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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Women will receive the priesthood

I would like to draw attention to an event that will soon come. God foretold this thousands of years ago. In fact, if you dedicate significant effort to a study of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, and Malachi, you will find that their prophecies contain an astonishing amount of detail about our day.

12 As for my people, babes subject them; women wield authority over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you, abolishing your traditional ways.
13 Jehovah will take a stand and contend with them; he has arisen to judge the nations.
14 He will bring to trial the elders of his people and their rulers, and say to them,
It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
you fill your houses by depriving the needy.
15 What do you mean by oppressing my people, humbling the faces of the poor?
says Jehovah of Hosts.
16 Jehovah says, moreover,
Because the women of Zion are haughty
and put on airs, painting their eyes, ever flirting when they walk and clacking with their feet,
17 my Lord will afflict the scalps
of the women of Zion with baldness;
Jehovah will expose their private parts.
18 In that day my Lord will strip away their finery—the anklets, head ornaments and crescents, 19 the pendants, chains and scarves, 20 tiaras, bracelets and ribbons, zodiac signs and charm amulets, 21 the rings, the noselets, 22 the elegant dress, the shawl, the kerchief and the purse, 23 hosiery, sheer linen, millinery, and cloaks.
24 And instead of perfume there shall be a stench, instead of the girdle, a piece of twine,
instead of the coiffure, baldness,
instead of the festive dress, a loincloth of burlap;
for in place of beauty
there shall be ignominy.
25 Your men shall be felled by the sword, your might overthrown in war.
26 Her gateways shall lie bereaved and forlorn; she shall sit on the ground destitute. (Isaiah 3, Gileadi Translation)

 22 How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.
 23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness. (Jeremiah 31:22-23)

17 Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them,
 18 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?
 19 And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?
 20 Wherefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.
 21 Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
 22 Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:
 23 Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 13)

Men will give women the priesthood, but God will not until after the redemption from the fall.

Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. (Moses 4:22)

