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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mormon Theology no. 42 - The Apostleship

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (as shown in previous posts) is the only Church to hold the Priesthood Keys, delivered under the direction of the Lord by Peter, James, John, Moses, Elijah, and Elias.  In this essay, we will discuss the meaning, power, and authority of the Apostleship in this dispensation.

Since  14 February 1835, the Apostleship has been at work promulgating the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So what is the meaning of the word "Apostleship", or what is the nature of that calling?

Current Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  Back Row, R-L: Neil L. Andersen, D. Todd Christofferson, Quentin L. Cook, David A. Bednar, Jeffrey R. Holland, Robert D. Hales, and Richard G. Scott.  Front Row, R-L: M. Russell Ballard, Dallin H. Oaks, Russell M. Nelson, L. Tom Perry, and Boyd K. Packer

Meaning of "Apostleship"
President Brigham Young taught, "All the keys . . . and everything preparatory to entering into the presence of the Father and of the Son . . . are incorporated within . . . the Apostleship. (Millennial Star, 23 July 1853, p. 489)"  Apostles ordain Apostles - that is how the Church of Jesus Christ works.  I say boldly as a warning that no man can be ordained an Apostle of the Lord unless specifically called by the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints personally.  If one says he was ordained an Apostle by one in the LDS Church who does not hold that office - or by one outside the LDS Church - then that man is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  All those off-shoots of the LDS Church - even if they claim to be Apostles, or to have been given a special ordination - unless they are ordained by the body of the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency and then sustained publicly in a General Conference assembled, they are not true apostles.

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1944): Front (left to right): George Albert Smith, George F. Richards, Joseph Fielding Smith, Stephen L. Richards, John A. Widtsoe, Joseph F. Merrill. Back (left to right): Charles A. Callis, Albert E. Bowen, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Mark E. Petersen

Power and Authority of "Apostleship"
The first power anyone gets in the Apostleship is received by diligent, hard work.  In a letter printed in the Deseret News on 30 April 1853, we read:

"Elder O. Pratt has been indefatigable in his exertions in prosecuting the business entrusted to his charge. . . . Elder Pratt is faithful, useful, and true; he has got the run of matters here very well, and is with me in all my deliberations, visitings, etc.
[signed] Orson Hyde"

Secondly (but actually firstly, in regards to building up the Kingdom of God), the Power and Authority of the Apostleship was discussed by President Young during the cornerstone laying of the Salt Lake Temple in 1853.  Said he, "We will now commence with the Apostleship—where Joseph commenced.  Joseph was ordained an Apostle, that you can read and understand.  After he was ordained to this office, then he had the right to organize, build up the kingdom of God, for he had committed unto him the keys of the Priesthood, which is after the order of Melchizedek, the High priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God.  And this, remember, by being ordained an Apostle. (Journal History, April 6, 1853, 6–8)"

Elder Orson Pratt further commented,

This Church never could have arisen had the Lord stopped with the mere translation of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the lesser priesthood.  It is true that with the latter we could baptize, but it does not impart the power to confer the Holy Ghost; and that this Church might have the power to administer in every ordinance of the Gospel, the apostleship was again restored, which holds all the keys, authorities and powers to administer, not only in the outward ordinances, but also to confer the spirit of the living God. (Journal of Discourses, 12:361)

Thus we can behold the nature, power, and authority vested within the Apostleship, which Apostleship is fully exercised only within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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