Episode 19 – Priesthood Power Play
On this episode, we try to track down the origin of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. Their origin is shrouded in mystery, and is reportedly of angellic origins. Did the priesthood come from John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John? Or did the Priesthoods evolve out of necessity for Joe's increasingly higher authority claim? Which conclusion makes more sense?
Outro music used with permission
Priesthood lineage deconstruction:
Welcome to the 19th episode of the Naked Mormonism Podcast, I'm Bryce Blankenagel, and thank you for joining me.
Last episode edged us ever closer to the release of the BoM. We talked all about the two groups of witnesses. One testimony is of the 3 Witnesses, Ollie Cowdung (Oliver Cowdery), D-Day David Whitmer, and NSSM Martin Harris. Joe was there during the supposed witnessing occurence, but he's not listed, because he just wrote the witness testimonies that everybody signed. The other group was the 8 witnesses, which were all people that were from the Smith, or Whitmer family, with the exception of Hiram Paige. He had just married into the Whitmer family.
Well, over the course of last episode, we completely deconstructed the witness testimonies line upon line, and tried to parse out a bit of the hidden meanings in the orthodox Mormonese that the testimonies are written in. The two testimonies were pretty similar, but did have some distinct differences.
From what we could tell, they're worded in a way that makes it seem like the 8 witnesses had a genuine experience with physical plates, whereas the 3 witnesses only had a vision of them. At least, that's how the testimonies are worded, but it's not what I believe actually happened.
The episode ended with my take on what might have actually happened. I posited that the entire sharade was created for the simple act of fooling NSSM into financing the Book of Mormon. Joe needed $3,000 to get it published, and get his church off the ground, and Marty was the only guy in town, with enough money, that was gullible enough to buy into the story. In order to get Marty to consent to giving up the 3k, Joe needed some serious ammunition. So, he probably had the 8 witnesses tell Marty about how they all saw the plates, and hefted them, and saw the engravings thereon, and all that convincing bullshit, and then Joe took Marty into the woods with Ollie Cowdung, and D-Day David in order to con him out of the funds.
Some may not agree that 10 of the 11 witnesses were in cahoots, but I think that it explains the facts without having to stretch very far. I suppose it's possible that Joe was the only one in on the scam, and had everybody fooled, but that would require him to plug a lot of holes in the reality dam, all by himself. It would be much easier to have this group of 10 people going along with Joe's scheme, all for the purpose of getting Marty's money. These men were Joe's sydincate of 10, and Marty was Joe's Bennedict, and I would argue that the con worked damn-near miraculously.
When we read the history of the church version, it seemed more like everybody was putting a ton of pressure on NSSM to conform to their beliefs, and it all came down to one moment. Joe, D-Day, and Ollie were praying with Marty in the circle. As if symbolic of what would soon happen at the grand scale, Marty left the group to go pray elsewhere, when they were unsuccessful in seeing the plates. As soon as Marty left, the remaning men had the vision of the angel holding the plates opened to them, and it was apparently glorious beyond belief. Once the three men remaining in the group saw the vision they were reportedly seeking, Joe stood up from the group, and cast a life-line to the spiritually distraught Marty, who was engaged fervently in prayer a few hundred feet away from the others.
When Joe approached Marty, Marty asked if Joe would join him in prayer so that the same thing that was revealed to the others, would be revealed to him. Joe had Marty in full submission, at the mercy of whatever Joe told him. Marty believed Joe to be a legitimate prophet of God. Why? I have no clue, because Joe had failed or passed Marty's prophet tests, with very mixed results up to this point. But this moment in time, was the ultimate test for Marty.
In his mind, Marty would either help Joe with the publishing of the BoM, or he would suffer the wrath of Almighty God for transgressing against his modern day prophet. So, with a little convincing rhetoric, as well as telling Marty that he saw the plates once the two started praying together, Joe was able to get Marty's submission to his will, signified by Marty's response in the heat of the moment.
According to the history of the church 1:54, Joe was praying with Marty, who had been singled out by the rest of the group as the one man not worthy to see the plates, and Joe just kept heaping on the pressure. He was pushing Marty closer and closer to the edge. Marty had to conform, or be cut off from the BoM, Joe, and all his friends, forever, due to his lack of faith.
It all came to a breaking point, but Marty didn't let it break on his account, so he submitted with the line "Tis enough, tis enough, mine eyes have beheld!", and thus secured the publishing of the BoM. I personally believe this to be the hingepin point in the con that Joe and the others, were working on Marty. I would bet that Joe was grinning from ear to ear on the walk back from the woods just after this happened, because his dream of 6 years up to this point, finally had the financial backing necessary to make it a reality.
Last episode ended with various accounts of D-Day David Whitmer, and Not-So-Smarty-Marty telling us they saw the plates, Urim and Thummim, sword of Laban, and Liahona with nothing but a spiritual eye. Marty even explicitly said that he hadn't seen the plates with his natural eyes, and any man that said they did, was a liar, Joseph not excluded. Quite a fascinating thing to come from a man that emphatically stated that his eyes beheld the plates, when he was under so much pressure from his fellow, wealth-seeking friends.
A fun little quote that I forgot to include in the last episode, was in a letter written by Stephen Burnett to Lyman E. Johnson about something that NSSM said.
"...after we were done speaking, Marin Harris arose & said he was sorry for any man who rejected the BoM for he knew it was true, he said he had hefted the plates repeatedly in a box with only a tablecloth or handkerchief over them, but he never saw them[,] only as he saw a city through a mountain".
That's good ol' stoned sight for ya there.
I suppose that's enough wrap up for today, let's talk about this episode's topic, the priesthood. There's a lot of confusion surrounding the priesthood for anybody that hasn't ever gone through the Mormon experience. Even TBM's today usually don't know how the priesthood came about, so we're going to cover everything about it, from how it came to life, to how it's used in the church today.
When never-mo's hear the word priesthood, I assume they think it's something similar to being a member of the catholic priesthood, only the Mormon version. Well, Mormons do it completely different. According to Mormonism, the priesthood is the thing that gives guys their special powers. Every worthy man gets the Aaronic priesthood at the age of 12, and the Melchezideck priesthood right before going on their mission at 18. The Melchezideck priesthood is considered the final, and highest priesthood, but each calling in the church, unlocks cooler, and more powerful keys to the M priesthood. The position in the priesthood with the most keys is, of course, that of the prophet, seer, and revelator of the church. This office is currently held by dimentia ridden Thomas S. Monson, who supposedly holds all the keys to the kingdom, and is the only person with access to the holy of holys, in the Salt Lake Temple.
So let's talk briefly about the Priesthood's origin. First off, let's get into where the church, and specifially Joe, report the priesthood to have come from, to see if we can come to a better understanding of it. But before diving into the Mormon Priesthood, we need to talk about where the term priesthood comes from in the biblical sense.
The priesthood in the bible was never sanctioned off into A&M the way it is in Mormonism. There were the Levitical priests that performed certain ordinances in the temple on behalf of the other hebrew tribes. These priests went through a week long washing and annointing ceremony, sacrificing dozens of animals, and consecrating themselves with oil multiple times. They cleansed themselves once a year for this ritual, so they could enter the holy of holys, and commune with God, or perform some kind of sacrificial ritual or something. The priest would even wear a bell with a rope tied around their waist so if they were killed by the almighty power of God during this ritual, their lifeless body could be dragged out by the other priests, in effect, not risking the lives of the other priests. However, the requirements to become one of these priests were that of birthright, and pious livelihood. The priests were only from the tribe of Levi, and they were strictly life-long priests. That's all they did, just be priests in the priesthood with their fellow life-long celebate priests. They survived from the offerings of the citizens they were providing their priestly services to.
According to the Mormon version of the priesthoods, this was the Aaronic priesthood, passed through the seed of Aaron to the Levites. Then, the Melchizedek is the higher priesthood. Well, let's explore where this term came from. It's featured in the bible, in Gen 14, and Hebrews 7. In the original texts, it's featured as two separate words, Malki, and tzedek. The term Malki translates to king, and tzedek translates to rightousness, or justice. So, Malki-tzedek translates from hebrew to mean the king of rightousness. This translation is held up by most scholars because the term Malki-resha is translated as king of evil, a term found in the dead sea scrolls.
