience. The scope of their lies is particularly alarming. They claim to follow true but deceased prophets but never accept a living testimony of Jesus:

For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are some of one and some of another: some of Christ, and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch… 

…every one of those were actual servants called by the Lord. And we have today those who claim to be absolute, reliable, trustworthy advocates of Isaiah’s works that can tell you (because Jesus made reference to “great are the words of Isaiah,” you know, He commends them to us to study) that he is now a reliable servant and light to be yielded acknowledgment to because he’s teaching you of Isaiah. These are liars who are thrust down to hell, and they say they are “of Isaiah.” 

Oh, and there are those who say, “Torah, Torah, Torah”—not as in the attack on Pearl Harbor, but as in, “You can’t get there without Torah!” They are “of Moses.” They are liars, and they are damned to hell. (I believe they’ll be listening to this.)

…but received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenants… 

They rejected the Holy Order in the form of the servant sent to them. They prefer to think themselves safe by acknowledging known but dead prior messengers, but they dare not risk letting a living, contemporary representative of the Holy Order to teach them.

Reestablishing the Holy Order involves a new dispensation with those who went before providing the foundation for the work to go forward. Angelic ministers needed to come at the start of Joseph’s dispensation and were needed again. 

…all declaring each one: Their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their Priesthood.

[Giving] line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little…there a little, giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come and confirming our hope. (T&C 151:15-17)

This is required to restore the Holy Order any time it’s been lost. The Order is not just a form of priesthood but also involves a family connection to the first fathers. For the holder, it establishes a role within that family. The senior-most living couple in that order stands in the same position as did Adam and Eve. It is essential that the Holy Order be reestablished prior to the Second Coming so that the events of Adam-Ondi-Ahman can take place. To link together God’s Family necessarily follows the precedent of Abraham because it includes adoption of the living holder on Earth to the “fathers who are in heaven” (as Joseph Smith put it). The identity of those “fathers in heaven” and the identity of those who have held the Holy Order are the same. God’s family must be linked together on both sides of the veil.

The fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is open to everyone and publicly invites all to accept it and benefit. Each person must decide if they will repent, forsake their sins, be baptized, and accept Christ’s offer. The fullness of the Priesthood or Holy Order is not open to everyone, but when it exists, it can benefit all those who accept the fullness of the Gospel. Only Adam, under the direction of Jesus Christ, can decide if a couple will be inducted into the fullness of the Priesthood or Holy Order. 

Not all people are going to want the fullness of the Gospel. Every soul is different from every other soul, and no two have the same desire for light and truth. Some souls are added upon by only having the opportunity to witness light and dark each day and night or to experience hot and cold each yearly cycle. Newborn children experience hunger and thirst, and eat and drink to understand the contrast. This world presents contrasts to inform everyone of eternal truths in this mortal experience. The fullness of the Gospel has only been present intermittently, with long periods of apostasy. Even when present, the majority of those living at the time know nothing about it.

This is wise and fair. It’s part of a grand design to patiently allow all of mankind to progress suitably. For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word[s], yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore, we see that the Lord doth counsel in his wisdom, according to that which is just and true (Alma 15:13). Apart from the fullness of the Gospel, there are deeply spiritual, singularly understanding, very pure souls who inherited Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, or other forms of God’s word. They are also remembered by and precious to the Lord. Contrast that with some who have the fullness of the Gospel, miss the point altogether, and are marred with conceit, animosity, and self-righteousness.

As the fullness of the Priesthood or Holy Order is restored, do not expect it to be broadly distributed, openly available, or discussed in public forums. Some portions of the Gospel have always been unlawful to disclose in that manner. The Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians about being caught up to the third heaven: …he was caught up into paradise and heard unspeakable words, which…is not lawful for…man to utter (2 Corinthians 1:41). The heavens were opened, and the witness ascended to hear something true and faithful. Yet it was not lawful for him to tell it.

Some things belong to God alone to tell. We have no right to impose those things on others, particularly if the result will be to condemn them for their rejection of the truth.

