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Monday, February 14, 2011

Mormon Theology no. 19 - The Keys of the Priesthood and the Succession Crisis

On 27 June 1844 at approximately 5pm, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jun. and his brother Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch to the Church, were murdered in the jail at Carthage, Illinois.  On 8 August 1844 a meeting was held to discuss with the Church who is the rightful successor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Herein I present testimonies of those who were given Priesthood Keys by President Joseph Smith, Jun. before he was killed, thus showing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only holder of the Priesthood of God within the Latter-day Saint movement as well as in the whole world.

Of his giving the Priesthood Keys to the Quorum of the Twelve, President Joseph Smith, Jun. said, "I have lived until I have seen this burden, which has rested on my shoulders, rolled on to the shoulders of other men; . . . the keys of the kingdom are planted on the earth to be taken away no more for ever. . . . No matter what becomes of me" (Deseret News, Dec. 21, 1869, p. 2).

From Elder Orson Hyde we have the following words.  "Before I went east on the fourth of April last, we were in council with Brother Joseph almost every day for weeks. . . . He conducted us through every ordinance of the holy priesthood, and when he had got through with all the ordinances he rejoiced very much and says: `Now if they kill me you have got all the keys . . ." (Times and Seasons 5:651).

President Wilford Woodruff said,

I bear my testimony that in the early spring of 1844, in Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph Smith called the Apostles together and he delivered unto them the ordinances of the church and kingdom of God; and all the keys and powers that God had bestowed upon him, he sealed upon our heads, and he told us we must round up our shoulders and bear off this kingdom, or we would be damned. … His face was as clear as amber, and he was covered with a power that I had never seen in any man in the flesh before. (Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mar. 12, 1897, p. 2.  See also Holzapfel, Richard Neitzel and Smoot, Stephen H., “Wilford Woodruff’s 1897 Testimony”, Banner of the Gospel: Wilford Woodruff, ed. Alexander L. Baugh and Susan Easton Black (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2010).

President Brigham Young spoke of the bestowal of keys by Joseph Smith.  Said he, "Joseph conferred upon our heads all the keys and powers belonging to the Apostleship which he himself held before he was taken away, and no man or set of men can get between Joseph and the Twelve in this world or in the world to come" (History of the Church, 7:230).

Three of these men (Elder Hyde and Presidents Young and Woodruff) I have quoted were at the same meeting.  But that is beside the point.  This is the point: "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (2 Cor. 13:1).  Since there are no witnesses from the Community of Christ, they haven't a leg to stand on, nor do any other "Restorationist" churches.  The only legitimate successor when concerned with Priesthood Keys is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

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