The Mystery of the Priesthood, Angels Cannot Understand It
"The endowment you are so anxious about, you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds." (Joseph Smith, HC 2:22, p. 309)
"The mystery power and glory of the priesthood is so great and glorious that the angels desired to understand it and cannot: why, because of the tradition of them and their fathers in setting up stakes and not coming up to the mark in their probationary state." (Joseph Smith, 27 August 1843, Words of Joseph Smith, p. 247, James Burgess Notebook)
"King of Shiloam-power & authority over that of Abraham holding the key & the power of endless life.-angels desire to look into it, but they have set up to many stakes. god cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses." (Joseph Smith, 27 August 1843, Words of Joseph Smith, p. 244, Willard Richards Diary)
"He then read the 7th chap. Hebrews....I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God.
"To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.
"I prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot ever overthrow or overcome this boy, for I have a promise from the eternal God....
"The power of the Melchizedek priesthood is to have the power of "endless lives;" for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken....There are three grand orders of priesthood referred to here.
"1st. The King of Shiloam. (Salem) had power and authority over that of Abraham, holding the key and the power of endless life. Angels desire to look into it, but they have set up too many stakes. God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses.
"The sacrifice required of Abraham in the offering up of Isaac, shows that if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things. When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law.
"What was the power of Melchizedek? 'Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.
"Abraham says to Melchizedek, I believe all that thou hast taught me concerning the priesthood and the coming of the Son of Man; so Melchizedek ordained Abraham and sent him away. Abraham rejoiced, saying, Now I have a priesthood.
"Salvation could not come to the world without the mediation of Jesus Christ.
"How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet. The law revealed to Moses in Horeb never was revealed to the children of Israel as a nation.
"Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers.
"The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected and made sure.
"Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of 'life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.' The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.
"The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood.
"The 3rd is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of priests to administer in outward ordinance, made without an oath; but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant.
"The Holy Ghost is God's messenger to administer in all those priesthoods.
"Jesus Christ is the heir of this Kingdom—the only begotten of the Father according to the flesh, and holds the keys over all this world.
"Men have to suffer that they may come upon Mount Zion and be exalted above the heavens.
"I know a man that has been caught up to the third heavens, and can say, with Paul, that we have seen and heard things that are not lawful to utter." (Joseph Smith, HC 5:28)
"There are certain key words and signs belonging to the Priesthood which must be observed in order to obtain the blessing. The sign of Peter was to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, with the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost; and in no other way is the gift of the Holy Ghost obtained." (Joseph Smith, HC 4:32)
"I preached in the grove, on the keys of the kingdom, charity, &c. The keys are certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed. The rich can only get them in the Temple, the poor may get them on the mountain top as did Moses. The rich cannot be saved without charity, giving to feed the poor when and how God requires, as well as building. There are signs in heaven, earth and hell; the Elders must know them all, to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition. The devil knows many signs, but does not know the sign of the Son of Man, or Jesus. No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something and this can only be in the holiest of holies." (Joseph Smith, HC v. 4, ch. 35)
There are three priesthoods: Aaronic, Melchizedek and Patriarchal. To be rightly called a priesthood, they must include associations with the powers of heaven.
This priesthood was given for condemnation; to seal up the children of men to the hardness of their hearts, or to lift them. When the children of Israel refused to come into the presence of God they were cursed with this lesser priesthood. This priesthood includes the association of angels which include true messengers that have authorized messages. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jacob, King Benjamin and Joseph Smith are examples of these. The office of the calling of angel is to call men to repentance, to declare the conditions of repentance such that they may enjoy a greater priesthood if they are true and faithful.
Melchizedek (The Holy Order after the Order of the Son of God)
This priesthood is an association with the Savior or Second Comforter. It is not obtained by father or mother or by the will of men, but comes directly from God himself who employeth no servant there. The purpose of this priesthood is to help those who are true and faithful to enjoy a greater priesthood.
This priesthood brings us into association with the Great Patriarch, God the Father. We see an example of this priesthood when Nephi is having a dialogue with both the Father and the Son.
Joseph sought for the saints to obtain these last two priesthoods, which they had previously forfeited. The Lord set the conditions, and Joseph delivered the conditions of repentance to the saints. Those conditions were never fulfilled. (D&C 124)
These associations, or priesthoods are not limited to men, and indeed cannot be obtained by men without a woman.
We can continue to assert that the Nauvoo saints were faithful and that we have a fulness now, but by doing so we damn ourselves because we do not seek for what we could obtain, by the means appointed to obtain them.