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Recently, Boyd K. Packer spoke about the keys and power associated with the priesthood.1 Denver Snuffer also wrote an important post about the Keys and Assignments associated with the priesthood.

Mormon Priesthood Although much has been said and written about this important subject, in 1856 Brigham Young seemed to capture the purpose of the priesthood among the Latter-day Saints. In particular, he pointed out that the priesthood was given as a “means for trial” and suggested that if the people could understand the nature of the priesthood they could unlock the treasury of heaven:

If we could understand the nature of the Priesthood—could comprehend it fully, this people, as a community, the Elders, as Elders of Israel, quorums, as quorums, when they present themselves before the Lord, would possess keys to unlock the treasury of heaven, and we could receive as one person receives from another. To us, as a people, the keys of the rich storehouse of the Lord are committed, yet we do not fully know how to unlock and receive. We receive a little here and there, and the hearts of the people are comforted by the very Priesthood we are in possession of, which has been given to this people for the express purpose of their receiving that which God has given them, though not yet to possess it independently, but as means for trial.

This Priesthood is given to the people, and the keys thereof, and, when properly understood, they may actually unlock the treasury of the Lord, and receive to their fullest satisfaction. But through our own weaknesses, through the frailty of human nature, we are not yet capable of doing so.

We have to humble ourselves and become like little children in our feelings—to become humble and childlike in spirit, in order to receive the first illuminations of the spirit of the Gospel, then we have the privilege of growing, of increasing in knowledge, in wisdom, and in understanding. This is a great privilege, while the world, excepting this people who inhabit these valleys, and those that are associated with us in different parts of the earth, are destitute of this principle and privilege. Still, many of us, and I may say comparatively all of us, are upon the same ground, situated precisely like other professors of religion, in order that we may struggle, wrestle, and strive, until the Lord bursts the veil and suffers us to behold His glory, or a portion of it.

If we did fully understand the principles of the Gospel—the keys of the Priesthood, it would be familiar with us, and be easy to be understood and to act upon and perform, and be no more of a miracle to know how to receive the things of God by revelation, than it is now a miracle to cast seed into the ground, after it is prepared, and reap our crops.

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  1. “The Power of the Priesthood”. April 2010. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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The following quote about the southeast cornerstone and the apostleship comes from Brigham Young at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1853. The temple site had been dedicated in February earlier in the year.

Salt Lake Temple foundation stone contents The First Presidency proceeded to the south-east corner, to lay the first stone, though it is customary to commence at the north-east corner–that is the beginning point most generally, I believe, in the world. At this side of the equator we commence at the south-east corner. We sometimes look for light, you know, brethren. You old men that have been through the mill pretty well, have been inquiring after light–which way do you go? You will tell me you go to the east for light? So we commence by laying the stone on the south-east corner, because there is the most light…

We will now commence with the Apostleship, where Joseph commenced. Joseph was ordained an Apostle–that you can read and understand. After he was ordained to this office, then he had the right to organize and build up the kingdom of God, for he had committed unto him the keys of the Priesthood, which is after the order of Melchizedek–the High Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God. And this, remember, by being ordained an Apostle.

Could he have built up the Kingdom of God, without first being an Apostle? No, he never could. The keys of the eternal Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God, are comprehended by being an Apostle. All the Priesthood, all the keys, all the gifts, all the endowments, and everything preparatory to entering into the presence of the Father and of the Son, are in, composed of, circumscribed by, or I might say incorporated within the circumference of, the Apostleship.

Now who do we set, in the first place, to lay the Chief, the South East, Corner Stone–the corner from whence light emanates to illuminate the whole fabric that is to be lighted? We begin with the First Presidency, with the Apostleship, for Joseph commenced, always, with the keys of the Apostleship, and he, by the voice of the people, presiding over the whole community of Latter-day Saints, officiated in the Apostleship, as the first president.1

President Young’s comments concerning the southeast cornerstone also fit nicely within the framework of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in which he wrote:

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22.)

Anciently, the four corners of the altar represented the four corners of the Earth while the southeast cornerstones of modern LDS temples represent the Apostleship, “because there is the most light.”


  1. Journal of Discourses, 1:133-135.

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In January 2005, shortly after the Indian Ocean earthquake, Henry B. Eyring taught the Lord has prepared places of safety to guide people to if they develop the capacity to receive revelation through the ministrations of the Holy Ghost. Here is an excerpt of his talk:

Our Refuge and our Strength The Lord told us in the time of the Prophet Joseph that war would be poured out upon all nations. We see tragic fulfillment of that prophecy, bringing with it increased suffering to the innocent.

The giant earthquake, and the tsunamis it sent crashing into the coasts around the Indian Ocean, is just the beginning and a part of what is to come, terrible as it was. You remember the words from the Doctrine and Covenants which now seems so accurate:

And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.

For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people (D&C 88: 88-91).

Fear shall come upon all people. But you and I know that the Lord has prepared places of safety to which He is eager to guide us. I think of that often. . . .

Now my purpose today is to share with you what I have learned over the years about getting and keeping the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It isn’t easy, but it is possible.

