Monday, July 7, 2014

A Vision of the Travail of Christ

The following is an excerpt of a book written by Denver Snuffer. The name of the book is Come Let Us Adore Him.

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I knew a man in Christ about four years ago, who, being overshadowed by the Spirit on the 26th of February, 2005, had the Lord appear to him again. And the Lord spoke to him face to face, in plain humility, as one man speaks to another, calling him by name. As they spoke the Lord put forth His hand and touched the eyes of the man and said, “Look!”

The man had opened before him a view of the Lord kneeling in prayer. It was in a dark place. The air was heavy and overcast with sorrow. The man beheld the
Lord praying in Gethsemene on the night of His betrayal and before His crucifixion.

All the Lord had previously done in His mortal ministry by healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, restoring hearing to the deaf, curing the leper and ministering relief to others as He taught was but a prelude to what the Lord was now to do on this dark, oppressive night.

As the Lord knelt in prayer, His vicarious suffering began. He was overcome by pain and anguish. He felt within Him, not just the pains of sin, but also the illnesses men suffer as a result of the Fall, and their foolish and evil choices. The suffering was long and the challenge difficult.

The Lord suffered the afflictions. He was healed from the sickness. He overcame the pains, and patiently bore the infirmities until, finally, He returned to peace of mind, and strength of body. It took an act of will and hope for Him to overcome the affliction which had been poured upon Him. He overcame the separation caused by these afflictions and reconciled with His Father. He was at peace with all mankind.

He thought His sufferings were over, but to His astonishment another wave overcame Him. This one was much greater than the first. The Lord, who had been kneeling, fell forward onto His hands at the impact of the pain that was part of a greater, second wave.

This second wave was so much greater than the first that it seemed to entirely overcome the Lord. The Lord was now stricken with physical injuries, as well as spiritual affliction. As He suffered anew, His flesh was torn which He healed using the power of the charity within Him. The Lord had such life within Him, such power and virtue within Him, that although He suffered in His flesh, these injuries healed and His flesh restored. His suffering was both body and spirit, and there was anguish of thought, feeling and soul.

The Lord overcame this second wave of suffering, and again found peace of mind and strength of body; and His heart filled with love despite what He had suffered. Indeed, it was charity or love that allowed Him to overcome. He was at peace with His Father, and with all mankind, but it required another, still greater act
of will and charity than the first for Him to do so.

Again, the Lord thought His suffering was over. He stayed on His hands and knees for a moment to collect Himself when another wave of torment burst upon Him. This wave struck Him with such force He fell forward upon His face. He was afflicted by this greater wave. He was then healed only to then be afflicted again as the waves of torment overflowed. Wave after wave poured out upon Him, with only moments between them. The Lord’s suffering progressed from a lesser to a greater portion of affliction; for as one would be overcome by Him, the next, greater affliction would then be poured out. Each wave of suffering was only preparation for the next, greater wave.

The pains of mortality, disease, injury and infirmity, together with the sufferings of sin, transgressions, guilt of mind, and unease of soul, the horrors of recognition of the evils men had inflicted upon others were all poured out upon Him; with confusion and perplexity multiplied upon Him.

He longed for it to be over, and thought it would end long before it finally ended. With each wave He thought it would be the last but then another came upon Him, and then yet another.

The one beholding this scene was pained by what he saw, and begged for the vision of the Lord’s suffering to end. He could not bear to see his Lord suffering in this manner. The petition was denied and the vision did not end, for the Lord required him to witness it.

The man saw that the Lord pleaded again with the Father that “this cup may pass” from Him. But the Lord was determined to suffer the Father’s will, and not His own. Therefore, a final wave came upon Him with such violence as to cut Him at every pore. It seemed for a moment that He was torn apart, and that blood came out of every pore. The Lord writhed in pain upon the ground as this great final torment was poured upon Him.

All virtue was taken from Him. All the great life force in Him was stricken and afflicted. All the light turned to darkness. He was humbled, drained and left with nothing. It is not possible for a man to bear such pains and live, but with nothing more than will, hope in His Father, and charity toward all men, He emerged from the final wave of torment, knowing He had suffered all this for His Father and His brethren. By His hope and great charity, trusting in the Father, the Lord returned from this dark abyss and found grace again, His heart being filled with love toward the Father and all men.

These great burdens were born by the Lord not only on behalf of mankind, but also as a necessary prelude to His death upon a Roman cross. Had He not been so physically weakened by these sufferings, and drained of power from within, the scourging and crucifixion He suffered at the hands of men could not have taken His life.

It was many hours after this vision closed before the one who witnessed this suffering could compose himself again. He wept because of the vision shown him, and he wondered at the Lord’s great suffering for mankind.

The witness reflected for many days upon this scene of the Lord’s great suffering. He read many times the account of the Lord’s agony given to Joseph Smith, which reads: “Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be
sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.” (D&C 19: 15–19.)

He pondered and asked: Why were there waves oftorment? Why did they increase in difficulty? How were they organized as they seemed to fit a pattern?

