Resurrection/As a Priesthood Ordinance
Mormons believe men have the right to resurrect their spouses by a specific ordinance.
The claim is false--all of humanity will be resurrected through the grace of Christ. While worthy Saints may participate in that process (as, for example, they participate in performing baptisms) they cannot withhold it from anyone, and Christ would not tolerate an unrighteous exercise of such authority anyway.
Van Gorden was referring to speculations or statements from past church leaders who said resurrection will be an ordinance of sorts (or at least requiring priesthood keys in order to occur). Bearing in mind that not all statements of General Authorities carry the weight of revelation or scripture, Brigham Young tied "keys" to resurrection:
- When the angel who holds the keys of the resurrection shall sound his trumpet, then the peculiar fundamental particles that organized our bodies here, if we do honor to them, though they be deposited in the depths of the sea, and though one particle is in the north, another in the south, another in the east, and another in the west, will be brought together again in the twinkling of an eye, and our spirits will take possession of them.
In 1872 he stated his belief that there are some ordinances the Church does not currently practice, one being resurrection:
- It is supposed by this people that we have all the ordinances in our possession for life and salvation, and exaltation, and that we are administering in these ordinances. This is not the case.
- We are in possession of all the ordinances that can be administered in the flesh; but there are other ordinances and administrations that must be administered beyond this world. I know you would ask what they are.
- I will mention one. We have not, neither can we receive here, the ordinance and the keys of the resurrection. They will be given to those who have passed off this stage of action and have received their bodies again, as many have already done and many more will. They will be ordained, by those who hold the keys of the resurrection, to go forth and resurrect the Saints, just as we receive the ordinance of baptism, then the keys of authority to baptize others for the remission of their sins. This is one of the ordinances we can not receive here, and there are many more."
Additionally, Wilford Woodruff's journal contains the following:
- Who will resurrect Joseph's Body? It will be Peter, James, John, Moroni, or someone who has or will receive the keys of the resurrection. It will probably be one of those who hold the keys of this dispensation and has delivered them to Joseph and you will see Jesus and he will eat peaches and apples with you. But the world will not see it or know it for wickedness will increase. Joseph and Jesus will be there. They will walk and talk with them at times and no man mistrusts who they are. Joseph will lead the Armies of Israel whether He is seen or no, whether visible or invisible as seemeth him good.
- Joseph has got to receive the keys of the resurrection for you and I. After he is resurrected he will go and resurrect Brother Brigham, Brother Heber, and Brother Carloss, and when that is done then He will say, "now go Brother Brigham and resurrect your wives and children and gather them together. While this is done, the wicked will know nothing of it, though they will be in our midst and they will be struck with fear. This is the way the resurrection will be. All will not be raised at once but will continue in this way until all the righteous are resurrected.
- After Joseph comes to us in his resurrected body, He will more fully instruct us concerning the baptism for the dead and the sealing ordinances. He will say, be baptized for this man and that man and that man be sealed to that such a man to such a man, and connect the Priesthood together. I tell you their will not be much of this done until Joseph comes.... Our hearts are already turned to him and his to us.
Perhaps there is some speculation in connection with a portion of the temple ceremony before a husband and wife are sealed. Hugh Nibley has made connections between ordinances and resurrection in Egyptian ritual, for example. The closest contemporary reference I could find dealt not with the resurrection as an ordinance, but with the priesthood keys playing a part in the final judgment as stated in Matthew 19:27-28 (see footnote 3 below). The Encyclopedia of Mormonism makes no mention of it in the Resurrection article but makes an oblique reference to priesthood power directing raising of the dead, which is considered temporal (such as in the raising of Lazarus) contrasted with the eternal resurrection.
- [note] See FAIRwiki, "Official Church doctrine and statements by Church leaders" The drift of this doctrinal stance has been mentioned by LDS leaders from Joseph Smith ("a prophet is a prophet only when he is acting as such" [History of the Church 5:265]) to the present. Also consider the recent statement from LDS Public Affairs: "Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church...Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines" (Approaching Mormon Doctrine," LDS Newsroom, May 4, 2007).
- [note] Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 372. Perhaps these keys involve the concept of judgment found in the New Testament, wherein Christ told the apostles "ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:27-28; see also Luke 22:28-30). Brigham and other early leaders taught this principle extended to whomever held the keys over a particular dispensation in which people live. For more, see "Priesthood: the chain that reaches from heaven to earth."
- [note] Brigham Young, "Increase of Saints Since Joseph Smith’s Death, etc.", Aug. 24, 1872, Journal of Discourses 15:137.
