Saturday, May 7, 2011

Six Principles: Mothers and The Patriarchal Order

Recently, I was in a conversation with someone (don't even recall who it was), who expressed surprise when I stated in answer to his question that the ordinances associated with exaltation were to be received only by a husband and wife simultaneously, not separately. His assumption had always been that our ultimate salvation was strictly an individual matter.

On this Mothers' Day weekend, it seems appropriate to underscore the role of women in our lives as men. We simply have no hope of eternal life without being sealed to a woman of our choosing. Period. No exceptions. No other way. The happiness and fulfillment of the mother of your children must always be your highest and most urgent need. You may not always succeed. My experience has been how patient my wife has always been with my blundered attempts, but because she is rarely content with even my best effort I am always reaching higher than I would otherwise. I have written extensively about these core doctrines in the past. It's there for all who want to see it.

Joseph Smith
The clearest statement made to understand the shared divine nature of the patriarchal order was first uttered by Joseph Smith. Said he, "[The patriarch order] is the kingdom of an endless life." He added: "The sacrifice required of Abraham in the offering up of Isaac shows that if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life, he must sacrifice all things." (HC, 5:555). This eternal kingdom in which each worthy man could receive the keys referred to by the Prophet begins in mortality, and extends to "a fulness of the priesthood" based upon several key principles. I will cite only six as follows:

First, the highest expression of sexuality is God's work and we are partners with Him as husbands and wives. We are the mortal means by which He continually increases in glory "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39).

Second, the only way in which our Father in Heaven can attain His full potential as an exalted being in this eternal family, is to provide a way for men and women to be organized first as personages of spirit, then secondly, tabernacled in a body of flesh and bones and endowed with the full glory and power of the Man of Holiness. Inherent in that ultimate bestowal of glory and power is the power to procreate children in the resurrection and to develop glory in them through the same divine plan. Creation of life requires a male and a female component.

Third, before the individual members of the Church could become like the exalted Man of Holiness in every way, they had to be organized into an eternal family order. The Father and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, effected that organization. This eternal family was a continuous, on-going priesthood organization called the divine patriarchal order. Before this earth upon which we now live was formed, the order came down by generation from God through Adam and his sons and their successive generations. Each ordinance given as part of the order was established as a dynamic, life-giving function. Through these ordinances, men and women could acquire divine attributes and powers of life through the Holy Spirit. The symbolic elements of gospel ordinances mirrored actual experiences of birth, death, the atonement, and the resurrection.

Fourth, the saints of the last days living in the dispensation of the fulness of times were required to master Zion's economic and social programs and, in time before the Second Coming, establish the government of God in their midst in observance of the laws associated with the divine patriarchal order.

Fifth, by applying the principles and laws of the gospel in their lives, the saints could have their "callings and elections made sure" in family relationships begun here on earth at the altars of the temple in the patriarchal order in eternity. We were all taught in the pre-existence and in our family units here on earth that only in this way could we eventually become priests and kings (and priestesses and queens) in the celestial order in eternity. The power to seal here on earth is held only by the living prophet and president of the Church. (See Millenial Star, 5:151, [March, 1845]; also see D&C 132:7).

Sixth, when the saints apply celestial law and are united as heirs with the greater eternal family in the presence of God, they will receive a fulness of the priesthood and be made recipients of the glory exalted beings possess, to the degree the saints were able to receive and apply it to their good.

Brigham Young, expanding on what he had learned from Joseph Smith, would later state:

"When the Holy Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God, is upon the earth, and its organizations, ordinances, gospel, powers, authorities and blessings, are enjoyed by the children of men; then by means of sealing powers and keys, and an everlasting covenant, the sons of men become the sons of God by regeneration, and are entitled, every man in his order, to the privileges, exaltations, principalities and powers, kingdoms and thrones, which are held and enjoyed, by the Great Father of our race: and all these are obtained through the law of natural increase, and the saving of that which the Father puts in our power." (JD, 10:355).