Christians have interpolated this term to be a propehcy of Jesus, the one and only high priest. Jesus apparently rent the temple veil in half when he was crucified, signifying the end of the need for levitical priests to continue doing their blood sacrifices in the temple. In a real sense, this just means that whoever wrote the gospel of Matthew, knew about the Levitical hebrew rituals, and applied them to Jesus, symbolically making him the final, or high priest, also known as the only Melkitzedek priest.
This version doesn't really mean dick to Mormons, because Joe just hijacked the terms, and applied them to the members of his church a few years after it was organized. But that's just what we know from looking at everything as a whole in retrospect. Let's talk about how the priesthood was reportedly introduced into the church.
For this information, we're going to dive into the JSH vs: 68-72.
"**68 **We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying:
**69 **Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and ofbaptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
** 70 **He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.
**71 **Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded.*
**72 **The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized."
Unfortunately, that's all we know about the M priesthood being restored. There's no further information given about Peter, James, and John visiting Ollie and Joe to give them the M priesthood, it just ends with "they would confer it in due time". Most believing Mormon scholars think it was a week or two after Ollie and Joe baptized each other and gave each other the A priesthood, that they received the M priesthood given directly from the angels Peter, James and John. This is all part of the restorationist nature of Joe's church. The offices and ordinances that were practiced in the days of Jesus needed to be restored to the earth, and Joe and Ollie were the guys to do it.
Of course, as usual, when it comes to Ollie and Joe cooking up a story, they don't do a very good job of covering their tracks, or even starting off with a believable story. They just sort of make up a story, set a precedent, and run with it, even if the story is made up 9 years after it supposedly happened. Of course, I'm referring to the JSH that we just read. It was recorded in 1838, dictated to Ollie by Joe. But before that was written down, there wasn't much said about them getting the A&M priesthoods separately. In fact, there are some quotes that cast some doubt on the veracity of the JSH claims here.
But before getting to those quotes, we need to discuss how Joe set up the authority in the church when it was first started, and reflect it with how the church runs things today. The dictated version coincides with the offices in the priesthood, but there may be some contradictions to tease out once we're familiar with todays practices.
Let's set the scene by talking about the current day breakdown of the male Mormon leadership hierarchy. This is old news to ex-Mormon listeners, but most never-mos don't understand all the nuances of a boy growing up through the different offices of leadership in the church. It starts at age 8. Every person, male or female, is baptized, and confirmed into the church. This is considered the age of accountability, and every sin up to this point hasn't stuck to the baptizees eternal record, because they obviously didn't know any better.
After the age of 8, girls and boys diverge. In a different episode I'll cover the offices of women, but let's face it, this is the Mormon church, so the only positions that matter are those of the men. Once a boy hits age 12, he goes in for an interview with the bishop to determine if he's worthy, and hasn't been masturbating. Once he gets his paper signed off, he's called in to the bishops office after church the following sunday, and is given the Aaronic priesthood, and ordained to the office of deacon.
The deacon is basically the bitchboy of all the priesthood tiers. He is the snot-nosed little fucker that passes the sacrement. He goes around to people's houses on fast sunday with an envelope to collect the fast offerings from the people in the neighborhood. And worst of all, his primary duty above all others, is to assist the Teachers in whatever they need.
This takes us to the next tier in the priesthood, Teacher. Not teacher like a school teacher, that's just the name of the next office. What could a 14 year old possible teach to anybody about the church, that they didn't learn from somebody else. Well, for growing up Mormons, the office of teacher kinda sucks. They are called into the bishops office, and interviewed to see if they're masturbating yet, and if all goes well, they get ordained to the office of Teacher. One thing that sucks about it is they don't get to do anything new or cool like the transition into deaconhood, they just have to deal with the inturrum period before they become priests.
At age 16, a boy is ordained to the office of priest. Much like getting your drivers license, this is a transition where the young man really gets to start exercising his Aaronic priesthood authority. After his interview with the bishop to make sure he's definitely not masturbating, he's ordained to the office of priest, and now he can bless the sacrement every sunday. He can also baptize people. Not ordain them to the church, and give them the gift of the holy ghost, but baptize them with full authority. He can also stand in during prayer circles, if the bishop really likes him, and deems him worthy to do so. He can't say the prayer himself, but he can stand as a member of the circle with all the elders and high priests. But, the most exciting of all these, is the ability to administer the sacrement. The young man gets to say the prayer over the sacrement alter every sunday, on the loud speaker, for the entire congregation to hear, and silently pray along to. I remember being pretty excited when it was my turn to read the prayers, because my voice was finally being heard! Of course, this was before podcasts were really a thing.
The next office is that of an elder. This is when a young man becomes a real contributing member of the church. The only thing is, he isn't given the Melchizedek priesthood and ordained to the office of elder unconditionally once he hits 18. He has to fulfill a few criteria. First off, he has to totally not ever masturbate, or have masturbated. He can't have done anything naughty with any of the wardies, or any girls at school. He can't be gay, or if he is, he can't ever have acted on it. He has to be mission bound, or at least entertain the thought even if he secretly isn't planning on going. He can't have watched any R rated movies, but if he did it's okay as long as he repents for it and didn't masturbate while watching the R rated parts. It's really frowned on if he swears in his group of friends, because let's face it, swearing is merely a gateway drug to full blown evil. If he's been swearing, everybody knows, because the network of communication between parents and church leaders, so it will definitely come up in the interview. And that's pretty much it..... Oh yeah, and tithing! He has to be completely caught up on tithing from his very first paycheck, all the way to whatever he's making at the time of the interview. Working out a payment plan for paying back-tithing isn't an uncommon thing at these meetings. Oh yeah, and if he's hanging out with anybody that might steer him away from his mission, he has to cut off every tie, or at least limit his time, with that person. Even if it's an older sibling, or best friend.
Once all of those criteria have been filled, he's ordained to the office of elder, and given the holy M priesthood. One thing that I forgot to mention eariler is the priesthood lineage. Every man that gets the priesthood is given a little card that traces their priesthood all the way back to Joe and Ollie. What I mean is each man has kept track of the person that gave them the priesthood, just for the purposes of knowing how far removed from Joe they are.
If I can just interject a little personal note here. I remember when I was about to turn 12 and get my priesthood, I had a decision to make. My dad had 11 men in his priesthood lineage that traced back to Joe, whereas my uncle only had 9. I was faced with either becoming the 12th in my personal priesthood lineage, and be ordained by my own father, or I could become the 10th in my lineage, but that meant that I didn't get to be ordained by my own father. I remember my soul being racked with torment, trying to decide what to do. I wanted to share the experience with my father so much, but I thought it might be better to be removed from Joe only 9 times, as opposed to 11. I didn't understand all the implications of my decision at the time, or lack thereof. I just figured that my magic would be stronger if it weren't removed as far from the source person. Today, I can't remember if I was ordained by my dad, or my uncle, as my priesthood card is locked away tightly in a filing cabinet with my patriarichal blessing and baptism certificate, but I do remember the personal turmoil that I went through in trying to make the decision. If only I would have realized that NONE OF IT FUCKING MATTERED, I wouldn't have had to make the meaningless decision. It's like trying to determine if smurfs fuck doggy style, or good ol' missionary, it was a moot distinction. I'd like to think that I sided with my dad, as it was probably pretty important to him, me being his only son and all, but I was 11, going on 12 at the time. I just wanted the most pure superpowers I could get my hands on, so I probably went with my uncle.
Alright, digression over. So a worthy young man at the age of 18 has the melchizedek preisthood bestowed on him, provided he's crossed every T and dotted every I, and then he goes through the temple for the first time to get his endowments, secret name, and his magic underwear, known to TBM's as their Garments.
While I was growing up in the church, the eligibility age for going on a mission was 19, but in 2012 the church changed it to 18. There was one extremely good reason for doing this. There were compounding factors and layers in the decision, but it boiled down to one main reason. When the age was set at 19, the men would graduate high school, and have a year in limbo before they left. Well, most young men at the age of 18 like to do anything other than church related stuff, unless they're really deeply entrenched in the church, also known as super MoMo. Well this year has been a problem for the church for a long time, because it acted as the Mormon version of the Amish Rumspringa. The only difference between the Amish and the Mormons, is the attitude of the young man's friends and family during this interrum period. He has some friends that won't be going on their missions, and are living in a way that isn't conducive to the Mormon spirit. I was one of those friends. And then he has his friends that are planning on going on their missions, all trying to band together as a support system, but let's face it, a lot of those friends are kinda lame. Then, he has his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, RM older cousins and siblings all asking if he's turned in his papers yet, and his parents keep telling him that he needs to go on his mission, to set an example for his younger siblings. Oh yeah, and he has to finance the entire thing by himself, about 12 grand when all is said and done. The church doesn't pay for it's missionary force of almost 90,000 itself, even though it would be less than 15% of it's annual income from tithing alone. It'll help a missionary if they literally have no way of paying, but the financial burden rests on the missionary saving up the 12k before they leave.
