Monday, March 6, 2017

But what about legal administrators?

Yesterday I was asked about the importance of legal administrators.

In some traditions, including LDS and Catholic, there is a great emphasis on an earthly hierarchy of men. Some even go so far as to say that salvation can only be obtained through submission to a man or men.

This is the way I would put it:

3 For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—
4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.
5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: 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;
6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work. (2 Nephi 28)

When you are knee deep in this tradition, it is very hard to see it for what it is. I know because I have been there. You think you are reverencing God by identifying a man or men as his servant(s) and seeking ordinances at his/their hand(s).

In reality, you believe that God has given his power unto men. In other words, you believe that God doesn't do his work directly, but works through an earthly intermediary. More importantly, this believe never occurs without a companion belief: that God has seriously downgraded his performance of miracles in modern times. This second belief is necessary, because men who claim that others have to go through "legal administrators" to reach God are always deficient in the gifts of God. This is because "the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness," and violation of the first commandment is not a principle of righteousness.

Ironically, mighty men of God are the least likely to encourage idolization of men. For example, the mighty man who led John through a revelation of all things corrected him for attempting to worship him. Meanwhile, Moses invited all men to connect to God and have the same experiences he did.

When it comes to "legal administrators," "priesthood," and other concepts, we've got it all wrong. The key is not who laid hands on who, or what title you have, but whether or not you possess the word of God.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and the way he does his work is through his word. He never cuts the cord the connects him to his works. We should not see his work as delegated. Even those with the sealing power cry to him in mighty prayer and frequent fasting to know his will. Even the Lord Jesus restricted his works to those things that the Father told him to do.

...according to his word he did destroy them; and according to his word he did lead them; and according to his word he did do all things for them; and there was not any thing done save it were by his word. (1 Nephi 17:31)

You can have claims to authority through the laying on of hands without possessing God's word. You can have God's word without anyone having laid their hands on you. You can also have both.

If you stacked up the laying on of hands of every mighty man of God you can imagine without the word of God on one hand, and put one word of God on the other, I can tell you with surety which will yield the power of God.

If I have the word of God, I have all power in God to do what he has commanded me to do. If I do not have the word of God, no amount of laying on of hands will change that, even if it is by the hands of Melchizedek, Abraham, and Peter.

There have been men who have dwelled in the presence of God in this life without the slightest concept of priesthood or legal administrators, and there have been very many men who thought they understood and possessed priesthood from legal administrators who have gone straight to hell.

I am an absolute fool before God. I know nothing. As I embrace my ignorance, and offer it to God by praying to him, begging him to correct my false traditions, he gracefully does so. We ought to be willing to trade our ignorance and traditions for light and truth, it is quite a deal.

42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them. (2 Nephi 9:42)