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Making a Case for Melchizedek Priesthood in 1831 (Part 4 of 9)

There has been a discrepancy as to when the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored.  Was it in June of 1829, 1830, or 1831?  Historian Dan weighs in on the controversy and makes a case for later than the official Church story.

GT: Okay, so it sounds to me like you’re making a pretty strong case for the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood being 1831, which really wasn’t known about until 1835. Is that what you’re saying?

Dan   Yeah, 1835.  Alma Chapter 13 talks about the high priesthood and associates the high priesthood with Melchizedek.  So in June 1831, it’s the high priesthood that is given to elders, and for time it was the elders with more authority. It wasn’t a separate office at first.  It takes several months before it becomes the high priest office, but it was elders that had the high priesthood. So, that high priesthood, of course, because Alma is going to be associated with Melchizedek, and that’s why it says for the first time.  The eldership wasn’t associated with Melchizedek. So in the church you had, for a while, elders.  Elders were the charismatic leaders of the church, and the teachers, priests and deacons. were under elders.

GT:  Yeah. So from what I understand, I spoke with Greg Prince about a year and a half ago, one of the things he said was when the church was very first organized, you had elders, priests and teachers. Those are the only three authorized.

Dan:  Right, deacon came a little later.

GT:  Deacon and Bishop came when Sidney Rigdon was baptized, and he said the Bible has Bishop and Deacon and so those were added later, both to the Aaronic priesthood, but it sounds like..

Dan:  There’s no Aaronic, yet.

GT:  So it was just the priesthood. Okay. I’m trying to remember because Quinn also delves into this and it sounded like elders were kind of like, “We’re not sure if they’re Aaronic or Melchizedek,” because it was kind of confusing.

Dan:  Elders and then the High Priests were separate.  Not until the expansion of D & C 107 were elders included in the High Priesthood and formed two layers.

Dan will also weigh in on Michael Marquardt’s claim that the Church was restored in Manchester, rather than Fayette.  Check out our conversation….

Historian Dan Vogel thinks the restoration of Melchizedek Priesthood dates to 1831.

Don’t miss our other episodes with Dan!

289 – Methodist Visions

288 – Why “Pious Fraud” Ticks off Everyone

287 – Dan Vogel Was a McConkie Mormon!

 

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Methodist Visions (Part 3 of 9)

The number of prophets who have claimed to have seen God is very small:  Moses, and Joseph Smith.  The First Vision is known as one of the most unique visions in all of religion. But it turns out that accounts of Methodist visions were common in Joseph’s day.  Is it true that Joseph’s First Vision may not have been as unique as we thought?  Historian Dan tackles that question. He believes something happened to Joseph Smith in 1820 or 21, but doesn’t think it was a vision.  Was Joseph’s experience similar to Methodist visions?

Dan:  People at the revival, especially Methodist ones, would get religious enthusiasm, as they called it. They would get all excited and some people would have heavenly visions. Some people would see Jesus.  Forget about the revivals, a lot of ministers at the time, when they wrote their autobiographies would write about their conversion story, and it would include seeing Jesus or some experience with deity, a born-again type experience.  This is what I would suggest that Joseph Smith really had–we’ll eventually get to that, and that the story evolved over time.

Dan:  The 1832 account has Joseph Smith concluding that all the churches are false, at the age of 12, like his parents. Lucy, and Joseph Smith, Sr. had both made the same conclusion, that all of the churches were false. But it wasn’t tied to they [the churches] didn’t have authority. They were just corrupted by the traditions of men. No one’s thinking of, “Oh, they don’t have priesthood authority, because Christians didn’t think that way.” Catholics did [think that way], but Protestants didn’t think of, “Oh, we have authority and the Catholics don’t,” or whatever. Protestants got their authority to baptize because the Bible commanded that you be baptized, and that is the authority, the commandment coming from the Bible. Whereas Joseph Smith said, “No, it has to come from revelation.” So, when the angel commands to baptize or you got a revelation through the stone to baptize, that is a new revelation, and that is the new authority. So he has current authority, current revelation. That is the original concept of authority, before there were any stories of angelic ordinations. But, in the 1832 account, Joseph Smith has already concluded there’s no church. So when he goes to pray, he’s not asking which church is true. He’s asking, “How am I going to be saved? There’s no true church. They’re all apostate, and what am I to do?” Jesus appears and basically, confirms his belief that there the world liest under sin and all that, and says that those who believe on my name shall be saved. So it’s very close to a revival experience. You have faith in Jesus and you’re saved.

