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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 04:08PM

(Latest in a series)

D&C 121:35-37 says that the priesthood can only be used in "righteousness" - that any man who uses his priesthood "in any degree of unrighteousness," such as to "exercise control, dominion or compulsion" over others' souls, loses his priesthood and his authority - "the heavens withdraw."

It would seem that this doctrine (as logical and just as it seems) poses a serious problem for Mormons, in two ways.

Mormons believe that gospel ordinances (baptism, laying on of hands, blessing the sacrament, ordaining others to the priesthood) are not valid unless performed by someone who actually holds the appropriate priesthood authority. If someone performs such an ordinance but doesn't hold the priesthood, the ordinance is not valid.

First, how would anyone know that an elder performing a baptism or ordination has not lost his priesthood because of some previous, generally unknown, attempt to use it unrighteously, to exercise "dominion" over someone? The passage implies that the mere act of using the priesthood authority unrighteously causes it to be lost; no church court or process or announcement is necessary. The "heavens withdraw." God knows that the man has lost his authority, but nobody else necessarily knows. In fact, even Mormons who know of his unrighteous use of the priesthood will probably comment "It's not for us to judge," and "Nobody's perfect; we are all human and make mistakes." But those comments would nullify what D&C 121 actually says, and make it meaningless.

And yet the concept of "authority" is fundamental to Mormonism. If you were baptized by a Methodist minister or a Baptist preacher (who in Mormon eyes have no authority because they don't hold the Mormon priesthood - the only valid priesthood), you simply have not been baptized at all. But how is that different from being baptized by a Mormon elder who has invisibly lost his authority because of using it in "unrighteous dominion"? (I'm recalling the Mormon husband who forced his unwilling wife to have sex every night because he held the priesthood and was an authority over her, for example. That is certainly "unrighteous dominion." Or Joseph Smith's promising Helen Mar Kimball that her parents' salvation would be guaranteed if she would submit to becoming his wife - that certainly is not doctrinal, and would thus constitute using his priesthood authority in "unrighteous dominion.") Is that baptism or ordination valid, from an elder who has lost his priesthood authority?

I have asked this question of Mormons, and their responses are pretty lame.

One Mormon said that the offender retains his authority until officially removed by a church court. But that is not what D&C 121 says. It mentions nothing about any action by church authorities. "The heavens withdraw."

Another Mormon said that the validity of the baptism or ordination depended on the faith and belief of the recipient, not the priesthood holder. If the baptizee BELIEVES that the baptizer has authority, the baptism is valid. Yet that contradicts the entire idea that ordinances are only valid when performed by someone with valid authority. This argument would also validate the baptism by the Methodist minister or the Baptist preacher, since their baptizee obviously believes that the baptizer has the authority to perform a valid baptism.

The second problem is that Mormons HAVE to believe that unrighteousness by priesthood holders causes the loss of authority, since that belief underlies their entire theory that the early church fell into apostasy: Mormons claim that the leaders after the original apostles died were unrighteous, and THEREFORE they lost their authority. And that produced the "great apostasy" and the need for a restoration. And that argument negates the explanations given by Mormons for the loss of authority, since the Christian church can point to a clear line of priesthood authority from Peter to the present day, whether "righteous" or not. And there is no record that those unrighteous early Christian priesthood holders - from whom the present Christian churches trace their authority - were deprived of their priesthood by any valid church court. And clearly all the Christians who have been baptized in the last 2000 years believed that the priest had the authority. So, according to that particular Mormon argument, their baptisms are all valid, right?

Can anyone come up with a better Mormon solution to what appears to be a fundamental problem for Mormonism? Ask your Mormon friends.

