The Iron Rod Podcast
The Iron Rod Podcast
Iron Rod 133 - D&C 66-68

Instructions for William McLellin, and the conference discussing the publishing of the revelations kicks off. We are joined by Paul (aka Saul) Cushing.

JST Exodus 33:20

D&C 84:19-23

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9 comments on “Iron Rod 133 – D&C 66-68

  1. Thomas Jun 21, 2021

    Great episode this week! In the episode, at around 41:38 Taylor mentioned how the power to seal up unto eternal life is a power reserved only for those who are high priests. This is something I’ve actually been grappling with for the past month, because I am not sure the scriptures bear it out. He also mentioned that Joseph taught that the fulness of the priesthood was required in order to seal people up unto eternal life. I’d love a source on that if one exists.

    Of course, if anyone has this power, the high priests do, but I don’t know if we can say that only they have this power. I have found a couple of counterexamples worth considering. They’ve been weighing on my mind a lot.

    Counterexample 1) D&C 68:7,12 – It seems as though the Lord has given elders—who do not necessarily have the fulness of the priesthood—the ability to seal others up unto eternal life. Despite the section being addressed to 3 high priests and 1 elder (Lyman E. Johnson wasn’t ordained a high priest until the next day), verse 7 specifically narrows in on elders. Are these “high priest” elders? Or are they just “elder” elders? I find it hard to believe that the power to seal in this verse actually only belongs to high priests, and not to “all the faithful elders of my church.” If this is not a good enough counterexample, there is still an even stronger one that shows that the sealing power is not only held by high priests.

    Counterexample 2) D&C 124:124 – The Presiding Patriarch (Hyrum) has the sealing power.
    Yes, Hyrum was also a high priest, but verse 124 is in the very same section where the Lord has said that he has taken the fulness of the priesthood away from the church. (D&C 124:28) If the Lord has taken away the fulness of the priesthood, and the fulness of the priesthood is required to seal people up unto eternal life, then why are patriarchs given the power to seal people up unto eternal life? The only logical answer is that we don’t need the fulness of the priesthood to seal people up unto eternal life. The Patriarchal Priesthood is enough, in some circumstances, it seems.

    Those of us used to McConkie Mormonism, where we (used to) view the idea of unconditional sealing (a “false and damnable doctrine”) via the second anointing as the apex of all priesthood power, may be tempted to view “sealing up unto eternal life” as the ultimate expression of priesthood power. We know that being sealed up is always conditional, for no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God, and anyone can fall from grace, but if we can accept that being sealed up truly is conditional, then maybe we can acquiesce to this blessing not requiring the fulness of the priesthood.

    Could it be that the highest priesthood is meant for creating a Zion people, but the Patriarchal Priesthood, which is a subset of Melchizedek Priesthood (for “all priesthood is Melchizedek”), still allows for a “continuance of blessings”? If we ponder on the fact that many people are “sealed up to rise in the morning of the first resurrection” in their patriarchal blessings, we can begin to connect the dots. The language of D&C 124:91-93,124 begins to make more sense.

    91 And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William be appointed, ordained, and anointed, as counselor unto my servant Joseph, in the room of my servant Hyrum, that my servant Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right;
    92 That from henceforth he shall hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people,
    93 That whoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whoever he curses shall be cursed; that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Sounds very “sealing-y” to me!)
    124 First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.

    I cannot justify in the scriptures the idea that being sealed up unto the day of redemption is any different than being sealed up unto eternal life. If I am wrong here, I’d love to see the scriptures that indicate so. The strongest evidence for this is Ephesians 4:30 – And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
    Additionally, a sample of patriarchal blessings given by Hyrum Smith also reveals that he was sealing people up unto eternal life, by virtue of the Patriarchal Priesthood “invested” in him, long after 1841 when the Lord had declared that the church no longer had the fulness of the priesthood.

    “Now I seal you unto eternal life to come forth in the celestial kingdom at the sounding of the first trump.” (Patriarchal Blessing of Miriam Jones by the hand of Hyrum Smith, 6 March 1843

    “Sister Mary, I lay my hands upon your head in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to bless and seal you up unto Eternal life, according to the Power of the Priesthood, which is invested in me.” (Patriarchal Blessing of Mary Forsythe by the hand of Hyrum Smith, 10 September 1843

    I have never found anyone who has viewed the sealing power in this sense, but this perspective has been very satisfying to me. Please let me know if you find any discrepancies in my analysis!

    • I’ll have to look into this more, because it’s a good point, but perhaps the sealing up that is possible under the patriarchal priesthood, is the sealing up to the terrestrial kingdom aka Zion. D&C 45 says:
      12 Who were separated from the earth, and were received unto myself—a city reserved until a day of righteousness shall come—a day which was sought for by all holy men, and they found it not because of wickedness and abominations;
      13 And confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth;
      14 But obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.
      So perhaps they received the promise to see Zion through this patriarchal blessing/sealing.

