24: "Enter into the Rest of the Lord" (Alma 13-16)
Sister Neill F. Marriott once said, “the priesthood is not the men of the Church.” In that case, what exactly is the priesthood, and how does priesthood power apply to women? Join us in this week’s exciting study group as we dig into Alma 13-16 with special guest Barbara Morgan Gardner to discuss what priesthood power is and learn how we can access that priesthood power in our everyday lives.
Video: How to Help Young Women Feel Valued and Needed in the Church, Sister Neill F. Marriott's quote, "the priesthood is not the men of the Church" starts at around 3:09.
Barbara's Book: The Priesthood Power of Women in the Temple, Church and Family.
Book about the priesthood by Elder and Sister Renlund: “The Melchizedek Priesthood
Quote: “Now, may I voice a concern? It is this: Too many of our brothers and sisters do not fully understand the concept of priesthood power and authority. . . I fear that too many of our brothers and sisters do not grasp the privileges that could be theirs” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Ministering with the Power and Authority of God,” General Conference, April 2018).
Quote: “Like faithful sisters in the past, you need to learn how to use the priesthood authority with which you have been endowed to obtain every eternal blessing that will be yours” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Women of Dedication, Faith, Determination, and Action,” BYU Women’s Conference, May 2015).
Quote: “To all of us who have daughters and sons, nieces and nephews, young women and young men – will you teach them this? Teach them that in church callings, temple ordinances, family relationships, and quiet, individual ministry, Latter‐day Saint women and men go forward with priesthood power and authority. Teach them that the interdependence of men and women in accomplishing God’s work through His priesthood power is central to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and will help prepare the world for the Savior’s second coming” (Sister Jean B. Bingham, “Endowed with Priesthood Power,” BYU Women’s Conference, May 2019).
Melchizedek is introduced for the first time in Alma 13:14:
"Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of aMelchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same order which I have spoken, who also took upon him the high priesthood forever" (Alma 13:14).
Are Melchizedek and Shem maybe the same person?
1. The inheritance given to Shem included the land of Salem. Melchizedek appears in scripture as the king of Salem in Alma 13:18.
2. Shem, according to later revelation, reigned in righteousness and the priesthood came through him. Melchizedek appears on the scene with a title that means “king of righteousness.”
Melek: Hebrew word for “King,” see blueletterbible.org.
Zedek, or “tsaddiq”: Hebrew word for righteousness, see biblehub.com.
3. Shem was the great high priest of his day. Abraham honored the high priest Melchizedek by seeking a blessing at his hands and paying him tithes Alma 13.
4. Abraham stands next to Shem in the patriarchal order of the priesthood and would surely have received the priesthood from Shem; but D&C 84:5–17 says Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek.
5. Jewish tradition identifies Shem as Melchizedek.
6. President Joseph F. Smith’s remarkable vision names Shem among the great patriarchs, but no mention is made of Melchizedek.
7. Times and Seasons (vol. 6, p. 746) speaks of “Shem, who was Melchizedek. …”
Source: “Is it Possible that Shem and Melchizedek are the same Person?” Alma E. Gygi, Ensign, Nov. 1973.
Why do we call it the Melchizedek priesthood?
"4 But out of arespect or breverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood" (D&C 107:2-4).
The Priesthood has always existed.
"This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being awithout beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from beternity to all eternity, according to his cforeknowledge of all things" (Alma 13:7).
The way the priesthood functions:
Draw two overlapping circles of equal sizes.
- Label one side: Familial Priesthood or Family Structure. (President Benson used familial instead of Patriarchal, patriarchal meaning the way the priesthood was passed down.)
- Label the other side: Administrative or Eccelsiatical Structure.
(See President Ezra Taft Benson, “What I Hope you Will Teach Your Children About the Temple” Ensign, August 1985)
The administrative structure is the structure that Jesus set up when he was on the earth with the first presidency. Peter James and John restored the administrative structure, and Elijah restored the keys of the patriarchal or familial structure in Kirtland.
The middle of the two circles: Ordinances. The priesthood structures need each other, and each priesthood structure functions differently in the family than it does in the church.
Alma is teaching both men and women:
- (Alma 13:10) ". . . it was on account of their exceeding bfaith and crepentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;"
- (Alma 13:14) "Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of aMelchizedek"
- (Alma 13:30) “The people” Alma is speaking to audience of women and men.
- (Alma 13:3) "Being called and prepared from the foundation of the world."
- (Alma 13:6) “and thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his arest."
President Nelson’s invitation in 2019 to study D&C 25:
“What I can tell you is that accessing the power of God in your life requires the same things that the Lord instructed Emma and each of you to do. So, I invite you to study prayerfully section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants and discover what the Holy Ghost will teach you” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
How can we, as men and women, increase in Priesthood Power?
- (Alma 13:10) We can strive for exceeding faith, choosing to work righteousness and repenting.
- (Alma 13:11) We can be sanctified through the blood of lamb
- (Alma 13:12) Be sanctified by the Holy Ghost, look upon sin with abhorrence, stay clean.
- (Article of Faith 1:4) Living the gospel of Jesus Christ
- (Alma 13:13) We must humble ourselves.
The word “REST” is in verse 13, 16, and 29 of Alma Chapter 13.
Quote: “The rest of the Lord, where mortals are concerned, is to gain a perfect knowledge of the divinity of the great latter-day work. …” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie)
Quote: “It means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else, we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive” (President Joseph F. Smith, “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith,” under subtitle "By faith we can enter into God's rest" see ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
President Nelson’s invitation to study D&C 84:
“I entreat you to study prayerfully all the truths you can find about priesthood power. You might begin with Doctrine and Covenants sections 84 and 107. Those sections will lead you to other passages" (President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
Quote: “The rest of the Lord is to inherit eternal life. To gain the fullness of the Lord’s glory. That is entering into the rest of the Lord means that we enter into our exaltation. As women and men, and only as women and men can we enter into our exaltation.” (Bruce R. McConkie)
Quote: “Now, in closing, I would like to leave a blessing upon you, that you may understand the priesthood power with which you have been endowed and that you will augment that power by exercising your faith in the Lord and in His power” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
Story in Alma 14 about Alma and Amulek:
- Alma 14:10 Alma and Amulek were also pained at the pains of the people
- Alma 14:19 The judge boasts that he has the power to deliver Alma and Amulek.
- Alma 14:20 The judge taunts Alma and Amulek, asking why they don't deliver themselves.
- Alma 14:24 The judge taunts them again, saying that if they have the power of God, they should deliver themselves.
- Alma 14:25 Amulek asks how long they shall suffer.
- Alma 14:28 Alma and Amulek burst out of the prison, they were not hurt.
Battle of Powers:
- D&C Chapter 1
- Old testament: Moses and pharaoh
- Book of Moses in pearl of great price.
- Moses and satan, moses and satan.
Quote: “Now a little word of warning. There are those who would undermine your ability to call upon the power of God. There are some who would have you doubt yourself and minimize your stellar spiritual capacity as a righteous woman. Most certainly, the adversary does not want you to understand the covenant you made at baptism or the profound endowment of knowledge and power you have received or will receive in the temple—the house of the Lord. And Satan certainly does not want you to understand that every time you worthily serve and worship in the temple, you leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having “charge over” you” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
- Alma 15:5 Alma and Amulek go to Zeezrom's home
- Alma 15:6 Alma asks Zeezrom if he believes in the "power of Christ unto salvation."
- Alma 15:9 Zeezrom sasy he believes according to Alma's words.
Quote: “As your understanding increases and as you exercise faith in the Lord and His priesthood power, your ability to draw upon this spiritual treasure that the Lord has made available will increase. As you do so, you will find yourselves better able to help create eternal families that are united, sealed in the temple of the Lord, and full of love for our Heavenly Father and for Jesus Christ” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
In Alma Chapter 16 the people of Ammonihah were destroyed, teaching us how nothing compares to the power of God.
Quote: “I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony of the ministry of angels more than we sometimes do. They constitute one of God’s great methods of witnessing through the veil, and no document in all this world teaches that principle so clearly and so powerfully as does the Book of Mormon” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “For a Wise Purpose,” January 1996 Ensign)
Quote: “Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” General Conference, October 2008).
Ministering Angels and Ministering as a function of the Priesthood:
Quote: “On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” General Conference, October 2008).
