Thursday, June 30, 2011

What is Priesthood Authority and Why Does it Matter??

What is the Priesthood?  Who has the Priesthood?  What is the Priesthood used for?  Why is it so important?  When was the Priesthood established?  Where is the Priesthood valid?  How do you get the Priesthood?

I will endeavor to answer these questions as simply as I possibly can.  Just remember, it is a rather complex subject. ;)

What is the Priesthood?

The Priesthood is the Authority to act in the name of God.

"And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus."
-- 4 Nephi 1:5

What is the Priesthood used for?

The Priesthood is used to serve and bless the lives of others.  It cannot be employed for the sole benefit of the one who holds the Priesthood.  Christ used the priesthood to Heal, Feed Thousands, Kill and Destroy, as well as to Teach others, such as when He Walked on Water.

When was the Priesthood established?

The Priesthood of God has been there from the Beginning.  It is the power by which God created the Heavens and the Earth. (Colossians 1:16)  Even as God is from Everlasting to Everlasting, so also is His Priesthood. (Psalms 90:2)

 "all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
-- 2 Peter 3:4

Where is the Priesthood valid?

Because God is omnipresent, His Authority is also omnipresent.  It does not matter where someone who holds the priesthood is at, it is not the priesthood of man, it is the Priesthood of God.

How do you get this Priesthood Authority?

A man may receive the Priesthood by what is called the Laying on of Hands.  After receiving the Priesthood, most ordinances are also performed by the Laying on of Hands.

"Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God."
-- Acts 8:17-21

The Priesthood can not be bought and sold as a thing of the world, because it is not of this world.  For a man to have and use the Priesthood, he must have his heart right with God.

"That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God."
-- Doctrine and Covenants 121:36-38

"And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses."
-- Numbers 27:23

Who has the Priesthood?

"And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron."
-- Hebrews 5:4, (see above photo)

The Priesthood is for those to whom it is given, and they are to use it to bless the lives of others.  No one can simply say that they have the priesthood and expect God to recognize the ordinances they perform.

For example, if you are driving down the road and some guy in an ice cream truck flips on that annoying yankee doodle song with some flashing lights trying to pull you over.  Well maybe there is something important that he needs to tell you, so you pull over.

He then tries to give you a speeding ticket.  You were speeding, and you did pull over for him.

Are you going to pay that speeding ticket?  NO. 

Now rather a Highway Patrol car starts up his siren and lights.  You pull over because you were speeding.  The office then writes you a ticket. 

Are you going to pay that speeding ticket?  YES.

This is because the Officer had the Authority of whatever state he was employed in to enforce the law. 


On the other hand the ice cream guy, even with his good intentions of making the roads safer, did not have the authority to do so.

So even with good intentions, if a Baptism is performed by someone without the Proper Priesthood Authority, that Baptism is not recognized by God any more than a speeding ticket from the ice cream guy.

Why is Priesthood Authority so Important?

When you do not have the Priesthood Authority to do something that requires it, you end up in a bad situation.  This often means immediate consequences whether you see the connection or not.

"Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."
-- Acts 19:13-16

When did the Restitution of all things happen???????

The Aaronic Priesthood was restored to the earth by John the baptist on May 15, 1829.  The Melchizedek Priesthood was restored through Peter, James, and John shortly thereafter.

"Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick."
-- Luke 9:1-2

Christ set apart apostles in His day. 

We still need them in our day.

Scriptures on Priesthood Authority : Mark 6:5, 4 Nephi 1:5, Colossians 1:16, Psalms 90:2, 2 Peter 3:4, Acts 8:17-21, Doctrine and Covenants 121:36-38, Numbers 27:23, Hebrews 5:4, Acts 19:13-16, Ephesians 4:11-14

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Baptism of Fire - Holy Ghost

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is often referred to as the Baptism of Fire.  The Baptism of Water is done by Immersion, and so is the Baptism of Fire.

Do not be alarmed, you don't have to be Immersed in physical Fire to be Baptized by the Holy Ghost.  Baptism of the Holy Ghost is inward where Baptism of water is outward.  You feel the cleansing power of the Spirit after you receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is kinda like having an Upgraded Conscience.  He warns you of danger and can lead you away from bad choices.  It is also a Promise that as long as you live worthy, He will be your constant companion, a friend that never has to go home.  Whenever you need help or guidance in life He is there to give it to you.