      • Thomas Jul 4, 2021

        It’s an interesting idea, but it would be the first time a sealing would be for something other than eternal life/ celestial kingdom/ day of redemption, to my knowledge.

    • I’m not sure if this is what Taylor had in mind when he made the statement, but at a conference in October 1831 the minutes state:
      Br. Joseph Smith jr. said that the order of the High priesthood is that they have power given them to seal up the Saints unto eternal life. And said it was the privilege of every Elder present to be ordained to the High priesthood.

      • Thomas Jul 4, 2021

        Thanks for the source, MD. This sheds some good light on how Joseph saw the High Priesthood. But now it makes me wonder what was lost when the saints lost the “fulness of the priesthood”, if they still had the power to be sealed up unto to eternal life, albeit now through the presiding patriarch. Could it be that they still had some of the powers of the High Priesthood even though the fulness was lost?

        I can relate to Levi Hancock and Lyman Wight. From the source notes on JS papers for the link you sent: “Speaking about the priesthood, Hancock remarked that “neither of us understood what it was.” “I did not understand it,” wrote Hancock, “and he [Wight] could give me no light.”

        I don’t know if the priesthood paradox has been totally cracked yet.

      • Thomas Jul 4, 2021

        Okay. I actually might have thought of a way to square all of this. I think Taylor is right that the sealing power belongs only to the High Priesthood.

        I will refute the previous two scriptures I shared to show how they can be squared with the sealing power belonging only to the high priesthood.

        1) D&C 68:12 – Yes, this is referring to elders who don’t have the high priesthood, but the key word is that they *shall be* given the power to seal others up unto eternal life. Joseph’s teachings elsewhere imply that they won’t be doing this sealing until they are high priests, but that doesn’t refute the idea that they, as elders currently, will in the future be sealing others up unto eternal life (when they are high priests).

        2) D&C 124 – We are familiar with the infamous verse (28) that says that the fulness of the priesthood has been “lost unto you”, or taken away by God. We tend to apply this verse to the entire church, but upon closer inspections the “you” of verse 28 is the same “you” as verse 1, i.e. Joseph Smith. What this means is that Joseph had lost the powers associated with the high priesthood. But Hyrum had not! Hyrum was the prophet now, and he still had the high priesthood.

        The sealings that continued in the church thereafter, before the church totally fell away, it would seem, were done by Hyrum via the high priesthood.

        • Wow. You are correct about verse 28, it is in a section addressed to Joseph. It’s only in verse 31 that the Lord shifts to addressing “all ye my saints” as ‘you’. I’m going to have to process the implications of this. Thanks!

          • Thomas Jul 16, 2021

            Alas, I am forced yet again to switch my stance. Interpreting D&C 124:28 as anything other than a reference to power to perform baptisms for the dead is untenable for me now. I am convinced that this section reveals that by this point in time, Joseph’s understanding of what the fulness of the priesthood was had shifted. It was another of his unauthorized doctrinal innovations. A study of D&C 127-128 makes it clear that by this point in time, Joseph understood sealing power (“power to bind on earth and in heaven”), as the power to perform baptisms for the dead, in contradiction to his previous teachings. Since the earliest teachings were that the fulness of the priesthood = the high priesthood = the sealing power, and now in D&C 124 Joseph is operating under the framework that power to perform baptisms for the dead = the sealing power = the fulness of the priesthood, this may spell trouble for the validity of D&C 124.

            To add on top of that, this article –> <– effectively debunks the practice of baptisms for the dead as a true doctrine, if we truly believe the Book of Mormon, in my opinion.

            What's more, since D&C 124 also indicates that Joseph had apparently given Hyrum the "sealing blessings" of the church, which is the same power used in sealing people up unto eternal life in D&C 68:12 (as I have made clear in previous posts), we have quite the paradox, since now there are two competing definitions of sealing in the Church: baptisms for the dead, and being sealed up unto eternal life. (That is, unless we "expand" the definition of sealing to mean something it never did.)

            To me, all these issues together effectively invalidate the whole of D&C 124, which is weird, because so much of your guys' current hypothesis relies on D&C 124:28 to be valid. What if the saints were never even commanded to build the Nauvoo temple? To finish the Inspired Version of the Bible? To build the Nauvoo boarding house? What if Hyrum was never made the presiding patriarch or a prophet, seer, and revelator in any authoritative sense?

            Anyway, it comes as no surprise when in following years Joseph seeks to bind other things on earth and in heaven (cough cough spiritual wifery) and calls that "the sealing power" and the fulness of the priesthood, evolving eventually to refer to the second anointing.

  2. Any plans on releasing an electronic version of Joseph in the Gap on Amazon? I would rather have it on my Kindle.