Yet all are invited to behold and learn from God. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon reported after the heavens were opened to them:

Great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he shewed unto us, which surpasseth all understanding, in glory, and in might, and in dominion, which [we were] commanded…we should not write while we were yet in the spirit, and are not lawful for men to utter…(T&C 69:28-29)

There are true things that are part of the Gospel. God is willing to reveal them. They include:

  • things not lawful for man to speak
  • things man is not capable of explaining
  • things God grants the privilege of seeing and knowing to those who love Him and purify themselves
  • things that surpass all understanding in glory, might, and dominion.

But we don’t get to teach them, and we aren’t able to help others to understand them. They are God’s (possessive, capital G, God’s). And those who behold them are gods (small g, non-possesive). 

Alma explained how any of us gain this sacred but hidden knowledge:

It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; …[but they’re] laid under a strict command…they shall not impart — only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. …therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word. (Alma 9:3)

Even as they get knowledge, “they’re laid under a strict command they shall not impart.” There are people who use their spiritual experiences as a credential. There ARE people who do that. One fellow tries to get people to listen to him because he claims to have meetings with Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and even the ancestors of the person he attempted to persuade. He uses his spiritual experiences as a credential. Another fellow claims, without having accomplished anything to fulfill an assignment from the Lord, he is special, deserving deference, respect, and financial support for his mission.

Then we have so many versions of the sealed Book of Mormon that it would now require a library card catalogue to keep a complete inventory. And the “fan fiction” volumes of apocryphal, pseudo-prophetic materials multiplies at an astonishing rate. All around us, there are false claims of new Scripture.

More alarming, however, are our own weaknesses and foolishness. We gossip and assume and condemn. The Lord has told us how He deals with our failures: If men intend no offense, I take no offense, but if they are taught and should have obeyed, then I reprove and correct, and forgive and forget (T&C 157:58).

We welcome many false ideas and errors. We shouldn’t. We can do better.

Alma’s extensive teaching about the Holy Order continued in chapter 10 of The New Covenants. He wrote:

Now as I said concerning the Holy Order, or this High Priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God. …it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish. Therefore, they were called after this Holy Order and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb…

God’s conditions are the same for everyone. We are all required to repent and work righteousness. That is required before the Holy Order is conferred. The words “ordain,” “sanctified,” and “washed” should be understood in the context of an ordinance (or a process). There is an initiation that is needed. It results in “white garments” or, in other words, a cleansed and forgiven soul through the Lamb of God.

To clarify, they should not be considered… When it says they “could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence,” they should not… That should be considered as absolutely refusing to return to a sinful life without that being abhorrent to them. Their gratitude to God is the product of knowing Them. The Family connection alters the way they view themselves, God, and this life. The “rest of the Lord” removes uncertainty about their relationship to God. They understand they have been made Theirs. On that subject, their minds are at rest; but in this world, there is continuing trouble and challenges. The term “rest” is  characteristic of the afterlife, not something involving ease in this world where the sweat of our brow remains our lot.

…bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest…

Notice that, as in many other places, actual “repentance” requires “fruit” or action to be undertaken. It’s not enough just to feel regret; behavior also has to change. Repentance is always accompanied by outward evidence of an inner change. 

Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his Order or it being his Order… 

Abraham was faithful to and showed respect for the head of the Holy Order before he could be initiated. Alma confirms “these ordinances were given” to induct a couple into the Order. It‘s not just laying on hands. More was and is required, and even Father Abraham, with all he had experienced, still needed these ordinances. Alma understood this subject and wrote truthfully about that.

But Melchizedek, having exercised mighty faith and received the office of the High Priesthood according to the Holy Order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent. (Alma 10:1-2)

Preaching repentance was and is the distinguishing role for the Holy Order in this world. In this description, we should ask: Who was identified as “his people?”—meaning Melchizedek’s people. I do not think it was just a random audience who heard him teach. I think “his people” were those few who heard him teach and responded by repenting. There were likely far more who heard him than who repented. As with any age in history, few will be gathered because only a few will ever respond and repent.

