Unchanging Ordinances

Joseph Smith was not able to complete the restoration. That was due to many reasons, but first and foremost it was due to the disinterest of the early church. They just did not value the information offered by the Lord through Joseph.

Many people looked at Joseph Smith rather than looking to God, who was the one laboring with Joseph to establish the original religion taught first to Adam.

Joseph’s understanding so far exceeded the understanding of his contemporaries, that some of the most profound material given to us has not been included in LDS, RLDS (CofC) or other restorationist scriptures. One of the only talks Joseph Smith took the time to compose before giving exists in our scriptures as T&C Section 140. In that talk Joseph was trying to push back the veil and let us see the profound relationship between God and man, Christ and Adam, and our reliance upon Adam still, today, for salvation.

“He is Michael, because he was the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but he 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 140:3

Knowledge about, and contact with the Savior/Redeemer and Messiah first was given to Adam. He, the man Adam, at the time of that first revelation stood as surrogate for all his posterity. He gained the knowledge necessary for faith in Christ, because of his knowledge of Christ. This is why Adam came to possess the key or right to then reveal Christ to his posterity. That right of Adam has remained with him, and is his right still today.

If Christ is to be revealed to any descendant of Adam’s, it will be because Adam authorized that revelation to his descendant to take place.

Joseph tied this teaching to ordinances that are designed to reveal saving knowledge to Adam’s posterity. ” Therefore, he [Christ] set the ordinances to be the same for ever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from Heaven to man or to send angels to reveal them.” T&C 140:6

The conditions for salvation were set before the world was created. Therefore the ordinances needed for salvation were also set before the world was created, and accordingly cannot be changed without interfering with man’s salvation. Joseph explained, “This then is the nature of the Priesthood: every man holding the presidency of his dispensation and one man holding the presidency of them all, even Adam, and Adam receiving his presidency and authority from Christ, but cannot receive a fullness until Christ shall present the Kingdom to the Father, which shall be at the end of the last dispensation.
“The power, glory, and blessings of the Priesthood could not continue with those who received ordination, only as their righteousness continued. For Cain also being authorized to offer sacrifice, but not offering it in righteousness, therefore he was cursed. It signifies then that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed, otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing.” T&C 140:11-12

Adam holds presidency, or fatherhood, over all the human family. Abraham understood this in his day, and likewise sought to become a father, because this was part of the inheritance offered by Adam to those who receive the ordinances. Abraham stated that he, “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,” precisely because this is what Adam’s right included. Abraham obtained this right and “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.” T&C 145/Abr. 1:1

Joseph was laboring to complete the restoration of this, but was slain before it could be completed. Had it been finished, like what he was able to restore, it would have been perverted, compromised and made a “cursing instead of a blessing” (as Joseph put it).

Joseph taught, “Thus we behold the keys of this Priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah, that he talked with him in a familiar and friendly manner, that he continued to him the keys, the covenants, the power, and the glory with which he blessed Adam at the beginning, and the offering of sacrifice which also shall be continued at the last time. For all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the Priesthood under the directions and commandments of the Almighty, in any of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensations. Therefore, all things had under the authority of the Priesthood at any former period shall be had again, bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets, then shall the sons of Levi offer an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord.” T&C 140:16-17

Adam will restore, because God will require, ordinances that are yet to be returned to mankind. Men cannot search this out and take it upon themselves to pretend to these things. Only Adam, with Christ’s approval and direction, and return in authority and vitality the ordinances of salvation. “God will not acknowledge that which he has not called, ordained, and chosen.” T&C 140:7

In one of the recent events I participated in someone posed the question, “What if I don’t like the religion of Adam?” The question amused me. The one propounding it has no idea what Adam’s religion includes. As the Book of Mormon puts it, “The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father. And no tongue cannot speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak. And no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.” NC 3 Ne. 8:4 However, I suppose the right answer to their ignorant inquiry is that they needn’t worry. Just like the people who lived with Joseph Smith, they will never have it given to them.

In the world to come there will be sadness about having rejected gifts offered by our common ancestor, Adam, the father of all mankind. Having failed to rise up and accept God’s invitation (and our first father’s invitation), it is written of them: “Nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are 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 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

Joseph Smith saw what needed to be done. But those who lived at that time were just uninterested in sharing in his vision. Jealous and ambitious rivals overthrew Joseph and in turn the restoration. Then what little he had restored was changed, rejected, corrupted and overthrown. It has proven to be a cursing to foolish people who now slavishly rely on a pretender’s “keys” to rescue them from their folly. But they are damned. Because damnation consists in having your way hedged up and your progress limited, so that you do not receive the saving ordinances Adam intends to restore. It is going to be done. But the institutions who have turned their backs on the restoration claim, “Hearken unto us and hear ye our precept, for behold, there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men.” NC 2 Ne. 12:1

They can only teach with their own learning, because the Spirit of God has withdrawn from them. And so they offer foolish and vain teachings, as foretold by Nephi. We, of course, can fall into the same bottomless pit of ignorance and despair, if we do not allow God to complete His work, and Adam to finish authorizing and prescribing the ordinances of salvation. Then, of course, they cannot be changed without God refusing to acknowledge them.