Friday, September 26, 2014

Doctrinal Question

A couple of weeks ago, I was teaching about the Aaronic Priesthood restoration in seminary. I try to challenge my students (even at 6:30 in the morning) to think a little more about the gospel then they have in the past. I remind them that some of them will be serving missions in a year or less and that they need to be prepared for difficult questions. They don't necessarily need answers to every question but it should be apparent that they have given some thought to various doctrinal principles.
As I was preparing the lesson, I came upon something that I had never really given much thought. The issue was if John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph and Oliver, why did they in turn confer it upon each other after they were baptized? I'm curious to hear what you think. 

1 comment:

Papa Doc said...

Good question. I went into some books and found nothing specific about this. However, there is some material about the organization of the church that gives some insight.

The specific reason JS and OC ordained each other after they were baptized was that John had told them to do it. That is not much of an explaination, but I am sure they did not know why at the time either.

I think that the main purpose of the visit of John was to get them baptized for the remission of sins. Joseph later taught at the organization of the church that baptism had a duel purpose, and that was for remission of sins and for a symbol of entrance into the church. He had all who had been previously baptized rebaptized at that time. I assume that meant himself and Oliver also, even though the account I read did not specify that.

It is important to remember that the Aaronic Priesthood is a lesser part and is comprehended and controlled by the Melchezidek Priesthood. Thus, the real significant happening was the obaining of the Higher Priesthood. Interestingly, at the organization of the church Joseph and Oliver ordained each other as Elders. I do not know if the present understanding of the words confer and ordain was part of their understanding at the time.

The whole thing might just come down to the need to do such things on earth after heavenly authorization. However,there is no record of any other ordainations being done after the special keys were confered in the Kirkland Temple.