After long inquiring into the things which he had seen, the Lord, who is patient and merciful and willing to instruct those who call upon Him, again appeared to the man on the 20th of December, 2007. He made known unto him that the waves of torment suffered by the Lord came in pairs which mirrored each other. The first of each wave poured upon the Lord those feelings, regrets, recriminations and pains felt by those who injured their fellow man. Then followed a second wave, which mirrored the first, but imposed the pains suffered by the victims of the acts committed by those in the first wave. Instead of the pains of those who inflict hurt or harm, it was now the anger, bitterness and resentments felt by those who suffered these wrongs.

From each wave of suffering, whether as the one afflicting or as the victim of those wrongs, the Lord would overcome the evil feelings associated with these wrongs, and find His heart again filled with peace. This was why, in the vision of the suffering of the Lord it was in the second waves that there appeared oftentimes to be injuries to His body.

The greater difficulty in these paired waves of torment was always overcoming the suffering of the victim. With these waves, the Lord learned to overcome the victims’ resentments, to forgive, and to heal both body and spirit. This was more difficult than overcoming the struggles arising from the one who committed the evil. This is because the one doing evil knows he has done wrong, and feels a natural regret when he sees himself aright. The victim, however, always feels it is their right to hold resentment, to judge their persecutor, and to withhold peace and love for their fellow men. The Lord was required to overcome both so that He could succor both.

In the pairing of the waves, the first torment was of the mind and spirit, and the second was torment of mind, spirit and body.

The Lord experienced all the horror and regret wicked men feel for their crimes when they finally see the truth. He experienced the suffering of their victims whose righteous anger and natural resentment and disappointment must also be shed, and forgiveness given, in order for them to find peace. He overcame them all. He descended below them all. He comprehends it all. And He knows how to bring peace to them all. He knows how to love others whether they are the one who has given offense or the one who is a victim of the offense.

In the final wave, the most brutal, most evil, most heinous sins men inflict upon one another were felt by Him as a victim of the worst men can do. He knew how it felt to wrongly suffer death. He knew what it was like to be a mother holding a child in her arms as they are both killed by those who delight in their suffering. He
knew how it was for ambitious men to rid themselves of a rival by conspiracy and murder. He knew what it was to have virtue robbed from the innocent. He knew betrayal, treachery, and abuse in all its worst degrading horror. There was no cruelty, no offense, no evil that mankind has suffered or will suffer that was not put upon Him.

He knew what it is like for men to satisfy their ambition by clothing their hypocrisy in religious garb. He also felt what it was like to be the victim of religious oppression by those who pretend to practice virtue while oppressing others. He knew the hearts of those who would kill Him. Before confronting their condemnation of Him in the flesh, He suffered their torment of mind when they recognized He was the Lord, and then found peace for what they would do by rejecting Him. In this extremity there was madness itself as He mirrored the evil which would destroy Him, and learned how to come to peace with the Father after killing the Son of God, and to love all those involved without restraint and without pretense even before they did these terrible deeds. His suffering, therefore, encompassed all that has happened, all that did happen, and all that would happen in the future.

As a result of what the Lord suffered, there is no condition - physical, spiritual or mental - that He does not fully understand. He knows how to teach, comfort, succor and direct any who come to Him seeking forgiveness and peace. This is why the prophet wrote: “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa. 53: 11.) And again: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Id. v. 4–5.) He obtained this knowledge by the things he suffered. He suffered that we might avoid sin by being obedient to His commandments. None of us need harm another, if we will follow Him. He knows fully the consequences of sin. He teaches His followers how to avoid sin.

The prophet Alma taught and understood our Lord’s sufferings as he wrote:

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him heir infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7: 11–12.)

He can bring peace to any soul. He can help those who will come to Him love their fellow man. He alone is the Perfect Teacher because He alone has the knowledge each of us lack to return to being whole and at peace with the God and Father of us all after our transgression of His will. He is wise to what is required for each man’s salvation.

As the Lord made these terrible things known to the man he cried out: “Hosanna to the Lamb of God! He has trodden the winepress alone! Glory, honor and mercy be upon the Chosen One forever and ever! I will submit unto anything you see fit to require of me! I will bend my knee in obedience to you! Let thy will, not mine be done! For worthy is the Lamb!” Then, thinking upon how trifling his difficulties and disappointments had been in comparison with the suffering he saw imposed upon his Lord, the man added: “Surely goodness and mercy have been mine all the days of my life!”

And the Lord responded: “And you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Then the man wept.

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This man was excommunicated in September of 2013.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Not Clutch









Again, the Church posits a definition of "apostasy" that is erroneous:

https://www.lds.org/bc/content/ldsorg/prophets-and-apostles/recent-messages/june-first-presidency-statement.pdf?lang=eng

Language, and the meaning of words, is important. If the institution wants to excommunicate heretics, then they should be honest and simply state that they are doing so because of heresy.