Back to the prospective missionary himself. He has all these pressures building up, and he's just stuck in this year long limbo phase. Does he get a job to help save up the money? Does he go to school for a year, and hope his scholarship holds up when he gets back from his mission? (They often don't) Or, does he just play video games in his parents basement for that year? Or does he just fucking kill himself from all the building pressures? (Does Utah's stoopidly high young-male suicide rate make sense yet?)
The problem here is the down time. If he gets a job, he'll have some extra spending cash that he can get into trouble with. If he goes to school, he might go to one of those damn liberal commy campuses, where all the students have way too many book learnins and smoke the Marijuana, leading him away from the path of the Iron Rod. If he stays in his parents basement and plays video games for a year, he has a high chance of stagnating in his faith, or watching too much porn. Or even worse, he might stumble onto one of those atheist, or anti-Mormon websites that people don't dare talk about, leading him to learn that the church isn't true.
So the church solved all of these problems by moving the eligibility age to 18. The prospective missionary can even turn in his papers at 17 and a half, so he doesn't miss a single beat from the time he graduates high school, until he leaves for his mission. Isn't that great?! It also gives him less time to masturbate.
Once he returns from his mission, he meets the love of his life. It doesn't matter if she's been on a mission or not, and it's usually one of the first girls he meets after coming back. When they get married, they go through the temple and get sealed to each other. This is when the man learns the womans secret name, but she doesn't learn his. This is so he can call her through the vail during the resurrection, he's resurrected before her, and then he pulls her through the veil after calling her by her secret name.
Alright, that was one major rant to advance us through the experience of a young man in the church. Hopefully it wasn't too far of a tangent, because we still need to talk about offices he'll occupy, once he's gone through all of this. He'll spend an unspecific amount of time as an elder in the church. This gives him the authority to fulfill most callings in the church. But, once he reaches a certain point, he has to enter the high priesthood. This is based on a few things. Primarily his age, and faithfulness of attendance in the church. He's usually gone through quite a few callings and authority positions up to this point, but if he wants to do anything worth while in the church, he has to be ordained to the office of high priest.
The callings he can access now, are that of real notoriety and prestige. The type of calling where he's sitting on the stand, overlooking the congregation, as opposed to sitting in the pews with his family and the rest of the congregation. Callings like bishop, or bishops councellor, or secretary, or patriarch, or stake president, or any number of other high callings, all dependent on his activity, and donation level in the church. And then, he dies.
We'll talk about the details of each of those offices in a later episode so we can move on to where they came from in this episode. That's the entire reason we started talking about the authority of the church offices in the first place. So, where did Joe come up with the different degrees of the priesthood. We have in ascending order, Deacon, Teacher, Priest, Elder, and High Priest. They weren't just spontaneously restored in their current form. Much like everything else in the Mormon church, they experienced an evolution as time progressed through the 1830's. So let's dive right into the Naked history of what really happened.
To start off the reported version of what happened, we need to examine the JSH starting with verse 68. Keep in mind, the JSH was dictated by Joe to Ollie, starting in 1838, 9 years after the BoM was written, and it was published in installments in the Times and Seasons newspaper in Nauvoo, starting in 1842, 13 years after the BoM was written. Needless to say, we need to take everything with a grain of salt as it's a revisionist historian, or Mormon apologist's wet dream.
"**68 **We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respectingbaptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying:
**69 **Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and ofbaptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness"
According to this, Joe and Ollie were hard at work translating the plates, and happened upon a passage talking about baptism. They both wondered if they needed to be baptized. We covered this mutual bapturbation ritual in episode 5 when we first started talking about Ollie McCowdung Allover (Oliver Cowdery), but we need to rehash the details now so we can understand how this story evolved from what really happened, or didn't happen for that matter.
" **70 **He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.
**71 **Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptizedhim first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded.*"
Apparently when Joe and Ollie went into the woods to ask god about baptism and the priesthood, an angel descended and laid his hands upon both of them giving them the Aaronic priesthood. Then, the angel told them both how to baptize, and directed them to do so immediately. Directly after this, Joe laid his hands on Ollie and gave him the Aaronic priesthood, and then Ollie put his hands on Joe's head and gave him the same priesthood. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense as to why it went down this way, but let's just grant the unnecessary rituals for the sake of argument.
" **72 **The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized."
And that's pretty much the extent of what we have when it comes to the priesthood being restored to the earth. The Aaronic priesthood is considered the lesser priesthood of the two. The reason for this was stated earlier in the verses we just read. It does not hold the power of the laying on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost. Holders of the AP can only baptize by emmersion for the remission of sins. According to these verses, the MP was given to Joe and Ollie at a later date, although there is absolutely NO record of this occurence whatsoever. It's only told by current day Mormons that Peter, James, and John came down at a later date, and laid their hands on Joe and Ollie's heads to give them that priesthood. When this history was recorded, Joe considered the MP, and being ordained an Elder, to be completely separate things. We'll talk about why after we bring in a few quotes from other leaders of the church.
You would think, that if the angel of John the Baptist, and the angels of Peter, J&J, came down and bestowed authority on Joe and Ollie, that it would be one of their lead selling points. We run into problematic speculation like this with dozens of claims in the early church. Some other examples are Joe not using his 1820 first vision of God and Jesus at the age of 14 as the primary selling point for his book and religion. Or the 11 witnesses not using their amazing witness accounts as irrefutable evidence for the authenticity of the plates. I could list these off for a while, but the point is, Joe and Ollie didn't start talking about this baptizing/priesthood ordaining until many years after the church was organized. I wish it were as simple as one moment they weren't talking about it, and the next they were. But like I said earlier, the claims of divine authority went through an evolution, much like many other things in the church.
Let's get on to those quotes mentioned earlier. First, we're going to take a quote from an interview with D-Day David Whitmer, conducted by Zenas Gurley in 1885. It's a significant amount of time after the occurence, but the details seem to be accurate, and D-Day was known to be quite an intelligent, and coherent man up to his death.
This is pulled from Early Mormon Documents by Dan Vogel vol 5:137
"Q-Were you present when Joseph Smith received the revelation commanding him and Oliver Cowdery to ordain each other to the Melchisedek Priesthood, if so, where was it and how?
A-No I was not, Neither did I ever hear of such a thing as an angel ordaining them until I got into Ohio about the year 1834, or later."
Right there we have our first red flag contradicting Joe and Ollie's claims of getting the MP. It supposedly happened 5 years before D-Day first heard about it in Ohio in 1834, but nothing was said about it until this point. Let's continue on with the interview, it sheds even more light on the subject.
"Q-Can you tell why that Joseph and Oliver were ordained to the lesser Priesthood by the hand of an Angel, but in receiving the Higher, they ordained each other?
A-I moved Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to my fathers house in Fayette, NY, from Harmony, PA. In the year 1829,on our way I conversed freely with them upon this great work they were bringing about, and Oliver stated to me in Josephs presence that they had baptized each other seeking by that to fulfill the command. And after our arrival at fathers sometime in June 1829. Joseph ordained Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder, and Oliver ordained Joseph to be an Elder in the Church of Christ.<and during that year Joseph both baptized and ordained me an elder in the Church of Christ.>"
He continues on a little bit later in the interview:
"I never heard that an Angel had ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic Pristhood until the year 1834, 5, or 6, in Ohio. My information from Joseph and Oliver upon this matter being as I have stated, and that they were commanded so to do by revealment through Joseph. I do not believe that John the Baptist ever ordained Joseph and Oliver as stated and believed by some. I regard that as an error, a misconception."