Melchizedek was qualified to teach and preach reliably and truthfully by his knowledge of God’s great mysteries. Similarly, a messenger like Joseph Smith had far more experience beyond the veil than he ever taught or revealed. His First Vision ends with this comment: …and many other things did he say unto me which I cannot write at this time (JSH 2:5). Melchizedek and Joseph were no different from many other messengers who likewise knew far more than they revealed. God does not trust a gossip, nor are the heavens supposed to be the object of voyeurism. 

“Heed and diligence” are recited like a formula in the Scriptures. The great difference between Nephi and his older brothers was the heed and diligence present in Nephi and absent in the older brothers. The first verse of the Book of Mormon describes Nephi as being taught somewhat in all the learning of my father (1 Nephi 1:1). As a result, he was able to gain knowledge of the mysteries of God and had command of the learning of the Jews, and the language of the Egyptians (ibid). Later, Nephi reported about how he and his father had responded to God:

And it came to pass that thus far I and my father had kept the commandments where[fore] the Lord had commanded us. And we…obtained the record which the Lord had commanded us and searched them and found that they were desirable, …even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children. Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them [forth] with us as we journeyed in the wilderness toward[s] the land of promise. (Ibid. 23, emphasis added)

All of those are referring exclusively and solely toLehi and Nephi, and none of it is referring to the other members of the family. This is about Lehi and Nephi and how they had treated the commandments and the Scriptures. Nephi’s older brothers lacked that same diligence in pursuing godliness. The older brothers apparently lacked even the ability to read the Scriptures, and therefore, Nephi read the plates of brass to them:

I, Nephi, did teach my brethren these things. And it came to pass that I did read many things to them which were engraven upon the plates of brass, that they might know concerning the doings of the Lord in other lands among people of old. And I did read many things unto them which were written in the [book] of Moses. …that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer, I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning. (Ibid. 6:1)

Nephi’s ability to read and teach were the result of his heed and diligence over his lifetime. Like oil in the lamps of the virgins, heed and diligence secured for Nephi a lifetime of light and truth. 

Although they claimed the right of government over Nephi, the older brothers could not understand the Scriptures even when they were read to them:

…after I, Nephi, had read these things which were engraven upon the plates of brass, my brethren came unto me and said unto me, What mean these things which [you] have read? (Ibid. 7:1)

Without heed and diligence, Nephi would not have been appointed by God to be a ruler and teacher over his brethren (ibid. 1:9). He studied, obeyed, and taught from the Scriptures. 

The Scriptures are central to our discussions, teachings, and focus. The words of the Covenant ask us to receive the scriptures approved by the Lord as a standard to govern you in your daily walk in life, to accept the obligations established by the Book of Mormon as a covenant, and to use the scriptures to correct yourselves and to guide your words, thoughts, and deeds (T&C 158:3). Teachings should be anchored in the Scriptures. It should be rare when it becomes necessary to provide any new personal revelation. If there is any scriptural precedent that can be used to teach or reveal a point, then that should be used. Nephi taught and wrote using the words of Isaiah to introduce his great revelation. His brother, Jacob, also taught and wrote this way, using the words of Zenos as his own prophecy.

It takes experience to distinguish true revelation from false revelation. Every gift of the spirit can be the route of a lying spirit used to deceive us. Joseph Smith delivered a lengthy sermon on the presence of false spirits and the necessity of detecting and dismissing them. I adopt his words. I’m putting all of them into the paper. I’ll read excerpts today:

…It is evident from the Apostle’s [writing] that many false spirits existed in their day, and had “gone forth into the world,” and that it needed intelligence which God alone could impart to detect false spirits, and to prove what spirits were of God…Spirits of all kinds have been manifested, in every age and [amongst almost] all people: if we go among the Pagans they have their Spirits, [and] the Mahommedans, the Jews, the Christians, the Indians; all have their Spirits, all have a supernatural agency; and all contend that their Spirits are of God. Who shall solve the mystery?…“many spirits are abroad in the world,” One great evil is that men are ignorant of the nature of Spirits; their power, laws, government, intelligence &c, and imagine that when there is any thing like power, revelation, or vision manifested that it must be of God:— …is there any intelligence communicated? are the curtains of heaven withdrawn, or the purposes of God developed? …they have not a key to unlock, no rule wherewith to measure, and no criteri[a] whereby they can test it; …if Satan should appear as one in glory? Who can tell his color, his signs, his appearance, his glory? or what is the manner of his manifestation? …who can drag into day light and develope the hidden mysteries of the false spirits that so frequently are made manifest among the Latter Day Saints? …no man can do this without the Priesthood, and having a knowledge of the laws by which Spirits are governed; for as “no man knows the [thing] of God but by the Spirit of God,” so no man knows the spirit of the devil and his power and influence but by possessing intelligence which is more than human, and having unfolded through the medium of…Priesthood the mysterious operations of his devices; without knowing the angelic form, the sanctified look, and gesture, and the zeal that is frequently manifested by him for the glory of God:— together with the prophetic spirit, the gracious influence, the godly appearance, and the holy garb which is so characteristic of his proceedings, and his mysterious windings. A man must have the discerning of spirits, before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors: for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit, when they think they have the spirit of God.

…unless some person, or persons, hav[ing] a communication or revelation from God, unfolding to them the operation of spirit, they must eternally remain ignorant of these principles:— for I contend…if one man cannot understand these things but by the Spirit of God, ten thousand men cannot; it is alike out of the reach of the wisdom of the learned, the tongue of the eloquent, and the power of the mighty. And we shall at last have to come to this conclusion, whatever we may think of revelation, that without it we can neither know, nor understand any thing of God, or [of] the devil; …The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God they considered to be false prophets; and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and they had to hide themselves “in deserts, and dens, and caves of the earth”; and although the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds; whilst they cherished, honored, and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, imposters and the basest of men.

…A power similar to this existed through the medium of the priesthood in different ages. Moses could detect the magicians power and shew that he was God’s servant, he knew when he was upon the mountain (through revelation,) that Israel was engaged in idolatry. (JSP Documents Vol. 9, pp.324-329, discourse Friday April 1, 1842 [spellings as in original], emphasis added; see also DHC, Vol. 4, pp. 571-576).

All of his comments are included in the paper.

Spiritual gifts or sensitivities are just as likely to be influenced by a lying spirit as a truthful one. This means the head of the Holy Order is required to gain experience to be equipped to tell the difference between the two. Adam and Eve witnessed Satan deceive their sons and daughters. The one they first expected to be their successor in the Order loved Satan more than God. Adam’s many experiences made him the one best to detect the Devil when he appeared as an angel of light to deceive Joseph Smith. By the time of the April 1, 1842 sermon I was just reading excerpts from, it’s clear that Joseph also knew the difference between a true and a false spirit.

Moses had no difficulty determining Satan’s demand that he worship him as a “son of God” was deceitful. Moses declared, I can judge between you and God (Genesis 1:3). 

Other members of the Holy Order who have experience with and knowledge about the opposition have been qualified to distinguish true from false spirits by that experience and knowledge. That is necessary. That is why they are called to preach and teach, and their instructions are trustworthy. The efforts of false spirits to mislead are ineffective because, like Moses, they can say, For it is blackness unto me… (ibid.). 

Comprehending these things about the Holy Order allows us to understand Alma’s (the father of Alma) account of his authority from God. Remember he had been one of the wicked priests of King Noah. He heard Abinadi’s warnings and was converted. He fled in order to save his life and began preaching, converting, and baptizing in the wilderness. Members of the Holy Order are commanded to not publish details of the Order. Therefore, the testimony that Alma gives us is discreet. But look carefully at what he tells us: 

…after he had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, Blessed art thou Alma, and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. [For] thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi. And blessed are they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone which thou hast spoken unto them…

The Lord calling Alma “Blessed” is significant. Alma is becoming something and acquiring status recognized by God. But the Lord is likewise blessing those who would accept Alma’s teachings.