Kate Kelly is not an apostate. If you think she is, then you are just pretending with those who feel that their authority extends to the changing of the meaning of important words.

The truth is important if you claim to follow Christ. Truth is part of the armor of God. It is also associated with the word of God. Do you care about the truth? Or is it more important for you to be in control?

Sounds like slavery. Sounds like the plan of the adversary, who wanted all of us to be machines without thought.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

David O. McKay

A friend of mine posted a story about David O. Mckay on facebook this morning, and I wanted to say that I like David O. McKay a lot. I wish I could have heard him speak when he was alive.

In 1965, When 15-20,000 Nigerians had converted to the BOM on their own and were begging the church to send missionaries to baptize them, McKay actually floated the idea in a meeting of the fifteen of ordaining their men to the Aaronic Priesthood so that they could baptize converts and preside over their own meetings. This would have predated the lift of the ban by 13 years.

This was at the time of a lot of political unrest in Africa. Harold B. Lee opposed the idea on the grounds of that political unrest, opposed sending missionaries, and he was backed up by Mark E. Petersen, Ezra Taft Benson, and Gordon B. Hinkley. Over the course of several meetings, McKay pressed the issue of the importance of not abandoning the Nigerian converts and finding some way to establish a branch of the Church in their country, and he met resistance from members of the Twelve and from members of his own presidency. The only member of the Twelve that was supportive of the idea was Hugh B. Brown.

Eventually, the Biafran war broke out in 1967, and McKay had to put plans to enter Nigeria on hold indefinitely. All of this history can be read in Gregory Prince's biography of McKay.

Men like McKay, who was not a perfect man but a very tolerant and deliberate leader, make me extremely fond of the Church. He was -><- this close to lifting the Priesthood ban more than a decade before Kimball finally did. But the Church is also rife with men like Harold B. Lee, who opposed ordination for blacks, opposed proselyting to black Africans, swore to his family that no black student would ever walk across BYU campus while he was president of the church, and took the Relief Society out of the hands of its female presidency and placed it under the direction of a male committee led by a member of the Twelve in 1969.

Such things suggest to me that I should be very careful with where I place my faith. It is my opinion that faith should be placed upon Christ alone, and not in imperfect, temporary institutions. The scriptures declare this also. The Church is only "true" when it happens to align with the Gospel, and this is simply not always the case.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The LDS Inquisition



I do not agree with everything that Kate Kelly and John Dehlin stand for, but I think ousting them as if they were apostates is unjustified.

Kelly believes in the institution and wants to remain a member. She is asking a question that is uncomfortable to most Mormons, but it is a question that has not yet been adequately answered by the Brethren since Joseph's death. It deserves a definitive answer.

The podcasts and forums that comprise Dehlin's Mormon Stories are discussions based around LDS history, policy, and truth claims. Dehlin is also openly supportive of homosexuals within the church, as well as those who have a beef with various policies. The entire point of his website and efforts is that people can remain members of the church even if they don't agree with every policy and doctrine. I happen to agree with this attitude.

It takes some people time to figure out their belonging in a religious culture, doesn't it? And often there are disagreements, arguments, and protests along the way. The key to unlocking all of it is to follow Christ's example of love and truth speaking. The truth belongs to him, and it is never evil. The truth can often be ugly and uncomfortable, but it never destroys faith in God. In temporary institutions, perhaps, but the truth never cleaves anything that is eternal. It merely frees you to start fresh on your journey to that which is eternal.

Most of the Millennials that I encounter know some information regarding Joseph Smith's polygamy, but none of those people got that information from the LDS Church. They know about several of the skeletons in our religious closet. Many of them either sought out that material or were blindsided by it as a common consequence of participating in social media.

History is comprised of uncomfortable material, and it is tough to wade through the agendas of historians. But the history that the institution dispenses is a sanitized version that leaves most rank and file members vulnerable to the fiery darts of the adversary.

The fact that Dehlin gives airtime to these discussions does not make him an apostate. He certainly has his own theories and an agenda, and I don't agree with many of his conclusions. But agreeing with him is not why I listened to several of his podcasts, nor is it the reason that I read histories. The reason that I read histories is so that I can take advantage of other people's research, and then arrive at my own conclusions.

The fact that the church elects not to be a forthright participant in its own history displays a lot of fear. The recent essays that LDS.org has posted are not vigorous at all, but rather amount to PR damage control blurbs. It's all very late in the Google Age, and seems more desperate than prophetic. Which means that the institution is operating on the same fear that caused them to excommunicate Avraham Giliadi, Maxine Hanks, Paul Toscano, et al, in the '90s. This spate of excommunications is evidence of that same fear of the Twelve actually answering the criticisms of unsatisfied members of the church. They do not want to discuss women and authority, some of the uglier moments of Church history, and they don't want to deal with people airing their controversial views on the internet.

I side with the apostle Paul on these matters. Examine Ephesians 6:

 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Without the truth, you are improperly armored. The fact that the institution has not armed its people with the truth about all of these things makes them participants in leaving us vulnerable to attack.

