Know Your Church History
Joseph Smith opened the sixth dispensation by restoring important truths–including doctrines, principles and gifts of the spirit–that are relevant to one’s salvation and eternal life. It is important to know what was preserved from servants in previous dispensations and back to Adam and Eve and who it was restored for. This “Know Your Church History” collection serves that purpose. As always, any scriptures provided are only meant to point you in the right direction to your own personal study where the spirit can teach you truth and witness to you of God’s greatness and wisdom–no free lunch here. Those with ears to hear and eyes to see will receive it. I hope you are one of them.
That Which Was from the Beginning
Throughout earth’s history and through the first five major dispensations (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ) there is a pattern of revealing the fullness of truth then devolving into apostasy only to begin again with a restoration of the fulness of truth. The “great apostasy” (spanning almost two millennia) was the precursor to a restoration through the prophet, Joseph Smith.
In the sixth dispensation, Joseph was commanded and therefore restored “that which was from the beginning”. There are two specific things I would like to highlight that existed “from the beginning”. The first is the broader context of what is meant by “the fulness of truth” and the second is specifically what is called “the Holy Order.”
As always, any scriptures provided are only meant to point you in the right direction to your own personal study where the spirit can teach you truth and witness to you of God’s greatness and wisdom–no free lunch here. Those with ears to hear and eyes to see will receive it. I hope you are one of them.
The Fullness of Truth
Joseph Smith was a Moses of the latter days. He restored the “original, new and everlasting” covenant to the members of the church. Like the children of Israel, some or few accepted and received it. Many did not “because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received” (D&C 88:32).
The Lord, through the prophet Joseph Smith re-revealed and restored His command that existed “from the beginning” to “seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience he may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life” (D&C 101:38) which is “a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh” or mortality (D&C 45:14).
Joseph Smith and his ministry was specifically prophesied thousands of years prior to his birth:
- (2 Nephi 3:4-23) “And unto him [Joseph Smith] will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.”
Then, for his ministry, he was given clarification and specific commandments through revelation:
- (D&C 22:1-4) “Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning… Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.”
- (D&C 49:8-14) “Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of. Wherefore, I say unto you that I have sent unto you mine everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning. And that which I have promised I have so fulfilled, and the nations of the earth shall bow to it; and, if not of themselves, they shall come down, for that which is now exalted of itself shall be laid low of power…Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, according to the holy commandment, for the remission of sins; And whoso doeth this shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost…”
- (D&C 45:1-14) “O ye people of my church, to whom the kingdom has been given…hearken unto my voice…Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father…spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life…Hearken, O ye people of my church, and ye elders listen together, and hear my voice while it is called today, and harden not your hearts…I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not; but unto as many as received me gave I power to do many miracles, and to become the sons of God; and even unto them that believed on my name gave I power to obtain eternal life…And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me. Wherefore, come ye unto it, and with him that cometh I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning. Wherefore, hearken ye together and let me show unto you even my wisdom—the wisdom of him whom ye say is the God of Enoch, and his brethren…But obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.” [Note: In addition to “new”, the covenant is “everlasting” because the invitation to come unto Him is, in fact, everlasting.]
- (D&C 101:38-39) “And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life. When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;
- (D&C 66:2: 1:10-24; 76:101) “Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fulness of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life and be made partakers of the glories which are to be revealed in the last days, as it was written by the prophets and apostles in days of old…For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant…But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world; That faith also might increase in the earth; That mine everlasting covenant might be established…But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant…And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me.”
- (D&C 133:57-74) “And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity…And unto him that repenteth and sanctifieth himself before the Lord shall be given eternal life. And upon them that hearken not to the voice of the Lord shall be fulfilled that which was written by the prophet Moses, that they should be cut off from among the people…Behold, and lo, there are none to deliver you; for ye obeyed not my voice when I called to you out of the heavens; ye believed not my servants, and when they were sent unto you ye received them not.” (Note: He’s speaking to His people)
- What did Joseph Smith really restore?
- What is this “everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning”? (See the section if you do not remember or have not yet studied this)
- Was it a “nice thing to do” or was it a commandment?
- Why was it necessary to restore this covenant?
The Holy Order
By restoring the covenant from the beginning, Joseph Smith was able to point people to greater opportunities pertaining to their exaltation. This included the opportunity to belong to a Holy Order–an order which belongs to the Church of the Firstborn.
What is this Holy Order? ….”The Holy Order after the Son of God”
JST, Hebrews 7:3
Melchizedek was a priest after the order of the Son of God. All those who receive this priesthood can become like the Son of God.
3 For this Melchizedek was ordained a priest after the order of the Son of God, which order was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life. And all those who are ordained unto this priesthood are made like unto the Son of God, abiding a priest continually.
Yes, all priesthood is Melchizedek. However, this Holy Order after the Son of God is not the priesthood identified in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Rather it is an order which belongs to the Church of the Firstborn.
JST, Genesis 14:25–40 (Compare Genesis 14:18–20)
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;
PONDER: How is membership in this Holy Order received?
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.
PONDER: Again, how is membership in this Holy Order received?
30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
PONDER: What are the fruits and power of those of this Holy Order?
32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.
33 And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.
34 And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;
35 And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.
36 And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.
What are the qualities and qualifications of one who is part of this Holy Order?
Read, study and ponder D&C 76:50-70
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 [receiving baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost for a personal remission of sins], and receive the Holy Spirit [receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; first comforter] 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 [receive promise of eternal life in mortality; calling election made sure; Second Comforter], 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 [perfect; joint-heirs; received a fulness], even the sons of God—
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs [joint-heirs], whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s [joint-heirs].
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.
Read, study and ponder Hebrews 5-6
What is the purpose of this “Holy Order”?
1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.
2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
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 rest—
PONDER: Specifically, what are those of this order to teach the children of men?
8 Now they were ordained after this manner—being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end—
PONDER: Not just membership in “an order” but it is:
- A “calling”…Called by whom? (See JST Genesis 14)
- An “ordinance”…who bestows the ordinance? (See JST Genesis 14)
9 Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.
10 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 it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;
11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.
18 But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.
19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
Thus, we see that this Holy Order has the following purpose:
- Having become a personal witness of the Lord, Himself and to receive authority “to teach these things unto the people.”
- “…those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption” (Alma 13:2; remission of sins through a baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost)
- “to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest” (Alma 13:6; fulfillment of Christ’s doctrine)
Again, those in this holy order are commanded to teach:
43 And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God.
44 For I am called to speak after this manner, according to the holy order of God, which is in Christ Jesus; yea, I am commanded to stand and testify unto this people the things which have been spoken by our fathers concerning the things which are to come.
45 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.
47 And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit of prophecy which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the Spirit of God.
48 I say unto you, that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you, concerning that which is to come, is true; and I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.
49 And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again.
4 And he began to teach the people in the land of Melek according to the holy order of God, by which he had been called; and he began to teach the people throughout all the land of Melek.
What are those in the Holy Order supposed to be teaching?…”the everlasting gospel” which is the everlasting covenant from “the beginning” with Adam and Eve in the garden.
Doctrine and Covenants 77:11
11 Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe?
A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.
How will those of this holy order of God bring “as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn?”…by teaching them (“to administer the everlasting gospel”) of course, then inviting them to receive and partake. Again, those that are of this Holy Order are members of the church of the Firstborn.
You are invited to learn and begin your personal journey to fulfill Christ’s doctrine that was restored through the prophet, Joseph Smith. You are invited to become a joint-heir with the Only Begotten of the Father, the Son of the living God and member of this Holy Order.
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