The foundation is a burning desire to qualify for that gift. Most of us who are members of the restored Church have enough faith to want the Holy Ghost at times. That desire may be weak and intermittent, but it comes, usually when we are in trouble. For us to be led upward to safety in the times ahead, it must become steady and intense.

The problem for most human beings is that when things go well, we feel self-sufficient. You remember the warning:

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Part 1 of 0 in the series Kirtland Temple

The following is the beginning of a series of articles about the Kirtland Temple. This was the first temple built by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many reported that the events which accompanied its dedication on March 27, 1836 were similar in nature to the events which transpired on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2.

Kirtland Temple Angels Pentecost means “the fiftieth day” and is directly related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot which commemorates the Lord’s appearance on Mount Sinai fifty days after the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt.1 Pentecost is also celebrated by many Christian religions since it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, fifty days after the Savior’s resurrection.2

Those who compiled Joseph Smith’s history recorded the significance of similar events at the Kirtland Temple dedication:

Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place.3

Writing just a few years after the temple dedication, one participant wrote:

At the same time the saints in Kirtland, Ohio, were actively engaged in building a Temple to the Lord. The branches of the Church in the east were doing all they could to assist them to build and prepare for the day of Pentecost. The news from the west caused sorrow and lamentation, it was a day never to be forgotten. In the spring following, Elders Joseph and Hyrum Smith, in company with two hundred male members of the Church, went up to Missouri, for the purpose of rendering all the assistance they could to the afflicted saints. The dark clouds seemed to break away, the spirit of mobocracy was checked for a short time, and the beams of light once more dawned on the afflicted. After they had done all in their power to do at that time, Elders J. and H. Smith and many others, returned to Kirtland, Ohio. The same fall and winter a large school convened for instruction, composed of Elders, and members of the Church. Elders Smith, Rigdon, and others, acted as teachers. In the course of the winter the Quorum of the Twelve was chosen and ordained, also one Quorum of the Seventies. The next spring many of the Elders went forth to preach the word, to prove themselves worthy of the blessings expected at the day of Pentecost. In the spring of 1836, the lower room of the Temple being finished, some three hundred or over of the official members of the Church, assembled for the purpose of attending to the ordinances of washing and anointing, and the sacraments, that they might be sanctified before the Lord, and prepared for the reception of the Holy Spirit from on High. Prayer and fasting were attended to, the ordinations and anointings were sealed with great solemnity. The Holy Spirit descended in power as in bye-gone days, when it rested on the disciples at Jerusalem, some spoke with tongues and others prophesied—the visions of Heaven were also opened to some, intelligence burst upon their understanding, enabling them to comprehend things past, present and future.4

Another participant in the dedicatory events recorded that the gift of tongues and other Spiritual Gifts were given to many:

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  1. See Exodus 19 – 24; cf. D&C 84:19 – 27.
  2. For an explanation of these events, see Gift of the Holy Ghost a Higher Endowment.
  3. Roberts, Brigham Henry, ed. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1912. 2:428.
  4. Grant, Jedediah M. Collection of Facts, Relative to the Course Taken by Elder Sidney Rigdon in the States of Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking, & Guilbert, 1844. 8-9.

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Part 7 of 8 in the series Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple Dedication

In 1902, the First Presidency responded to a question about the Holy Ghost, specifically, when did the apostles in the New Testament receive this sacred gift? The following is their reply:

The following inquiry has been received from an elder residing in Tooele County, with the request for a reply:

“There is a dispute here among the brethren as to when the Holy Ghost was received; was it at, or before the day of Pentecost?”

Pentecost by Jean II Restout The answer to this question depends on what is meant by “receiving” the Holy Ghost. If reference is made to the promise of Jesus to His apostles about the endowment or gift of the Holy Ghost by the presence and ministration of the “personage of spirit,” called the Holy Ghost by revelation in Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 130, verse 22, then the answer is, it was not until the day of Pentecost that the promise was fulfilled. But the Divine essence, called the Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost by which God created or organized all things, and by which the prophets wrote and spoke, was bestowed in former ages and inspired the apostles in their ministry long before the days of Pentecost. The words “Ghost and Spirit” are often used synonymously, and this causes some confusion, when the difference between the “personage of spirit” and the spirit “poured out from on high” is not taken into consideration. There is a universally diffused essence which is the light and life of the world, which proceedeth forth from the presence of God throughout the immensity of space, the light and power of which God bestows in different degrees to “them that ask him,” according to their faith and obedience, but the Holy Ghost, which Christ said He would send to His apostles from the Father (John 14:26) was and is a “personage of spirit,” and was not to come until Christ went away (John 16:7). Also the endowment from that divine being, the third person in the Holy Trinity, called “the gift of the Holy Ghost,” is a special blessing sealed upon baptized repentant believers in Jesus Christ, and is “an abiding witness.” The spirit of God may be enjoyed as a temporary influence by which divine light and power come to mankind for special purposes and occasions. But the gift of the Holy Ghost, which was received by the apostles on the day of Pentecost, and is bestowed in confirmation, is a permanent witness and higher endowment than the ordinary manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

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