…And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people. And they shall be established, and they shall be my people. Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name, for in my name shall they be called, and they are mine. …Thou art my servant, and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life. …

For Alma, this was the Day of Judgment. He‘s obtained the Lord’s favorable judgment and, with that, the promise of “eternal life.”

…And thou shalt serve me, and go forth in my name, and shall gather together my sheep. And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him [ye shall] receive into the church, and him will I also receive…

They’re hearing the Lord’s voice from what Alma is teaching to them because Alma is the one being sent by the Lord with the message. Therefore, when they hear the message from Alma, they are hearing the Lord. 

Like Enoch, Moses, and others who are “gods, even the sons of God,” Alma is now a living doorway for salvation. The Lord trusts him with His (God’s) message. Therefore, the words taught by Alma are delivered as the messenger of God. Whoever receives Alma likewise receives Christ. Jesus taught: He who receives you, receives me. …he who receives me, receives him who sent me. He that receives a prophet, in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet’s reward. …he that receives a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man’s reward (Matthew 5:8).

The Holy Order, when it is present on earth, is the means provided for mankind’s salvation. When it is absent, then darkness prevails. The prophet Amos declared: 

Behold, the days come, says the Lord…that I will send a famine in the land — not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east. They shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord and shall not find it. (Amos 1:27)

Because mankind refuses to allow God to gather them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, this has been the condition of the world generation after generation. Mankind prefers apostasy. The Holy Order has not generally appealed to the children of Adam. Rejecting teachers from the Holy Order results in being cut off from God. When God appointed Nephi to be a “ruler and a teacher” over his brethren, it was accompanied by this condemnation: And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord (1 Nephi 1:9). Rejecting Nephi as a teacher was rejecting God’s presence. God’s presence is made available to the faithful through His messengers.

That having been said, remember that you can have your calling and election made sure without having the Holy Order. You can be redeemed from the fall and return to God’s presence without it. You can receive the fullness of revelation from before the foundation of the world through the end of this cycle of creation and still not have the Holy Order. Nor do you need it to enter into a covenant with God. It serves God’s purposes when He allows it to be restored, and it is governed strictly by Him. Because this same Priesthood which was in the beginning shall be [at] the end of the world also (Genesis 3:14), it needed to return to function again before the Lord’s return. Do not expect that to be a particularly spectacular thing or for the world at large to take any notice of it.  God’s prophecies are always fulfilled while devout scholars, disbelieving skeptics, worldly fools, and disinterested mankind remain ignorant of His “strange act.” There will be no announcement. The Holy Order will set about teaching and working to obey the Lord’s every command. Of course, some day what has been accomplished will be shouted from the rooftops after the Lord’s return. When men complain that it was done in secret, the Lord will remind them that they are like the Jews who rejected Him: We have piped for you and you have not danced. We have mourned for you and you have not wept (Luke 5:18). Proud people never accept those the Lord sends. They always find reasons to not be persuaded. Like Joseph said, when a real servant is sent, “they banished them from their society as vagabonds; whilst they cherished, honored, and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, [and] imposters and the basest of men.”

Given the limited availability of the Holy Order and the limited way it can be exercised, the question arises: “Why have it at all?” Certainly it’s not designed to accomplish compulsion, control, or dominion in any degree of unrighteousness. Nor can it be asserted as holding any privilege entitling the holder to any automatic and unquestioned respect. It is merely a God-given opportunity to learn, made available for anyone who is persuaded to the truths that are taught. But when it has been here, there are always competing voices teaching contrary things and asserting claims that conflict with the Holy Order. 