I have weathered many fiery darts because of my faith, but I was fortunate to place most of that faith into the scriptures and the words of Jesus Christ. If all of my faith had been placed in the institution, I would have been gone like many others. But the unraveling of the LDS Church, happening before our eyes, doesn't phase me at all. Because I understand that the Church is merely an invitation to the real thing, the legit church spoken of in Sections 76, 78, 88, 93, and 107.

Examine the requirements for belonging to that church in Section 76:

50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—
 51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
 52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
 53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
 54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
 55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
 56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
 57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
 58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
 59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
 60 And they shall overcome all things.
 61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
 62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
 63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
 64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
 65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
 66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
 67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.
 68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.
 69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
 70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

The LDS Church doesn't qualify for the above if it is too afraid to weather a bunch of civil protesters and podcasters. Having the sort of truth that qualifies for the blessings described in Section 76 means that you have no reason to fear anyone. You have inherited everything, and Christ has subdued all of your enemies. It means that the Brethren should simply let Kelly and the OW women into the Priesthood Session. What in the world is there to be afraid of when you are dealing with a group of LDS women dressed in their church clothes?

Yes, it sends a message to allow women into the space that is normally reserved for men. The message is: "We have nothing to hide, and nothing to fear". Instead, the Brethren have opted for excommunication to effectually silence these voices.

At worst, Kelly and Dehlin are heretics. But heresy is not apostasy. If you do not know the difference between these two terms, I invite you to do yourself and the rest of humanity a favor and examine this very important distinction. The most recent LDS definition of apostasy, posted below, does not match the historic definition of the word:

"Apostasy, being rare, has to be carefully defined. We have three definitions of apostasy: one is open, public and repeated opposition to the Church or its leaders. Open, public, repeated opposition to the Church or its leaders — I’ll come back to that in a moment. A second one is to teach as doctrine something that is not Church doctrine after one has been advised by appropriate authority that that’s false doctrine. In other words, just teaching false doctrine is not apostasy, but [it is] teaching persistently after you’ve been warned. For example, if one were to teach that the Lord requires you to practice plural marriage in this day, it would be apostasy. And the third point would be to affiliate and belong to apostate sects, such as those that preach or practice polygamy." -Dallin H. Oaks, from a recent PBS documentary 
I'm sorry, but all of those definitions are closer to heresy than apostasy. From the OED:
apostasy, n.
1 a. Abandonment or renunciation of one's religious faith or moral allegiance.
1 b. The action of quitting a religious order or renouncing vows without legal dispensation.
2. By extension: The abandonment of principles or party generally.
As you can see, there is little need to excommunicate apostates at all. They more often leave on their own, as per the Anglicans and Protestants who abandoned Catholicism. Oaks, being a lawyer, should know better.

What we actually are seeing here is an organization treating heretics as if they were apostates. If you want the armor of God, and if you want the truth to be "girt about your loins", then such abuse of word meaning doesn't fly. It is akin to changing the meaning of the word "marriage", and the consequences similar. You cannot fool God with institutional power.

The Pharisees were apostates. King Noah and his priests were apostates. The Zoramites who used the rameumptom were apostates. The Great Apostasy, as defined by the LDS Church, was executed by large religious movements such as Catholicism, Protesantism, all the way up to the religious revivalism of Joseph Smith's day. It would seem that apostasy is more often the realm of an entire religion than it is of individuals.

The anti-christs of scripture preached that Christ was a myth, and that revelation was an impossibility. They preached that men fared in life by the "management of the creature". Kelly and Dehlin do not resemble these individuals at all. They are not apostates or anti-christs by any stretch of the imagination.

I do not agree with many of the conclusions reached by Kelly and Dehlin. Anyone who has read my blog knows that I am against the insult of ordaining women to male priesthood outside of Calling and Election that is detailed in my last few blog posts. But I would not have these individuals removed from the church any more than I would want myself removed. If anything, Kelly and Dehlin should be embraced by their local leaders, and their questions should be addressed openly and freely. The conclusions that they have come to do not need to be embraced to do this. It is only fear that dictates that they be excommunicated.

The institution has recently made multiple claims that decisions regarding excommunications originate on the local level, and that they are not coordinated with members of the higher quorums. If you believe this to be true, then you should read these two recent accounts:

http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-facts.html

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2014/06/who-is-changing-doctrine.html

We will not inherit the blessings of the Church of the Firstborn by being complicit with these corporate shenanigans. The more we hide from the truth, the more we alienate God. The longer we pretend, the more vulnerable we will become.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Priestess and Queen (part 3)

photographed in the RLDS temple in Independence, MO
 32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Let me be clear on what I think about women and authority:

Women should be involved in any church leadership role, and any level of administration, that they show a propensity and capacity for. I do not agree that a woman's place is in the home. A woman's place is anywhere that she can put her feet on the ground and walk the walk.