Priesthood power is available to everyone:
Scripture: Mosiah 4:19, 24-25
"19 For behold, are we not all abeggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
"24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I agive not because I bhave not, but if I had I would cgive.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk about difficult questions: "Trust in the Lord" General Conference, October 2019.
Three years ago, the Young Women's general board did this incredible interview titled, "How to Help Young Women Feel Valued and Needed in the Church," and based on that title, I was totally hooked. I had just been called to serve in young women's, and I was really wondering, how can we help young women, and all the women for that matter, feel valued and needed in the Church? My favorite part of the discussion was three minutes into the interview when Sister Neill F. Marriott said, quote, I'm never going to forget this, "The priesthood is not the men of the Church." She actually said it in a cute little Southern accent. I loved it.
The interview was amazing. I recommend everybody listen, and I'm going to include the link to that in our show notes so you can go watch this. But what struck me is the idea that maybe the priesthood lies beyond what we have traditionally defined it as, and if that's true, what exactly is that? So today as we study Alma chapters 13 through 16, we're going to talk about the priesthood and how it works in the lives of both men and women, and we've got something really special planned for this episode.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and really dig into our scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
So here's how this podcast works, it's about an hour long and you can listen to it all at once, or you can also listen to it in segments. It's broken up into six segments and they last about 10 to 12 minutes each. So you can listen to one per day and study your scriptures every day. And at the end of each segment, you'll hear a little bit of music to let you know that that is the end. So listen for the music.
Another really awesome thing that I love about our study group is each week we're joined by two different friends, and it's a little different each week and especially different this week. So today I only have one friend with me. Her name is Barbara Morgan Gardner. Hi, Barb!
Barbara, we've been friends for a very long time, since 1999.
Incredible. That's a long time.
It is. We got hired to teach seminary at the same time. I called it like, "The Great Female Hiring of '99." Like so many women got hired that year. Do you remember that?
I do. It was fantastic.
It totally was, and then you went on to live, I call it the "CES dream" because you broke barriers because you ended up being Institute, then you went out and you were over institutes and seminaries. Right?
Right. I was Institute Director and Seminary Coordinator out in Boston, Massachusetts area. It was a phenomenal experience.
And unheard of. I was so happy for you. And now you're teaching at BYU, right?
I am and I love it.
Tell me what you teach. Tell all of us.
I am in the Church History and Doctrine department. So I teach Living Prophets, Church history and Doctrine, the Doctrine Covenants, and the Eternal Family. More importantly, I teach students, but those are the topics.
I think that's awesome. There's so many other things we could talk about with you, so go to our show notes so you can read our bio about Barb and you can find the show notes at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday and there's a cute picture of her and her husband, so I highly recommend you go check it out.
Now Barb, I'm so excited for today's discussion. Like I've been excited all week because it is the priesthood lesson and I've specifically invited you because you've done some extensive research about this topic. You have paid the price, in my opinion, to know everything there is to know about the priesthood. You are the author of the book, "The Priesthood Power of Women: in the Temple, Church and Family." Will you tell me a little bit about that?
Well, first of all, I definitely want to say that I don't have monopoly on all the knowledge and understanding we have of the priesthood. I have so much more to learn. In fact, I am learning more on a daily basis. The leaders of the Church, especially President Nelson and the First Presidency, the Senior Leaders of the Quorum of the Twelve, and general leaders have asked over the last 10 years specifically for the women of the Church to better understand the priesthood power and authority that we have as women, and I have just felt especially as a teacher of young adult women and a sister and a daughter, etc, etc, just a high level of responsibility to help the women or the Church understand. And with anything else, I have studied diligently and prayed and read the scriptures and gone through the talks of the prophets and really tried to understand better so that I could help others to understand and use their priesthood power and authority. It's been a great endeavor.
It's very apparent in your book. I highly recommend everyone read this book. For those of you listening, you can actually get it on Bookshelf PLUS+, so if you have your subscription, read it. Like maybe after this podcast, right when we're done, go get it.
Now because there's only one study group participant for this episode, it's going to be a little bit different than what we've done in the past. We're really going to dig in to the purpose, role, and power of the priesthood, as well as our access to that power in context of what we learn in Alma's chapters... why do I keep saying "Alma's?" I do that all the time, Barb, I put s's on things. The "LDS Living's," "The Nordstrom's," I always add "s's" to it. It's horrible.
Okay, here we go. We're going to really dig into the purpose, role, and power of the priesthood as well as our access to that power in context of what we learned in Alma chapter 13 through 16. And there's a bonus, we're going to answer your questions about it as well. So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in. Oh this is going to be good. Barb, in my opener, I mentioned that if the priesthood is not the men of the Church, then tell us, what is it?
The most general and the most holistic definition of the priesthood is "God's power."
That's it. God's power.
Okay. So if the priesthood is "God's power," then what's its purpose?
So the main purpose of the priesthood is just to fulfill God's work and glory, which is, as we know, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. So every person in the Church who has made covenants with the Lord has been given, in a sense, the responsibility to use their priesthood to fulfill God's purpose, to help each other have exaltation.
Okay, now, when you say that though, immediately, many of us are going to be drawn to the idea of, "Yeah, yeah, yeah we totally get that, and so my purpose as a woman is to have kids. That's how I'm going to use that power, God's power is to have babies." Let's talk about that because that's what we were taught growing up. I was taught that. That that was my only role and responsibility, which you can imagine how devastating that was not getting married, and I just felt like I was never fulfilling my whatever, my duty, my power, whatever.
Yeah, even as a teacher, sometimes I have students who will say something like, "The priesthood responsibility of men is... and the responsibility of women is to bear children." To which I say, "Well, what about me?"
And they kind of pause and they realize, "Oh, my teacher is a woman and she can't have children. So this is all of the sudden getting very personal," which it is. And so it becomes extremely important that women understand that the bigger definition of the priesthood really is the power of God for the salvation of souls.
Oh my gosh, I love that. Because what we're studying today is Alma, chapters 13 through 16, and what this whole scripture block is talking about is the salvation of souls, and both men and women have the priesthood responsibility to save souls. We're going to see that in these chapters today.
And frankly, Tammy, in these chapters, we're talking for the most part about two men, Alma and Amulek, but many of the principles that are spoken of could be you and I walking around as members of the Church trying to help each other have salvation and help other people as well.
100%. That's what I love about this is that it is about two men, but it could just equally be about two women when we study all of the words in these verses. Barb, I love that you brought that up.
We have to be a little cautious with this simply because Alma in this case is a prophet and he is a high priest, but as far as Amulek, there are thousands and thousands of sisters in the Church who are now serving as full time missionaries. There are many, many women in the Church who have callings.
And understanding that power Barb is what will allow all of us to be better missionaries to, like you said earlier, to bring about the salvation of souls.
Absolutely no question. So I love Elder and Sister Renlund, they have a great book on the Melchizedek Priesthood, and they talk about the two different definitions of priesthood, and they compare it to the word "earth." So the "earth" has two different definitions. It's the "large globe" and then it's also the "small piece of dirt that we hold in our hands." And they talk about priesthood, and I love this analogy, they say there's a bigger definition of priesthood, just like there's a bigger definition of Earth and there's a smaller definition of priesthood, the smaller definition of Earth. The bigger definition of priesthood is the power and authority of God. The smaller definition of priesthood that we're so much more comfortable with as members of the Church just because of tradition, and that's the power and authority that God has delegated to man on the earth today. And so you have two different definitions that we have to be aware of, especially in context of what the prophets are asking us to study and use in our lives.
Earlier you mentioned "covenants," and this idea that we get power through covenants. And so when we talk about this role that we have, where do we fit in in that?
So we fit in both. As covenant keeping members of the Church, we will fit in both. So the larger definition of priesthood is any person who has received and has made covenants with the Lord who has been given God's power. The second definition then is also including any men, any man and any woman because as we know from Elders Scott's recent General Conference talk, that women who receive a calling are given priesthood power and priesthood authority to function in that calling under the direction of one who holds priesthood keys. So in both definitions of priesthood, women fit, and it's extremely important for women to understand that we do fit in both and it's extremely also important to understand that we need men to make that happen.
Let's read this quote. This is from our Prophet President Nelson in 2018 General Conference, and I think it fits perfectly with what you just said. Barb, will you read that quote?
He says, "Now, may I voice a concern? It is this: Too many of our brothers and sisters do not fully understand the concept of priesthood power and authority. . . I fear that too many of our brothers and sisters do not grasp the privileges that could be theirs."
