As part of our work with the 10 Questions team, we will be posting later this week on Kurt Manwaring’s upcoming interview with the Maxwell Institute’s Spencer Fluhman. In the meantime, however, we thought we would highlight a great interview 10 Questions recently posted with Jonathan Stapley, bloggernacle regular and author of “The Power of Godliness: Mormon Liturgy and Cosmology” (Oxford University Press). In his interview, Stapley notes of his new book: “[I]n The Power of Godliness, I look at the history and development of core ideas essential to current Mormon identity such as priesthood, authority, and ordinances. I also analyze how women have variously been included and excluded from these concepts, especially in relation to the liturgy of the church. For example, in Nauvoo, men and women who participated in the Temple liturgy while Joseph Smith was alive, referred to themselves as “the priesthood.” Both believers and scholars have struggled to understand what that meant. Moreover many have used historical practice or theology to make arguments about the current ecclesiastical or liturgical structures of the church. My volume is an academic history of Mormonism, and as such it’s intent is simply to understand and analyze the past and contextualize and historicize the present.” When you have a moment, check out the 10 Questions interview and Stapley’s new book, which are both well worth your time.
A few months ago, I was asked to speak on the topic “How do I support the Priesthood in my home?” I am posting the talk now because the Young Women’s lessons in June are about the Priesthood and Priesthood Keys. This is one of the topics that caused me so much uneasiness that I all but stopped blogging for a long period of time.
Far and away, when I am in a small group and decisions need to be made, most people would prefer that someone else make them. There are notable, and loud, exceptions. Four year olds, for example, very much want to make decisions. But for most adults, I’ve found that the majority typically prefer that someone else ponied up and decided where we go to eat or in what order things will occur. This is because, one presumes, they are not so concerned about the exact decision making them happy. They are generally willing to go along with most reasonable things. Let me stop and remind you that this is my general experience. Perhaps you live in a world of sharp elbows and loud demands. Perhaps you teach fourth graders or lawyers or interact regularly in some other highly vocal and demanding group. Or maybe you make lots of high stakes decisions on a regular basis where people care deeply about the outcome. But let’s set those aside for a minute and talk about the endless low stakes decisions of day to day living. In such relaxed groups, it can be very handy to declare that some specific person will make the decision. It is not quite as important who that is, and they should, of course, consider the feelings of others, but they are the one who makes sure something gets decided; usually by agreeing with a consensus view or deciding between…
The Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith lesson 17 covers “Sealing Power and Temple Blessings,” the ordinances restored through the priesthood which lead to our salvation, for salvation in the eternal kingdom is dependent on sealing, both to parents, to spouse and to children. The following poems addresses the role of sealing in our understanding of priesthood and of salvation.
Many of our hymns have a martial air to them, often echoed in their messages. We are called “Christian Soldiers,” marching on to war, and we call to the “Elders of Israel” to join the campaign. And often the Priesthood is called “God’s Army” in an attempt to emphasize, I suppose, its size and power and the brotherhood we often feel in the priesthood. The following poetic excerpt not only captures some of that brotherhood, but also explains clearly that this “army” is not a military, but something far different, more like what is described in Lorenzo Snow lesson #17. The author of this excerpt finds this difference not in marching or shouting, but in the singing of a hymn of Zion.
The doctrine of eternal marriage, discussed in D&C Gospel Doctrine lesson 31, is clearly tied to the priesthood (the authority by which such marriages are performed) and to salvation, for salvation in the eternal kingdom is dependent on sealing, both to parents, to spouse and to children. The following poems addresses the role of sealing in our understanding of priesthood and of salvation.
What should the priesthood mean to us? How should it influence who we are and how we act? These questions are part of nearly every Mormon lesson on the priesthood these days, and lesson 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants Gospel Doctrine manual is no exception. And I think the following poem fits this basic topic well.
In a recent news article discussing the Ordain Women community and its upcoming inaugural meeting, LDS church spokeswoman Jessica Moody stated that the male-only priesthood “was established by Jesus Christ himself and is not a decision to be made by those on Earth.” Of course, there may be a few questions about whether this statement is descriptively accurate, given those pesky Phoebe and Priscilla and Junia verses and whatnot. But let’s set those issues aside for a moment. Because theologically, it does make sense that we might want to follow Jesus’s example here. And factually, a few quirky anomalies aside, the Priesthood ordination pattern during Jesus Christ’s ministry is very, very clear: Jesus only ever ordained men. Jewish men. It’s very clear, folks. No women. And no Gentiles. Zero. And so if we want to follow the pattern set out during Christ’s ministry — well, I guess we ought to do the same. Of course this might be difficult news for some people to hear. For instance, some people might argue that there are important contributions which white men could make in the church, if they were eligible for ordination. Many white men are excellent organizers, and they might potentially serve as effectively as Jewish men. The same could be said for Black men, Latino men, women, and other people who are not-Jewish-men. In addition, critics might point out that white men, Black men, Latino men, women, and other ineligible…
In the course of an interesting email exchange today, I learned that a good friend and I had had similar experiences in trying to track down our priesthood lines of authority. After being ordained Elders, we both asked our fathers if they had copies of their lines of authority, both said they thought they did somewhere, but both ultimately could never come up with them. My friend then approached his uncle, figuring that he might have the same line as my friend’s father, but without success. Fast forward ten years. His uncle randomly found his line of authority and remembered my friend asking for it. They were both surprised to learn though that the uncle had been ordained an Elder by his Bishop, not by his father as is the current custom. Unfortunately this Bishop was not Bishop when my friend’s father would have been ordained, so my friend was still no closer to tracking down his own line of authority. Or at least it initially appeared. At the bottom of his uncle’s line of authority, however, was a phone number and extension at the Church office building. After braving a series of automated messages, my friend was given an email address and a set of instructions for requesting his line of authority. He received a copy of his line of authority the next day. If you (like me) have never managed to get a hold of a copy of…
Questions without solid answers, from teaching Elders’ Quorum today: 1. Did Jesus get His endowments during life? If so, how and where? If not, why not (and what does that say)?
Here is the last installment of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our last two questions. We’d like to thank Brother Perkins for the time and effort he’s put in to giving us a set of very substantive and thought-provoking responses.
Here is Part Three of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our next five questions. See Parts One, Two, and Four for our introduction of Brother Perkins and his responses to our other questions.
Here is Part Two of our 12 Questions with Marvin Perkins, comprised of Brother Perkins’ responses to our next four questions. See Parts One, Three and Four for our introduction of Brother Perkins and his responses to our other questions.
Marvin Perkins has graciously agreed to answer a few questions from Times & Seasons. Brother Perkins is a Latter-day Saint music producer who is currently the Public Affairs Co-chair for the Genesis Group and who has worked to nurture understanding between African Americans and Latter-day Saints and attack misconceptions. As part of this effort, he has appeared on CNN, among other places. In late 2007, Brother Perkins and former Genesis Group President Darius Gray put out a DVD entitled “Blacks in the Scriptures” that contains four lecture-style scriptural presentations on Blacks and the Bible, Skin Color, Curses, Equality, Priesthood and Blacks as well as a historical look at Blacks and the LDS Priesthood.
These questions and answers are from the Juvenile Instructor of 1891. Some of them appear in columns headed “Editorial Thoughts,” some of which are explicitly signed The Editor, marking them as the work of George Q. Cannon.