When you look at the institution and see sexist inequality, you are seeing things clearly. But it is imperative that your response to that quandary be godly and not political. Godly power is always a matter of revelation, and it is always a matter of the Tree of Life. To conflate revelation and politics is erroneous, and the results disastrous. You simply cannot obtain godly power through political means.

I do not fear women in leadership positions. I respect them and I expect vision, success, skill, weakness, and failure from them in the execution of their leadership just as I expect these things from men. From a woman who claims to follow Christ, I expect her to be poor in spirit as Jesus describes those who inherit His kingdom, just as I expect from men. If they do not conduct themselves thus, then I know them by their fruits.

How often we forget the kingdom of heaven in the midst of our perpetual power grab here in mortality. The kingdom is power, and thrones, and dominions, but who actually wants those things from God? Who actually thinks about those things at church? We are satisfied with ordinances, with lines of authority, and with possession of the scriptures. So were the Scribes and Pharisees of Christ's time, and look how he responded to them:

24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel; who make yourselves appear unto men that ye would not commit the least sin, and yet ye yourselves, transgress the whole law.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

Clean on the outside. Dead and rotten on the inside. This is a profound critique by the Savior. Could it possibly apply to the Latter-Day-Saints? Control, anger, force, and polemics suggest a leader (woman or man) that will attempt to rule by fear. Compassion, belonging, freedom, and tolerance suggest a person that is striving to follow Jesus.

Joseph Smith gave the women of his time an organization that was all their own. If you will take the time to read the original minutes book from when the Relief Society first started in Nauvoo, you will discover an organization that gave women freedom and belonging within this organization. You will also discover a RS that is far different from the current auxiliary; one that described a group of women that Joseph Smith intended would walk with God as Enoch did.

This auxiliary was taken from their granddaughters fifty years ago when the Correlation department rewrote the organization of the mainstream institution. The decision making and leadership of the organization was handed over to the Twelve and their male committees. Harold B. Lee pushed hard for David O. McKay's signature on Correlation when the guy was so old that he barely knew his left foot from his right foot anymore. Call that sort of corporate bull work "revelation" if you must, but I will not pretend with you.

I have spent years loving the institution and I wish this alteration of Joseph's original vision for women wasn't so, but it is. You can read about it in the book David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory Prince. But that power grab by Lee was merely symptomatic of a larger issue that has plagued the church for 170 years since Joseph's death. Failure to give more leadership opportunities to capable women at all levels of leadership and administration is the result of a widespread lack of vision and understanding of precisely what administration is and what priesthood power is supposed to do.

If you can fathom the notion of a man washing the feet of his inferiors before he is marched off to his death, and then look over at an "elder" fiddling with his smart phone during the sacrament, then you can envision just how far our execution of the Melchizedek Priesthood has fallen since Joseph died. Much more time has been spent lauding our own heritage and boasting of our possession of divine rights and authorized ordinances than allowing ourselves to be brought beneath the dust and grime of our brothers' feet. Instead of inheriting authentic humility, we learned to toe the line and submit to honorable men of the earth who have prophesied, seen, and revealed relatively little since the Smiths were shot dead in Carthage jail.

But despite the foibles of imperfect leaders, Christ's words about who inherits his kingdom haven't changed. To be poor in spirit is to be humble and submissive. It is the god-like response that Christ took with those who condemned and murdered him... the response that allows others to hang themselves here in mortality if they insist on doing so.

Women belong on disciplinary councils, they belong in bishoprics, and they belong in stake and regional-level leadership. They belong among the ranks of actual prophets, seers, and revelators if they indeed have those gifts from God and are to be called into those positions by revelation. But the fact that those things haven't happened already should be enough to awaken you to the fact that we are not on the path to Zion.

The MoFem answer to this problem is ordination by the men behind Oz' curtain. That is the "veil" that they choose to engage. But ordination doesn't make sense. If they need no ordination to enter temples and work within them, then why pretend that they suddenly need ordination to call the shots in meetings, or to counsel someone in need of repentance?

This is the danger that Oak's talk last month portends; that the organization will attempt to do something that is God's right alone. God gives power through his voice, as He did with Melchizedek in the JST of Genesis 14:

26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
 27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
 28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
 29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

You'll notice the suggestion in verse 28 of an order that comes by mother. The Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God is not that order, and it's not just handed to men with an earthly ordination, either. This calling comes directly from God, and specifically by his voice. Which means that refining the lie so that it is more egalitarian does not fix the problem, it compounds and magnifies it.

Do you want real power, or institutional power? I ask because when Nephi was given the sealing power in Helaman 10, it didn't exactly resemble what we see today in the institution:

 4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
 5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.
 6 Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people.
 7 Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.
 8 And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done.
 9 And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done.
 10 And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass.