Moses gave a final, inspired blessing to the tribes of Israel. For the tribe of Joseph, Moses prophesied:

And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that crouches beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwell[eth] in the bush. Let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of [the] re’ems. With them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth. And they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. (Deuteronomy 9:27)

This blessing, hundreds of years after the blessing given to Joseph by Father Jacob whose new name was Israel, echoes the earlier blessing that was given by Israel:

Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall. The archers have severely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), even by the God of your father who shall help you, and by the Almighty who shall bless you with [the] blessings of Heaven[s] above, blessings of the deep that lies under, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph…on the crown of the head of him that was separate[d] from his brethren. (Genesis 12:29)

Upon Joseph, who was separated from the other 11 patriarchs, blessings were conferred that foretold his posterity would locate in “the ancient mountains” and upon “the lasting hills.” HOW is that location to be identified? Will not authority from God be required to inform us? HOW will Joseph “push the people together to the ends of the earth”? Will not authority from God be required to accomplish it? HOW is a “crown” to be placed upon the head of Joseph if not by God? 

We have a revelation from Joseph Smith that foretells some of what will be involved with the fulfillment of these ancient prophesied events:

And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of [the] people and shall reign over all flesh. And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord, and their prophets shall hear his voice and shall no longer stay themselves, …they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence, and a highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them, and in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants, and the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence, and there [they shall] fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim, and they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the heads of the tribes of Israel…and his fellows. And they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain, shall be sanctified in holiness before the Lord, to dwell in his presence day and night, for ever and ever. (T&C 58:3)

HOW will the children of Ephraim be able to crown the Lord’s people with “glory” unless they have received from God the knowledge to do so? If blessings are to be administered “upon the heads of the tribes of Israel,” will it not require the Holy Order to accomplish it?

Ignorant people will not re-gather Israel and confer glory upon the “heads of the tribes.” A great deal of missing knowledge is necessary, or the promises of God will not be fulfilled. The Family of God will have an order.

Remember the greatest fulfillment of prophecy in the past happened in relative obscurity, unnoticed by the world, and with very few directly involved. When the prophesied Messiah came to Israel, His birth was known to only a handful of people. When His ministry began, most who heard Him teach rejected Him. Ultimately, He was killed rather than welcomed by His people. Why should anything be different? Why should anything different be expected before His return in glory? Shouldn’t we expect fulfilling the prophecies at the end to also seem uneventful? If His people did not recognize Him, why would they recognize someone commissioned as His servant who is far less than Him?  

The purpose of the Holy Order is to serve God. It is not to get noticed or acquire fame or fortune. It serves only God’s purposes. The return is related to the last-days’ work. For Zion to put on her strength, it will require the Holy Order, or as Joseph Smith explained about Zion putting on strength: 

[Isaiah] had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of Priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel. And to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the Priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that Power which she had lost. (T&C 129:4)

The only “authority of the Priesthood” that would be adequate to “bring again Zion” is that same authority held in the cities of Enoch and Melchizedek. It would be contrary to the Lord’s consistent pattern for there to be a final City of Zion without the Holy Order that established these prior cities of peace.

Remember the words of the covenant our Lord gave to us in 2017:

All you who have turned from your wicked ways and repented of your evil doings, of lying and deceiving, and of all whoredoms, and of secret abominations, idolatries, murders, [priestcraft], envying, and strife, and from all wickedness and abominations, and have come unto me, and been baptized in my name, and have received a remission of your sins, and received the holy ghost, are now numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel. (T&C 158:10)

Everyone who entered into the covenant and abides by it has “now been numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel,” meaning that when the Lord returns, He will acknowledge you as His and spare you from condemnation as He did the people in Bountiful. That is a great gift from the Lord to us.

Zion cannot be imposed. There can be no hierarchy, no one greater and no one lesser. Even a teacher assigned by the Lord to teach others cannot be esteemed above another. We have a description in the Book of Mormon that gives us a correct pattern:

And when their priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God, they all returned again diligently unto their labors, and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers; for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner. And thus they were all equal; and they did all labor, every man according to his strength. And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted. And they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely. And thus they did establish the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again… (Alma 1:5)

You can respect, even honor, the teaching. However, the teacher is no better than the learner, otherwise there is no equality. When there is a hierarchy that maintains a right to control others, it perverts the meaning of “keys” to get gain. Such churches always descend into the direful condition prophesied by Mormon: The power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts, yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers, in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches (Mormon 4:4). It cannot be like that for Zion to come.