So since Fire is a cleansing agent used to purify metals, (Numbers 31:23), the symbolism of the Holy Ghost being a Baptism of Fire is that it cleanses and purifies our souls.  This Spiritual Cleansing can, and is intended to, happen continually throughout our lives.  Just as we are Baptized by Water and will not be perfect in keeping the Commandments, we will also need a way to continually repent and be forgiven from those sins.  This is done by partaking of the Sacrament, or Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.  The bread and water are emblems of His Body and Blood, which were willingly sacrificed on our behalf.  The conditions that we must meet as we partake of the Sacrament, is that we have a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit. (3 Nephi 9:20)

You can learn these things for yourself by reading the scriptures, and praying to know that what they say is true.

"And when ye shall receive these things,
I would exhort you that ye would ask God,
the Eternal Father,
in the name of Christ,
if these things are not true;
and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart,
with real intent,
having faith in Christ,
he will manifest the truth of it unto you,
by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost
ye may know the truth of all things."

Scriptures: 2 Nephi 31:17, Acts 8:38, Doctrine and Covenants 19:31Acts 19:6, John 14:26, Numbers 31:23, 3 Nephi 9:20, Moroni 10:4-5

Saturday, June 25, 2011

There is a Reason for MY Faith in Jesus Christ

Many people do not fully understand what Faith is.  Faith is an action word.  Faith in Jesus Christ leads us to follow His example and to do those things which He would do.  Faith is not required to be blind, and is not even designed to be blind.  Faith is a Hope for things which are not seen but are true. (Alma 32:21)

Reason on the other hand is based almost entirely on what you can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste.  It is the idea of Logic.  If you can see the leaves moving, you know that it is windy outside.  If it hurts when you touch the stove, you know that it is hot.

Faith and Reason are both involved whenever we receive inspiration from the Lord.

"Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart,
by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you
and which shall dwell in your heart.
 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation;
behold, this is the spirit by which Moses
brought the children of Israel
through the Red Sea
on dry ground."

So when you are looking for an answer to your prayers, make sure that what you are asking makes sense in your Mind, and feels good in your Heart.  This is how you can know if something is right.

Remember to Pray Always when seeking guidance from the Lord. (Doctrine and Covenants 10:5)

I myself have thought long and hard about the Book of Mormon and the Bible.  I have prayed and asked God, MY Heavenly Father, to let me know whether or not they are true.  He has answered my prayers and thus by Reason and Faith I KNOW that they are truly the word of God.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Does it Feel so GOOD to be Baptized??

So this post comes from abyss of my minds' twisting nether.  Mostly I have a mental 'filing cabinet' where everything to do with gaming or movies and TV shows gets dumped.  It's probably the biggest filing cabinet in my brain.  But, once upon a time I was watching a movie called "Stargate", where a group of US Air Force guys use an alien device which creates a stable wormhole to another location, usually a planet, and when you pass through the event horizon, (point at which the wormhole is located), it transports you almost instantly, (about .2 seconds or something), to the other side.  No one had ever recorded being able to turn it on before.  So when they go through the first time it has a cool Computer Generated visual sequence with some intense sound effects.  You then see one of the characters standing on the other side and he says, "What a rush."  After a few minutes go by everyone calms down and they go about securing the area and doing their military thing.

Well, I'm not military, but that is kinda the best way to describe how I feel when someone follows Christ into the waters of Baptism.  I feel this RUSH every time someone comes to the waters of baptism.  However just like in the movie, a few minutes go by, or for me it is a few days, and then everything is normal again.  Nice and pleasant where I know what I need to be doing and can do so with confidence.  This is one way that the Lord prepares us for future trials in life.  He gives us a taste and when we handle it well, we prove that He can trust us.  He then trusts us with a little more the next time.

 "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept;
line upon line, line upon line;
here a little, and there a little"
-- Isaiah 28:10

"For behold, thus saith the Lord God:
I will give unto the children of men line upon line,
precept upon precept,
here a little and there a little;
and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts,
and lend an ear unto my counsel,
for they shall learn wisdom;
for unto him that receiveth
I will give more"
-- 2 Nephi 28:30

I know that as we follow the lord, we will be able to have that RUSH of Happiness, that EXCITEMENT within our soul, so that we will be sustained in our trials and carried through all our afflictions.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Temptation is Unavoidable

So why is it that we repent?  Is it because we have been told to or because we feel that we should?