========
Previous posts in the series:
#1: Baptism wording: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1013735
#2: "sun" vs. "son": http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1089659
#3: Name of church 1834-1838: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1102694
#4: Bible prophecies: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1121855
#5: Languages in the pre-existence: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1127558
#6: What is doctrine? http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1135995
#7: Worshiping Jesus: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1187412

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Posted by: Facing Tao ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 04:23PM

This is great, as others in this series. And no, nobody can come up with a better Mormon solution because none exists. But it's still worth it to pose the question to those who think might be able to explain it! ;)

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Posted by: Lightworker ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 04:29PM

Joseph Smith lost all priesthood authority (if indeed he had them in the first instance) thru any number of offences he committed for he was always on the run from one thing or another.

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Posted by: dalebroadhurst ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 04:35PM

RPackham Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
...
> One Mormon said that the offender retains his
> authority until officially removed by a church
> court. But that is not what D&C 121 says. It
> mentions nothing about any action by church
> authorities. "The heavens withdraw."
>
...

This has pretty much been the Reorganized LDS position through
the years. That even a despicable, unrighteous priesthood
member performs valid ordinances until his/her license is
taken away by official church action. The fundamental
principle here being that the leadership holds the "keys"
and whatever they loose on earth is loosed in heaven; and
whatever they bind on earth is bound in heaven.

So, the priesthood powers functioning through the ministration
of an unrighteous elder are really not his own -- they are
delegated powers that he just happens to have access to.

To whatever extent this answer might appear to conflict with
the D&C (i.e. law of the church) the precept of continuing
revelation meliorates.

However, at times the RLDS leaders have been forced to
go against their own position on this question. A case in
point was a fellow in Fiji who was mixing RLDS baptism and
other ordinances with "black magic." He was eventually
excommunicated, but the status of his converts remained
in question. In the end, I think that each administration
of an ordinance was reviewed on its own merits and various
decisions were rendered in different cases of baptisms,
confirmations, marriages, etc.

Probably the current CoC leadership has moved on, even past
this sort of ecclesiastical "work-around."

UD

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 06:10PM

Dale Broadhurst wrote:

>RPackham Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
...
>> One Mormon said that the offender retains his authority until officially removed by a church court. But that is not what D&C 121 says. It mentions nothing about any action by church authorities. "The heavens withdraw."
>
...

>This has pretty much been the Reorganized LDS position through
the years. That even a despicable, unrighteous priesthood
member performs valid ordinances until his/her license is
taken away by official church action.

And that is the only workable solution. But that solution is a double-edged sword for Mormons, because it negates the need for a "Restoration," since no official court action took away the priesthood authority of those early Christian church leaders who (according to Mormon teachings) were the corrupt men of the "Great Apostasy." They still acted with authority, and passed that authority on, and it is now held by all the Christian ministers and priests who trace their authority back to the original New Testament church.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2014 06:11PM by RPackham.

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Posted by: dalebroadhurst ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 07:20PM

RPackham Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

...
> And that is the only workable solution. But that
> solution is a double-edged sword for Mormons,
> because it negates the need for a "Restoration,"
> since no official court action took away the
> priesthood authority of those early Christian
> church leaders who (according to Mormon teachings)
> were the corrupt men of the "Great Apostasy." They
> still acted with authority, and passed that
> authority on, and it is now held by all the
> Christian ministers and priests who trace their
> authority back to the original New Testament
> church.


The "delegated" notion of priesthood authority seems to
have rarely extended so far as automatically authorizing
the "rogue" ordinations and plural marriages administered
by unrighteous or apostate priesthood members prior to
their formal excommunication (when the holders of the
"keys" turned that particular key against the reprobates).

Thus, in the summer of 1844 Elder Sidney Rigdon's baptisms
were probably officially recognizable, but his ordinations
of "kings" and "queens" were not. --- The deciding factor
in those cases being one of leadership concurrence -- that
is to say that everyday baptisms, confirmations, marriages,
etc., could be performed without the necessity of seeking
agreement from the highest priesthood leadership, but
the ordaining of higher priesthood holders would have been
a murky area in which the leadership had the final say-so.