If we consider the time frame that D-Day is recounting in this interview, it's literally a couple of weeks after this occurrence reportedly happened. Joe and Ollie supposedly did the baptizing ritual thing, and were ordained to the Aaronic priesthood around the 15th of May, and D-Day was moving them to Fayette, NY., in the first week of June. Ollie and Joe supposedly had a fucking angel of God, the same angel that baptized Jesus, descend from heaven and ordain them to the AP by laying his ghostly hands on their heads. Then after that, P, J&J, the three biggest heavy hitter apostles of Jesus, supposedly descended and ordained Ollie and Joe to the MP. Joe and Ollie had personal experiences with the 4 most important people in all of fucking Christology, aside from Jesus himself, and didn't think it was necessary to mention it to D-Day on their week long journey from Harmony to Fayette, a mere two weeks after it reportedly happened. If shit really did go down this way, wouldn't that be the only thing that Joe and Ollie could talk about for the entire move? I know if an angel came down to me and did anything like this, I wouldn't stop talking about it, regardless of where people locked me away for it. The claims made by Joe in the official church history, are beginning to not make sense.
Well, we can't just take one contradictory claim and extrapolate bold-faced lying from it, so let's bolster the Naked Mormonism side of this argument with some other quotes, from other prominent church leaders.
This is a letter written by William E. McLellin to Joseph Smith III in 1872. At this time, J S III was president of the church of Christ in Nauvoo completely separate from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that had broken off with Brigham Young and made the trek to Utah. Just to qualify, William McLellin, he was one of the early converts in 1831, and became one of the original 12 apostles in 1835, so he was no slacker. He was also excommunicated in 1838 for blasphemy... Imagine that....
This excerpt is also taken from Early Mormon Documents by Dan Vogel vol 5: 329
"But as to the story of John, the baptist ordaining Joseph and Oliver on the day they were baptized: I never heard of it in the church for years, altho I carefully noticed things that were said. And today I do not believe the story"
McLellin wrote in a later letter to John L. Traughber in 1877, although he had heard Joe tell the story of the rise of the church "probably more than twenty times, I have never heard of John [the baptist], or Peter, James and John"
There are other quotes from Orson Pratt and John Whitmer that substantiate the claims of D-Day David Whitmer and William E. McLellin, but we won't take the time to dive into them now. Suffice it to say, with the proponderance of these quotes contradicting the official reported history of the church, recounted by Joe and scribed by Ollie, we start running into problems. If the church claims it's authority by angelic revelation, or ordination as stated by Joe and Ollie, but none of the early members of the church knew where this authority came from until 6 years after the church was organized, can we really lend any credence to the claim of supernatural authority. These early church elders were working without any knowledge of the Aaronic priesthood, Melchizedek priesthood, or any awareness of the fact that these priesthoods were restored to the earth through Joe and Ollie, by way of angels laying their hands on Joe and Ollie's heads, and granting them the power of the priesthood.
Any listeners that are never-Mo, probably are thinking, what's the big fuckin deal bro? So what, if it didn't go down exactly like Joe and Ollie said it did? Well, anybody that has been Mormon for any amount of time knows the gravity of the priesthood. It was through the power of the priesthood that Heavenly Father (Elohim) organized the planet into it's current form, and continues to make worlds without number. It was through the priesthood that Jesus performed his miracles, and was resurrected. It was through the priesthood that Joe was called a prophet, seer and revelator, and restored Jesus' original church to the earth. It's through the priesthood that the church is so successful today, it has nothing to do with it's bulletproof business model, volunteer workforce, and non-taxable infrastructure. The priesthood is responsible for all of it. Even Elohim himself, didn't have the priesthood until he turned 12 on the planet that he originally came from. The nearest star to that planet is known as Kolob, or Kobol for any Battlestar Galactica fans out there. The Melchizedek priesthood is the one key to rule them all. The problem is, Joe didn't even talk about it until 1835. Even then, it was nowhere near complete, compared to how we see the priesthood infrastructure in the church today.
To try and shed some light on the magnitude of the power of the priesthood, let's look at a couple quotes from Spencer W. Kimball. He was prophet from late 1973 to late 1985.
“Priesthood is the means to exaltation. The priesthood is the power and authority of God delegated to man on earth to act in all things pertaining to the salvation of men. It is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. Without this priesthood power, men are lost. Only through this power does man ‘hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church,’ enabling him to receive ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened’ unto him, enabling him to enter the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and to have his wife and children bound to him in an everlasting tie, enabling him to become a patriarch to his posterity forever, and enabling him to receive a fullness of the blessings of the Lord”... “Presumptuous and blasphemous are they who purport to baptize, bless, marry, or perform other sacraments in the name of the Lord while in fact lacking his specific authorization. And no one can obtain God’s authority from reading the Bible or from just a desire to serve the Lord, no matter how pure his motives.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 494).
Like I said, the priesthood is the one hingepin piece that separates the Mormon church from every other Christian church out there that claims to have the truth. Well, that and the Book of Mormon, I suppose.
So let's get into how it all came about, instead of just talking about the nay-sayers to the priesthood, and the priesthood itself. For this we're going to dive into the book of commandments a little bit, as it tells us the structure of the church, while Joe was trying to organize it on the fly. This is the BoC Chapter 24: 31-42, and it includes everything we need to know about the offices of the men in the church..... Or so Joe thought.
"31. The duty of the elders, priests, teachers, dea cons and members of the church of Christ.
32 An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize and to ordain other elders, priests, teachers and deacons, and to administer the flesh and blood of Christ according to the scriptures;
33 And to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church;
34 And to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost, and to take the lead of all meetings.
35 The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost.
36 The priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort and baptize, and administer the sacrament, and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and also to attend to all family duties;
37 And ordain other priests, teachers and deacons, and take the lead of meetings; but none of these offices is he to do when there is an elder present, but in all cases is to assist the elder.
38 The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with them, and strengthen them, and see that there is no iniquity in the church, nei ther hardness with each other, neither lying nor back biting, nor evil speaking;
39 And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all members do their duty;
40 And he is to take the lead of meetings in the abscence of the elder or priest, and is to be assisted always, and in all his duties in the church by the deacons;
41 But neither the teachers nor deacons have au thority to baptize nor administer the sacrament, but are to warn, expound, exhort and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ.
42 Every elder, priest, teacher or deacon, is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him, by the power of the Holy Ghost which is in the one who ordains him."
Was there anything strange about that? I mean aside from all of it, was there anything missing? Maybe the entire topic of this show, the holy fucking priesthood. There wasn't a single mention of it or the office of high priest, or patriarch, or prophet, or anything regarding the structure of how we know the church today. It doesn't even specify the age that each member is ordained into the next level of the offices. It's nothing like the superstructure with exact ages and morality requirements like we know today, and more importantly, it says nothing of the Aaronic, Melchizedek, lesser, or greater priesthoods. NOTHING!!! The entire church is based on the patriarical structure that we covered at the beginning of this episode, and the original church that Joe organized is nothing like how we see the church has come to fruition today. But let's stay focused on the priesthood itself for a minute.
When do we see the first mention of the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood, and in what context? I mean, it had to come from somewhere, so where is that somewhere? Enter Ollie Cowdung, the divining-rod weilding magic man, that's responsible for a hefty amount of the bullshit that we have recorded of early church history. This is just another shining example of Ollie Cowdung getting Cowdung Allover the real history by revising it to suit his and Joe's needs.
This is taken from Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents vol 2: 452.
"The following blessings by the spirit of prophecy, were pronounced by Joseph Smith, Jun., the first elder, and first patriarch of the church: for although his father laid hands upon, and blessed the fatherless, thereby securing the blessings of the Lord unto them and their posterity, he was not the first elder, because God called upon his son Joseph [Jr.], and ordained him to this power, and delivered to him the keys of the kingdom, that is, of authority and spiritual blessings upon the church, and through him the Lord revealed his will to the church:"
This is referencing Big Daddy Cheese, Joseph Smith Sr., laying his hands upon Joe's head and ordaining him as chosen by God. The entire Smith family knew that something was going to come forth from their seed going all the way back to Big Daddy Cheese's dad Asael Smith. They had thought for a long time that somebody from the Smith family would do something great for God, and when Joe started talking about an angel coming to visit him in 1823, he became the family front runner for being the chosen one. I don't think we have record of the exact blessing that BDC gave Joe, it might be somewhere in the memiors of Lucy Mack Smith, but that's what Ollie is referring to at the beginning of this record. It says BDC might have laid his hands on Joe, but he didn't have authority to do so at the time, so it didn't really mean anything until an angel actually did it.