I feel like I truly repent when I feel bad for something I have done and then decided to fix the problem.  If I did something to one of my sisters then I need to apologize not only because mom and dad said so, but because I will feel better after I am no longer fighting with them over it.

Take a look at this picture.  It shows a depiction of a young boy being tempted.

As we go through life we will all be tempted.  Even Christ was tempted to see whether or not He would keep the commandments.  As we keep the commandments we will find that we are naturally happier, get along with others easier, and can feel the presence of the Lord more abundantly.

When Tempted, sing a Hymn or quote scriptures in your mind, part of the commandments is to read the scriptures daily.  If we are reading the scriptures each day, something that we read recently will be available for us to think about whenever temptation enters into our thoughts.

We all sin, it is our job to do our best to not sin, and when we do we repent for it.

-- Author Unknown

Friday, June 17, 2011

What Exactly is Required to be 'Saved' in the Kingdom of Heaven ? ? ?

"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?"

Lets say you are at home, and your stomach says your hungry.  You believe and have faith that there is food in the fridge.  Your friend tells you that there is indeed food in the fridge.  You know that the food in the fridge would make your stomach feel better, but unless you actually get off the couch and go in to the fridge and get some of the food you will still be hungry.

In the gospel you can believe that Christ is the Savior of the world.  You might even read scriptures, and have your friends tell you all about it.  But unless you actually do those things which Christ has commanded us to do on your own, you will never be able to gain a testimony, and be saved at the last day.

The first action to take after having a Faith in Christ is Repentance.  To Repent is to ask for forgiveness for sin, or something you have done wrong, and to promise that you will do you best to never do it again.  Part of the Repentance process also includes making things right with others, or paying them back if you stole something.  When we sin we incur spiritual debt, but through Repentance and exercising our Faith in Jesus Christ that debt can be paid.

After you believe and repent of your past sins the next step is Baptism.  Just as before if you have a belief and do nothing about it, then you really don't believe in it that much.  If you truly believe that Christ is your Savior, and you have a desire to follow Him, then you will be baptized even as He was.

When Jesus Christ was baptized He walked somewhere around 40 miles to get to John the Baptist.  There were people who baptized right in Jerusalem, but He walked to John the Baptist because John had something that the others did not have . . . The Priesthood.  The Priesthood is the Authority to act in the name of God.  It is required to perform sacred ordinances.  While anyone can go to a lake and perform a baptism, only those baptisms done by Priesthood Authority will be recognized by God.

Even after we are Baptized we still need to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  This is much like an upgraded conscience.  The Holy Ghost is there to testify of truth, to comfort us(John 14:16), and to help us make good decisions.  We can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost before Baptism, but the Gift of the Holy Ghost is when He becomes a constant companion, if we live worthy of His presence.

Matthew 24:13

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is just that, His Gospel.  We have to follow His plan in order to have a part in it.  We cannot pick and choose which parts we like and which parts we don't.  If we are to live again in the presence of our Eternal Father, we need to Endure to the End of all things.

So in order to truly be 'saved' you must have Faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, Repent of your sins, be Baptized by someone who holds the Priesthood, Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Types of Baptism in the Movies!??

So again with the Stargate thing.  The actual journey of going through the Stargate is like Baptism.

In order to return and live with our Heavenly Father again we must be baptized.  This has been a commandment since the days of the old testament. (Matthew 3:15)

"And the Father said:
Repent ye, repent ye,
and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son."

So we know that we need to be baptized, and we know that it is a commandment.  But how exactly do we learn of these things that are required to enter into the Fathers presence?

We learn what needs to be done by reading the scriptures, which were written by prophets.  The scriptures tell us everything we need to do, and how it is to be done.

In the Stargate realm the way to get somewhere is done by knowing the Gate address, or star chart location. You would need seven points to find and plot a course to an exact location.  Six to determine the destination, with the seventh point being the point of origin.

The symbols for Abydos were first uncovered with the Stargate.
This is a wall on Abydos listing a lot more Gate addresses.
The Gate address list on Abydos is kinda like Stargate Scriptures.  Without these addresses we wouldn't know how to go anywhere except Abydos and then back to Earth.  But if you read and understand the Scriptures then you can go wherever the instructions take you.