Thus, had William Smith ordained a new Mormon high priest
in 1845, that act would probably be official. But if he had
ordained a new Patriarch to the Church, to take over his own
office, upon the conclusion of an intended resignation, the
"acting presidency" of the other Eleven of "The Twelve"
would have nullified the latter ordinance, saying that it
required their concurrence. Possibly even William's
ordination of a high priest in Cincinnati would have been
thusly nullified, if The Twelve determined that the new
high priest carried the curse of Cain in his bloodline.

How would have these doctrinal understandings effected the
supposed termination of the Sixth Dispensation of the Gospel?
The Great Apostasy would have occurred not as the last
elders and high priests died out -- because the Three Nephites
still held priesthood at that level, as did the lost tribes
at the North Pole.

The Great Apostasy would have occurred at the death of the
last President, Apostle or Patriarch to the Church, whose
empty office was not re-filled with a new, worthy replacement.
Thus the need for the priesthood to be "withdrawn" at the
end of the Sixth Dispensation.

Just as Enoch (from a previous dispensation) did not return
to earth to continue the church of his day, Peter, James and
John could not return to earth and continue their Sixth
Dispensation, once the final Apostle of that era was in his
grave, without a valid replacement.

Instead of that, there had to be an entirely new dispensation
started -- with the purported "withdrawn" holy priesthood
power "restored" at that time. Theoretically the famous
Three Nephites could then continue their age old work of
conducting baptisms in the Western Hemisphere.

If this explanation sounds like it is full of logical holes,
remember that it was fabricated by the same sort of folks
who created the "Emperor's New Clothes." If onlookers just
believed sincerely enough, they would appreciate the fact
that the Emperor really did have new clothes -- or that the
glorious Seventh Dispensation and restoration of the priesthood
upon the earth was indeed a reality, in these latter days.

UD

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Posted by: MCR ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 12:02PM

Jesus H Christ. This is why I could never get through the Sillmarillion. At least when you read the Catholic Fathers trying to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin it's frequently philosophical and interesting. This question's got all the drama of a software license agreement.

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Posted by: MormonThinker ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 04:47PM

We use to wonder that if one of the young men blessing the sacrament wasn't worthy, would the bread and water still be blessed?

Our teachers said it would be but couldn't say exactly why.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 05:49PM

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/121.35-37?lang=eng
" 40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen."

Obviously there had to be lots of bad workers of "priesthood" for this to be true.

I think they think that their "mantel" is greater than themselves and so their god can work through them regardless of their individual worthiness.

Section 121 goes on to talk about faith in

"44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven."

Smith obviously believed that his follower's concept of god extended to even controlling the devil. That kind of god would have to work through people who lacked "True" authority, the kind that distils upon their souls.

" 4 O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil..."

So callings in LDS Inc. take on a life of their own and people are subjecting themselves to unrighteous heaven-withdrawn authority in hopes to be some of a "few chosen."

Mormon God likes to make his chosen "endure" to their wits ends.

Just giving you my 2 Cents. Don't forget to pay your 10 percent of 2 cents.

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Posted by: Lasvegasrichard ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 11:35PM

As far as the ' many are called , but few are chosen ' . Only my personal take on this , but to me it was a distinction of foreordination vs mortality . Hence to be chosen was something you brought into this world with you , but being called was something that occurred during mortality .

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 11:40AM

Great distinction. So the chosen could be anyone but would have to be "prophet level" for the President of LDS Inc. and his helpers/board of directors?

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Posted by: john_deoe ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 01:13PM

Its all stupid...The old covanent was fofilled By Jesus, No need for any priesthood it doesn't exist...according to the New testament...its really that simple

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Posted by: rhgc ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 06:26PM

Magic. The spirit withdraws so the rite is invalid. BUT then it returns and everything is made right. Like magic. In Connecticut we do this every two years with marriages performed by JPs who are overage, for example or for other defects (like performed in the wrong town or an unaccredited clergyman). This means that for up to two years marriages were INVALID but with votes of the legislature and the pen of the governor, they become valid!