- [note] See "Priesthood: the chain that reaches from heaven to earth." It appears the concept of priesthood stewardship was part of Woodruff's reasoning as well.
- [note] Susan Staker, ed., Waiting for the World's End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, pp.168-169. For a review, see Matt W., "Initial Thoughts on “Waiting for Worlds End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff," New Cool Thang, Nov. 10, 2008.
- [note] W. John Walsh's statements on Jeff Lindsay's Light Planet website appear to hint toward that interpretation, but asserts resurrection is the right of Christ: "Now, Latter-day Saints do believe that in some instances, a woman's husband will be given the privilege of performing the resurrection ordinance for and in behalf of the Savior. In cases where a woman does not have a worthy husband, the Savior may allow her father to do so. Likewise, a man's father will be given the privilege of resurrecting him. In such cases, the person performing the resurrection ordinance is simply performing the ordinance for and in behalf of the Savior."(Walsh, "Do Husbands Resurrect Their Wives?" All About Mormons.)
- [note] Hugh Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, 2nd ed. For an overview see Bryce Hammond's "The Egyptian Ankh, 'Life! Health! Strength!'" on his Temple Study blog.
- [note] Douglas L. Callister, "Resurrection," pp.1222-1223, and Dennis D. Flake, "Raising the Dead," p. 1192, in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
- BHodges, Life On Gold Plates, "Resurrection as an Ordinance?"
FAIR wiki articles
Critics claim that no restoration of priesthood authority was required, and that the "laying on of hands" is not necessary in order to receive priesthood authority. Some critics claim that the concept of priesthood authority and ordinations came from Sidney Rigdon. (Link)
- Women and priesthood (Link)
- Christians don't need a mediating priesthood—
Sectarian Protestant critics claim that Christians do not need a mediating priesthood since it has been "fulfilled in Christ." (Link)
Critics claim that only Jesus held the priesthood, and that such priesthood was not 'transferable' to members of the Church. (Link)
- Is there a "Priesthood of All Believers"—
Critics of Mormonism assert that there is no need for unbroken lines of priesthood authority since the Bible teaches that all believers hold the priesthood. (Link)
- What does the Bible teach—
What does the Bible teach about priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ? (Link)
- Miracles in other faiths—
Many Christian believers report miraculous healings and the like, which they claim are done by God's power. How can the Church claim to possess the only valid priesthood in light of these miraculous blessings? (Link)
- As prophets anciently—
The Old and New Testaments talk of women prophets. Why are there no women prophets in the church today? (Link)
Some claim that LDS teachings about childbearing put an improper burden on LDS families, especially women. (Link)
- Birth control—
What is the stance of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on birth control? (Link)
- Role in the Church (Link)
- Priesthood—Why do women not exercise priesthood authority in the Church? (Link)
- Married and Single—Some critics charge that the LDS Church devalues those who are not married and those who are childless. (Link)
- Church over Family?—Some former Church members claim the time commitments that went with their involvement in Church service encouraged them to neglect their families. (Link)
- Sexual abuse, assault, rape, and incest—
The Church condemns the sins of sexual assault, abuse, incest, and rape as extremely grave sins, while considering the victims innocent of wrong-doing. (Link)
- Sexual assault victims ought to fight to the death?—Do Church leaders teach that those subject to sexual abuse or assault ought to fight to the death or be considered guilty of sin? Absolutely not. (Link)
- Marriage, in general—
Index of wiki articles on marriage in Mormonism. (Link)
- Women as "sons of perdition"?—
Are there women who would be among those cast into outer darkness? Are there female 'Sons of Perdition'? (Link)
- Are Mormon women taught to be subservient to men?—
In an unpublished paper “Mormon Women, Prozac, and Therapy," by Kent Ponder (copyrighted 2003, readily available on the Internet), the idea is put forward that women in the LDS church are taught to be “subservient” to men and are considered “eternally unalterable second-class.” Among some of its more colorful statements are the claims that women are expected to be “gratefully subservient to Mormon males” and that women must “not aspire…to independent thought.” (Link)
- The Church and the "Equal Rights Amendment"—
Why did the Church oppose the "Equal Rights Amendment" in the United States? (Link)
- The Church and Abortion—
What is the LDS Church's position on abortion? (Link)
FAIR web site
|FAIR Priesthood FAIR articles on-line|
- FAIR Topical Guide: Priesthood FAIR link
- FAIR Topical Guide: Priesthood restoration FAIR link
- John A. Tvedtnes, "Is There a Priesthood of All Believers?" FAIR link