The next part is the DHD, or Dial Home Device.

Stargates need to have a DHD hooked up or they don't work properly.   The DHD is what 'authorizes' the Gate to activate and create a stable wormhole to travel to the desired destination.  It basically holds a Hard drive with programs that tell that Stargate which other Stargate to connect to, based on the order of the Symbols used in the Gate address.  Kinda like a phone number, there are only 10 different numbers to push, but with the right combinations in the right order you can call a specific phone and talk with someone.

The same is true with the gospel, the Lord has given Priesthood Authority to worthy men here on earth.  Those who hold the priesthood can perform sacred ordinances, such as baptism.

So with the DHD being the Authority to use the Stargate, actually going through the Stargate would represent being Baptized.  You can only make it to the other planet, or back into the presence of our Heavenly Father, by going through the Gate.

Thus we see that without both, it won't work.  You might know the address of where you want to go, but without actually stepping through the gate you will never get there.  Likewise it you go through the Gate without the Authority then you won't go very far.  Sure you really really want to get there, and you know where you need to go, but that Authority is what enables you to actually turn on and use the Stargate.

We have to actually go through the Stargate, or in other words, we really do have need to be Baptized by Priesthood Authority.  This is the Strait Gate by which we may enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Read the Scriptures and they will tell you all things that you should do.  Then you will be able to follow the guidance of the Spirit, as well as the words of the Prophets, in journeying back to the Fathers presence.

"For behold, again I say unto you
that if ye will enter in by the way,
and receive the Holy Ghost,
it will show unto you all things what ye should do."

"And it came to pass that
when Jesus had ended these sayings
he said unto his disciples:
Enter ye in at the strait gate;
for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way
that leads to life,
and few there be that find it;"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Restoration of "The Lost City"

So I am a huge fan of Stargate, and almost every episode has something related to the gospel in it.
I am going to go into how the overarching theme of Stargate Atlantis resembles the Restoration of the Gospel.  For this the city of Atlantis will represent the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Once upon a time, there was an Ancient civilization known as the Ancients.  They lived in the Pegasus Galaxy and they ended up fighting a war with a hybrid species called the Wraith.

Wraith....The Bad Guys

Once upon a time, there was a Prophet called Moses.  He lived in the middle eastern area of the world, and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Some of the children of Israel didn't keep the commandments from God like they were supposed to.  This caused there to be a mix of Gentiles and disobedient Jews.  This also ends with fighting a war of religion between the obedient ones and this hybrid group.

Gentiles and Believers rejected the Messiah

The war between the Ancients and the Wraith progressed with the Ancients much more technologically able, but the Wraith had way more manpower.  Eventually they realized that they were winning every battle, but in the end the couldn't win the war.(SG-1 season 10 episode 3)

Pegasus Galaxy Map in Atlantis

When Christ came to the earth He also won every battle, but He couldn't win the war.  He did indeed conquer the devil in overcoming sin and death, but the war for the souls of men is still being waged.  He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk and the deaf hear.  Whenever His oppressors posed a question to catch Him in His words, He only gave the correct answer.  Even with each battle won, there were too many who would not believe in His divine mission. (John 10:25)

The Ancients abandoned their capitol city, Atlantis, seeing no way to defeat the forces against them, but they sunk the city to the bottom of the ocean.(2 Thessalonians 2:3)  This made it possible for their descendants to return to the city and finish the war.(Acts 3:21)

Jesus Christ knew He would not convince those who refused to believe.  He laid down His life so that others might live, if they would believe on His name.(John 20:31)  He left the promise that all things would be restored at a later time, before His second coming.(Acts 3:21)

The Stargate program found out how to get to Atlantis, the place of the ancestors, and they sent an expedition to return to the city.  They reactivated the technology that had long slept, and restored everything that had been forgotten.

Gate address...Kinda like a phone number

In the year 1820, Joseph Smith was praying to find out the truth.  He searched the Bible and found that he needed to ask God about it.(James 1:5)  Through him the church that Christ set up was restored.  The priesthood, which is the authority to act in the name of Christ, was again given to man.

The Wraith are eventually defeated once and for all, but only after the city of Atlantis was restored. 

The Devil will also eventually be defeated, but only after the "restitution of all things", prophesied to prepare the way for the Savior's second coming.