Frankly, I didn’t know what to call this post. It will not be an essay, but rather a quick note on something I discovered last evening reading in the History of the Church volume 2. It may seem small and trivial to some, but it reinforces the view that the Melchizedek Priesthood was revealed at the Morley Farm conference over a year after the Church was organized, not a few months after the Priesthood of Aaron was revealed by John the Baptist aka Elijah. It is so interesting to me to discover these little tidbits that would likely go unnoticed without a correct understanding of Church history—one that is free of the falsehoods that have been perpetuated to bolster Brigham Young’s claim that the Apostleship is all the authority needed or had on the earth. He really did go out of his way to convince the Saints of that fact because he was never ordained a High Priest.
Anyway, the tidbit I ran across is found in the minutes of a conference held on April 21, 1834 in Norton, Medina County, Ohio, which state:
“The President (Joseph) then gave a relation of obtaining and translating the Book of Mormon, the revelation of the Priesthood of Aaron, the organization of the Church in 1830, the revelation of the High Priesthood, and the gift of the Holy Ghost poured out upon the Church;”
What struck me here was the sequence. Notice that after the Priesthood of Aaron is revealed the church is organized, followed by the High Priesthood. This characterization is inconsistent with the teaching that the High Priesthood was revealed by Peter, James and John (who I believe only revealed the keys of Apostleship, not the Melchizedek Priesthood) sometime later in 1829. This may seem like a small detail, but it corroborates Joseph’s characterization that he left in the first cut of his history written in 1832.
“A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Christ the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brought forth and established by his hand
firstly he receiving the testimony from on high [The first vision]
secondly the ministering of Angels [Moroni -Book of Mormon plates]
thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Angels to adminster the letter of the Gospel – the Law and commandments as they were given unto him – and the ordinencs [John the Baptist (are Peter, James and John included here?)],
forthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him [visit of Peter, James and John, or is this a reference to the restoration of the office of high priest?]
and the continuation of the blessings of God to him &c”
You can see the confusion the compilers of history were confronted with (their notes are in brackets). When Joseph describes his third point he references “angels” in the plural, which would include more than John the Baptist, but would likely include Peter, James and John, especially since all four of them restored the authority to administer the letter of the gospel, including the law and commandments and the ordinances. The minutes of the conference are fully consistent with his history. I always look for 2 or more witnesses in according with the Lord’s Law of Witnesses.
Anyway, I thought I would share that small insight. Recently, my blogging has been significantly curtailed because I am placing all my energies on writing my book. The working title is:
Like a Lamb to the Slaughter
Understanding Joseph’s Intercessory Offering and the Implications for Our Day
It is coming along at a reasonable pace, but I don’t expect to have it ready for publication before the end of this year. Just didn’t want anyone to think that I have dropped off the planet. I feel a sense of urgency to get it completed.
Your prayers are appreciated to keep this project moving forward.
Thanks and Keep Searching.
That is a remarkable find
It goes perfectly with the 1832 entry of Joseph Smith in proving the true chronology of when the MP was really received.
Hope you finish the book before the end of the year!
Thanks Watcher. It is amazing to me how many AHA moments are to be had when one understands the true scriptural framework of the third watch and Joseph’s intercessory offering. The evidence is everywhere staring us in the face.
Guys I don’t know why everyone misses this but Joseph says that the higher priesthood was restored ” by the voice of God ‘ in the Whitmer farmhouse . See Times and Seasons 3 p 951 or HC vol1 p60. He references this event in D and C 128 :21. He didn’t ordain others at that time and probably didn’t until the Morley Farm incident. clearly the appearance of Peter ,James and John in D and C 27 wasn’t about priesthood but was able other keys, The traditional narrative is as R Bushman acknowledged largely incorrect
Thank you for your comment. When inquiring about the Melchizedek Priesthood in the sources you cite (HC 1:60-61 describes it, but I looked up the T&S cite and there is nothing relating to this subject in volume 3 p. 951 — might want to look into where you got that one) Joseph and Oliver are instructed to ordain each other Elders, but defer that ordination until the Church is organized. This may seem like a technicality, but there is no record that there was additional authority being revealed, especially in light of Joseph’s pronouncements about what transpired at the Morley Farm. God is just instructing them that it is OK to ordain each other to the ministry. The Priesthood of Aaron that they received from John the Baptist was, in my opinion, the Patriarchal/Evangelical priesthood which allowed for the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the ordinances. My conclusion is based on the fact that they experienced many spiritual blessings after receiving that priesthood. The lower Levitical priesthood is only associated with cursings as taught by Joseph in his address on the 3 Grand Orders of Priesthood which I believe can be found in HC 5:555 or thereabouts. As you alluded to, and is discussed by Bushman, the appearance of Peter, James and John to convey the keys of Apostleship most likely happened in the summer of 1830 (see Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, p. 118, including end notes) after they had already ordained each other Elders, not before, but we will not know for sure until further light is cast from heaven.
Here is what Joseph and others said about what transpired at the Morley Farm conference:
“The authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders.”
“Here for the first time I saw the Melchisedec priesthood introduced into the church of Jesus Christ as anciently”
“The Melchizedek priesthood was then for the first time introduced, and conferred on several of the elders.”
Parley P. Pratt
“This was the first occasion in which this priesthood had been revealed and conferred upon the Elders in this dispensation, although the office of an Elder is the same in a certain degree, but not in the fulness.”
