AWAKE AND ARISE

From time to time I am constrained to say something that is beyond what I feel comfortable saying in a public venue.  This is one of those times.
The content of this may not be for everyone. In fact, I think there can be a lot of mischief done by reading this if you are unprepared. Nevertheless, I’m constrained to cover this by Him who knows much better than I do – I readily recognize I am a fool.  When something like this happens, I bury my own feelings and do what I’m told.

I pointed out a bit ago that Joseph Smith received the sealing authority in a revelation to him sometime between 1829 and 1843, the exact date is not known.  The way in which he received this authority was by a direct revelation to him from heaven.  The “voice of the Lord” came to Joseph making the declaration.  At the same time Joseph’s calling and election were made sure.  Here are the verses from Section 132:

  45 For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time. 

  46 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven. 

  47 And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless I will bless, and whomsoever you curse I will curse, saith the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God. 

  48 And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any one on earth, by my word and according to my law, it shall be visited with blessings and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord, and shall be without condemnation on earth and in heaven. 

  49 For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father. 

  50 Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac.
No one noticed this when I put it up, and no one has asked any questions about this. Therefore it is apparent that none of you have been prepared to receive what this is talking about.  I am going to try to help you to see things by asking questions.  I will not be answering them.  I just offer them to you to ponder:
Did you notice this is referring to “power” and not authority?
Do you see any connection between this “power” and President Packer’s talk in General Conference about the church’s inability to disseminate “power” among the saints in the same way the church has been able to disseminate authority?
Does sealing authority and calling and election necessarily go together?
Can a man hold sealing authority if his calling and election have not been made sure?
 
How does this authority come to a man?
Must it come from the word of the Lord, declaring it from heaven, or can it come by some other kind of laying on of hands from another man?
Since Joseph received it from the declaration of God from heaven, and Nephi received it the very same way (see Helaman 10: 6-11), is this the only way to receive it?
If it comes from heaven alone, can any institution ever control this “power” generation after generation by handing it down from man to man?
Why did Joseph receive this power by the declaration of God from heaven, perhaps as early as 1829, outside the Temple and apart from the vision in Section 110?
Since Elijah’s words in Section 110: 13-16 do not mention the “power to seal” did Joseph really get the sealing “power” from the vision in the Kirtland Temple?
Does Elijah only confirm the process of restoring keys has completed, but sealing “power” came from somewhere else? 
Is it possible that the institutional church has one understanding, but the truth and the scriptures teach another understanding?
If that is possible, then why have you not been studying things out for yourself to decide what the truth is concerning where this kind of “power” comes from?
Is this related to the “sealing” which is done, not by the church, but by the angels as revealed in D&C 77: 11?
Should you get a testimony of Christ, rather than recite merely that you “know the church is true?”  
Can the church be true, and yet your soul not saved?
Do the ordinances of salvation, including sealing you up to eternal life, require you to have “power” given to you from heaven?
With respect to the words in D&C 121: 36:  “That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.”  

Do these words relate to this same subject?

Do these words confirm that if priesthood “power” has been lost that the remaining priesthood “authority” cannot bind or seal?
Do the words “that they may be conferred upon us, it is true” (in 121: 37) confirm the very real distinction between “authority” and “power”?
Is President Packer trying to alert us to something very important missing in the current state of the church?
The questions are not intended to suggest any answer.  They are food for thought.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important a subject that you ought to be thinking deeply about it.  Joseph Smith said:  

“[T]he things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity-thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! None but fools will trifle with the souls of men.” (DHC vol. 3, page 295.)  

We should not be dealing with the Gospel at a superficial level.  We should be ashamed of how we have been treating it.  Again, Joseph said:   

“How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations—too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God, according to the purposes of His will, from before the foundation of the world! We are called to hold the keys of the mysteries of those things that have been kept hid from the foundation of the world until now.”  (Id.)

A religion that allows you to foolishly waste the days of your probation will not save you.  That religion is NOT the faith that Abraham followed or that Jesus Christ taught.  If you are attending “vain and trifling” meetings that are “low, mean, vulgar and condescending” then you must do something about your own education in the faith to obtain exaltation.

The path trod by the ancients is exactly the same path every saved soul must walk.  Read this again.

I testify that you can know for a certainty the answer to these questions.  Anyone can.  Even the least of the Saints.  
I wish all mankind might be saved.  Neglect and indifference seem to be such prevailing impediments to the salvation of the souls of men that Satan must rejoice, look up at heaven with a great chain in his hands, and declare that he has bound all mankind!  How little the world has changed since the time of Enoch.
Awake.
Arise.
Your soul is in jeopardy.

14 thoughts on “AWAKE AND ARISE

  1. Thank you, I look forward to studying these topics. A while back you asked people to consider why Heavenly Father always appeared with concourses of angels. Looking into that topic as you recommended has been a blessing in my life.