That reminds me of the talk that Elder Ballard gave at Women's Conference in 2015. And when he said this, my jaw dropped. I was there and he said, "Like faithful sisters in the past, you need to learn how to use the priesthood authority with which you have been endowed to obtain every eternal blessing that will be yours."
Can I just add this quote from Sister Bingham and the Relief Society Presidency?
They said this in April of 2019, and I think it's extremely powerful and helps us to understand our responsibility as women and as men. This is the invitation:
They say, “To all of us who have daughters and sons, nieces and nephews, young women and young men – will you teach them this? Teach them that in church callings, temple ordinances, family relationships, and quiet, individual ministry, Latter‐day Saint women and men go forward with priesthood power and authority. Teach them that the interdependence of men and women in accomplishing God’s work through His priesthood power is central to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and will help prepare the world for the Savior’s second coming” (Sister Jean B. Bingham, “Endowed with Priesthood Power,” BYU Women’s Conference, May 2019).
Oh my gosh, I love that. Barb, that is a brilliant, brilliant quote. I mean, I could study that forever. Thank you for adding that. And what I love about it is that one of the best ways to teach this is by using Alma chapter 13. So in the next segment, we are going to dig into this chapter and we're going to learn about the priesthood.
Segment 2 11:55
So in Alma chapter 13, it talks a lot about one specific mankind at the beginning in the middle named Melchizedek, so we need to just talk about him before we can move on because a lot of people might have questions about, "Who is this Melchizedek that Alma 13 talks so much about?"
Take it over will you?
"Take it over," I would love to because it's one of my favorite things to talk about. I love this. Go to Alma chapter 13, and we get introduced to him in verse 14. And so it says, "Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek..." So here's a couple things you need to know about him, kind of very cool facts about Melchizedek, and what you have to know and understand about this is there is this idea that Melchizedek is Shem, and Shem is the son of Noah. And so I'm going to give you some really cool things that lead us to believe that they are the same person. There is some conjecture surrounding him...
Can you define the word "conjecture" before you continue?
Conjecture means... Oh I sound so smart, don't I?
Well you are.
Conjecture means it can't really be confirmed or denied, as I said earlier, like there is maybe some truth to it, but we're not really sure, so we're just going to kind of pontificate on... Oh my gosh, look at me. I just used another big word. What's going on?
We're gonna talk about this. So Shem received an inheritance later in his life, and it included the land of Salem. Interestingly enough, Melchizedek appears in Scripture as the King of Salem. In Alma chapter 13, you're going to read that, who reigned over this area. Another thing is that Shem according to latter revelation, he reigned in righteousness and the priesthood came through him, and then Melchizedek appears on the scene with a title and his name -- Melchizedek. This is one of my favorite things I learned when I studied Hebrew, is two Hebrew words -- Melek means "King," and Zedek means "righteousness."
So his name literally means "King of Righteousness" in Hebrew. And when you read about him, specifically in verse 19, well in verse 18, says he was the "King of Salem," verse 19 says, "Now there were many before him and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater." So he's pretty amazing. He is truly a king of righteousness.
I could say that about you too, Tammy.
Aw, the Queen, instead of Melek, I'd be my Maluk, I think that's Queen of Righteousness. Well, thank you. Another neat thing is that Shem was the great high priest of his day. And Abraham honored the High Priest Melchizedek, you'll read this in Alma 13, "...by seeking a blessing at his hands and paying him tithes." Something else is that Abraham stands next to Shem in the patriarchal order of the priesthood, and would surely have received the priesthood from Shem and you can cross reference that with Doctrine and Covenants section 84, verses 5 through 17. And it says that Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek.
Jewish tradition actually identifies Shem as Melchizedek, so I think that's pretty interesting. And President Joseph F. Smith's remarkable vision names Shem among the group patriarchs, but there's no mention of Melchizedek at all. So some people surmise that maybe they are one in the same person. And then in "Times and Seasons," Joseph Smith actually says, "Shem, who was Melchizedek." So we'll have all that information and all of those references in our show notes if you'd like to look those up. I think it's really interesting why we call it the "Melchizedek" priesthood. Somewhere on your page, on Alma 13, put the cross reference Doctrine and Covenants 107, verses two through three. And if you go to Section 107, and read verses two through three, the actual original name of the Melchizedek priesthood is "Holy Priesthood After the Order of the Son of God," but the name of that priesthood was changed to "Melchizedek" to keep it sacred because they didn't want to re-say the name over and over again like that.
In fact, in Doctrine and Covenants 107, verse four, it actually continues and gives us the reason why, it says, "But out of respect or reverence to the name of the supreme being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of the name, they the Church in ancient days called the priesthood after Melchizedek or the Melchizedek priesthood."
Perfect. Thank you. So now that we know who he is, Barb, why is this priesthood so important to us?
Frankly, in order to understand Alma chapter 13, we have to understand Melchizedek because in Alma chapter 13 verses one through 19, Alma's specifically talking about Melchizedek and his people and he's kind of laying the groundwork for what he's going to be asking his people to do. So he's explaining Melchizedek and his people in their time and then he's saying, "Okay, now let's apply in our day what people in the days of Melchizedek did." It's absolutely critical that we understand this definition of the Melchizedek priesthood because we have to know that the holy priesthood after the order of the Son of God always has existed. The priesthood has existed for eternity and will exist for eternity. Joseph Smith teaches that the Earth was created by the priesthood. We're taught that Adam and Eve entered into the holy order of the priesthood. We're taught that our heavenly parents use the priesthood. This priesthood wasn't called Melchizedek until years later as the as the organization of the earth unfolds.
In fact, for those of you listening, go to Alma chapter 13 and mark verse seven. It will support what Barb just said, that it was without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity. I love that you just brought that up. It's always existed.
Yeah, and it's important to understand that again, that both women and men have always had an important and critical role in the priesthood. So in order to understand Alma 13 then, we have to really pull ourselves back, and we have to understand that priesthood always has existed. And on the earth, we have had two priesthood organizations, and we've had two church functions in which the priesthood has been used. And we have to pull ourselves back from the model that we use often in the church, the traditional or administrative model and just say, "Okay, how has it always existed? How is it existed since Adam and Eve, or frankly, how has it existed even in the premortal world?"
So teach me that. How has it always existed?
So I think to better understand this, I'm a visual teacher and I know that Tammy you're a visual learner as well, but maybe on your own, those of you who are listening, you can draw two circles.
Those of you listening, do this because it helped me when I did it with her book.
Okay, so I would draw two circles probably of equal size, and I would make... and you probably already drawn two circles, so give me a second, I would make those two circles overlap, just kind of like your hands would overlap.
So there's like a weird sphere in the middle?
And we're going to label the circle to the left. The patriarchal or familial priesthood. I use the term "familial priesthood" because President Benson uses that and many people struggle with the term "patriarchal." Especially in our day and age, it has kind of a demeaning feeling to it, but President Benson says really because it's a family structure and both men and women enter into this orbit of the priesthood, another term or even a better term he says is "familial" or "family priesthood." So on the left, we're going to say "family structure," and on the right, we're going to say "administrative" or "ecclesiastical structure."
Administrative and ecclesiastical.
Yep. The patriarchal structure is the structure that we have been seeing since the days of Adam and Eve, and it's continued on all the way through Moses. It's a family structure like I said, and the reason why they actually term it "patriarchal structure" is because it's passed down from father to son, but it doesn't mean that only men have the priesthood. It means that that's how it was passed down. That's President Benson, he also explains that. The other administrative structure then, or the administrative structure is a structure that was set up by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. It was what he set up with the First Presidency and Apostles and Seventy. So we have these two separate priesthoods, when Joseph Smith then restores the gospel, Peter, James, and John restore the Melchizedek priesthood or the administrative structure of the priesthood, Alijah in the Kirtland temple, and others, are going to come and restore the keys of the patriarchal structure of the priesthood. So what we see is, the public structure of the Church today is typically the administrative structure, and the private structure, the sacred structure that we often talk about in the temple is what's going to be the patriarchal or familial structure.
So what's in the middle?
So the middle is often... even this last General Conference talk by Elder Oaks, he talks about how both how the priesthood structure's depend upon each other, so the priesthood is different in church than it is in the family. And we need each other and so in that middle area, I often would just put "ordinances." So a father regardless of his being ordained to a priesthood office, is dependent upon a priesthood holder who holds keys in order for him to perform a priesthood function. So we have those ordinances that are right in the middle, and that's important because in our day, we have two priesthood structures, and they are dependent upon each other. And so we have a temple, and we have the Church, and the temple is what leads to the family and the Church is what leads to what we see publicly.