Bellamy brown said:
Sorry I citing from memory. 1 out of two isn’t bad . The correct T and S cite is page 915 .Just reversed 2 digits. I disagree with your conclusion however . Joseph sought for and received the higher priesthood as all dispensation heads do i.e. directly from God himself via his voice. See Genesis 14. JSV. He was commanded to ordain Oliver an elder but to defer the ordination. The issue isn’t when the ordination occurred but when Joseph received the Melchizedek priesthood and the power to ordain. I don’t disagree that the power was first manifest in the Morley Farm but clearly Joseph had received the power via the voice of God much earlier in the Whitmer home. That is the seminal event he referenced in Section 128
I think our disagreement may hinge on the definition of what is the “high priesthood” or the “highest priesthood.” Joseph says that “the word of the Lord came to us in the chamber, commanding us that I should ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder…and that he also should ordain me to the same office.” As you rightly pointed out, this was then delayed until the church was organized. Nowhere in the text does it say that authority is conveyed, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that there was authority to the level of an Elder that was given at that time.
This still doesn’t reach the level of the High Priesthood as proven by D&C 107. You believe that God’s voice in the chamber of Father Whitmer conveyed authority to ordain each other (Joseph and Oliver) as Elders, right? Let’s assume that is, in fact, what happened——they received authority at the level of an Elder. Even if that were the case, it still doesn’t rise to the level of the “High Priesthood” as we can see from the following verses from D&C 107.
60 Verily, I say unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts, there must needs be presiding elders to preside over those who are of the office of an elder;
61 And also priests to preside over those who are of the office of a priest;
62 And also teachers to preside over those who are of the office of a teacher, in like manner, and also the deacons—
63 Wherefore, from deacon to teacher, and from teacher to priest, and from priest to elder, severally as they are appointed, according to the covenants and commandments of the church.
64 Then comes the High Priesthood, which is the greatest of all.
As you can see, the office of Elder is not included in the “High Priesthood” which is the greatest of all. That came later, at the Morley Farm, where Joseph was ordained under the hand of Lyman Wight to the High Priesthood.
In my view, what information we have about what happened in Father Whitmer’s chamber does not support the conclusion that the highest level of the Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph at that time, although it is a popular view promoted by the likes of Denver Snuffer.
Well said searcher.
Regarding the point that Bellemy brings up, It was the voice of God that revealed to Joseph Smith which elders were to be ordained high priests at the Morley Farm.
Just because Joseph did not canonize a word for word revelation from the Lord, it is clearly documented that the Lord revealed. by his voice out of heaven, through his anointed servant, which men were to be ordained as High Priests. That fulfills the requirement documented in JST Gen 14.
Clearly Searcher you didn’t see this video. Because it’s clear from this video that Brigham Young was ordained a High Priest.
Check out minute 31. 😉
LOL I remember watching that presentation in SLC when it first came out and being shocked when it showed Joseph ordaining Brigham Young to be a High Priest.
Historical revisionism at its best.
It is shortly after the 31 minute mark.
Clearly I missed out on that day in Sunday School. It is so unbelievably blatant. Here you have it from the lips of Brigham:
“Now will it cause some of you to marvel that I was not ordained a High Priest before I was ordained an Apostle? Brother Kimball and myself were never ordained High Priests. How wonderful! I was going to say how little some of the brethren understood the Priesthood, after the Twelve were called. In our early career in this Church, on one occasion, in one of our Councils, we were telling about some of the Twelve wanting to ordain us High Priests, and what I said to Brother Patten when he wanted to ordain me in York State: said I, Brother Patten, wait until I can lift my hand to heaven and say, I have magnified the office of an Elder. After our conversation was over in the Council, some of the brethren began to query, and said we ought to be ordained High Priests; at the same time I did not consider that an Apostle needed to be ordained a High Priest, an Elder, or a Teacher. I did not express my views on the subject, at that time, but thought I would hear what brother Joseph would say about it. It was William E. McLellin who told Joseph that I and Heber were not ordained High Priests, and wanted to know if it should not be done. Said Joseph, “Will you insult the Priesthood? Is that all the knowledge you have of the office of an Apostle? Do you not know that the man who receives the Apostleship, receives all the keys that ever were, or that can be, conferred upon mortal man? What are you talking about? I am astonished!” Nothing more was said about it.”
Even then can we trust BY that JS even said that? Lol
Jefferson Madison said:
Typical Brigham Young salesmanship: Assert a verifiable statement of fact, tweak it in support of your own power claims under the guise of some unverifiable private statement of Joseph’s (which no one else seems to have witnessed except a despised “McVillain,” in this case), and then really over-sell it…
TRUE FACT: Brigham Young was never ordained a High Priest.
MY OPINION: Young’s administrative ascendency over the church occurred by expanding the role of the Twelve, absorbing the First Presidency as an outgrowth of the Apostleship and nullifying the veto power of the Seventy.
YOUNG’S CLAIM: “…the man who receives the Apostleship, receives ALL the keys that ever were.”
TRUE FACT: Brigham Young was ordained to the Apostleship in 1835.
BIG OOPS: The Section 110 version included in the 1876 revisions to the D&C (correct or not) describe bestowal of additional keys to Oliver and Joseph in the Kirtland Temple in 1836.