According to a recent Church News article,
“Too often, people are content to study merely what is listed out for them in a manual and then move on without digging for more, Top noted.
‘The scriptures and the doctrine of the gospel are like the mother lode gold vein in a mountain, but sometimes we are content to pan for little bits of gold dust downstream when in reality we can strike the mother lode if we get out the heavy equipment and do some serious excavation.’”
“Come, Follow Me’ should be just the beginning of your gospel study”
In an effort to provide tools to help in your third hour Sunday home directed Gospel study, we’ve put together a list of scriptures and prophetic teachings on basic Gospel principles that will build a long lasting Foundation.
Are there different degrees of the ‘Melchizedek’ Priesthood?
Words of Moroni to Joseph Smith, September 1823 –
D&C 2:1 (JS-H 1:38) “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah …” (See D&C 110:13-16 for the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy)
Revelation to Joseph Smith regarding the Nauvoo Temple – D&C 124:28 “restore again that which was lost … even the fulness of the priesthood.”
What this restoration entailed –
Joseph Smith: “Now for Elijah. The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelation, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth;” (History of the Church 6:251)
What is necessary to receive the Fullness of the Priesthood?
TPJS p. 308 “If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it … by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.”
What are those called who have received that degree of Priesthood?
Joseph Smith: “Abraham … then received a blessing under the hands of Melchizedek, even the last law or a fullness of the law of the priesthood, which constituted him a king and a priests after the order of Melchizedek.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 246, James Burgess notebook, 27 August 1843)
Brigham Young: “If any in the church have the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood [I do] not know it. For any person to have the fullness of that priesthood, he must be a king and priest.” (History of the Church 5:527)
TPJS p. 346 “you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, …”
This degree of Priesthood is essential to exaltation
Revelation 5:10 “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.”
D&C 76:53 “And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. [v54] They are they who are the church of the Firstborn. [v55] They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things – [v56] They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; [v57] And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. [v58] Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God -”
It was necessary for this degree of Priesthood to remain – even if the Twelve were killed –
Brigham Young: “I know there are those in our midst who will seek the lives of the Twelve as they did the lives of Joseph and Hyrum. We shall ordain others and give the fullness of the priesthood, so that if we are killed the fullness of the priesthood may remain.” (History of the Church 7:230)
In the days of Moses the Holy Order was taken away from the majority of the people –
JST Exodus 34:1 “I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; …” (see JST Gen. 9:23, Heb. 12:23 & D&C 84:23-27)
This Holy Order existed in the days of the Nephites –
2 Nephi 6:2 “having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order …”
Alma 13:8 “they were ordained after this manner -being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order …” (see v. 1-18 & 4:20, 5:44,54, 6:8, 7:22, 8:4, 43:2, 49:30)
Ether 12:10 “Behold it was by faith that they of old were called after the holy order of God.”
Those in the holy order (commissioned to do so) bring others into the Church of the Firstborn –
D&C 77:11 “Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand,out of all the tribes of Israel -twelve thousand out of every tribe? A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.”
Membership in the Church of the Firstborn was restored in our day –
TPJS p. 237 “I spent the day … instructing them in the principles and order of the Priesthood, … and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, … by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessing which have been prepared for the Church of the Firstborn … In this council was instituted the ancient order of things for the first time in these last days.”
Brigham Young: “The ordinances of the house of God are expressly for the Church of the Firstborn” (Journal of Discourses 8:154)
Although Jesus brings men into the Church of the Firstborn, it is the Church of the Father –
Heber C. Kimball “Let me explain what the Church of the Firstborn is. It is the first church that was ever raised upon this earth; that is, the first born church. That is what I mean; and when God our Father organized that Church, He organized it just as His Father organized the Church on the earth where He dwelt.” (Journal of Discourses 5:129)
Abraham 1:3 “the Firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father.”
Colossians 1:15 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:”
D&C 88:5 “Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, …”
Presiding quorum of those holding the fullness of the Priesthood is a theocracy –
TPJS, p. 322 “What was the power of Melchizedek? ‘Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.”
Are those who preside over this organization higher in authority than the Church?
Joseph Smith was ordained to the Highest Priesthood in 1843 –
“Baurak Ale [code name for Joseph Smith] was by common consent, & unanimous voice chosen president of the quorum. & anointed & ord[ained] to the highest and holiest order of the priesthood (& companion).” (Joseph Smith, Diary, 28 September 1843)
Joseph Smith: “At half-past eleven, a.m., a council convened over the store, consisting of myself, my brother Hyrum, Uncle John Smith, Newel K. Whitney, George Miller, Willard Richards, John Taylor, Amasa Lyman, John M. Bernhisel, and Lucien Woodworth; and at seven in the evening we met in the front upper room of the Mansion, with William Law and William Marks. By the common consent and unanimous voice of the counsel, I was chosen president of the special council.
The president led in prayer that his days might be prolonged until his mission on the earth is
accomplished, have dominion over his enemies, all their households be blessed, and all the Church and the world.” (History of the Church 6:39)
Joseph wished to resign as Church leader to take higher calling as head of Holy Order –
Joseph Smith: “Said he would not prophesy any more; Hyrum should be the prophet; (did not tell them he was going to be a Priest now, or a King by and by;) …” (History of the Church 5:512)
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 318 “July 23, 1843. Last Monday morning, certain men came to me and said, ‘Brother Joseph, Hyrum is no Prophet – he can’t lead the Church. If you resign, all things will go wrong; you must not resign; if you do, the Church will be scattered.’ I felt curious and said, “Have you not learned the Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, which includes both Prophets, Priests, and Kings? and I will
advance your Prophet to a Priest, and then to a King – not to the Kingdoms of this earth, but of the Most High God.”
During the trial of Sidney Rigdon some details of a secret higher quorum emerged –
Heber C. Kimball: “There are men here brethren who have got authority, but we don’t want to mention their names, for the enemy will try to kill them.” (Trial of Sidney Rigdon, 8 September 1844)
Heber C. Kimball: “He [Sidney Rigdon] has no authority, only what he receives from the Church. … He has not got the same authority as others: there are more than thirty men who have got higher authority than he has.” (Times and Seasons 5:663.)
The twelve likewise told William Smith –
“the President of the Church and each of our Quorum [of Twelve Apostles] are amenable to the Quorum of which you are a member.” (Letter of the Twelve to William Smith, Succession in the Presidency, B.H. Roberts, p. 23.)
Kings & Priests –
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 332 Appoint a leader, and let them beat up for volunteers. I want every man that goes to be a king and a priest. When he gets on the mountains, he may want to talk with his God; when with the savage nations have power to govern, etc.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 339 Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; …
Further References to the Church of the Firstborn –
JST Gen 9:23 “And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven …”
Heb 12:23 “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven …”
D&C 76:67 “These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.” (see v. 71)
D&C 76:94 “They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; …” (see v. 102)
D&C 78:21 “For ye are the church of the Firstborn, and he will take you up in a cloud, and appoint every man his portion.”
D&C 107:19 “To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father …”
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 64 “Have you a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness from the hand of the Lord, with the Church of the Firstborn?” (see p. 151)