"he [Joe] was ministered unto by the angel, and by his direction, he obtained the records of the Nephites, and translated by the gift and power of God: he was ordained by the angel John, unto the lesser or Aaronic priesthood, in company with myself, in the town of Harmony, PA., on Friday, the 15th day of May, 1829, after which we repaired to the water, even to the Susquehannah River, and were baptized, he first ministering unto me and after, I to him."
That was it, the first official and explicit mention of the Aaronic priesthood, and the first connection of it to the lesser priesthood being ordained to Joe and Ollie in May of 1829. This was published in 1835, 6 fuckin years after Joe and Ollie went to the Susquehannah river to baptize each other, and give each other the priesthood, or get the priesthood conferred on them from an angel, it's a little confusing and ambiguous. Doesn't that seem like a little bit of a problem? If they were claiming divine authority to be running the church the way they were, why did it take 6 years for the details to come out, in regards to how they got that authority in the first place? Why is the 6 year-after-the-fact version the one we hold to today, when there were plenty of other versions circulating before? The bullshit thickens.
"But before baptism, our souls were drawn out in mighty prayer, to know how we might obtain the blessings of baptism and of the Holy Spirit, according to the order of God, and we diligently saught for the right of the fathers and the authority of the holy priesthood, and the power to administer in the same: for we desired to be followers of righteousness and the possessors of greater knowledge, even the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Therefore, we repaired to the woods, even as our father Joseph said we shoud, that is to the bush, and called upon the name of the Lord, and he answered us out of the heavens, and while we were in the heavenly vision (stoned sight) the angel came down and bestowed upon us this priesthood; and then, as I have said, we repared to the water and were baptized."
This was Ollie's recounting of the mutual bapturbation ritual, that he and Joe did to each other. This is the first account we have of Joe and Ollie performing the ordinance of baptism, while holding the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood. The church membership was in the high hundreds at this point, possibly even breaking into the thousands, and every single one of those baptisms up to this point was done without the expressed ordination of the AP given by the angel of John the Baptist. But this is only talking about baptism. In order to be confirmed into the church and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, the person performing the confirmation has to have the Holy MP, for it to be legitimate in the eyes of God. Well, it isn't talked about for a while longer, but we do have reference to the high priesthood coming up next, without it being explicitly called the MP.
"After this we recieved the high and holy priesthood, but an account of this will be given elsewhere, or in another place."
And that's it. That's the only reference we have to Joe and Ollie receiving the high, or MP. There might be something buried deep in the catacombs of the church history vaults, but nobody that would be willing to publish it on the interwebs, has access to anything more than this. Even church apologists and historians don't have any clue when Joe and Ollie received the MP, it's just one of those things in church history where we have to shrug and say, we don't know.
"Let it suffice that others had authority to bless, but after these blessings were given, of which I am about to write, Joseph Smith Sen., was ordained a president and patriarch under the hands of his son Joseph, myself, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, presidents of the church. These blessings were given by vision and the spirit of prophecy, on the 18th of December 1833, and written by my own hand at the time; and I know them to be correct and according to the mind of the Lord.... These blessings shall come upon him [Oliver] according to the blessings of the prophecy of Joseph, in ancient days, which he said should come upon the Seer of the last days and the Scribe that should sit with him, and that should be ordained with him, by the hand of the angel in the bush, unto the lesser priesthood, and after receive the holy presthood under the hands of they who had been held in reserve for a long season; even those who received it under the hand of the Messiah, while he should dwell in the flesh, upon the Earth, and should receive the blessings with him, even the Seer of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saith he, even Joseph of old...."
And that's the end of the writing that we have access to. It doesn't say anything about Peter, James, and John being the angels that ordained the high or holy priesthood to Joe and Ollie, that's just it. It doesn't even talk about John the baptist being the angel in the bush that gave them the lesser priesthood. It's all so poorly written and ambiguous. No specific details were given except for the date. The way that they baptized each other wasn't talked about. The baptism blessing wasn't recounted. The blessing the angel gave to ordain them into the priesthood isn't mentioned or detailed. The bullshit problems plague this entire account of the priesthood ordination. Thanks Ollie Cowdung Allover, for bullshitting everything up and confusing the fuck out of everybody that tries to figure out what the actual fuck really happened.
Let's talk about how Joe did claim authority. According to what we read from the Book of Commandments, the terms elder, and apostle used to be synonymous, and share the duties of the same office. Well, when Joe first started up the church, the office of Elder was the highest anybody could reach. They were responsible for watching over the church, officiating meetings, conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost, and pretty much anything else the church needed done.
The offices of priest, teacher, and deacon attended to less important concerns in the church, and weren't responsible for conferring or ordaining prospective members into full membership by the gift of the holy ghost.
The next big distinction that comes about is the office of high priest, which had nothing to do with the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, when it was first conceptualized. This distinction was first made in the minutes of the June 1831 conference in Kirtland, Ohio. This is the first place we ever find elder being distinct from the office of high priest.
We can find in Joe's unpublished 1832 self recorded history the details of this office as the 4th item in a list of various duties. This entire list isn't terribly important, but we'll read it to get an idea of Joe's early understanding of church offices.
I pulled this from Dan Vogels Early Mormon Documents vol 1:26 but it was originally taken from the Joseph Smith Papers, in the LDS archives.
"Firstly he receiving the testamony from on high. Seccondly, the ministering of angels. Thirdly, the reception of the holy priesthood by the ministring of Aangels to adminster the letter of the Gospel the Law and commandments as they were given unto him and the ordinences. Forthly, a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living god, power and ordinence from on high to preach the gospel in the adminisration and demonstration of the spirit the kees of the kingdom of god confered upon him and the continuation of the blessing of god to him &c."
This seems to have the two gospels separated in steps three and four, but it says nothing about Aaronic vs. Melchizedek priesthoods. It just refers to both as the holy priesthood. Even when it refers to ministering of angels with 2 out of the three words horrifically misspelled, it doesn't name John the baptist, or Peter, James and John in the ministering of angel to acquire the holy priesthood, it's simply silent on that detail. There is one other big problem with this writing we just read. For any clarity that it might offer in reference to the two different priesthoods, it didn't matter, because nobody saw this when it was first recorded. Joe and Frederick G. Williams started recording this in mid-late July 1832, and abruptly stopped in late November of that same year. It remains unfinished, and it was never published for any church members, or leaders, to see. This writing may as well not have existed as far as everybody but Joe and Freddy G. Willy knew.
This distinction has to come from somewhere though, right? There has to be some place where we can definitely find the distinction of the lesser priesthood, being the Aaronic, and the high priesthood being the Mechizedek. Well, it sort of evolved. The groundwork had to be laid out for the structure to be built on, which was set out by a revelation given on the 22nd of September 1832
This is an excerpt from the 1835 Doctrine and covenants, section 4:
"2 Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Je rusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation; for verily, this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house."
This is just solidifying the zionist/restorationist nature of the Church that Joe organized. It means that Zion the new Jerusalem will be built upon the American continent, and that Christ will reign personally upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed and receive it's paradisiacal glory. We've talked about this before, but it was something of a common thread in the burned over district where Joe grew up. A lot of religious sects had the same idea. But we won't waste time rehashing it now.
"And the sons of Moses, according to the holy priesthood, which he received under the hand of his father-in-law, Jethro, and Jethro received it under the hand of Caleb, and Caleb received it under the hand of Elihu, and Elihu under the hand of Jeremy, and Jer emy under the hand of Gad and Gad under the hand of Esai as, and Esaias received it under the hand of God;"
Let's pause there for a second. Up to this point, these names are just grabbed from random places in the bible by Joe. But once we get to the name Esaias, we really start running into problems. I thought Esaias looked a little familiar, and after doing some research, I figured out why. It's because it's an actual biblical name like most of these, however, it's the greek translation for Isaiah. These names may seem nonsensical and boring, but there is a lot to unpack here, and it has to do with how we supposedly have the MP today. We're going to finish up the verse and talk about the problems afterwards.
"Esaias also lived in the days of Abraham and was blessed of him, which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who re ceived it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah; and from Noah till Enoch, through the lineage of their fathers, and from Enoch to Abel, who was slain by the conspiracy of his brother, who received the priesthood by the command ments of God by the hand of his father Adam, who was the first man; which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years."