"Johanna Southcott professed to be a prophetess, and wrote a book of prophecies in 1804, she became the founder of a people that are still extant. She was to bring forth, in a place appointed, a son, that was to be the Messiah, which thing has failed. Independent of this, however, where do we read of a woman that was the founder of a church, in the word of God? Paul told the women in his day, "To keep silence in the church, and that if they wished to know anything to ask their husbands at home;" he would not suffer a woman "to rule, or to usurp authority in the church;" but here we find a woman the founder of a church, the revelator and guide, the Alpha and Omega, contrary to all acknowledged rule, principle, and order. Jemimah Wilkinson was another prophetess that figured largely in America, in the last century. She stated that she was taken sick and died, and that her soul went to heaven, where it still continues. Soon after, her body was reanimated with the spirit and power of Christ, upon which she set up as a public teacher, and declared that she had an immediate revelation. Now the Scriptures positively assert that "Christ is the first fruit, afterwards those that are Christ's at His coming, then cometh the end." But Jemimah, according to her testimony, died, and rose again before the time mentioned in the Scriptures. The idea of her soul being in heaven while her body was [living] on earth, is also preposterous. When God breathed into man's nostrils, he became a living soul, before that he did not live, and when that was taken away his body died; and so did our Savior when the spirit left the body, nor did His body live until His spirit returned in the power of His resurrection. But Mrs. Wilkinson's soul [life] was in heaven, and her body without the soul [or life] on earth, living [without the soul, or] without life! The Irvingites are a people that have counterfeited the truth, perhaps the nearest of any of our modern sectarians. They commenced about ten years ago in the city of London, in England; they have churches formed in various parts of England and Scotland, and some few in Upper Canada. Mr. Irving, their founder, was a learned and talented minister of the Church of Scotland, he was a great logician, and a powerful orator, but withal wild and enthusiastic in his views. Moving in the higher circles, and possessing talent and zeal, placed him in a situation to become a conspicuous character, and to raise up a society similar to that which is called after his name. The Irvingites have apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and angels. They profess to have the gift of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues, and, in some few instances, to have the gift of healing. The first prophetic spirit that was manifested was in some Misses Campbell that Mr. Irving met with, while on a journey in Scotland; they had [what is termed among their sect] "utterances," which were evidently of a supernatural agency. Mr. Irving, falling into the common error of considering all supernatural manifestations to be of God, took them to London with him, and introduced them into his church. They were there honored as the prophetesses of God, and when they spoke, Mr. Irving or any of his ministers had to keep silence. They were peculiarly wrought upon before the congregation, and had strange utterances, uttered with an unnatural, shrill voice, and with thrilling intonations they frequently made use of a few broken, unconnected sentences, that were ambiguous, incoherent, and incomprehensible; at other time they were more clearly understood. They would frequently cry out, "There is iniquity! There is iniquity!" And Mr. Irving has been led, under the influence of this charge, to fall down upon his knees before the public congregation, and to confess his sin, not knowing whether he had sinned, nor wherein, nor whether the thing referred to him or somebody else. During these operations, the bodies of the persons speaking were powerfully wrought upon, their countenances were distorted, they had frequent twitchings in their hands, and the whole system was powerfully convulsed at intervals: they sometimes, however, (it is supposed) spoke in correct tongues, and had true interpretations. Under the influence of this spirit the church was organized by these women; apostles, prophets, etc., were soon called, and a systematic order of things introduced, as above mentioned. A Mr. Baxter (afterwards one of their principal prophets) upon going into one of their meetings, says, "I saw a power manifested, and thought that was the power of God, and asked that it might fall upon me, and it did so, and I began to prophesy." Eight or nine years ago they had about sixty preachers going through the streets of London, testifying that London was to be the place where the "two witnesses" spoken of by John, were to prophesy; that (they the church and the spirit were the witnesses, and that at the end of three years and a half there was to be an earthquake and great destruction, and our Savior was to come. Their apostles were collected together at the appointed time watching the event, but Jesus did not come, and the prophecy was then ambiguously explained away. They frequently had signs given them by the spirit to prove to them that what was manifested to them should take place. Mr. Baxter related an impression that he had concerning a child. It was manifested to him that he should visit the child, and lay hands upon it, and that it should be healed; and to prove to him that this was of God, he should meet his brother in a certain place, who should speak unto him certain words. His brother addressed him precisely in the way and manner that the manifestation designated. The sign took place, but when he laid his hands upon the child it did not recover. I cannot vouch for the authority of the last statement, as Mr. Baxter at that time had left the Irvingites, but it is in accordance with many of their proceedings, and the thing never has been attempted to be denied. It may be asked, where is there anything in all this that is wrong? First. The church was organized by women, and God placed in the Church (first apostles, secondarily prophets,) and not first women; but Mr. Irving placed in his church first women (secondarily apostles,) and the church was founded and organized by them. A woman has no right to found or organize a church -- God never sent them to do it. Second. Those women would speak in the midst of a meeting, and rebuke Mr. Irving or any of the church. Now the Scripture positively says, "Thou shalt not rebuke an Elder, but entreat him as a father;" not only this, but they frequently accused the brethren, thus placing themselves in the seat of Satan, who is emphatically called "the accuser of the brethren." Third. Mr. Baxter received the spirit on asking for it, without attending to the ordinances, and began to prophesy, whereas the scriptural way of attaining the gift of the Holy Ghost is by baptism, and by laying on of hands. Fourth. As we have stated in regard to others, the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets; but those prophets were subject to the spirits, the spirits controlling their bodies at pleasure. But it may be asked how Mr. Baxter could get a sign from a second person? To this we would answer, that Mr. Baxter's brother was under the influence of the same spirit as himself, and being subject to that spirit he could be easily made to speak to Mr. Baxter whatever the spirit should dictate; but there was not power in the spirit to heal the child. (Joseph Smith, TPJS electronic edition, p 149-151)

Just as in Joseph Smith's day, whenever you see a group of people "giving" women the priesthood, you can know with a surety that they are acting contrary to God's will. You can also know that, when this happens in our day, it will precede great penalties, including the death of large segments of the spouses of these women.

But how could such a thing happen?

I have a lot of friends who support Ordain Women. They are on a broad spectrum. Some are more closely aligned with the groups stated objective, which is to achieve female ordination, independent of what God might say about it. Others are empathetic with the broader idea of the possibility of women receiving the priesthood should the leaders of the church inquire and receive a revelation on the matter.