GT : Almost a born again kind of experience?

Dan:  That’s what I say. What I say is, if you take Jesus out of it, it would be born again experience. So, why does he have to see Jesus?

GT:  You think he basically in 1820 or ‘21, did have a born again experience?

Dan:  Yes.

Check out our conversation…. and don’t miss our previous conversations with Dan!

Dan Vogel thinks Joseph had a born-again experience in 1820 or ’21, but it was common for many Methodist visions at that time.

288 – Why “Pious Fraud” Ticks off Everyone

287 – Dan Vogel Was a McConkie Mormon!

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Revelatory Whiplash (Part 3 of 4)

(Updated-Fixed mp3-link) When the Nov 2015 policy was announced, many LDS Church members were hurt to learn that children of gay parents couldn’t be baptized, and gay couples were considered in apostasy. Fast forward to April 2019 and the policy was reversed, causing joy among some church members, and pain from other dues to the quick nature of the change.  Still others were outraged at the reversal.  Some church members may have felt a bit of revelatory whiplash at the sudden changes.  Dr. Greg Prince will talk more about the pain caused by the Policy and its reversal.

GT:  I know, some people made an interesting observation last night at your book signing, that there was not a single mention of that [in General Conference]. Why do you think that was?

Greg:  I think that’s because they had good input from Public Affairs, that if you’re going to announce something like that, which is not real cheery news for the institution, because you’re erasing something that people thought was permanent, when you called it a revelation three years earlier. The way to do it, essentially, is what the government does when it has bad news, you announce it after five o’clock on a Friday afternoon, so that by Monday, people have pretty much moved on. By announcing it a couple days before General Conference, and then not mentioning it, it became non-news. I think that was a good move on their part.

GT:  So, I know a lot of people, I know that I was very happy with the announcement. But I know a lot of people have been just as upset, and I think the main reason why is because there was no apology. I know Elder Oaks is often quoted as, “The church doesn’t apologize.”[1] Do you think it would have been a Public Relations win if the church had said we know there’s been some damage done here, or do you agree with Elder Oaks, “The church just doesn’t apologize.”

Greg:  No, I don’t agree with that. I think they should apologize on multiple things, and it would have been a P.R. win, if they had said humbly, “We apologize for the damage that this has done,” because demonstrably it did a lot of damage. Families were ripped apart. I think there’s good evidence that more than a few people took their lives over this, and you can’t undo that by reversing the policy. That’s the real residual damage of this thing. It’s not like okay, we went there, now we’ve come back, now let’s go on and life goes on as it did before, but it doesn’t. You step in something and you step out of it, but you still got it in your shoes, and that’s where we are? How do you undo that kind of damage? It also creates a dilemma that may even affect the orthodox church member more than the progressive church member, and that is, “Wait a minute, you told us this was revelation, and now three years later, you’re saying it’s back to where we were?”   That creates a real dilemma.

GT:  I have actually seen some orthodox members say, “I think the church is now in apostasy.”

Greg:  Yes. It’s an unforced error, but, nonetheless, it’s something that they’re going to have to deal with, and it has repercussions because it affects the whole brand of revelation.  If people thought that something being called revelation conferred permanence to it, now it becomes much more relative, and it has a ripple effect beyond that particular revelation. It calls into a question other [revelations] and say, “Well, how unchangeable is the rest of it?” In my mind, changeability is bedrock for Mormonism, but it’s something that makes most church members really nervous. They will embrace the concept of continuing revelation, but they’re really hesitant to accept change. It’s a paradox.

[1] See https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=2122123&itype=cmsid

Check out our conversation….

The reversal of the 2015 Exclusion policy earlier this year has caused a bit of revelatory whiplash among more orthodox Church members.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Greg.

284 – The Christian Right & LGBT Fight

283 – Mixing Church & Politics in Gay Fight