That was the entire preisthood lineage according to Joe. It's important to trace it all the way back to Adam so we can know that it's legit, and from God. That's why current priesthood holders have their little card that traces their priesthood lineage all the way back to Joe. Every holder knows how many steps removed from Adam their preisthood is, thanks to this amazing revelation. But let's talk about the technicalities, and what exactly it claims.
From the most recent person chronologically, the list starts with the sons of Moses, which makes sense, that's where we get the Aaronic priesthood from, Moses' son Aaron. And then, the list goes to his father in law Jethro, to Caleb, to Elihu, to Jeremy, to Gad, to Esaias, then to God. I'm not sure how/why it makes the jump to God, but that's what it does. After that, it claims that Esaias lived in the days of Abraham, and Abraham was the person who blessed the priesthood unto Esaias, even though it just said the Esaias received it from God. Then it tells us that Abraham received the MP, calling it by name, from Noah, then to Enoch, to Abel, and finally we arrive at Adam. What a fuster-cluck right?
Well most of these are names that trace back to biblical lineage, and they were obviously meant to be when Joe first revealed the list of names. So where do these names appear in the bible?
First we have Moses who supposedly lived up to about 1400 BCE. Modern archeaology puts him around 900 BCE, but Joe can't be constrained by archeaology and facts, so let's just grant the 1400 BCE. Then it goes to Jethro, Moses' father in law, who was a contemporary of Moses. No anachronistic problem there, but it does imply that Moses isn't from the entire line that Joe is about to list, but rather married into it and was given the MP by his father in law Jethro. I just picture every ancient Hebrew hovering in their grave, from the energy of their spinning corpse at this insinuation, that Moses was not literally descended from Father Abraham.
Anyway, next it goes to Caleb, who supposedly gave the priesthood to Moses' father in law, Jethro. However, Caleb was a contemporary of Joshua and was born 13 years before Moses supposedly died, yet somehow he ordained the priesthood to Moses' father in law, who in turn, gave it to Moses.... Do we start to see the problems arising?
Next oldest in the list is Elihu, who supposedly gave the holy MP to Caleb who was a young boy when Moses died. The problem here is Elihu is a contemporary of Job, which is widely known to be the oldest book in the bible. It's considered pre-mosaic, or before Moses. It's argued in scholarly realms whether Job was written by Moses or not. The side that argues that it was written by Moses would put the authorship around 1440 BCE, however, the other side that argues that Job is indeed, pre-Mosaic, puts it's authorship around 1700 BCE. Whether or not Moses was the author, the timeline places the story occuring around 1700 BCE, so according to Joe's MP lineage here, Elihu who probably died around 1650 BCE, that's just a personal guess, being that he's a contemporary of Job who lived around 1700 BCE, was the guy who passed the MP to Caleb who was a young boy when Moses died. This is a glaring anachronism of some obscene 350 years. But the next one is the worst jump yet.
According to Joe's list, Elihu got his MP from Jeremy. Well, big fuckin problem here. There is no Jeremy in the Old Testament. There's a Jeremy mentioned twice in the NT in the book of Matthew, but it's used as a synonym for Jeremiah. So if we grant the englishization of Jeremiah into Jeremy, for the purposes of figuring out Joe's timeline, we have a huge, blinding contradiction. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet at the age of 20, in 627 BCE.... how the fuck did he give the holy MP to Elihu who probably died more than a thousand years before Jeremiah lived? Is this all starting to come together yet? Hopefully not, because we still have more names to throw into this spaghetti bowl of batshit anachronistic fuckwittery that Joe's responsible for here.
Jeremiah, who supposedly gave the priesthood to Elihu who died 1000 years before he lived, supposedly received his MP from Gad. The only possible name that makes any sense, Gad. He was the seventh son of Jacob, and probably lived around 1710 BCE. This actually, kind of falls in line with the lineage if we remove most of the other names up to this point, but somehow, he passed his MP down to a guy that lived 1100 years after he did, Jeremiah, just so that guy could give it to a guy that lived a generation after Gad, who was Elihu. But once we look one generation older to see where Gad received his MP from, we have Esaias. I mentioned earlier that this is the Greek translation of Isaiah who was a prophet that supposedly died around 650 BCE.
How the fucketty fuck did that happen? Isaiah was a fuckin time traveller too?! Apparently Isaiah was trippin on some mad shit in the middle of writing proto-Isaiah, before the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE, and decided to take a trip back to 1750 BCE, 1100 years before his death, just so he could give the MP to Gad, just so Gad could give it to Jeremiah who died after Isaiah, so Jeremiah could give it to Elihu, who lived 1000 years before Isaiah, so Elihu could give it to Caleb, who was born after Moses' father in law Jethro, who Caleb gave the MP to, so Jethro could give it to Moses when Caleb would have been 13. What the complete actual fuck is happening here?
After this tangled fucknugget of what the fuck is weaved, apparently Esaias/Isaiah gets the MP from either God, or Abraham, maybe both of them, because, why the fuck not at this point. And then the Priesthood lineage goes from Abraham back to his father, and father's father, back to Noah, who somehow got it from Abel who died before having any children, who also picked it up from Adam.
Seriously Joe, now you're just doing this to be an asshole right? Did Joe seriously think that nobody would check his work? Did he think that if he spoke with enough authority, and wrote down time-specific enough sounding names that everybody would just buy it? Are you fuckin kidding me? Alright, everybody got all that? Because that was just the Melchizedek Priesthood lineage. It said nothing of the Aaronic Priesthood. Let's finish up this last verse in the revelation and see if we can't get even more confused.
"3 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed throughout all their generations, which priesthood al so continueth and abideth forever, with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God. And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.— Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the au thority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not mani fest unto men in the flesh; for without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live."
I find it interesting that Joe included this last line in here. No man can see the face of God [without the priesthood] and live. Didn't Joe see God the Father, and Jesus Christ standing next to each other, floating in the grove when He was 14. He didn't die when that happened, and he wouldn't be ordained into the Aaronic priesthood for another 9 years after that. And it wouldn't be reported that he had the Aaronic priesthood for another 13 years after the supposed first vision. Well, this is all because Joe hadn't come up with the first vision story yet, and wouldn't for another almost 6 years after this revelation was given. But, that didn't stop church leaders in the day from trying to rationalize it, when these revelations came into conflict. Orson Pratt, was quoted saying that Joe was ordained with the priesthood before birth, and that's how he was able to see God and Jesus at the age of 14, and not have his face melt off, like some Indiana Jones, arc of the covenant shit.
With the last line aside, you might say well there it is! In 1832 Joe gave this revelation stipulating the differences between the MP and the AP, that was the purpose of the entire revelation we just read. Well, that would be accurate if Joe wasn't fucking with the timeline to best suit his purposes. This revelation was given in 1832, but wasn't included in the 1833 BoC publishing whatsoever. It was only included in the 1835 print of the DaC. When this original revelation was given, it was published in the Times and Seasons newspaper in 1832, and said nothing of the distinction between MP and AP, it only mentioned the holy priesthood. The 1835 release of the the DaC, with this revelation in it, is therefore, a later interpolation of his own revelation by Joe to make things fit his timeline the best.
This is in no way the entirety of Mormon authority claims. We barely even scratched the surface with the content in this show. The ways Joe claimed to be of higher authority than everybody else, were constantly changing and morphing, putting himself as the top of a taller and taller house of cards. Any time there was a dissenter in the church, or somebody did something that Joe didn't agree with, like challenge his authority, he just made up a different office that superceded the dissenter, and placed himself in that office. That's why the church initially started out with the simple structure of Deacon, Teacher, Priest, and Elder, and evolved to what it is today. Deacon, Teacher, Priest, Elder, High Priest, Bishop, Patriarch, Stake President, General Authority, Council of the 70, Quorum of the 12 Apostles, First Presidency, and finally terminating at Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, all wrapped up into the CEO of the church, known as present day Thomas S. Monson.
Much like a single organism doesn't learn to ingest, digest, and excrete energy, the authority of the church has evolved different subsystems and callings as they've been needed, in order to stay functioning. It's hard to point to a single moment in time and say, "that was definitely when the priesthood came along", things are much more complicated than that. We'll see how the authority positions evolved in the church as we advance further in our timeline of the church. They came about because of a certain pressure that we can usually point to, and we can see the rippling effects from that specific pressure. But, all in all, it's impossible to cover such a massive and dynamic piece of the Mormon power structure and hiearchy in a single episode.