There is still a great gulf separating us from the promised New Jerusalem. There is a need for order, and order should be the result of following correct principles. If we are taught correct principles, then we should be able to govern ourselves. None of us is better than any other. Some of us know a great deal more than others about framing, farming, masonry, engine repair, plumbing, electrical wiring, and other skills. Every one of those will be needed in a functioning community. When the Lord provides His people a teacher, then that teacher is no different or better than a framer. All of us should be willingly contributing, and no one should be prideful.

The Lord Jesus Christ does intend to accomplish a “strange act” that eludes the wisdom of the wise or the understanding of the prudent. But then again, that could be said of almost every significant achievement of the Lord from the beginning.

The final mention of the Holy Order in the Book of Mormon is this: Behold, it was by faith that they of old were called after the Holy Order of God (Ether 5:2). And that’s the right point to end with and leave for you to ponder.

Now, I’ve been asked if there could be questions, and I’m willing to do that just very briefly. Then we’ll take a break, and then we’re gonna move on to something altogether different, and Steph is gonna come join me.

So, is there any question relevant to the topic that doesn’t readily violate what I’ve already said is inappropriate?

Yes! There’s a hand.


DS: What? Yes, you!

Hey, hey, wait a minute, wait a minute. We have to take a moment—ohmmm—and observe. The lady about to ask a question is a descendant of the very same…


DS: King Foll-ett, whose funeral sermon…

AUDIENCE MEMBER: His name is pronounced “Follutt.”

DS: Here she is, correcting the pronunciation of her own relatives! As if… Go ahead! What’s your question?

QUESTION 1: You called them “12 patriarchs.” 

DS: Twelve.

Q1: But were all 12 honorable priesthood holders?

DS: No, no, not all 12 were honorable priesthood holders, which brings up a point that’s really interesting because Jesus says to…

She’s asking if all 12 of the patriarchs… I called them 12 patriarchs. And certainly they were, at least genetically and by seed they were. Jesus says to the 12 apostles that they’re gonna sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel. But there’s an obvious, you know, question mark that immediately arises because Judas was one of the 12. And yet, Judas was, you know… I think, in that reference to the son of Perdition that Christ makes after the Last Supper, I think it is possible that He viewed Judas as a son of Perditon, which would mean, of course, he fell—which means, then, that of the 12 that were appointed to sit on thrones and to judge the 12 tribes of Israel that one of them fell. So there’s an absence. 

I studied this out and thought about it and came to a conclusion that it would not be Matthias who replaced him in the 12 that would sit on the throne, but it would be Paul who got called separately. And so, thinking myself ever so wise in coming up with that answer, I then—because I don’t ask unless I’ve studied it out, and I’ve reached my own conclusion—I then prayed to know if that were the case. And as it turns out, I was wrong. But when you’ve done the work and you deserve an answer, even when you’re wrong, you get an answer. 

As it turns out, 11 of the original 12 patriarchs lost their position to 11 of the apostles. But there was A patriarch who never fell, who preserved the rest of the family, and who occupied that throne not just during his lifetime but thereafter. And so the 11 that Christ said would sit on thrones will include Joseph who never forfeited his position in the first place. And so, it’s really useful to do what Oliver Cowdery failed to do, which is to study it out in your own mind and come to a conclusion, and ask the Lord if your conclusion is right, and then get an answer. Because He’ll correct you if you’re wrong.

I’ve studied out many things. Some things have required years of study in order to feel justified in the ability to ask a question of God and get an answer. But I don’t perfunctorily say, “Hey, short-order-cook on High! Fetch me an answer to this bizarre, broad, ill-thought-out question.” You take junk to the altar to offer to God, and He’ll sort through the junk and hand you some of your crap back just so He can get it off the altar. But it’s not going to be a divine revelation. It’s gonna be, “Stop bothering me, kid.”