  2. I believe Elder Packer’s acknowledgement that the church has distributed authority faster than power shows that church leadership is aware of the distinction. Church membership, on the other hand…

    The Lord intended to create a nation of priests with every man a prophet and such can and should be the case.

    I’ve lamented the irony in recent weeks as our Gospel Doctrine class has denounced the children of Israel’s dependence on Moses.

    Like you, I have often felt compelled to sound the alarm, AWAKE and ARISE.

    As a woman, I love that Elder Packer included women in his talk. The power of the priesthood cannot be accessed without both participants in the Abrahamic covenant and Patriarchal Oder. Everything Abraham did to obtain the promise, Sarah did also. All of us need to rise up!

  3. Russ…. what have you learned about Heavenly Father surrounded by concourses of angels?

    I’ve listened to President Packer’s talk several times and re-read it several times as well. I think he has reminded us again about membership vs discipleship …. being selective in the commandments we keep… and casual membership. I have more repenting to do in my life. btw, I always quietly cry a little, brace myself, and prepare as I read Lecture 6.

    Denver, do you believe we can only exercise the power of the priesthood if we have been given the fullness of the priesthood? Until we have the fullness, are we only exercising authority? Is there any particular event or thought that has “triggered” this blog?

  4. “Nevertheless, I’m constrained to cover this by Him who knows much better than I do – I readily recognize I am a fool. When something like this happens, I bury my own feelings and do what I’m told.”

    Have you been asked by the Lord to give this message?

    Please pardon my question if it is inappropriate.

  5. Since the power of priesthood is based upon the power of heaven, and the power of heaven cannot be controlled or handled apart from the principles of righteousness, I think Section 121 ties the two together. I believe all real authority comes only and exclusively from God. Men are nothing without that (Him).

    When the Lord suggests something to me He, He gets my attention. I’ve long since quit resisting. I put a comment up on that some time ago. Something like “I’ve never won an argument with the Lord” as I recall.

  6. Couple of thoughts from my end…

    (1) Denver, it may be that more questions aren’t asked of you or raised because some of us do not feel compelled to inquire everything (anything?) from you. You’re busy enough and your personal ministry takes you near and far, but that doesn’t mean that that ministry takes you to my doorstep and begs of me to take my questions to you instead of elsewhere. If there’s something worthwhile in your blog entries, all the better. There are some out there who have been pondering this “power” and “authority” discussion for some time now, and long before these entries were first posted. Just because we don’t address our questions on this blog, this forum or to you should not be read or interpreted to mean that “none of you have been prepared.” If I may, that is a ludicrous assumption. I’m not suggesting that you believe or profess that, but the comment you made can easily be read that way.
    Now, I fully admit that my searching into this topic may not have yielded as much results as it should have, but it began years ago when I read an entry in Parley P. Pratt’s journal about the power or the priesthood, which I’ll post in a follow-up reply because it won’t fit here. As such, I welcome the rebuke (of sorts) and thank you for heeding the directive you received.

    (2) What I lament is how frequently we turn to trite responses which suggest we need to “obey the commandments” a little bit better, at a little higher level. I liken it to seeking for the gifts of God seeking out Christ first (D&C 88). Until we seek Christ in our lives, then seeking for those gifts is useless. Until we seek Christ in our lives, our effort to “keep the commandments” a little better will not bring lasting change.

    (3) I’m going to go out on a limb here, but only because I can. I have no one to impress and the time for taking offense is past.

    I firmly believe, in relation to Elder Packer’s talk, that we need to stop and think about exactly what was said. The reason we don’t have power anymore is because there is no real connection between heaven and us. The spirit of our meetings has been stifled, our personal studies have been stifled and our individual conversations have been stifled by our desire to correlate and approve every single doctrine. You simply cannot correlate priesthood power and the correlation (attempted at least) of priesthood power has resulted in its present dormancy. The priesthood existed long before this church did and will last well beyond the point when this church dies and goes the way of all organizations.

    Our reliance on the arm of flesh is damning us and parading us through nothing more than idolatry (Ezekiel 14). We are so reliant on others, leaders, whoever it may be to teach us that we miss the vital connection between heaven and earth, and the even more vital connection of a personal relationship with our Savior.

    And, it’s all because we want to be “right.” We’re so afraid of being wrong that we feel the need for manuals, correlation and programs to bring us to God. The problem is that we (as a church) spend more time and energy conforming behavior to what the institution needs than helping people be transformed through a life in Christ. We’re afraid of individuality, creativity, and spiritual enlightenment. You can’t institutionalize the spirit…and yet that’s what we see with more and more frequency in the church.