So Barb, my question is, where do women fit in these circles?
It's critical that we understand that they fit in both. So they fit in both in two ways -- in the patriarchal structure of course, the patriarchal structure is going to refer to temple and covenants. So the moment a woman starts making covenants, even at baptism, she's starting to focus on and starting to be a part of the patriarchal structure, patriarchal order of the Church. Then when she goes to the temple for the first time, she's endowed with priesthood power, and she's sealed to a husband and she continues on with this patriarchal order of the priesthood. So this power and authority that comes through the patriarchal system, or patriarchal order, in a sense is going to be the covenants that are being made by women and men. On the other side of the administrative structure, it's going to be the callings that women receive. As we talked about before, anytime a woman receives a calling, she has given power and authority within that calling to perform priesthood functions.
I love this because the other thing that you described in your book is then you had us draw one big circle around both of those circles, and that was God's power. And that just this little thing you described, it's so small, and it just fits within all the power there is that God has in what we call the priesthood.
That's exactly right. And that's why it's so important in Alma 13, is we have to kind of pull ourselves back and say, traditionally, we look at priesthood functions in the administrative function of the Church, but Alma is not talking about that. He's not talking about deacons and teachers, he's talking about high priests, and if we remember, Joseph Smith, when he's setting up the Nauvoo temple, he says he's trying to create an order of priests and priestesses, which is why it's critical that women can look at this and say, "Okay, we as women fit into this for priests and priestesses in the patriarchal order of the priesthood."
Okay, so let's do it, Barb. I'm so excited. Let's look even closer into chapter 13, specifically to see how men and women gain the priesthood power, and how together they're going to enter into the "rest" of the Lord. Capital "R" -- Rest.
Segment 3 23:25
Alright, let's go into Alma chapter 13, and we're going to talk about the priesthood being God's power, and let's see how it applies to both men and women, and how we have been asked to prepare for the second coming of the Lord all in Alma chapter 13. So Barb, I love this, when we went over these verses together, you taught me so much, so I just want you to do this with us okay? So let's start in verse 10, and everybody grab something to mark your scriptures with because you're going to mark them a lot right now. This is fun.
Okay and I'm going to try to figure out how to mark my scriptures here too. This is awesome. Before we go into verse 10, can we back up really quick? I want to make the point that Alma although sometimes it says "brethren," at other times in the scriptures, he also says "people"...
Well, I want to make sure that the women and men understand that although sometimes he is speaking perhaps specifically to the men, it's also very clear, for example, in verse 14, he says, "Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek..."
And then in 30, doesn't he?
Yep. "And Alma spake many more words unto the people, which are not written in this book." And so he's clearly speaking to an audience of both women and men, and that's a critical point as we're trying to go through this and apply it to all of us.
Absolutely. I love that you pointed that out.
Even when he is speaking specifically to men, there may be sometimes when he is, still we have to understand that all covenant making and keeping members of the Church are following and are using the priesthood power and authority that they have been given. So for example in verse three, I just love this because he says that these are people who are prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good words. In the first place, being left to choose good or evil.
Literally, both women and men were known by God in the premortal world, and because of our exceedingly great faith have received many callings. So just starting even right off the bat in verse three, we can see that he's speaking to us. If you look at verse six as well, "And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest—"
This idea of being called to teach the gospel. President Nelson in 2019 made it very clear that the women of the Church should go to Section 25 and the Lord commanded Emma to be a teacher. As individual's saying for ourselves, and as parents as we're trying to teach our children, and as teachers trying to teach others, we do our best to apply what could be applied to everyone as much as possible.
I like that you brought up section 25. Doesn't that start out, "What I say unto one, I say unto all."
Here we go. That's awesome, Barb. Thank you. Carry on, keep going.
Okay, well, you were talking about how to gain this power before and President Nelson recently has invited all women and men to understand how to increase in priesthood power. So if we go to verse 10, he says, "Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God;" And then we understand this next part, "...and it was on account of their exceeding faith..."
So we see these are some of the things that have to happen for members of the Church in order to be able to receive these high callings but also be able to have the power necessary to perform these priesthood functions. So they must have exceeding faith, they must repent, and then it continues, "...their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;
Then we go to verse 11. They "...were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb."
And then verse 12, "Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence;"
This may sound really obvious and basic, but the number one way that I know of for a person to have priesthood power is to be clean, and that is exactly what we're talking about here. It's a person who has been cleansed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, who has repented, and is doing everything they can to be an instrument in God's hands. It's not in the individual's power, they're trying to be clean so that they can be a conduit to God in using his power.
I feel like as you read those Barb and as you're saying that, I'm like, "It's Article of Faith number four." I mean, it is faith, repentance, baptism, to be washed, and then gift of the Holy Ghost. It's that easy. Those four things is what endows us with that power.
Yeah, he's not asking us for perfection. He's asking us to go to the Lord and allow him to cleanse our sins, to cleanse us, but that we as members of the Church and covenant keeping men and women do this. And then 13, he continues that we should humble ourselves before God, and bring forth the fruit meet for repentance, or in other words, that we're doing good and righteous things. That the world would define and tell you, tell us that we gain power in a variety of ways. But the Lord is telling women and men that we gain power through being pure, and by repenting, and by exercising faith in the Lord, and then humbly going to him so that he can fill us with His power.
And what is so incredible about all of these verses is the end result. You know, Barb, when we were talking about how we were going to teach this and what we wanted to focus on, we got to the word "rest," capital "R" -- "Rest," is in verse 13, 16, and 29. Look at all of those verses, but specifically, I think verse 29 might be one of the best verses for this. Verse 29 says, "Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest."
And I would even say like we said, capital "R" -- "Rest" because I think that's a great way for me to understand it. So I just put a big "R" over that little "r" right there. And you shared some pretty neat things with me, would you mind sharing some of those thoughts and insights that you had on what this word means?
Yeah. But I before I get there, I wanted to also point out in verse 29, since you just read that Tammy, it's so good, but I love that it says "having the love of God." To have the capacity to love God is absolutely critical for anyone who is going to use God's power because we're doing it for the motivation of serving God. And if God is love, we are trying to help bring to pass his immortality and eternal life so that people can be filled with joy, and have this kind of love that he is discussing. So it's a beautiful verse as far as how to continue to increase power. We can ask God, if we feel like we have a lack of love, to help us change our desires and fill us with this love.
Love is something that we are, not something that we do. So in response to your question, Tammy, on what it means to enter into his rest, Elder McConkie actually has two answers to that and if it's okay, I'd love to just read what he says on that. I just love the way he explains it.
“The rest of the Lord, where mortals are concerned, is to gain a perfect knowledge of the divinity of the great latter-day work. …” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie)
And then quoting Joseph F. Smith, President Joseph F. Smith, he states, “It means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else, we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive. It is rest from the religious turmoil of the world, from the cry that is going forth, here and there, lo here is Christ, lo there is Christ." (President Joseph F. Smith, “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith,” see ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
So that's the first definition and the first way of explaining it, and I love it, and one of the reasons why I love it is recently again, President Nelson has asked the Sisters of the Church to also study section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verses 18 through 21. And he asked both women and men to study those verses, and it talks specifically about the key of knowledge. A key that both women and men receive in the endowment that allows them to understand who God is, as well as understand the process of godliness and what we need to do in order to become like God.
So we're talking about entering into the rest of the Lord and it's all throughout this section of this chapter, and it continues on the next couple of chapters. One of those definitions is just simply that we are not confused, as we understand and use our priesthood, about what the world is teaching, about who to follow, which Church to join, what is right, what is not right, the different philosophies of men. We are confident in what we know as as covenant keeping members of the Church. So that's the first definition of of entering into his rest. The second part of the quote from Elder McConkie gives us the second definition of the rest of the Lord. So the first one is the rest of the Lord in mortality. The second one is the rest of the Lord in eternity. So in eternity, he states, “The rest of the Lord is to inherit eternal life. To gain the fullness of the Lord’s glory. That is entering into the rest of the Lord means that we enter into our exaltation. As women and men, and only as women and men can we enter into our exaltation" (Elder Bruce R. McConkie)."