Is this sealing power you want? Or do you want to be on the centerfold of the Ensign? If you are going to claim that what we see today in the institution resembles the description above from the Book of Mormon, then I think you are caught up in a cultural fantasy. If you are going to solve the problem of women and authority by merely allowing women in the church to participate in the same illusion, and then call it a "revelation", then I think you don't really care about the scriptures, Christ, or Zion at all. You remain stuck at the first tree of the garden of Eden, consumed with the accumulation of knowledge of good and evil as it pertains to your fall in this Telestial world.

The other tree is an unspeakable mystery to you that you don't want to think about. I talked about Calling and Election in my last post, about meeting Christ face to face, and the crowd goes silent. Not a peep from the MoFems who otherwise beg for dialogue from the obviously flawed institution and want to rewrite the temple ceremony for the umpteenth time, and not a whisper from the "true blue, through and through"s who are as unfamiliar with the Doctrine of Christ described in 2 Ne 32 as they are with the Book of Enoch discovered in Ethiopia.

Joseph Smith talked about Calling and Election in a letter he wrote to the church while in Liberty Jail in 1839:

"This principle ought to be taught, for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor know ye the Lord for all shall know him from the least to the greatest, How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power & the other comforter spoken of which will be manifest by Revelation." 

That's right. "Even the least saint" should be taught about this principle. Every new convert, every wayward sinner, every little snot-nosed kid with bubble gum on their shoe. They are to be taught about the Second Comforter.

But who is going to believe Joseph Smith in 2014? Why pay attention to his words when you can gossip about his polygamy? Who needs that guy when we have "modern prophets"?

When it really comes down to acquiring the actual power of God, the legit, authentic, angelic visitation/fire from on high, it would appear that nobody cares. Enoch is at the center of this discussion, at the center of anything related to Zion, yet he is an anathema to most of the people on both sides of this issue.

My family, whom I have discussed the Gospel with for years, can no longer stomach talking with me about the scriptures. I'm still welcome for dinner, so long as I stick to talking about NBA basketball or the weather, but Jesus and the Baptism of Fire & the Holy Ghost are now off limits. No more talk of miracles and revelations and prophecies that don't allow for the institution to be well on the path to Zion. It reminds me of Mormon Ch 9:

 9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
 10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
 11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
***
 15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
 16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
 17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
 18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
 19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

Or Moroni 7:

 35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
 36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
 37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
 38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.

 Am I still invited to dinner? I doubt any of them will read this far. But regardless of what they choose to do, or what the institution chooses to do with me, I will not abandon Christ and his words just so that I will be welcome with those who profess to be saints, yet cannot stand talking about Christ's most beautiful doctrines. I stand by Him and his beautiful homage to motherhood (the Atonement). I have not received my calling and election, but I have been blessed in recent years with an understanding of the scriptures that surpasses anything I could ever have hoped for. I believe Him and seek to follow Him only, regardless of the cost.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Priestess and Queen (part 2)

Relation is reciprocity. If there is no exchange between two parties, then there is no relationship to speak of.

Do you understand The Priestess Queen? She is Heavenly Mother. Do you know the meaning of those words, "priestess" and "queen", as they pertain to her reciprocal relationship to her husband, and to her godhood? To understand her better, it is necessary to look to the gods, scriptures, and rites that we are familiar with.

The first concept to understand is that all queens are sovereigns. A sovereign is a master who rules with power. In the world, sovereignty has often been a matter of blood inheritance. But the Kingdom of God only honors inheritance within the context of the law of the harvest, wherein individuals are first stewards who prove themselves before being made rulers. Examine Matt 25:

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 

Did you see what happened there? Good stewardship over a few things translated into sovereignty over many things. There is vast power to be gained by submitting to the terms laid out by God in scripture and in ordinances, and it simply cannot be had in the ways power is traditionally gained in the world (by blood relation, or by the sword).

Paul calls Christ's children "joint-heirs" in Romans 8:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Okay, so now we are beginning to understand the requirements for obtaining this power. If we are to be joint-heirs with Christ, we must be be joint-sufferers also. Meaning that we must submit to anything God sees fit to inflict upon us, and also meaning that anything suffered is suffering unto godly glory. The first beatitude reads:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

3 Nephi 12 gets more specific:

3 Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Who in the world is going to come unto Christ? Do you think that the rites that we participate in within our churches and temples will be enough to get us there? Examine these two verses from Section 76:

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
...
74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.

When Christ bears testimony of you to God the Father, you qualify for verse 51. Meaning that you inherit Celestial glory and the Kingdom of God. If Christ bears testimony of you after you are dead, you qualify for the Terrestrial as described in verse 74. So many Mormons think that to "receive the testimony of Christ" is to simply have a testimony of Him. But that is not what it says. And if you want power, if you want authentic, godly priesthood power, this becomes an important distinction.

Joseph Smith spoke of this difference. It can be found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

Add to your faith knowledge, etc. The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation. This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned. The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. (p. 297) 
I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it. (p. 299)

Joseph isn't talking about something that happens after you are dead. It is imperative to receive your Calling and Election in this life, which has everything to do with you receiving power (priestess, priest) and becoming a sovereign (queen, king). Examine D&C 88:

68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.

