The next topic will be priesthood. This will be November 2nd. I will not take time to give all the background information from the scriptures and history to lay out the many problems we have in the traditions taught by the mainstream LDS culture. I will simply assume you are already well enough informed to know about these topics:
Claims of priesthood were rewritten into our history later than the actual recorded events.
The first church offices, Elder, Priest, Deacon, etc. were elected positions.
David Whitmer thought the addition of High Priests was as a result of Sidney Rigdon persuading Joseph Smith. David Whitmer thought it was wrong.
High Priest and High Priesthood are not the same thing.
In the Old and New Testament there was only one High Priest at a time. He was of the Levitical order, presided over the Levitical priests and was essentially the ancient equivalent of the Presiding Bishop.
There is no account of the visit of Peter, James and John conferring Melchizedek Priesthood, but only passing mention of the event added later into Section 27. It was not there when first recorded. Joseph also mentions them in Section 128.
If I were to say to you that I own the keys to a Dodge pick-up, does that make you the owner of the same truck? Joseph wrote in Section 128 that Peter, James and John “declared themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fullness of times.” You should ponder those words.
Joseph and Oliver were the first and second “Elders of the church” before the Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred upon them. Church offices include Elder, Priest, Teacher, etc. and do not require priesthood to possess.
President Grant changed church practice to ordain men to church offices, and to no longer confirm priesthood, a practice which lasted for over two decades.
If “all priesthood is Melchizedek” as Joseph Smith put it, “but there are different degrees or portions of it” then why did the Nauvoo Temple need to be completed to return the fullness? D&C 124: 28.
Joseph spoke of three priesthoods. We claim to have two. D&C 107: 2
Even the idea of priesthood is not well explained in the many historic accounts of the restoration.
These are topics, not an explanation of the topics. I will not even mention these topics in the talk. I intend to clarify the overall subject of priesthood, and therefore cannot take time to address these other side-issues. But the more acquainted you are with these topics the more the clarity you will see in the next talk. The more you know beforehand the more you will get from the talk. But everyone will get something if they listen. Those who are only acquainted with the traditions will not get as much out of it.