Like we enter into his presence?
Yeah, enter into his presence, become like he is.
Are you saying because of the power we've used here on this earth, he has given us this power that will allow us to enter into his rest? That's the whole point and purpose of the power?
Yeah, and it's for the individual who is using the priesthood and it's for those people who they are teaching because as we continue to teach, they then will enter into as rest as they understand the priesthood power and authority that they've been given, and we continue on kind of in a continuous snowball effect until all who are willing will enter into the rest of the Lord.
So what I love about this chapter is we've just discussed then how to get this power, and it's as easy as article faith number four. That made it so easy and tangible to me. I mean, I guess I always just thought you had to do so much more or that I wasn't worthy of it, or that because I'm a woman, I don't have the same access to it, and so now in the next segment, I think what we need to talk about and what I want to discuss a little bit more is then, how do we increase our priesthood power which comes by increasing our faith, and I think we're going to learn that through the story of Alma and Amulek. Let's do that in the next segment.
Segment 4 33:42
So I want to start out this segment with a prophetic blessing by President Nelson. He gave this in the October 2019 conference, and Barb, will you read that for us because it's such an incredible blessing.
I'd love to. I love it as well.
He blessed the women of the Church "that you may understand the priesthood power with which you have been endowed and that you will augment that power by exercising your faith in the Lord and in His power” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
And that word "power" is so significant in our lives, and especially in Alma chapter 14. So let's take a look at the scriptures and go into Alma chapter 14, and read this story in light of that idea of power. Look for that word every time you see it when you read this story because it's said quite often. So here's a little bit of background, so Alma and Amulek, they're in this group with these people and they're so upset and so mad about what Alma and Amulek have said that they decide, "You know what, we're just going to take care of business, and we're going to kill all the believers, like we're done, and we've had enough."
They've bound Alma and Amulek and now they've gathered all of those who are believing and they're going to now put them into a fire and they're going to burn them, and they burn all the believers. It's one of the saddest stories I think, like when I read it again this time I found myself almost crying, feeling so sad in my heart for these believers, and I believe Alma and Amulek felt the same way.
Frankly, I agree with you. It just makes me sick. Like I am just sick and sad every time I read this. I think it's one of the saddest chapters in the entire Book of Mormon. Looking through the eyes of Amulek, these are his people. This could be his wife, this could be his daughters, this could be his sons.
They are his friends. He knew these people. Yeah.
Oo, I'm glad you pointed that out. And it makes verse 10 all the more powerful. Look at Alma chapter 14, verse 10.
"And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames."
And Alma's like, "No, we can't." The Lord isn't telling him to do that, and Amulek's really not understanding this because he's like, "But we can. We can save these people." And you have this incredible conversation between the two of them, read that, I'm not going to give it away. But then after all of the people are burned, we have Alma and Amulek and they are now imprisoned and they are tied up. And we have this conversation between the powers that be, for lack of a better word, and Alma and Amulek, and they go back and forth and they keep saying to Alma and Amulek, "If you have power, deliver yourself. If you say you have the power of God, save yourself." And Barb, we talked about this, and I love what you have in your scriptures. You told me what you've written on the side in your scriptures, and I think everyone should write this because I wrote it in. You call it the "Battle of Power."
"Battle of the Powers." Yeah.
Battle of the Powers. Write that in your scriptures. Tell me about why you have that written.
I mean, it's probably a Star Wars theme, I don't know, but it's this power of good and evil and you see it right as you said, Tammy, in verse 10. Alma says, "I cannot use this power because basically God hasn't told me I can yet." Like, "Yes, do I have it? Yeah, but it's not my power, it's God's." But then you go to verse 19, and it is so buggy. We have the judge and he's saying, "Why do ye not answer the words of this people? Know ye not that I have power to deliver you..." Just think, "Oh, you are so buggy." Right? I want to say that, "You have no idea who you're dealing with right now. Thanks for your little power." And then you see that again, just like you said in verse 20. "If you have such great power, why do you not deliver yourself?" And I'm sure, I just can see Alma just thinking to himself, "Oh, my dear friend. Little do you know, but in just a few moments you're about ready to be destroyed by that power that you're mocking," right? I mean that's...
Well and I wonder if Amulek's thinking, "Yeah, I mean he does. Dude show him what you can do."
Yeah. Amulek knows that he can and he's already been turned down. Part of me I wonder, Amulek is probably thinking, "Okay, everybody that we know and love, all these people that I love, have already been killed. Now Alma, they're on us. They're mocking us. When is the Lord going to tell you to use this power?" You know? But this this battle of powers like you're saying Tammy, it is in every scripture book that we read in as members of the Church. It's in Doctrine and Covenants, section one. Right away, the Lord introduces us and we see the power of Satan and the power of God. It's in the Old Testament, and it's this constant battle between Moses and Pharaoh, and Pharaoh is showing that he has all this power and no matter how many times Moses shows God's power, Pharaoh is going to keep trying to exercise his own until finally, God makes known that He is the God of all power. And it's painful for Pharaoh besides the fact that he loses his son and everything else, frankly, he loses his life.
So then we continue on, I mean, the Book of Moses and the Pearl of Great Price, and then again, we have Mormon and I mean these, the discussion between Moses and Satan and Moses and the Lord is just beyond, and so clearly again in the Book of Mormon, we're talking about God's power. This is priesthood power. God clearly wants people to know in all the scriptures and now specifically in chapter 14, who is in charge?
Can I just interject for a minute because I have this thought. You are 100% right. In every single book of Scripture, there is this battle of powers. And then I thought of the world we live in today, and I thought, "Oh, my gosh, I have been living in this battle of no power." I've been living in a world where Satan has been saying, "Yeah, but you don't have any power. So you're no good anyway." Like, I think he has done such a great job of convincing us we have no power, and now we have a Prophet saying, "No, you do. You have the power." And what that looks like for all of us to fully understand that that power is dependent upon our faith, like the story teaches in here, and how much faith do I have now to believe that I actually have power?
Yeah, President Nelson actually addresses that specifically, he says, “Now a little word of warning. There are those who would undermine your ability to call upon the power of God. There are some who would have you doubt yourself and minimize your stellar spiritual capacity as a righteous woman. Most certainly, the adversary does not want you to understand the covenant you made at baptism or the profound endowment of knowledge and power you have received or will receive in the temple—the house of the Lord. And Satan certainly does not want you to understand that every time you worthily serve and worship in the temple, you leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having “charge over” you” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
So yes, there's a battle going on. Satan, from the beginning of time with Adam and Eve is trying to destroy power and it's continuing on with women today. But I would say stronger for women than ever before because we need women to use God's power now like never before as well. It's a struggle and you're right, Tammy.
And if you don't think the idea of having a home centered church, and arming women and educating them with knowledge of scriptures is not power, you're fooling yourself. Like our Prophet knew exactly what he was doing to say, "We need women to know the scriptures, we need women to have power." So let's talk about this power. So if you continue to read this story, you will see how power is dependent upon their faith.
So as you look through, we see in verse 24, "If ye have the power of God deliver yourselves from these bands, and then we will believe that the Lord will destroy this people according to your words."
And then we see in verse 25, "And it came to pass that they all went forth and smote them, saying the same words, even until the last; and when the last had spoken unto them the power of God was upon Alma and Amulek, and they rose and stood upon their feet."
"And Alma cried, saying: How long shall we suffer these great afflictions, O Lord? O Lord, give us strength according to our faith..."
And so God's power is priesthood but it's dependent upon the faith of Alma and Amulek, and you continue to see that in verse 28: "And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power, according to their faith which was in Christ." Their deliverance was God's power, but it was based upon and dependent upon the faith of Alma and Amulek.
But what I like about this is you're like, "Well, of course because it's Alma and Amulek," but what is so cool is if you go right into Alma chapter 15 now, we're going to have a very sinful man. Remember Zeezrom? I mean, he was less than perfect, and now Alma is going to call upon his power, his faith, in the power to be healed. That's what is so profound to me. Here's Zeezrom, he's laying sick on his bed, he hears that Alma and Amulek are in the land, and he says, "Tell them to come to my house. I need their help," like he is sick with fever is what it says. And they immediately go into his house, in verse five, and the conversation he has with them in verses 6, 7, 8, and 9 is so incredible because Alma just says, "Do you believe in the power of Christ unto salvation?" He's asking Zeezrom that, and Zeezrom says, "Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught." And Alma says, "If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed." And Zeezrom says, "Yea, I believe according to thy words."
