The other day I was working on an article about section 76 and how two of the three kingdoms of glory are actually kingdom of damnation as well as glory in the sense that the inhabitants of those two kingdoms are damned from ever entering into the presence of God the Father in the highest kingdom.
The article was not finished and as with many articles that I write I came across some ancillary but related issues that I had some speculations on that I temporarily put in the first draft subject to doing more thorough research on them.
This is how I outline the original drafts of most of my articles so that I don't loose the thoughts I want to cover in the article... it also enables me to capture the chronology of how I want to present things.
I then forgot about some of the additional research I needed to do and while working on the article early in the morning I published it thinking I would have the original research done on it and have it completed and updated on the blog before anyone read it.
To add to the problem, I forgot to do the additional research and I forgot to unpublish the unfinished article.
It is really funny to me how quickly certain people begin reading my posts... it seems as if it is within seconds after I hit the post button that my stats pages is showing that people are reading it. (not that I check the stats page very frequently)
I sometimes wonder if some people sit in front of their computers 24/7 watching for the new posting alerts to pop up so they can pounce on them LOL.
Anyway, long story short, I appears that about 30 people have read that first draft although it was not posted very long. I have since pulled the article pending doing the more thorough research. Needless to say, I have had a few responses from people wondering if I have lost my mind.
I apologize for getting ahead of myself.
I hope to republish the article eventually with the necessary corrections and deletions and with some interesting new information I have since uncovered pertaining to the general topic.
I hope to get that post and my last one on the Morley Farm series posted within a week or two.
I may suspend my blogging after that as I feel pretty much blogged out right now.
While doing the article about the degrees of glory however I came across some information that had not occurred to me and want to share it at this time.
This falls under the topic of speculation.
It has to do with the restoration of the higher priesthood by Peter James and John.
One of the reasons I find what I am about to share with you interesting, is because it may explain an "apparent discrepancy" in church history pertaining to the restoration of the higher priesthood by Peter, James and John.
Before I begin, I acknowledge that the restoration of the higher priesthood is a very complex and confusing issue that has baffled LDS historians and theologians for years.
I don't pretend to have all the answers.
I recently read a compelling post providing the supposition that the higher priesthood was an inherited patriarchal priesthood that did not even require an ordination by angels.. it even provided a fascinating revelation received by Joseph Smith supporting this thesis.
Another thought that has come to me is that the ordination of the higher priesthood and the conferral of keys pertaining to the higher priesthood could have been two separate and distinct events.
Those two possibilities might make for an interesting analysis at some point in time.
As you know, the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist is pretty detailed and consistent.
We are given the details behind what motivated the event, we are given an exact time and place and we have the testimony of two witnesses that were there. Both testimonies are consistent.
The restoration of the higher patriarchal priesthood (which is usually referred to as the Melchizedek Priesthood in modern Mormonism), is much more obscure and problematic.
In the words of controversial LDS historian Michael Quinn, "accounts of the visit of Peter, James, and John by Cowdery and Smith remained vague and contradictory."
We are not given to many details behind what motivated this event and we are not sure exactly where it took place, although many LDS scholars have come to believe that the higher priesthood restoration took place on the banks of the Susquehanna River between Colesville and Harmony... based on a statement in section 128.
The public revealing of the restoration of the Melchizedek did not even take place until many years after the event. (which is believed to have taken place in 1829 shortly after the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood)
"The first time that any mention of angelic messengers is documented was in 1834 at a meeting of the Kirtland High Council. Soon after, Cowdery also started to talk about angels. In 1835, he said, “[Smith] was ordained by the angel John, unto the lesser or Aaronic priesthood, in company with myself… After this we received the high and holy priesthood …” (Early Mormon Documents 2:452-453).
According to John Whitmer, “I never heard that an Angel had ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic Priesthood until the year 1834"
The following statement from JS explains why he and Cowdery did not speak much about the restoration of the priesthoods,
"In the meantime we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of having received the Priesthood and our having been baptized, owing to a spirit of persecution which had already been manifested in the neighborhood."
Strangely we have not been given the exact date on which the restoration of the higher priesthood took place.
Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about the event is that the testimony of Oliver Cowdery and the testimony of Joseph Smith appear to contradict each other.
Joseph Smith stated multiple times that he received the priesthood keys from Peter James and John.
In 1846 Cowdery for the first time named an angel involved in the second priesthood restoration. He wrote that he "stood in the presence of John, with our departed Joseph, to receive the Lesser Priesthood—and in the presence of Peter, to receive the Greater."
In a public talk two years later Oliver Cowdrey declared: "I was also present when the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood . . . was conferred by the holy angel from on high."
Critics of the church use these statements from Cowdery to show inconsistencies between the testimony of Cowdery and Smith.
They feel it is problematic that Oliver states that only one angel conferred the priesthood upon Smith despite Smiths statements that the priesthood keys had been received from Peter, James and John.