D&C 93:

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;

2 Nephi 32:

 4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
 5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
 6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.

Hopefully, you are beginning to see a pattern for how a woman is to obtain priesthood. The temple and its ordinances help us understand both of our heavenly parents in ways that few ever really engage. Please reflect on the following:

1. If women are dressed in the symbolic robes of the Priesthood during the Endowment, preparatory to officiating in the ordinances of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, then it follows that Heavenly Mother has been dressed in the actual robes of the Priesthood, and thus placed into a role that is no longer preparatory. Hence, she officiates in the actual ordinances of those priesthoods in conjunction with her husband because her stewardship qualified her to become the sovereign that she is now.

2. We know that mortal women are stewards over creative powers that men do not possess. However we also know from the scriptures that God the Father and Jesus Christ can create the universe, and the earth upon which we exist, with their words. The primary difference between these male gods and mortal men is their glory. But what is it that grants them creative power? Logistically speaking, the most clear difference between God the Father and men is that He is married to a goddess that is no longer a mere steward over creative power, but a fully fledged sovereign over it.

Hence, if Christ is the creator that scriptures proclaim him to be, and if God the Father is able to direct the creative process, then it is likely with Her power (and Her permission) that they are able to exercise that power. So they also, through good stewardship, have been made "rulers over many things".

If you want to understand who and what Heavenly Mother is, simply imagine God the Father attempting to execute the creation without Her.

Men are not stewards over creation while in mortality. Spermatozoa contain half of the necessary genetic code just as ovum do, but it is the womb that executes all of the temple body construction once the blueprint DNA has been established by their unification. It is women that create.

No stewardship = no sovereignty. Men are offered the opportunity to participate in the salvation of those who have been created through Christ's veil discussed here. If they do not serve well, then they bring nothing to the marriage table with which to be a reciprocal bridegroom.

So our heavenly parents share with each other these respective powers in an act of reciprocity that few comprehend. Creation and Salvation. Their marriage unifies these powers and makes them what they are in a way that is impossible without either party. Through stewardship, they have obtained the sovereignty required to delegate power to each other and to their children. No sovereignty = no actual power to delegate.

If you are truly interested in Priesthood power, then this sovereignty should be an important enough concept to begin inquiring about. I pray that you will be knocking on the correct door.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Priestess and Queen (Part 1)

Power always resides at the gate. And this is why we often find ourselves at one gate or another, asking for entrance. Asking to partake.

Food. Raiment. Material. Money. Technology. Information. Endowment. Atonement. All of these wait behind some barrier, and you want them. You want their power, so you make the trip to put your hands on those doors and push them open.

That's what this world is. It's a pushy power grab. A black Friday shopping spree. An agitation to either obtain power, or to increase upon what we already have.

A few weekends ago, some LDS women associated with the Ordain Women movement found themselves denied entrance at the gate of the LDS Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City. In this instance, they were not asking for ordination per se, but rather entry into what has traditionally been understood by our religious culture to be male space. Specifically, the Priesthood Session of our semi-annual General Conference.

In a strange paradox of events they were denied entry to the meeting, publicly reprimanded by the Church's Public Affairs department, and subtly offered the very ordinations that they seek within the very meeting that they were attempting to enter.

Dallin H. Oaks' began that meeting with a talk that included the following:
"We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a Church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties."
This conflation of powers may not seem like a victory for OW at first blush, but parsed out carefully this and other statements Oaks made essentially lay out the red carpet for women to, at some future junction, argue their way into the authority to baptize, participate in the sacrament, and enter the hierarchy of the institution. Simultaneously, Oaks' talk lays the groundwork for the church to hand all of these things over without argument.

If there is no difference in the authority by which women perform their current set of callings, then what, exactly, is preventing them from participating in the other duties associated with that authority? Their lack of maleness? What Oaks' conflation sets up is a system where de facto ordination opens up the doorway for participation in any of the ordinances and administrations that are typically performed by men. And then if participants, then why not ordained holders of that authority? Why not key holders?

As attorney Denver Snuffer points out, Oaks is essentially laying out multiple steps towards ordination rather than just handing it over outright. The danger here is that Oaks is operating on a massive assumption regarding women's participation in ordinances and in the church in general.

The Facts of the Status Quo


Hereafter I am going to speak of elements of temple worship. I will not be disclosing anything that I have covenanted not to, but this is your chance to stop reading if you feel that everything in there is unmentionable.

While it is true that women perform ordinances in the temple and use the words, "Having authority...", it is never spelled out what authority is being referred to. Most simply assume that this declaration speaks of male priesthood, when in fact it is never identified.

As if the Melchizedek Priesthood should be treated as the only godly power at play in the universe, Oaks asks, "...what other authority could it be?", and with a shrug he pushes forward with an assumption that is akin to presuming that God the Father obtained nothing from his marriage to Heavenly Mother that he didn't already have.

