Thursday, October 30, 2014

The beautiful, yet sinister aspect of the priesthood...

The Mormon church really does a number on its members, especially the men.  They men are taught from an early age they are an elite army of God.  God's chosen men for the earth in the last days. They hold or possess God's own power, the priesthood.  Through the priesthood, God created the universe and everything in it.   From;

The word priesthood has two meanings. First, priesthood is the power and authority of God. It has always existed and will continue to exist without end (see Alma 13:7–8; D&C 84:17–18). Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He exalts His obedient children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man” ( Moses 1:39; see also D&C 84:35–38).

In the Mormon paradigm,  12 year old teenage boys actually have the power and authority of God.  Interesting, since most 12 year old's can't even brush their own teeth properly.  WHO CARES,  I MEAN THEY HAVE THE SAME POWER AS GOD.  THE SAME POWER HE USED TO CREATE EVERYTHING.  THE SAME AUTHORITY--GOD'S AUTHORITY ON EARTH.   Isn't that amazing.  Men can now act in God's name to do His will.  To help others, to bless others, to heal others.  Because every "worthy" male can have that power it is completely different than some  Christian religions.  Normal dads can perform ordinances or  ceremonies for their family members and friends.   Fathers can perform baptisms,  give the Holy Ghost,  give faith and healing blessings.  That is truly remarkable and empowers individuals.  Who wouldn't want that, to be able to act for God is a big ego boost.

But before we get to hyped up on the prospect of wielding the same power that created the universe,  let's come back to earth.  This same "power" that blesses others is a major control mechanism of the church.   From the church's website we read where the control begins; 

John Groberg in April conference 2001;

Fellow bearers of the priesthood everywhere: I hope we appreciate the priceless privilege of holding the priesthood of God. Its value is unfathomable.
Through its power, worlds—even universes—have, are, and will be created or organized. Through its power, ordinances are performed which, when accompanied by righteousness, allow families to be together forever, sins to be forgiven, the sick to be healed, the blind to see, and even life to be restored.
God wants us, His sons, to hold His priesthood and learn to use it properly. He has explained that:
“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.” 1
For if we “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men [especially our wives and children], 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.” 2
Thus, we see that while the power of the priesthood is unlimited, our individual power in the priesthood is limited by our degree of righteousness or purity.
Just as clean wires, properly connected, are required to carry electrical power, so clean hands and pure hearts are required to carry priesthood power. Filth and grime slow or prevent the flow of electrical power. Unclean thoughts and actions interfere with individual priesthood power. When we are humble, clean, and pure of hand, heart, and mind, nothing righteous is impossible. An ancient Oriental saying declares, “If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.” 3

Again from the;

 Because God wants his children to find joy in life (2 Ne. 2:25), he grants blessings to them as a result of their obedience to his commandments

In the Duty to God handbook;

  How does worthiness affect priesthood power?
Priesthood authority comes through ordination, but priesthood power requires personal righteousness, faithfulness, obedience, and diligence. Even if we receive priesthood authority by the laying on of hands, we will have no priesthood power if we are disobedient, unworthy, or unwilling to serve.

Elder Oaks in October 1998;

 This principle of non-distraction applies to things unseen as well as seen. If someone officiating in this sacred ordinance is unworthy to participate, and this is known to anyone present, their participation is a serious distraction to that person. Young men, if any of you is unworthy, talk to your bishop without delay. Obtain his direction on what you should do to qualify yourself to participate in your priesthood duties worthily and appropriately.

And of course Elder Bednar, April 2012;

As we do our best to fulfill our priesthood responsibilities, we can be blessed with priesthood power. The power of the priesthood is God’s power operating through men and boys like us and requires personal righteousness, faithfulness, obedience, and diligence. A boy or a man may receive priesthood authority by the laying on of hands but will have no priesthood power if he is disobedient, unworthy, or unwilling to serve.
“The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and … the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
“That they may be conferred upon us, it is 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” (D&C 121:36–37; emphasis added).
Brethren, for a boy or a man to receive priesthood authority but neglect to do what is necessary to qualify for priesthood power is unacceptable to the Lord. Priesthood holders young and old need both authority and power—the necessary permission and the spiritual capacity to represent God in the work of salvation.

Interesting with the recent essay on Joseph Smith, what happened to his priesthood power when he covered and lied about his relationships with "his wives"? 

What if  a member is behind on tithing?   A friend of mine is currently going through this situation.  The couple got behind on their tithing.  Their youngest is turning eight.  He is excited to get baptized.  Dad wants to do it, but because of their "sin" of omission, they had to pay up on tithing before the bishop would okay the dad to do it.  It was complete coercion.   Because of their "transgression", not paying a full tithe,  the father was not worthy to perform his priesthood duty.

What ever happened to free agency? What happened to the aspect of the church being there for the member, not the other way around?  The Mormon church is based on two things, authority and obedience.  Once one is taken away, the whole system falls.  That is why the leaders push priesthood worthiness and obedience.  The priesthood is a control mechanism for keeping the men in their place.  If they are not strictly obedient to the leaders, then they lose that special power,  the power to create worlds.  The whole system is genius.   The members begin policing themselves and others.  Once you feel guilty about a mistake, the system has done its job.  It isn't about offending God or the spirit, it is about obeying your leader.


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