Adam and Eve were the prototypes on this earth:

"The Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: 'I have set thee to be at the head -- a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.'" So, in like manner, every faithful couple joined by priesthood authority in a provisional sealing ordinance becomes the Adam and Eve to the race that springs from their loins, when they are embraced in the covenants and blessings of the Holy Priesthood; and in the lapse of eternity, and in the progress of eternal lives, every true son and daughter of God becomes a king of kings, a queen of queens; a priest and a priestess. (Ibid.)

Heber C. Kimball
Reality being what it is, the final patriarchal order was not to be fully realized in mortality. Heber C. Kimball reported a vision given to Joseph Smith in which "he saw Adam open the gate of the celestial city and admit the people one by one. He then saw Father Adam conduct them to the throne one by one, when they were crowned Kings and Priests of God." (JD, 9:41).

President Brigham Young
Brigham Young agreed:

"We have not yet received our kingdoms, neither will we, until we have finished our work on the earth, passed through the ordeals, are brought up by the power of the resurrection, and are crowned with glory and eternal lives. Then he that has overcome and is found worthy, will be made a king of kings, and lord of lords over his own posterity, or in other words: A father of fathers. This latter rendering, is more strictly in accordance with the original text." (Ibid., 10:355).

All of this is consistent with what should be obvious -- without mothers there would be no fathers, and with neither there would be no procreation or hope for exaltation.

People question why the leaders of the Church today are so persistent in their adamant stance against the false doctrines associated with the LGBT community and their political agenda to legalize gay marriage. Some even maintain when all those old men finally get it right and so-called "scientific proofs" are studied more in depth, there will be a change in Church policy. Don't bet the farm on that. In light of the eternal verities associated with revelation from the very beginning, a change in doctrine is not likely to ever be equated with a change in policy.

One cannot accept the premise we are led by living prophets, and simultaneously embrace the notion that someday a change in doctrine to accommodate modern politically correct dogma will be allowed to destroy the very foundation upon which the kingdom of God has been established in eternities that predate and will succeed ours.

The need for sympathy and acceptance is acknowledged. Diversity, compassion and understanding is never out of date in the Church. That said, do not be persuaded by those who suggest the leaders of the Church are simply politically incorrect or out of step with the times in which we live. They understand perfectly the ramifications for evil that such false postulations invite, and teach what they do so we may not be deceived by the sophistries of the day.

Mothers -- in particular the one to whom I am linked -- have done what they came here to do under divine command from the beginning: "to fill the measure of their creation" by creating life with their husbands. Once each faithful couple has ascended step by step through parenthood, the remaining steps crown their efforts with godhood:

"They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

"Compare this principle once with Christendom at the present day, and where are they, with all their boasted religion, piety and sacredness while at the same time they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc. Why, they are just ripening for the damnation of hell. They will be damned, for they reject the most glorious principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and treat with disdain and trample under foot the key that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world. Yes, I say, such will be damned, with all their professed godliness. Then I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it, etc." (TPJS, 298).

Ah, Joseph Smith -- just not much ambiguity there. I'm guessing President Boyd K. Packer is simply being true to the true prophet in this dispensation.

Part and parcel of our mortal probation is learning to distinguish good from evil. In our eagerness to embrace the downtrodden, the falsely judged and even the most ardent sinners, let us never be deceived into believing that tolerance can cross the line into open opposition against the humble prophets of God and the doctrine they lovingly declare, as if from the Lord's own mouth. (See D&C 21:5).

On this Mothers' Day, give thanks for the righteous women in your life as men. There is no greater gift than being surrounded by the righteousness of good women. God intended us to rub off all the "pointy and prickly parts" of our character against each other in the marriage relationship. I guess it's the only way He could devise to prepare us for eternal life. Be happy in all the twists and turns that don't work out quite the way you drew them up on the chalkboard of all your planning.

Always remember and don't forget -- there is a priceless legacy a righteous woman offers you as a man you can obtain nowhere else and in no other way. It is eternal life.

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