So that level of faith for whatever reason, is absolutely critical, and that's one of the things that I absolutely love studying words together. I love that faith and priesthood go together. Elder Bednar has taught on a few different occasions that it's good to study words and conjunctions, so mercy and justice, charity and hope, but in this case, I have found a lot of incredible insight by studying the words "faith" and "priesthood" together.
Well, and you think about having faith and having power, you know it makes us think in our own minds like what role does that play in our own lives today? And how can we exercise our faith to see this kind of power because it doesn't always turn out, like not every Zeezrom is going to be healed, right? And the people in the fire, like Zeezrom was healed, but the people in the fire weren't.
Tammy, can I just get us back a little bit before we go into that. So one of the things that I have learned about the tie in the connection between faith and priesthood is that as our faith in Jesus Christ increases, we become more confident in God and in his power, and are therefore more knowledgeable of how to use his power, and what he is willing to do with his power. So as our faith in Jesus Christ increases, our ability to use his power increases, which increases our faith, which again increases our power. It really is hand in hand. So as we use one, we learn more, and then we have a greater capacity for the other, always remembering, we have faith in Jesus Christ, and the power is Jesus Christ.
Wow, we really saw that with Alma and the people in the fire.
Yes, and we see it with Zeezrom as well, who's going to become an extremely mighty powerful missionary because of his faith, and he's going to be able to use the power of God as a servant of the Lord.
Barb, I love what you just said, and it reminds me of another quote from President Nelson in his 2019 address called "Spiritual Treasures." This is what he said, “As your understanding increases and as you exercise faith in the Lord and His priesthood power, your ability to draw upon this spiritual treasure that the Lord has made available will increase. As you do so, you will find yourselves better able to help create eternal families that are united, sealed in the temple of the Lord, and full of love for our Heavenly Father and for Jesus Christ” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
I think that quote is so powerful because that is a perfect example of these two things. And then we turn to Alma chapter 16, where the people of Ammonihah were totally destroyed just like was prophesied, we see that nothing compares to the power of God, like nothing, it can do all things. And just like that quote said, we can help it do all things by exercising our faith, and then by using that power. Even though sometimes it seems like the power is in these big moments, it's also in the small ones, like the everyday moments that seem mundane or not special, are actually some of the most powerful witnesses to us of God's power. And one of the ways that God uses his power is through angelic ministers. So let's talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 5 45:58
So I mentioned that there was another way that God uses his power here on earth with us, and I want to just start out by saying, we don't talk a lot about this in our culture and in our religion. And it's not because we shouldn't, it's just because I don't think we know a lot about it, and so I'm going to read this quote by Elder Holland to kind of set it up for what we're going to talk about next.
Elder Holland said in 1996, “I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony of the ministry of angels more than we sometimes do. They constitute one of God’s great methods of witnessing through the veil, and no document in all this world teaches that principle so clearly and so powerfully as does the Book of Mormon” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “For a Wise Purpose,” January 1996 Ensign)
I don't know if you noticed this as you read this week's scripture block, but quite often it talks about the ministering of angels and angels bearing witness to people and teaching people. And you talked about this in your book, Barbara, which really stuck with me. The ministering of angels has everything to do with the priesthood, and that just doesn't mean men. Like we all have access to this angelic power, right?
Absolutely. Yeah, good question.
So there's a couple things we first have to know. Number one: angels exist. True or false?
Angels no question completely exist. I used to question, or maybe I didn't question, I used to wonder about angels because people would talk about angels and people would talk about sacred experiences. It wasn't until my mother was passing away that I understood the reality of angels. As my mom was passing away, she passed away of brain cancer. I moved into her home and I took care of her with my father for the last year of her life as she was preparing to cross the veil. It became extremely obvious to me that there was never a moment when there were just three of us in that home, that we were surrounded by angels, and I really could tell stories and experiences and things that happened in that case, but I have never questioned the reality of angels since that moment with my mother, and then continuing on and I'm referring to angels on the other side of the veil as we talked about. There are angels on both sides of the veil. But especially after my mother died, it has become extremely obvious that angels exist.
That's beautiful Barb. So I know many of you listening have experiences like Barb's, have sacred experiences with angelic beings or visits. I think what's so beautiful about this, and almost maybe tragic because we don't talk enough about it, but it is sacred and so I understand why we don't, but we have to recognize that these experiences are real.
Tammy, I actually have a great quote on that once again from Elder Holland on this topic of angels. He said, “Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” General Conference, October 2008).
Yeah, I love that and it is true.
It is true. So let's jump into the Book of Mormon, and let's study how angels appear or how they work with us in our day and in the scriptures. Barb, in your book, you brought this up, like you opened the door for us to finally talk about angels and administering angels, but what I liked that you did, is that you recognized it as part of the priesthood. And it's part of the Aaronic priesthood in Doctrine and Covenants section 13, one verse, which I love, so if anybody wants to say they've memorized a chapter in the Doctrine and Covenants, here you go, memorize this verse and you can brag about it.
But it says, "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of," number one, "the ministering of angels..." That's the first key that these sweet... we talked about how the deacons hold this key, the ministering of angels, but then you said in your book, we all have access to this key.
Yeah, one of the things that I know is critical about understanding keys is that keys turn things. So we often talk about keys of the priesthood and keys of the Melchizedek priesthood or keys of the Aaronic priesthood, in the case of the keys of the ministering of angels, when the priesthood is conferred upon a young man, 11 or 12 years old, and he is ordained to the office of a deacon, he really does receive this key of the administering of angels. I mean, this is a big key, and this is something that our young deacons are told over and over again how significant it is that they have this. But it's extremely important that we understand that the deacon is given the key, but every member of the Church who makes and keeps covenants, receives the ministering of angels.
The deacon, by passing the sacrament, opens the door for everyone who partakes of the sacrament to have the ministering of angels. It's in the ordinance that they're of, as it says in Section 84, "that the power of godliness is manifest," or in other words, in the ordinance of the sacrament, the deacon who holds the key allows the 12 year old girl to have the ministering of angels as she partakes worthily of the sacrament. It's powerful if we could help every 11 and 12 year old girl know, or frankly, every eight year old girl know the time of baptism, at the moment she starts partaking of the sacrament, at the moment she's baptized and continues to keep her covenants, she literally has angels on her right hand and on her left hand and in front of her and behind her and they are always with her. It's powerful.
So powerful, and reference to that scripture you just gave was... it's in Doctrine and Covenants section 84 verse 88, angels on your left hand, on your right hand, every one of us need to know this scripture. Memorize it, live it, put it in vinyl lettering on your wall, whatever you want to do with it because it's talking about all of us, not just men.
Yeah, Tammy, I know we've talked about this before, both of us perhaps getting married a little bit later in life. As a sister missionary, this is where I started really, really realizing this. I remember thinking, "Gosh, if the elders have been ordained to a priesthood office and I haven't, does that mean they have ministering angels and I don't?" Like, "How is that okay?" But as I started to study, especially as a missionary, that idea of ministering of angels and what that means, it became very clear that I had angels on my right hand and my left hand. I knew I did, I just didn't know how it was possible. It's a critical teaching that the women of the Church need to understand. The men, every man who is ordained to a priesthood office recognizes that he has that, but very rarely is it taught correctly to the women and we must do a better job on that one.
I'll Amen that. Amen.
Yes. Let's go into Alma chapter 15, and let's read verse 18 because I think this is one of the most beautiful demonstrations of ministering of angels, and what we've talked about here are angels on our right hand and on our left hand, but then we also have it in context of us being ministering angels, and how we can minister to each other and what that looks like. And so after everything that had happened with Alma and Amulek, then we get verse 18.
And it says, "Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him," Amulek, "to his own house," meaning Alma's house, "and did administer unto him in his," Amulek's, "tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord."
I just think how beautiful that must have been for Alma to say, "Come home with me and let me take care of you now and administer to you," and what that looks like in our lives as we act as ministering angels to other people.
So, Tammy, once again, Elder Holland, he is a rock star in so many ways, and I love that he brings up angels. Elder Holland says, “On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” General Conference, October 2008).
I love that quote, especially, and you know, we're looking at this time with the Corona virus and things going on, and so many people are feeling distanced and feeling alone and feeling lost and sometimes in dark places, and some people aren't. And the reality is, regardless of where any of us are, God is aware of every single individual, he knows us and he has provided angels in our path and he has put us in other people's paths so that we can become angels and we can be real angels for them. This is the core of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, it's the salvation of souls and we are acting as servants of God as if he were here.