Enter the case study of the 1978 priesthood decision. Let's start with Brigham Young, because he started the policy of not ordaining blacks to the priesthood. Now we follow through subsequent church leaders. Each one made concrete statements that the scriptures indicating that God has barred certain lineages from the priesthood meant that God barred people with black skin from the priesthood. (Note: I do not accept that connection). There were 1st presidency statements making the doctrine official. There was even one signed 1st presidency letter that said it was a revelation from God. President McKay's historical investigation concluded that there was no evidence of a written revelation. Yet, he was unable to overturn the ban due to several members of the 15 who were outspoken supporters of the ban. A high profile article from an LDS religious historian outlined an argument for lifting the ban. The church was enjoying unprecedented support in Brazil, where people were being baptized rapidly enough to justify temple construction there. However, most converts had at least partial black ancestry. Finally, President Kimball sent the 2 most outspoken opponents of the ban on assignment, then polled the remaining 12 members of the 15 individually and privately to settle their objections, then called for a vote in the temple. Although Bruce McConkie described the event in such charismatic terms that it would rival the Kirtland temple dedication, LeGrand Richards described it as a simple sober decision (google "legrand richards 1978 interview" for the transcript of the interview and scanned letters from Richards addressing the interview). That would indicate that one of those two individuals was, at best, grossly over or understating the truth. At any rate, the ban was lifted without a written revelation or sustaining vote from the church. Recently, the church enlisted the help of historians to again show that Brigham Young implemented the policy of his own accord. They went as far as calling presidents Young through Kimball racists and said they were uninspired in upholding the ban (see here). Let us consider the implications in this case study.

1) According to the church, past presidents have lied about saying something is a revelation.
2) According to the church, truth is more likely obtained from historian's access to and interpretation of evidence than it is from signed statements of doctrine from the 1st presidency.
3) It was necessary to receive a revelation from God to lift a ban invented by Brigham Young, and Kimball et al. were not told in said revelation that the ban was made up. They never said so. However, some 30 years after the event, the church is able to say with certainty without any extra evidence that the ban was made up.
4) President Kimball felt it necessary to wait till the 2 most staunch opponents were gone to have the vote.
5) President Kimball felt it necessary to individually convince each of the members of the remaining 12 why it would be good to change the doctrine before praying to God about it to get the "revelation."

Let's look at another case: Garment modification. The brethren who lived around Joseph understood that the garment was revealed from heaven to him with certain explicit characteristics. That continued to be the understanding through the presidency of Joseph F. Smith. Throughout that period of time you will find official quotes from the brethren such as this one from president J.F. Smith: “The Saints should know that the pattern of endowment garments was revealed from Heaven, and that the blessings promised in connection with wearing them will not be realized if any unauthorized change is made in their form, or in the manner of wearing them.” (Joseph F. Smith, President of the church, 1916 instruction hung on an 11 x 14 poster in all temples) . Here is another one: “If you mutilate the garment by cutting off the sleeves or legs or changing it in any manner, it loses its identity and is no longer a garment of the Priesthood. Those who do this forfeit their standing as members in the Church and the only way they can get back is by the waters of baptism.” (The Truth Magazine, 16:44-45) Fast forward to Heber Grant's administration. With building pressure from the ladies, who didn't like the inconvenience of the original garment in their day-to-day lives and fashions, the Grant administration decided to allow modifications of the garments. Their reason? They found an old lady who claimed that, according to her recollection, the garment patterns were made up by Emma Smith and Bathsheba Smith: "The suggestion for the reconsideration apparently came because of Elder Richards's questions raised after a conversation with Sister Maria Dougall in October 1922. At that time he learned that Joseph Smith had not designed the garments and temple clothing. In fact, a group of sisters led by Emma Smith and including Bathsheba Smith had fashioned both the garments and the temple clothing, and presented them to Joseph Smith for his approval." (From "Mormonism in Transition"). Here again we have an example where certified statements of official doctrine from presidents of the church are overruled by convenient and unquestioned "history." No matter that, even if Emma had fashioned the first garment, Joseph approved it. The garment was modified in accordance with the requests of those petitioning the church.

Another case: There are numerous quotes from Joseph Smith that indicate that the ordinances of the priesthood are revealed from heaven, and will never change. In 1987 David Buerger wrote a Dialogue article where he suggested that declining rates of attendance were due to parts of the endowment that certain members disliked. Just a few months later, the church issued a survey to 3400 US/Canadian members regarding the temple. These were made effective in 1990. The covenants were modified and the instruction was changed.

So, the root of all this is: what happens when you put pressure on the church to do something? The answer is, you get what you ask for, whether it comes from God or not. The church will ordain women. They will have all sorts of reasons for it, other than admitting that it is due to social pressure.  Those who don't know any better will hold this move up as an example of modern revelation when, in fact, it will only be an example of modern fabrication. Wait and see.

On a final note, I must again state that I think the whole crusade for the priesthood is misguided at best. What these women are seeking is not the power of God: that is already available to all who seek and follow Jesus Christ. There are no conditions in the scriptures requiring gender or priesthood to exercise the signs that follow all those who believe. However, you find many of those signs missing in most administrations by the priesthood in the church. What these women are seeking is office. Again, be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.