When I served in the State House I proposed that we should not do this retroactively but pass it for those which will be done in the future. My amendment was voted down. Dumb.

BTW there was an old "I Love Lucy" episode on this.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2014 06:28PM by rhgc.

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Posted by: Anon in UT ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 06:27PM


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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 09:57PM

Fascinating. And he was just following his prophet Joseph Smith.

"Carrington insisted that withdrawing and ejaculating outside the women he had sex with cleared him of adultery. "



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2014 09:58PM by Elder Berry.

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Posted by: spanner ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 07:47PM

I was baptised by my uncle, who was later found to be secretly engaging in gay affairs. He also later rejoined the Catholic church, as he never really gained a testimony (having joined for my parents) and he missed the rituals of his youth.

Does this mean my baptism is not valid?

I intend to use this one when I get the opportunity.

Thanks Richard and Uncle Dale, a very thought provoking thread.

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Posted by: John_deoe ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 01:17PM

its all invalid because its all a lie, lolol you can go by vegetable seeds and get a local business lie. and live in the desert with no soil or water and you wont be able to sell anything because you really are not a gardener.

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Posted by: sonoma ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 08:53PM

I was baptized by my 16 year old brother.

When I was older, he would tease me that my baptism wasn't valid because he jacked-off the night before the ordinance.

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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 09:06PM

>>..."exercise control, dominion or compulsion" over others' souls...<<

That's pretty much the whole point of LDS priesthood.

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Posted by: breedumyung ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 09:46PM

Based on the D&C, I would conclude that NONE of us have been validated properly.

Outer Darkness; here I come...

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Posted by: Checker of minor facts ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 10:08PM

I have had unlimited fun over the years befuddling HTs, VTs, and young mishies with this very scenario. Sometimes, its like watching a dog chase its tail, or watching a person's brain play "Twister", while they try to work out where the escape clause is. Also, interestingly, its amazing the number of TBMs that have never deeply considered this scenario.

But in the end, they inevitably escape to their testimony.

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Posted by: verilyverily ( )
Date: March 26, 2014 10:13PM

When a penis holder actually lays their hands on someone who could NOT walk before and then the person walks immediately, I will assume that they have their penishood authority. Otherwise, no deal. Come folks, it is not different from anyone or their dog laying hands/paws on you. Fairy tale crap.

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Posted by: Facsimile 3 ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 01:16PM

I disagree. The priesthood is the channeling of God's power on Earth. From my own experience, that is precisely what happens with those in authority. It is not their fault that their God is impotent.

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Posted by: MCR ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 01:22PM

Interesting. So the priesthood is channeling all of God's power. It's just that God, well. . . It's like issuing a quitclaim deed for property you don't own.

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Posted by: fudley ( )
Date: March 27, 2014 04:02PM

If you take their account literally, Smith and Cowdrey never got the Aaronic priesthood. As far as LDS doctrine goes, you cannot have the AP until after you have been properly baptized. John gave them the AP (without first baptizing them) and then Smith and Cowdrey baptized each other. This is as illogical as everything else in Mormon doctrine. To truly give the "keys" John would need to first baptize someone, then give that person the AP, and only then could that person have authority to baptize and confer the AP to another. Like most of Mormon doctrine, The whole AP business is a logical fallacy from its inception. If JS and OC never got the "keys," then every single priesthood act by every single member is not "valid." This doesn't sound like a restoration to me, and it shouldn't to any logic-minded-Mormon. Ad this one to your shelf and smoke it!

http://eqclearinghouse.org/co/20100110-eureka/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Images-off-the-Web-from-Ferndale-Offshore-M6.5-2010-01-09_html_m1a05149a.jpg

Why didn't the three living Nephites stop by? They are wondering the globe somewhere with full keys. How come they were not invited to such an important event?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/27/2014 04:03PM by fudley.

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