I like how you just said, "We are acting as servants of God as if he were here," we are His angels. You know, Barb, it reminds me of this story and I actually have received permission to share this story. Many of you have heard from my friend HB -- Holly Butterfield Rawlings, she's been on our podcast a couple of times, and she shared the story with me about a young woman in her ward who recently returned from a mission in Ukraine. And when she was there, she and her companion had watched this funeral procession walk through the city, and they saw this woman, she was walking behind a casket and her friends were around her, and they thought, "Oh, that's so sad, that poor woman," and they just passed by, and the funeral procession past them and then this missionary companionship just started tracting in the neighborhood and all around the city, and on their way home, they saw this woman walking who was walking behind the casket and obviously she's visibly sad.
And they stopped and talked to her in the street for just a minute, and then they let her go, and the strongest impression came to this sister missionary that said, "You need to find that woman, you need to go talk to her." And they turned around and she was gone, and I love how this sister missionary is like, "I don't know what happened, like all of a sudden she's gone." And so they would spend the next couple of hours looking for this woman, and they finally find her, and this young sister missionary starts to talk to her, and starts to empathize with her because this young sister missionary had lost her brother the year before her mission.
And she started to empathize and say, "My brother died," and right then and there taught her the plan of salvation. And this woman's heart was just filled with the Spirit as she learned that she could be with her loved ones again, and because of that, they ended up teaching her the discussions and this woman joined the Church. But what I love is when my friend Holly then said to this young sister missionary, right there, "You just used your power of the priesthood to recognize this woman's heart and to convert her to the Lord through the love and empathy that you expressed to her." And I had never thought of that as being as a priesthood power, the ability to empathize, the ability to love is power, and it was for the salvation of this woman's soul. And as I tell that story, I just have like tingles everywhere because I think we underestimate how much power women have. And what we can do, men and women combined to save people.
Every power of God is priesthood power. The power of faith, the power of the Holy Ghost, the power of love, the power of truth, that is all priesthood power. Women may use it differently. They may see it differently. It may be innate in different ways for women, but that story was phenomenal. So I think sometimes what we'd say is women's intuition, or women trying to love and empathy that we have, that is priesthood power. It's a power that women have that it's real. It is priesthood power, the power of love.
Yes Barb, and you know what, I'm thinking now, we mentioned this earlier, but I feel like this is what can often seem simple or mundane. It's just when we love and empathize or minister, we kind of just think, "Oh yeah, I'm just doing my duty with a heart full of song. It's just what we do as women," when in actuality, we are using our priesthood power. And like you said at the very beginning, Barb, "We are using God's power to bring about the salvation of souls." In fact, Barb, let's go back, will you read for us in Alma, chapter 16, verse 14.
"And as many as would hear their words, unto them they did impart the word of God, without any respect of persons, continually."
It doesn't matter how smart you are, it doesn't matter how educated you are, it doesn't matter how many experiences you've had, doesn't matter your marital status, it doesn't make a beans of difference, the priesthood power is available to every single man and woman in this Church. That just jumped out to me when I was looking at it earlier today that just there's no inequality of who the Lord allows to have this priesthood power in their homes.
Yeah. Well Barb, I love that you said that because as we've been discussing all of this, and it has been an incredible discussion today, I've loved everything that you said, the idea that there is no inequality and it takes me back to how we even began this conversation when we talked about how the priesthood is not the men of the Church, and I think what the shift for me has been is the priesthood is not the men or the women of the church, it is the power of God. And I have loved discussing that today and how we access that power and how we increase our power, and what that power looks like in our lives. The conversation on angels has been so incredible to me. And so I want to continue this conversation, and in the next segment, we're going to take time to go over some questions that people have asked, or do a little q&a, and I'm so excited to do this. So Barb, I'm going to shoot out some questions to you and we'll have you answer those questions in the next segment. You ready to do it?
Okay, here we go.
Segment 6 59:51
So we got so many questions about the priesthood, Barb, lots of people have questions. So we're going to answer as many as we can, and there are some we're not going to be able to get to, there's probably some we shouldn't even answer, and you're gonna talk to us a little bit about that. But the ones we don't get to in this segment, we're actually going to do a bonus episode, which is going to be cool. We're going to continue the conversation on and answer more questions after segment number six. So I hope you join us for the bonus episode, and then we'll be able to get into some more questions.
Here's the first question we have though. Okay. Are you ready for it?
Yes, I'm ready.
This is from one of our friends on Facebook. Our friend said, "I don't have a priesthood holder in my family. The hard times, especially in lockdown or not being able to partake of the sacrament and there being no one who can come if someone needed a blessing. How can people in my situation fully access the power that we do have to overcome that? I do not know that I have felt great peace as I think about my covenants each week."
That's a good question.
It's a fantastic question.
You can't bless your own bread and water, someone can't bring it to your house. So how in the world would anyone access the power of covenant keeping without being able to keep their covenants or keep making them or however you want to word it.
I think Tammy before I even answer that question, I think the question really hits home to many, many people, women and men both. All of us have friends, family members, and even ourselves are in situations sometimes where we are not able to participate in the Church or in this case, in ordinances that we would like to, and just for anyone who is in that situation, just know that we're with you, and we're thinking about you, we're praying for you. And anyone that has responsibility or is able to help, I strongly encourage, even plead for you. If you're a messenger to somebody like that, if you're a ministering angel or whatever you want to call these people. I just hope that we're reaching out to those who really do need our love.
I think there are a few things to remember. I think first of all, all members of the Church have made covenants at baptism, and although we cannot participate in that ordinance every Sunday or some may not be able to participate every Sunday, to remember that the covenant has already been made, and the promise has already been made from the Lord, and so regardless of taking that sacrament, if we are worthy to do so, and we would if we could as it says in Jacob, the Lord will bless us for the desire of our hearts, as if we were participating and taking the sacrament.
You know what, let's actually go to that scripture really quickly. I want us to see where that talks about in Jacob.
So you know, I blew it, it's Mosiah.
You're in good company.
Thanks and good people, for that matter, just like you Tammy.
Okay. So Mosiah chapter four, verse 19, just ask the questions, "Are we not all beggars?" And then you get to verse 24, and this is one of the verses that I just love, "And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give."
To me, the principle ties into not being able to partake of or perform the ordinance of the sacrament whatever it may be, that if we could, we would, but we can't and so we get those blessings as if we would have.
That's what I love about verse 25. "And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received."
Just the idea of "you remain guiltless." Like your sins are forgiven, you just partook of the bread and water, you're covered. And we've talked about that, the atonement covers you. You're covered, it's good.
And I think it's important that we work on those in those days to be able to keep that relationship strong with the Lord. There are times in my life when I cannot fast for certain reasons, and I try to make up and not even make up, I pray to the Lord and ask for compensatory things that I could be doing on on those fast Sundays, for example, and I think that's a similar thing where the Lord is saying, "Because of your diligence, because of your desires, I will give you the compensatory blessings that you are in need of."
So Barb, tell us, what is the word "compensatory" mean?
So it's compensating. The Lord says, we've been told a number of times from leaders of the Church, that there will be no blessing that is being withheld from any person as long as they're keeping their covenants, and they're in that time period, where they may not have a spouse in the home or they might not have the children they want, or whatever blessing it is that they're looking for for their righteousness, that the Lord will compensate them in another way.
And sometimes it's a matter of just looking for that compensation. And if we take advantage of those blessings, and we take advantage of those situations, and they are in a sense, a compensation that the Lord has given us for that time period. That doesn't mean that we sometimes don't feel the ache and we don't feel the pain. Frankly, I think we should because these are good things we're missing out on.
That's interesting to think about, especially in light of the baptismal covenants that we make. If you're not partaking of the bread and water every Sunday, there are compensatory blessings that will come to you because you are still keeping those covenants. That gives me a lot to think about because now I want to know what other people think. If you guys want to go on Facebook and answer, "What are your compensatory blessings that you've seen?" Since you haven't been able to gather with the saints, and to be together to partake of the sacrament. I'd love to know what people think their compensatory blessings are.