However I recently came across an interesting statement by Joseph Smith that is recorded in the Kirtland Record Book,
At the organization of the Kirtland high council, he said: "I shall now endeavour to set forth before this council, the dignity of the office which has been conferred upon me by the ministering [sic] of the Angel of God, by his own will and by the voice of this Church".
Interestingly some LDS church historians assume that Joseph was referring to John the Baptist and the Aaronic priesthood when making that statement, but I would suggest that in fact the context behind this event suggests that he was referring to the restoration of the higher priesthood.
After all, he was setting forth the dignity of the office before the "high council"! They were obviously holding the higher priesthood not the lesser priesthood.
I therefore submit that he was substantiating Oliver Cowdery's testimony that would be made years later after his death, that the higher priesthood was conferred by ONE angel... Peter.
I would further point out that Joseph and Oliver were probably in the presence of all three beings, Peter, James and John, even though the actually conferral was done by just one of them. (regardless, the keys that had been committed to all three were being conveyed by the president of the quorum)
Another statement made by Joseph Smith was that he had "received the holy priesthood under the hands of they who had been held in reserve for a long season, even those who received it under the hand of the Messiah."
I would suggest that those who had been held in "reserve" to physically confer priesthood on those occasions were Peter, James and John.
This brings me to the speculative observations I would like to share regarding the article I was working on.
While working on the above mentioned article about the three degrees of glory, I came across the intriguing statement in section 76 about those who are "heirs of salvation"
“…And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.“
While some assume that the above passage is teaching that the telestial glory is a glory of salvation since it’s inhabitants are “heirs of salvation”, according to the 1820 Websters, an heir is “One who is entitled to possess” not one that has already possessed. Hence those being spoken of presumptively in the telestial kingdom don't have salvation yet.. only the promise of salvation.
Hence the above passages would prove just the opposite, that the telestial kingdom is not a kingdom of salvation.
Further, it would appear to teach that those in the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms can progress from one kingdom to another and eventually receive eternal life in the highest kingdom.
Of course, we know this is not possible from other passages and words of the prophets, therefore we need to drill down contextually to see what is really being said.
I would submit that if you will carefully study the verses preceding the above verse, you will see that verse 86 reveals that in the ETERNAL WORLD, the telestial souls receive the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial, however verse 88 is actually addressing a new topic, or at least, sub-topic.
It is speaking about how MORTAL MEN in a PROBATIONARY STATE in a TELESTIAL WORLD, WHO ARE HEIRS OF SALVATION, are ministered to by ministering spirits and administering angels, just as Joseph and Oliver were ministered to by John the Baptist and Peter, James and John. (See Heb 1:14, D&C 7 & D&C 13)
The above passage caused me to do a key phrase search using "administering angels" AND "ministering spirits".
That search took me to a section of the D&C that I have never really pondered that deeply before.
It is a short revelation that I am going to provide in full. I am going to insert my observation between verses then provide a synopsis,
"And the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.
2 And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.
3 And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.
4 And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter: If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but thou desiredst that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my kingdom.
5 I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done.
I always used to think the Lord was telling Peter that John's desire was a greater desire and a greater future work than Peters. I now think that the Savior was acknowledging that both Peter and John had good desires.
The Lord was stating that the desire of John was that John wanted to do a greater work than John had previously done.
6 Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.
Bingo. That is what the passage in section 76 was making reference to. Some of the mortal men on earth who are going through their probationary experience in a telestial world, who are willing to repent will be "heirs of salvation".
Case in point, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and those who responded to the gospel were blessed by the ministering of angels!
7 And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James;
I am not sure if verse 7 continues speaking to Peter, the last one spoken to or to John. I lean towards it now reverting back to John since James was Johns literal brother, not Peters.
Very interesting. John is going to minister to people on earth in behalf of Peter and James because Peter and James are in the presence of Christ while John is still in the trenches doing missionary work.
Peter is going to be with Christ but will be available to act as an "administering angel". John is still on the earth as a "ministering spirit".
I could be wrong on a few issues here. Let me know if you think I am and why.
If verse 7 was still addressing Peter, then the implication is that James had also asked to remain and bring souls to people.
and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.
8 Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which ye have desired.
Now then here is the final speculation that I am going to make regarding the above passages and information discussed about the restoration of the priesthood.
John the Baptist was martyred as was Peter. Those are both resurrected being taht are able to perform physical ordinances. John and James are either spirits or translated beings which have very refined spiritual bodies. It makes perfect sense that for some reason, John and Peter (Administering Angels) needed to provided a physical priesthood ordinance as resurrected beings while John and James (ministering spirits) may have simply stood by and watched.
Hence the statements from JS that he received the priesthood keys from Peter, James and John are accurate even though the physical transaction of the ordinance was done solely by Peter, while the others watched as witnesses. Perhaps it is contrary to the laws of God for John to perform a physical ordinance...
I admit this is total speculation and I have not been pondering this very long and done virtually zero key word searching and researching beyond what I have disclosed.
Most references to the quotes above can be found at the following website http://www.boap.org/LDS/History/HTMLHistory/v1c7history.html