Speaking of pressures elliciting evolution, currently the church is going through a massive PR battle with believer Kate Kelly, because she's pushing to get the church to ordain women into the Priesthood. Well, ask yourself, did I mention a woman, even a single time in the entirety of this episode up until now? Well, there's a good reason for that. If women are ordained, it undermines the misogynistic superstructure that the church has been built on, and there'll be no possible way to square it with everything else that Joe revealed concerning the church. Last time that I read the susquehannah river account, it was Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery out there with angel's hands on their heads, giving them the priesthood, not Joseph and Emma Smith. To anybody that hopes the church will ignore it's doctrine, and give the priesthood to women, like it did with blacks, that's just my perspective to consider.
Tyler and Jim are base jumping in underground cave
Tyler and Jim are best friends and complete adrenaline junkies. They're always looking for the next extreme thrill, or trying to one-up their last one. This never-ending quest for adrenaline brings them to standing on the edge of the Cave of Swallows, a common stop for the most extreme of base jumping adrenaline junkies. Jim is known to be the crazier of the two, and he is wanting to test the limits of his abilities today. Tyler and Jim haven't done this jump in a couple of years, but they are both base jumping veterans, by any standard of measure.
Jim is standing on the rim of the 1300 foot deep vertical cave in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He decides to test his luck with a creative launch. A standing backflip. Jim is no stranger to performing ariel tricks, and a backflip is a great way to initiate a good combo. Jim sets himself up for the perfect launch, back to the opening of the cave. Jim sets up for the jump, and takes the leap of faith. A very small rock underneath Jim's shoe causes him to slip on launch and not be able to push away with enough force. As his body makes the revolution in the back flip, his head is much closer to the surrounding vegetation on the mouth of the cave than anticipated, and his forehead collides with an rogue extended branch, knocking him unconscious.
His limp body begins it's uncontrolled free fall of 10 seconds to sudden death. Tyler watches as everything happens in slow motion. Without a thought for his own safety, Tyler launches himself through the mouth of the deadly widow maker cave to try and save his friend. Tyler tucks his arms in and pulls his legs together turning himself into a human bullet in accelerated free-fall. Tyler catches up to the his unconcious rag-doll of a jumping mate, and sees Jim's blue rip-cord flapping in the wind. He reaches out to grab the cord, and pulls with all his might. Jim parachute opens with a mere 2 seconds to spare, but the time it took to catch up to his friend, puts Tyler in an unlucky situation.
The whiplash effect of the parachute opening, snaps Jim back into conciousness. He looks up at the mouth of the cave wondering what happened, and where Tyler was. The last thing he remembers is standing on the edge of the cave about to backflip into his epic combo, with Tyler standing by his side. But his friend is nowhere to be seen above Jim's head. The fear of reality occurs to Jim, and he looks below his feet to see Tyler only feet from the ground without his parachute open. Jim's heart sinks, as he knows he's about to watch his best friend perish by the forces of nature. A friend that he knowingly owes his life to.
The ground is approaching too fast, and Tyler's parachute won't have time to open far enough to slow him to safety. Tyler has just enough time to turn around and face his death.
He's is at 9 and a half seconds of the 10 second free fall, and time comes to a near stop. Tyler realizes the gravity of what he's done. He performed a truly humanist, selfless act, in an effort to save a person he dearly cares about. And that's all that life has to add up to. Doing things for people that you care about, no matter how selfless it requires you to be.
Just as Tyler comes to this epiphanatic realization, he sees a small glistening light floating in the center of a dark sphere of rippling aether. He doesn't know what it is, and doesn't realize what it means, but he's inexplicably drawn to it. The ground holds no signifiance to Tyler, no more significance than his own mortality. All he can focus on, is the glistening talisman floating inside the sphere inches from the ground. Tyler reaches out and grabs the artifact, and there's nothing but silence.
Jim watches the entire scene in horror. Just as Tyler's body would have hit the ground, there is a flash of darkness, that consumes Tyler's body right before impact, leaving his empty parachute pack to hit the cave floor with a light thump. It merely creates a small ploom of dust around it's landing pad.
Jim floats safely to the floor while yelling to his friend, who's most certainly succumbed to the deadly influence of gravity. Jim runs to Tyler's landing place, and picks up the pack, with a puzzled look on his face. No person will ever know what happened Tyler on that fateful day, but Jim knows what he saw.
There is a new, never before known or understood presence in the NaMo outer darkness kingdom. To understand this force we must hearken back to the first translation we know of. Let's try to remember back to that fateful day on the construction site. Julie was innocently walking along the construction site adjacent to the busy street she walked every day to and from work. The fateful day of her translation felt different somehow. She had been contemplating her existence for quite some time, with no real progress. Well, JMS had his overseeing eye on her for the past couple days, knowing the opportunity to translate her would come along soon. JMS could see her humanist thoughts, and the overpowering presence of these notions delighted him. Julie was casually walking down the street, while a crane operator was carefully hoisting a 20 ton steel beam, from the ground to the top of the structure that was being constructed. This operator was known to be one of the best in the business, but JMS had a plan for him today.
As Julie was walking along the street, underneath the crane's load, JMS descended upon the operator. Unseen to the natural eye, JMS sent his mind controlling tendrils, deep into the visual cortex of this unwitting crane operator. The presence of JMS cast a dark shadow over the entire cockpit of the crane, and filled it with black smoke. The operator was a mere puppet to JMS by this point. The operator looked down at Julie walking along the street, and JMS projected into his feeble little mind the true form of what Julie was to become.
She didn't look human, but rather, a changed, darkened, yet perfect version of what a human could be. She had large red eyes, and massive dark tendrils for hair. Her face was sharp, with a peircing gaze, and dark conviction with each turn of her head. Her body was a perfect, encompassed in a thick cloud of blackness that she seemed to control at her will. With each step Julie took, plooms of darkness emitted from each footprint.
The operators stare remained affixed on the beautiful, and mysterious form nearly 10 stories below him. He couldn't separate reality from what was happening. JMS was very pleased with the vision he planted in the operator's mind, for it was about to accomplish the exact task JMS intended.
The operator, being so distracted by such a magnificent and dark form, lost control of the crane. The beam crashed against the structure it was intended to become a part of, and the cable holding it snapped. The beam was now in freefall, just as JMS intended. The thick black smoke inside the crane's control module, quickly dissipated, as JMS's work was almost complete. There was one thing left for JMS to do, drop a translation talisman on the ground, right where free-falling beam was aimed, for Julie to pick up in the nick of time.
Just as construction workers were yelling to Julie in an effort to get her attention to rescue her, she looked on the ground and saw the talisman perfectly placed by the dark entity only known as JMS. The crane operator snapped back into reality and saw Julie in her mortal form right in line with the falling beam. His heart instantly sank as he realized what he had inadvertantly done. He had unwittingly sentenced Julie to her death, because he was distracted by what seemed to be an inexplicable hallucination.
Just as the beam reached Julie, she grabbed the talisman, and was gone. The steel beam crashed to the ground with concrete crushing force, yet, Julie was nowhere to be found. No body, no destroyed remains where her body should have been, nothing. She was just gone. The operator would never come to find out what happened, and nobody would believe the hallucination story he would tell, for the rest of his days.
However, on the other side of the dark veil. Julie had been reborn into her perfected Demon form. She would be known as Demon Julie, if she would only be content with her current title. But Demon Julie simply isn't enough darkness to describe everything that Julie really is.
JMS knew there was something more inside of her. He knew that she would soon rise above the ranks to become something that has never been known to man or Demon alike up to this point.
The NaMo outer Darkness is filled with Demons. They know nothing of the true presence that surrounds them referred to as JMS, they only know that something lies beyond the darkness. They merely tremble at the black that fills their souls every moment, from the presence of the almighty JMS.
Since entry into the Outer Darkness, the Demons have been talking about something that lies at the edge of their realm. A portal with an event horizon barely large enough to fit a single Demon, but all fear it too much to investigate further. Demon Julie has finally had enough of the other Demon's wild speculation, and scare tactics about the portal, and wants to discover what's on the other side for herself.
She slowly approaches the epicenter of blackness that marks the portal, all at the behest of the other Demons. They keep telling her that she'll be instantly annihilated if she enters, because none have had the courage to step through to find out for themselves.