And I think one of the things we can do is we can ask the Lord to show us what those compensatory are. We can ask the Lord to help us to change our desires, and we can also ask the Lord to show us the blessings, and the Lord will show us, that's one thing I have many, many experiences with is asking the Lord to show me what I should be seeing, and he will show us if we're willing to listen and really pay attention.
I love that. So going back to our friend's question on Facebook, Barb, then what do you say to her when it comes to this part of it because this is what stood out to me. "When it comes to people who need a blessing." How can people in her situation fully access the power that she needs to overcome her situation. What about blessings?
I think the principle stems and I think the principle is the same thing. That idea of compensatory blessings is real. We have to be careful because we don't want to minimize the importance of the actual ordinance or the importance of the priesthood holder who can perform that ordinance, but it's just like, you know, Elder Scott had a great talk about temples. A few years ago, where he said, "Those of you who live close to temples, please make a concerted effort to go regularly to the temple, and those of you who live far away from the temples, please keep the temple in your heart and please continue to be obedient. Please continue to be worthy to be attending the temple and the idea of if you could, you would," and he promised both groups of people, frankly, those of you who are close to the temple and you are using the temple and going to the temple, you will be blessed through the Lord's power. Those of you who are not able to get the temple but would if you could and desire to do so, you will also be blessed according to your hearts. Blessings, priesthood blessings are predicated by the faith of the individual asking for the blessing. And so if you don't have a priesthood holder there, if literally you cannot do it, the Lord will bless you with compensatory blessings because of your faith
That you can get on your knees and petition the Lord for what you stand in need of at this time, and he will bless you. Is that what you're saying?
Yes, and again, we're talking about priesthood power and authority. We're talking about women in this case, and I don't know the situation of every person who was asking questions or specifically this woman, but for anybody, any person, man or woman who enters in a covenant with the Lord is going to receive those blessings of that covenant. And those blessings are going to expand as covenants continue to be made and ordinances are performed in the name of that person. And so is that individual person is keeping the covenants according to the ordinance that was performed, and as they exercise their faith, they're going to receive the priesthood power that is necessary based upon their faith. And so in this case where you don't have a person who is physically able to perform that ordinance, I really do believe the person's faith will open the windows for the compensatory priesthood power that the Lord will give that individual regardless of having a priesthood holder in the home.
And again, it's important to remember, women have priesthood power. So I don't know exactly the needs of each individual person. But if it's a blessing of comfort, or if it's a blessing of healing, these things are also associated with the priesthood power that women do have. The ordinance cannot be performed, but the blessing based upon the faith and the priesthood power of that individual's through the Lord is very available and very real.
I like that you just differentiated that by saying the ordinance cannot be performed, but the blessings and the prayers are real, you can ask and you can be given. I like that. Thank you. That was good.
There are many times in the history of the Church and in the history of mankind where we have not had a male necessarily to perform that, but what a blessing it is when we can.
Yes, absolutely. Here's another question. Can you explain why there is so much talk about the priesthood and women? Like why is this even a discussion right now? That's a good question.
I want to clarify one thing. I love elder Oaks, he has a statement, I'm not gonna read you the exact statement, but it's basically this. He says, "When the Lord hasn't given us an answer to a why question, and we try to answer it, then we're oftentimes or often doing a disfavor to the Lord and His Church." So we have to be careful. So for example, if someone were to say, "Why aren't women ordained to a priesthood office?" President Hinckley does a great job, but he just simply says, "I do not know. The Lord hasn't revealed it." So we have to be able to say that and then we can say, "Okay, but let's just talk about some of the things that the leaders of the Church have told us."
So there have been a few talks especially recently by President Nelson where he has said, "Women, we need you, to use your voice to defend the Church, to know the doctrine, to remember your temple covenants, to know the power and authority that you've received in the temple," and then he will say, "because we cannot gather Israel without you," or he'll say, "because we are bringing in the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we cannot do it without strong covenant keeping, covenant making women who understand the priesthood of power and authority that they have, and to use the power that they have in order to do so." We could say, "We don't know exactly why, but we do have a prophet today that is giving us at least two very good reasons." Gathering of Israel, Second Coming of Jesus Christ, neither can happen without women using their priesthood power and authority.
And I think for me, it seems like Satan has everything to gain by removing women out of the narrative when we talk about priesthood. If he can get us to think it's not about us, or we have nothing to do with it, he has won. Can you imagine women armed with this knowledge that they have priesthood power, that they can contribute to the kingdom of God here on earth to saving the salvation and souls of mankind. What? That's huge.
Yeah, and in some way, and I don't know exactly how it's happened, we as a people culturally throughout the world, and also in the Church itself have been able to break through some of the old traditions, and we've been enlightened through a prophet who has taught us some things and we are more accepting and more open as we should be, to the important and sacred roles of women that are necessary to be unified with men to bring these important things to pass. Things meaning, salvation, eternal life of mankind.
And when I read that question, "Why is there so much talk about priesthood in the women?" In my mind right now I have the thought, "Why is there so much talk about priesthood in the women because Jesus is coming, and we got to get ready and he needs our help."
And you know what, I think also, not to put women on a pedestal today, but we know there's a time and a place for every person to be on the earth at a specific time, and I think that the Lord has reserved certain women for this time to be able to take these roles that are necessary, and be able to speak in the way it is necessary and understand in order for this to happen. So it's time also because we have the right women in the right place, for whatever purpose to step up and do their part.
Amen. That was a great discussion! Oh my gosh, we only had time for two questions. That was crazy. But don't worry, if you feel like your question didn't get answered or asked, we're going to do a bonus episode, which will come right after this episode. So watch for that. We'll continue answering some of your questions, and we'll talk about maybe why we can't answer some questions. I don't know. It's gonna be a really fun discussion. So hang on for that, but right now what I want to ask you, Barb, and I do this at the end of every episode, I always ask my guests, what was your takeaway? What's something that stood out to you? Or maybe something that you re-learned? Is there anything that's kind of just on your mind after our discussion today?
Yeah, and maybe Tammy just from our last discussion and talking about women and why we're needed today, I think in addition to that, and I know I've mentioned this a few times in here and it's become an even stronger and stronger point in principle, is the idea of unity. That we have these women on the earth today that have certain talents and gifts and abilities, but we also have men on the earth today who are helping the women and who are supporting women, and who can join together with these women in order to do so.
We have a we have a prophet on the earth today who understands women at a different level than perhaps the other prophets and every prophet has been fantastic, but there is a reason President Nelson is on the earth today, and I really, as you look through these scriptures from Alma 13 through 16, we see two people, Alma and Amulek specifically who are working very well together to bring to pass the needs of those people and bring to pass exaltation, and as we continue to look at that example, in our own lives and we try to be unifiers, we can synergistically use the power that God has given all of us to greatly expand our work and to enhance, and even quicken the pace that we need to be moving forward for the Lord's work.
Yes, I really like that takeaway. Thank you, Barb. My takeaway was compensatory blessings. And I think I'm going to be studying that word for a long time now, and it made me just kind of sit here and go, "Huh, what are my compensatory blessings?" Like, I really need to ask the Lord and I'm going to think more about that. Like I think I know, but maybe I don't, and I'm just curious to know what everybody else thinks. Like what are your compensatory blessings? And what have they been through this whole quarantine Corona virus phase of our lives? I think of any time in my life to see it, it would be now. So I'm glad you taught us that. Thank you.
Thank you for joining me, Barb. Oh, I love you so much. I'm so glad God brought us together, some 20 years together.
Hallelujah. So thank you very much everyone for listening. We would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode and if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, and if you're not following us on Instagram, you totally should because it's such a great place to ask questions as you study, and I try to answer anything that I can during the week. And every week at the end, it's usually on a Sunday, we post a big call for your takeaways, and those are incredible. I love reading them. When you guys write what things you learned from this week studying the scriptures, it empowers me, so please continue to leave your takeaways. And I do read every single one.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday, and listen, it is not a bad idea to go there anyway, especially for this episode because that's where we're going to have the links to all the references and the transcript of this whole discussion. There's a lot that we didn't even get to today and a lot of quotes and different scripture references, so I recommend checking it out. I know I will. I'm confident that I'm gonna go back and read everything again.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our awesome study group participant was my good and dear friend Barbara Morgan Gardner. Our podcast is produced by KaRyn Lay with post production and editing by Erika free. It's recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week, and please remember this. In light of everything we've talked about with God's power, you are his favorite.
I always end like that Barb.
You're God's favorite.
Because I taught that the very first episode because I really do truly believe that.