Michael Marquardt discusses early missionary accounts. The final installment of our conversation with Michael is only available to newsletter subscribers. Sign up at gospeltangents.com/newsletter to get a secret link that talks about early missionaries and apostles!
Here’s what we will talk about. What did they preach to new converts? How were the original 12 apostles called? We’ll also talk about the Community of Christ. Do they believe the church was founding in Fayette or Manchester? Sign up right away so you don’t miss out on our conversation!
Welcome to Gospel Tangents, the best source for Mormon history, science, and theology. I’m your host Rick Bennett. Dr. Jonathan Stapley devotes an entire chapter in his book, The Power of Godliness, to baby blessings. Given that baby blessings are not considered salvific, why spend so much time on that? Jonathan says it was his favorite chapter of the book!
Jonathan: There’s this exchange of letters between Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer in Zion. Whitmer is the ward clerk. He has a Book of Remembrance. Book of Remembrance is the book that Adam creates. And so, he has this sacred document in which he is to inscribe the inheritance of Zion. And if you come to Zion, you receive an inheritance, that is your inheritance for time and eternity, while the earth shall stand and in eternity when it’s renewed. When babies are blessed, their name is written in the Book of Remembrance and they receive this inheritance. They’re essentially brought into this salvific community where salvation is no longer an individual affair. But it’s not really an individual affair in Mormonism ever. But this explicitly communal salvation, in Zion that’s just really remarkable and that Zion essentially fails. The Zion project, burns, and the saints moved to Illinois. And we have the Nauvoo Temple liturgy and the cosmological priesthood that reorders the world and universe of Latter-day Saints. We see the baby blessing becoming an annunciation of children’s sealed position in the cosmological priesthood.
Had you considered that? Check out our other conversations with Jonathan.
In April 2014, Elder Oaks gave a sermon on women and priesthood. Dr. Jonathan Stapley said this was no ordinary talk. He called it theologically groundbreaking! I was a bit surprised how revolutionary Stapley felt the sermon was. It seemed to me to be a response to the Ordain Women movement which was asking for women to be allowed to attend the priesthood session of General Conference. I saw the address under a different light than Jonathan.
GT: I remember just thinking, “Oh, this is just to placate the Kate Kelly people and to say, ‘Women, you’ve already got priesthood. You just didn’t know it yet.’” But you’re saying this is a theological change.
Jonathan: When Elder Oaks delivered that sermon, I was looking around like, does anyone else [recognize this?] This is mind-blowing. I couldn’t believe it. And everyone else was just like, “Oh yeah, this is just Elder Oaks.” Revolutions happen sometimes a very subtly apparently.
Jonathan: It’s certainly a linguistic shift and language frames our reality. So, it is certainly, for example, an interesting piece from Elder Oaks’ sermon was he was quoting in many parts from a sermon that Joseph Fielding Smith gave to the Relief Society in a general Relief Society meeting. And in this meeting Joseph Fielding was as I remember, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve at the time, discussed women’s authority in the church and how they were heirs to a great heritage, but also heirs to authority and their capacity of the work in the Relief society and the temple. But he was quick to say, you have authority to do this work. You have authority in the temple, but authority is not the same thing as priesthood.
Jonathan: And Elder Oaks takes this sermon he talks about, he quotes Joseph Fielding Smith, how women have this great authority in the church and this great heritage. And then he stops and says, what else can this authority be except priesthood? Right? So, it’s this really wonderful kind of re-imagining of what these terms mean. At the same time, reaching to our past to grab hold of our past and make sure we’re still connected, but also in very interesting and creative ways, refashioning it in a way that makes more sense for the present.
Do you think Oaks talk was groundbreaking? Let me know! Check out our other conversations on women healers, Ordain Women, and click the video below to learn more about this conversation….