Demon Julie is standing right next to the portal, and the other Demons are shrieking discouragment for what she's about to do. But Julie is too strong-willed, to be held back by the other simple minds in this realm of Outer Darkness. Julie puts forth one clawed arm, and touches it to the portal. Instantly everything is totally black. She feels a rushing sensation, like she's travelling millions of lightyears in a second and then everything comes to a violent halt...
Demon Julie is standing in a grove shrouded in a thick black fog. All is dark. No mortal eye could make out anything through the blackness around, but Julie's Demon eyes are well adapted to the dark by this point. However, even her expertly Demonic eyes cannot see all the way through the black vapor. She can merely make out a very simple shape.
By her side is a railing that starts where she stands, and seems to extend into the blackness for eternity. She can't make out anything else, but hears voices that seem to fly through the aether, whispering unintelligible things.
As Demon Julie takes in her surroundings, she hears one sinister, small voice, "Hold fast to the Iron Rod". Julie looks around in an effort to find the origin of such a voice, but can scarcely see beyond her fingertips, much less make out what lies in the unknown aether she's surrounded by. Well, she had enough courage to go through the forbidden portal, and she has no intention of stopping now. She grabs onto the rod with both hands, and the mystical, floating voices become a little louder.
Demon Julie is unfrightened by the change in activity around her, and takes a few steps forward, advancing into the abyss. The voices are getting louder, and more and more agitated with every step. Julie takes her fifth step, while holding to the rod, and something bright white flys by her face, shrieking at her to stop what she's doing, lest she perish. Julie is unstoppable, even though the voices around keep telling her to walk away and abandon her quest to satisfy curiousity. She refuses, and persists.
With each step, the voices are louder and louder, and these bright balls of light keep flying past, screaming at her to stop what she's doing. Suddenly, all the surrounding voices stop.... 3 bright white orbs are in the near distance, illuminated through the heavy mist that surrounds her. She's still holding fast to the rod, and continues walking towards the luminiscent white beacons in front of her.
Julie is so confused by now, where is she? What's in this place? Why don't these voices want her holding to this Iron Rod? Why does it feel so wrong to hold on, but she still can't let go?
The questions are piling up in her mind, but her will is stronger than her fear of the unknown. The three white entities come into view, and Julie stops dead in her tracks. She knows that she's seen them before, but doesn't know where from.
"Julie, we are Peter, James, and John. Why do you hold to this rod my child? Why do you continue to walk the path through the darkness? What is it you seek?"
JT: "I desire to know the truth."
Julie is frozen. She's trying to figure out what's happening. What are these spirits doing in this place? Nothing makes sense.
One of the spirits walks up to Her and said, "I desire you to cast your eyes across the field my child. What is it you see?"
Julie looks up in the direction the spirit is pointing toward, and the fog seems to clear just enough to make out a massive white building. It's beautiful and spacious in it's construction and must be made from the most pure white granite She's ever beheld. The top of the building peaks in 6 massive spires, three on either side, with an exquisite gold statue on top.
JT: "What is this place?" Julie asks the spirits.
"It is the place where you can attain anything you desire, if you but open your mind and seek shelter in the great white building"
The sinister small voice whispers to Julie once again "Hold fast to the Iron Rod". Julie tightens her grip, knowing that the great building across the field holds no salvation from this wretched place. She takes another step.
"What are you doing my child?" the three spirits ask in forceful reply to her action.
She isn't phased by the question, and refuses to answer. She takes another step.
"What are you DOING?" The white light surrounding the spirits flashes with a single pulse of vibrant red.
JT: "Leave me alone"
Julie knows this isn't going to be easy, and takes her next step.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!" The spirits shriek in malcontent. The aether around them pulses a frightening red, almost like it has a life of it's own.
She grips the rod even tighter, expecting her next step to ellicit a dangerous reaction from the spirits. She takes the next step, and just as her foot touches the ground, the pulsing red fog around the spirits explodes into countless beams of red light. They disintegrate and become manifestations of their constituent spirits. Suddenly it all makes sense. Julie understands where the floating voices came from, and why they had only stopped, once the three spirits appeared.
The floating voices she'd been hearing earlier were those of sentient floating skulls of passed church leaders, shrieking sermons in an effort to stop Julie's valiant efforts of discovery.
A screaming floating skull flys straight at Julie, and collides directly with her chest, buckling her to her knees. The fog around her is swarming with these heads, screaming at her to force her to let go of the Iron Rod by any means necessary. But she won't give in.
Another head crashes into Her back while she's buckled over, and this one nearly puts her to the ground. Demon Julie looks around at the swarm of skulls and wonders how she can possibly overcome this crippling force.
JMS sees that she still has one hand on the Iron Rod, and knows that she has enough will power to not give in to the brutal force of the holy skulls. She is one of the chosen few. JMS has seen enough, and decides to give Julie the key to defeating the skulls that surround her. Julie looks down at her hand that's on the ground helping to hold her up, and underneath it, a weapon of curious workmanship begins to appear. A solid handle of Iron forms out of the ground and Julie grasps the end to see what she has been awarded. She lifts the handle up to see a heavy iron short chain connected to the far end of the iron handle she's holding on to. She lifts it further to see what lies at the end of the chain, and discovers a massive sphere. Large pieces of jagged iron all combine together to form what looks to be a ball of deadly spikes. But the metal isn't like anything she's ever seen before. A thick film surrounds the spikeball, and strikes of dark purple lightning can be seen coursing through it. It's an Iron Morning Star, crafted of curious workmanship, the likes of which no mortal, or immortal alike, has ever before witnessed.
Julie hears the sinister small voice say "Now, this is your Iron Rod". Julie let's go of the rod that's staked to the ground, and stands to face the next attacking skull gripping her Iron Morning Star with both hands.
The aether around her is alive with these shrieking swarming skulls. The mist is glowing red with the energy emmitted from them as they scream their sermons at her. One more skull aims itself at Julie to try and take her down to her knee once again, but this time she's ready. She starts swinging the Star around in a circle by her side, gaining momentum, waiting for just the right moment. Just as the skull reaches Julie, she swings the spikeball star in front of her and hits the skull with a crushing blow. The skull shatters into a million pieces, and disappears in a ploom of red smoke. The other skulls shriek in horror at their fallen comrade, and go on full attack mode. Julie wildly swings the massive Morning Star around in all directions with expert weilding, and crushes any skull that's foolish enough to get close. Plooms of red smoke can be seen all around her as she racks up skull after crushed skull. Only a small number remain, just the few that were smart enough to keep their distance from this Morning Star weilding expert, Demon Julie.
They fly further back from Julie, haphazardly retreating for fear of annihilation, but never stop antagonizing her. Julie brings the Morning Star to a rest at her side. The skulls dare not get any closer or they will be lost forever. Realizing they're no match for Julie, they turn toward the spacious white building that's still off in the mist and flee for safety. Julie stands victorious. She turns around and sees the Iron Rod that seems to extend into eternity, and grabs ahold of it with one hand. The Iron Morning Star melts away to be used some other day.
Julie presses on. She continues her walk while holding to the Rod, uncertain of what will appear next. As she slowly shuffles along, she sees what looks like the end of the Iron Rod. She isn't certain, but it looks like it terminates at the edge of another dark portal. Where could it lead? She's come much too far to turn back, or second guess herself now.
"It's okay" says the sinister small voice. Julie let's go of the Rod, and has a feeling of overwhelming peace come over her. She takes a deep breath and steps into the portal.
Julie has now reached a level never thought reachable by any NaMo Demon. She no longer carries the title of Demon Julie. She is now our first and only NaMo Soul Breaker Julie. She controls the realm of Demonhood having overcome the trials that every Demon faces to attain the next level.
Thank you for your amazing support Soul Breaker Julie. The show has become so much more enriched because of your support, and I have no other way of thanking you than my utmost gratitude, and a cheesy story.
If you want a translation story like Demon Tyler, or a something a little more epic like Soul Breaker Julie here, go to Patreon.com/nakedmormonism to make a per episode pledge, and gain access to extra content. Half of the shows profits go to Holding Out Help, to help polygamist families transition out of their communes, or other worthy non-profit organizations. The patreon page doesn't just exist so I'm not stuck with store brand chicken wings and weak domestic beer.
Copyright Ground Gnomes LLC subject to fair use. Citation example: "Naked Mormonism Podcast (or NMP), Ep #, original air date 06/19/2015"