There was another hand, and then we’re gonna take a break.

Yes! What?

Question 2: So, you’ve said in another talk, which I feel like is related to all this, is it’s not by way of a strongman but it’s, you know, that Zion can’t come by way of a strongman; it’s gotta be by priesthood. And then I’m remembering your Priesthood talk where it talked about priesthood is more of a fellowship. And then in your Holy Order talk six or seven years ago, you said instead of using the word priesthood you’re gonna use Holy Order, so I’m trying to put all that together. Do you want to define some of that?

DS: Ok, so he’s asking something about the Holy Order and priesthood being fellowship and comments made in several different places and how they all harmonize together. Umm…not sure I understand the question, but I’ll take a stab at saying something so we can take a break (because you want to use the bathroom; I can tell).

Look, in the beginning there was one singular—singular—priesthood that God gave that was a form of parenthood and priesthood and dominion and governance and family. Adam and Eve occupied positions as priest and priestess, as rulers, as parents. They occupied, essentially, two different roles in their relationship to their posterity. The role of Eve was to predominantly reflect wisdom; the role of Adam was to predominantly reflect knowledge. These are not automatic things. No one gets fairy dust: “Now you’re knowledgeable!” The reason why Nephi was able to become knowledgeable was because (and he tells you) he studied it extensively. The reason why Eve, I mean… Women can be… In fact, if you read the Proverbs, one of the huge negatives that’s talked about in the Proverbs is the foolish woman. The foolish woman is an absolute catastrophe, not only to herself, but she’s a folly to her husband and to their family. And so, the role of wisdom is not something that is just magically conferred. When we read the account of what Eve was doing at the beginning, they’d had apostate child after apostate child after apostate child until finally she had someone that she thought, “Now I have gotten a child from God, so I know he’s going to choose the right.” And that was Cain, who would subsequently murder Abel. So, to what extent was Eve informed by the sad disappointment in Cain that gave her understanding, wisdom, and insight that before that catastrophe she didn’t have? I mean, very often wisdom is the product of sad failure, disappointment, bitterness… Yeah, you…

Look at how Nephi describes all of the things that he went through that were so terrible, followed immediately afterwards with “having been highly favored of the Lord.” Well, why is is it that you put all of the ugliness out followed by highly being favored by the Lord? It’s because every one of the bruises, every one of the cuts, every one of the breaks and the falls, every one of the failures and the slips and the falls, every one of those things informs you better. 

I was thinking about Leroy [Smedley], and you know, he’s a boxer. And you know, when my dad was trying to teach me something and I wouldn’t get it, eventually he would just demonstrate the hole, okay? “Now, I’ve been telling you, ‘Do something about that.’ You haven’t done something about that. How’s the black eye feel? Okay? Stop it! I mean, it’s comin’ for ya.” Leroy, I imagine you’ve had dozens of learning opportunities in which you figured out, “Well, that didn’t work.”

Leroy: Hence the flat nose.

DS: Hence the flat nose. Ya, it’s where it comes from.

Okay, let’s take a break, and then we’ll regroup and do something else. And I would like to join all of you this evening (whoever’s going) over at wherever. But I would like NOT to talk about this or to answer questions because what I have to say has been put into the paper, it’s been here, it’s been taped, it’s on video, and I don’t want a bunch of, “Oh yeah, but afterwards I asked and then Denver said…” and now I’m accountable for whatever it was that you misunderstood me saying in an off-the-cuff remark at a later time. If it’s really important, send me an email. And if it’s REALLY good, I’ll put a post up on my website, and I’ll actually discuss it in an open way so that I don’t have to be accountable for all of the “Denver said this to me somewhere in sometime in someplace that’s ill-defined; at least that’s what I got out of it.” And I can’t be accountable for what you got out of it! But I’m happy to be accountable for what I put out there. 

Okay, so let’s take a break and move on.

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