This assumption flies in the face of some very plain facts concerning our ordinances and doctrine. Specifically:

1. Women are never ordained to either the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthoods prior to their entry into the temple.

2. Women are likewise never ordained to either of the male priesthoods while in the temple.

3. A "setting apart" for a calling is not an ordination.

Point #1 is clear. If you disagree, then please correct me in the comments below.

Point #2 is cleared up by the fact that the robes of the priesthood in the temple are no more the actual robes of the priesthood than the "veil" that separates the Terrestrial and Celestial rooms is the actual veil of Jesus Christ. That lady with the beehive hairdo isn't really Eve, and that skin-care CEO in a white suit isn't actually Elohim. These are all just symbolic stand-ins for the real thing, and are intended to lay out a template for adherents to pursue their actual Calling and Election as described in John 14, ll Peter 1, ll Ne 32 and D&C 93 and 88. This is pointed out clearly at the beginning of the ceremony:

"Brethren and sisters, if you are true and faithful, the day will come when you will be chosen, called up, and anointed kings and queens, priests and priestesses, whereas you are now anointed only to become such. The realization of these blessings depends upon your faithfulness." (emphasis mine)

Chosen. Or more accurately, chosen by God. As in D&C 121:

 34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
 35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
 36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

Don't worry. I'm not pointing this out to say that only men can have priesthood. I'm pointing this out to show you that the temple endowment is an invitation. Just like confirmation.

Some doors can be pushed, but not this one. This door requires a knock.

There is no one that walks out of the temple a bona fide king, queen, priest, or priestess by virtue of having participated in the endowment. So don't pretend. Being chosen and called up as such is a matter to be taken up with the Almighty, not with dudes who run this very Telestial and temporary institution.

Yes, I am aware of and versed in the Second Anointing. No, it is not the equivalent of one's Calling and Election. We are still talking about a rite performed in robes that are not the actual article, the first part of which is performed by a mortal man who is not a member of the Godhead. So the Second Anointing is not the same thing as one's C&E. This is simply another temple rite performed with the hope that individuals will receive the real thing through what the scriptures identify as The Holy Spirit of Promise.

Do you want a revelation that will allow you to exercise power? Then read your scriptures, and follow what they instruct. Follow what you are instructed to do in the temple, and receive this revelation yourself. You don't need mortal men to broker something that only a god can give you.

Examine Matt 7:7, wherein Christ says:

"Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you:"

These words pertain to each of us and our personal relationship with Christ. They pertain to the second tree, not to the first. The tree seen in vision by Lehi and Nephi. When taken within the context of Christ's most prominent message, those words concern your ability and fleeting opportunity to engage Him face to face. It does not concern women going through middle men to obtain His power.

Matt 7:7 should be paired with verses from 2 Ne 32:

4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do. (emphasis mine)

On what door are you knocking, OW? I ask sincerely. If God has ushered you to this agitation by direct revelation, then I salute you. I have no problem with John the Baptist, or Abinadi, or Samuel the Lamanite arriving from outside of the hierarchy with a message from God to repent. But if you are not operating on revelation now (there is no declaration of such on the Ordain Women website), then why should I believe that you will suddenly be doing so once you are ordained?

I think the move that you are making now was inevitable the moment that Apostle Harold B. Lee wrested control of your organization away from you in the '60s while David O. McKay was essentially an invalid. I think the Relief Society was the oldest women's organization in the United States until that moment, and I also think that many of the nauseating abstractions that have been foisted upon women and girls concerning their lives and roles by the institution since Joseph was put in the ground have been unhelpful at best, and destructive on the whole. But despite all of those grievances, I think OW is responding by knocking on the wrong door.

Verse 4 above says that if you are not brought into the light, that you must perish in the dark. So this choice is no joke. I'm not going to pretend that the institution is spotless or correct about everything, just as I will not pretend that First Wave feminism is the same thing as the Third Wave. But if I am going to be honest about our religious institution, then I am also going to be honest about feminism. It has a Second Wave. It is that wave that embraced the notion of going to war with patriarchy as a standard operating procedure, and it is that aspect of feminism that the OW movement reflects in its MO.

If you are preoccupied with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you will never even think about the Tree of Life. If you are to complete the journey that is begun in the endowment, you must knock on the correct door.

Point #3 is also self evident. Look up all of the ordinations in the scriptures, and tell me where there is a precedent that suggests that getting set apart is the equivalent of an ordination. The official name of the priesthood in question is The Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God. If that sounds like something that is handed out like candy without ordination, it should be pointed out in scripture for everyone's benefit. A de facto ordination is simply not scriptural, nor is it likely what happens when women participate in ordinances or fulfill their callings.

Quite frankly, if women are never ordained to the male priesthood before they enter the temple or while they go through it, then the greatest likelihood is that they already possess authority before they ever even learn to say the word "appendage". Hence, when they say the words "Having authority..." while performing washings and anointings, the statement is true because they were ordained (not by men) prior to their involvement with the temple. I.E., women have their own authority, and it has nothing to do with males of any glory.