If you have somehow come to this post before reading the first one, you can find that here. In the first post I discussed how the church and how the brethren can become idols that come between us and knowing the Lord.
In this post, I will discuss how our ordinances and the priesthood can become idols. This, particularly the ordinances part, is something I've been prompted to mention since a long time ago, which I previously did, just not on my blog. So I will now address it here.
Ordinances as idols:
To begin this one, I'll have to start in the chapter and verses that prompted it.
Moroni 8:20 & 23
And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.
But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.
If we think our works and the works alone are what is needed to save people then our works are dead works. If that were the case, then we would have to baptize babies, and others that have challenges that leave them unaccountable. If that were the case, we wouldn't need Christ.
But we do, and the works only have power through Him, and we are only saved through and by Him. To believe anything else is to deny his mercies. It is to deny the power of His Holy Spirit. It is to deny the power He has to baptize us with fire. Although we have the laying on of hands to give us the gift of the Holy Ghost, until we receive the gift from Him, and allow Him to baptize us with fire we have not even entered the gate to the strait and narrow path.
And therefore, the works performed on us are dead, meaningless. Might as well have been done on a slab of meat.
You'll see here that I've made a distinction between being given a gift and receiving a gift. I believe we should think of all the ordinances in the church as things offered to us that we in turn need to receive.
The endowment ceremony is amazing, and after a while less confusing than that first time. It is not the the ultimate thing we need to receive here in the flesh, but the invitation to go on and receive it: receive true messengers from God in truth, converse with God through the veil, and (in this life!!!) be brought into His presence. This is what we are offered.
Whether we qualify for this or not will depend a lot on whether we buy in to the false teacher who mingles scriptures with the philosophy of men. It will depend on whether we receive true messengers when they come. It will depend on the law of sacrifice, among other things.
If you think that all you need is to be baptized by man and have these other ordinances performed in order to inherit with Jesus Christ, then you have let these ordinances become an idol to you, and these works done to you are dead because you have not received the power in them, which is Him.
The ordinances are important, but they are not the end in and of themselves.
The priesthood as an idol:
Some may be offended that I am even addressing this here, me being a woman, but I hope you will be able to see past that. I've included the priesthood in this post as it goes hand in hand with the ordinances, since one is needed to perform the others (D&C 84).
Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
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--
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.
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, or gain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile--
So, the right to this priesthood is connected with the powers of heaven.
If men within our church suppose that because they have been ordained to this priesthood they are entitled to certain liberties or authority, then this has become an idol to them, and it holds no power for them. If they try to use it in any unrighteous way, it holds no power for them.
If anyone idolizes another for holding the priesthood, again, it has become an idol to them.
And then there is the question of how one is to know if they have actually received the gift they were ordained to when they were given the Melchizedek priesthood. How does one know their priesthood is personally connected to the powers of heaven, or ever was in the first place?
Some scriptures to consider in the matter:
And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.
Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:26-29
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.
And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
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;
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.
His own voice... out of the heavens. Hmm... interesting.
In our ordinances and priesthood, do we think like Nephi prophesied we would, that the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men (2 Nephi 28:5)? Do we deny that the power is God's, and not ours at all?
If so, these things have become our idols.
To be continued... again. Click here for Part 3, the conclusion and my witness.