  7. Here is Parley P. Pratt’s comment on “power” which originally spurred me on in a search to better understand it:

    When we first arrived we lived in the open air, with out any other shelter whatever. Here I met brother Joseph Smith, from whom I had been separated since the close of the mock trial in Richmond the year previous. Neither of us could refrain from tears as we embraced each other once more as free men. We felt like shouting hosannah in the highest, and giving glory to that God who had delivered us in fulfillment of His word to

    His servant Joseph the previous autumn, when we were being carried into captivity in Jackson County, Missouri. He blessed me with a warmth of sympathy and brotherly kindness which I shall never forget. Here also I met with Hyrum Smith and many others of my fellow prisoners with a glow of mutual joy and satisfaction which language will never reveal. Father and Mother Smith, the parents of our Prophet and President, were also overwhelmed with tears of joy and congratulation; they wept like children as they took me by the hand; but, O, how different from the tears of bitter sorrow which were pouring down their cheeks as they gave us the parting hand in Far West, and saw us dragged away by fiends in human form.

    After the gush of feelings consequent on our happy meeting had subsided, I accompanied Joseph Smith over the Mississippi in a skiff to visit some friends in Montrose. Here many were lying sick and at the point of death. Among these was my old friend and fellow servant, Elijah Fordham, who had been with me in that extraordinary work in New York City in 1837. He was now in the last stage of a deadly fever. He lay prostrate and nearly speechless, with his feet poulticed; his eyes were sunk in their sockets; his flesh was gone; the paleness of death was upon him; and he was hardly to be distinguished from a corpse. His wife was weeping over him, and preparing clothes for his burial.

    Brother Joseph took him by the hand, and in a voice and energy which would seemingly have raised the dead, he cried: “BROTHER FORDHAM, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, ARISE AND WALK.” It was a voice which could be heard from house to house and nearly through the neighborhood. It was like the roaring of a lion, or the heavy thunderbolt. Brother Fordham leaped from his dying bed in an instant, shook the poultices and bandages from his feet, put on his clothes so quick that none got a chance to assist him, and taking a cup of tea and a little refreshment, he walked with us from house to house visiting other sick beds, and joining in prayer and ministrations for them, while the people followed us, and with joy and amazement gave glory to God. Several more were called up in a similar manner and were healed.

    Brother Joseph, while in the Spirit, rebuked the Elders who would continue to lay hands on the sick from day to day without the power to heal them. Said he: “It is time that such things ended. Let the Elders either obtain the power of God to heal the sick or let them cease to minister the forms without the power.”

  8. “”I’ve never won an argument with the Lord” as I recall.”

    Me neither, and believe me I have tried. The trouble with arguing with God is He is always right. :)

    I dont think He was ever mad at me for trying though, He just lets me wear myself out until I am ready to listen.
    Tim

  9. Anonymous…. I really enjoyed your Post about Parley Pratt and “power”…. do you have a source where I could read more surrounding his quote?

    Thank you so much.

  10. I apologize in advance for this naive question, but what is the difference between having power OF the priesthood and having power IN the priesthood?

  11. I must admit this post hit me hard. Having known Denver for awhile, these words are out of character for him. Grateful to know that the Lord is mindful of each of us to show us the urgency of waking up. It is time.. no more pressing the “SNOOZE” button on the alarm clock. Even though none of us like to get out of bed, we can either continue sleeping, laying down, and/or procastinating putting our soul in jeopardy… or we can ARISE and become His children, and recieve our callings, completely our missions and fulfilling our destiny.

  12. Unfortunately, too many people go through life without not enough personal righteousness, temple attendance, and excercising their priesthood to develop the power. If they want to have the power, they must continually go to where that power eminates, the Temple, and serve in the capacity where that power is manifest, in the ordinances. And do selfless work for their own dead. Because without them we cannot be saved, and they cannot be saved without us. But without them, we have no power either.

  13. I want to thank Doug for his fabulous comment that he posted referring to this post from Denver, but which is listed under “Communication from the Lord”. Here’s the part of his comment that really helped to expand my understanding:

    “…so many other things are coupled together as a type of authority and power… authority being the shell, and power being the substance. You must have them both! Some examples include:

    Faith and works, the nail in the sure and unsure place, Gideon’s army gathering water with their cupped hands, the dew and the fleece, called and chosen, marrow in the bone, Zion putting on her beautiful garments, the flesh and spirit of man, etc.” (from the comment above by ‘Doug’)

    Just to add to this same list, notice the connection between “marrow in the bones” (etc.), the blessings of the Word of Wisdom, and all that’s being referred to in these posts and comments about the power that can and should be in the priesthood. Actually living the Word of Wisdom and uncovering that mystery is a wonderful pathway and key into great spiritual wisdom, power, strength, and enlightenment. The application of the whole W of W (beyond just adherence to the don’ts) is a doorway we can walk through to great power and spiritual blessings which on this side of the door seem purely temporal. It’s a key to one of the greatest of all the mysteries.

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