This is the Joseph Smith treatise on priesthood that I talked about in my last post. I wanted to save it so I can read it again. Sometimes I read something great and then I forget just where it was. So I often use my blog to catalogize all my studies and notes. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog — I needed a place for my Hugh Nibley audio files.

Joseph Smith had so much knowledge to impart. He talks quite a bit about Enoch and explains, “the doctrine of translation is a power which belongs to this priesthood.” He even says that he will talk about translation more in depth later.

Another interesting subject Joseph explains is the law of sacrifice — he says it was not fulfilled with the death of Jesus Christ. In fact, he explains the restoration spoken of by Malachi includes the sons of Levi offering sacrifice to the Lord.

It will be necessary here to make a few observations on the doctrine, set forth in the above quotation, As it is generally supposed that Sacrifice was entirely done away when the great sacrife was offered up—and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of Sacrifice in future, but those who assert this, are certainly not aquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood.

Another interesting concept here is Joseph’s discussion on dispensations —  I noted that the fulness of times is really all of the dispensations — and is yet in the future:

Adam holds the Keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times, i.e. the dispensation of all the times have been and will be revealed through him from the begining to Christ and from Christ to the end of all world the dispensations that have [been and] are to be revealed…

Adam receiving his presidency and authority from Christ, but cannot receive a fulness, untill Christ shall present the kingdom to the Father which shall be at the end of the last dispensation.

Instruction on Priesthood, 5 October 1840

  • Source: JS, Instruction on Priesthood,Nauvoo, IL, 5 Oct. 1840; handwriting of Robert B. Thompson; ten pages; JS Collection, CHL.

Document Transcript


In order to investigate the subject <of the Priesthood> so important to this  as well as every sl succeeding generation, I shall proceed  to trace the subject as far as I possibly can from  the Old and new Testaments. There are two priesthoods spoken of in the scrip tures, viz, the Melchisadeck and the Aaronic or Levitical


Commencing with Adam who was the first man of whom  it is spoken of in Daniel as being “the Antient of days”  or in other words the first and oldest of all, the great  grand progenitor of whom it is said in another  place he is michael because he was the first and  father of all, not only by progeny, but he was the  first to hold the spiritual blessings, the plan  to whom was made known the plan of


and that all things whatsoever that should be gathered  together in one in those dispensations, unto the same  fulness and eternal glory should be in Christ Jesus;  therefore he set the ordinances to be the same for  Ever and ever and set Adam to watch over them  to reveal them from heaven to man or to send  Angels to reveal them Heb 1 Chap. 16 [14] verse. [“]Are they  not all ministring spirits sent forth to minister to those  who shall be heirs of salvation.” These angels are under  the direction of Michael or Adam who acts under  the direction of Christ

From the above quotation we learn that Paul perfectly  understood the purpose of God in relation <to> his connexion  with man, and that glorious and perfect order which  he established in himself whereby he sent forth power  revelations and glory. God will not acknowledge that  which he has not called, ordained, and chosen.

In the beginning God called Adam by his own voice  See Genesis 3 Chap 9 & 10 verses. [“]And the Lord called unto  Adam and said unto him where art thou, and he said  I heard thy voice in the garden and I was afraid because  I was naked and hid myself.[”] Adam received com mandments and instruction from God, this was the  order from the begining: that he received revelations,  Commandments, and ordinances at the begining is beyond  the power of controversy, else, how did they begin to  to offer sacrifices to God in an acceptable manner? [p. 3]


And if they offered sacrifices they must be authorized by  ordination. We read in Gen 4thchap. V.4 that [“]Abel brought  of the firstlings of the flock and the fat thereof and the Lord  had respect to Abel and to his offring.[”] And again Heb 11 chap  4 verse. [“]By Faith abel offered unto God a more excellent  Sacrifice than Cain by which he obtained witness that he  was righteous God testifying of his gifts and by it he being  dead yet speaketh.[”] How doth he yet speak? Why he mag nified the priesthood which was confired [conferred] upon him and  died a righteous man, and therefore has become a righteous  man an angel of God by receiving his [p. 4]


body from the dead, therefore holding still the keys of held his dispensation and was sent down from heaven  unto paul to minister consoleing words & to comnin [communicate?]  unto him a knowledge of the mysteries of Godliness  and if this was not the case I would ask how did  paul know so much about able Abel and why should he  talk about his speaking after he was dead.  now that he spoke after he was dead must be,  by being sent down out of heaven, to administer.  This then is the nature of th priesthood, every  man holding the presidency of his dispensation  and one man holding the presidency of them  all even Adam. and Adam receiving his  Presidency and Authority from Christ, but can not receive a fulness, untill Christ shall pre sent, the Kingdom to the Father which shall  be at the end of the last dispensation—The power, Glory, and blessings of the Priesthood could  not continue with those who received ordination only as their righteousness continued, for Cain  also being Authorized to offer sacrifice but not offering  it in righteousness, therefore he was cursed. It  signifies then, that the ordinances must be kept  in the very way God has appointed, otherwise their  priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a  blessing. If Cain had fulfilled the law of righteous ness as did Enoch he could have walked  with God all the days of his life and never faild  of a blessing. Gen [blank] [“]And Enoch walked with  God after he begat Mathusalah 300 years and begat [p. 5]


Sons and Daughters and all the days of Enoch  were 365 years and Enoch walked with God and  he was not for God took him.[”] Now this Enoch God  reserved unto himself that he should not die <at>   and app that time and appointed unto him a ministry  unto terrestrial bodies of whom there has been but  little revealed, He is reserved also unto a the pres idency of a dispensation— of and more shall be said  of him and terrestrial bodies in another treaties [treatise]

He is a ministring Angel to minister for to those  who shall be heirs of salvation and appered  unto Jude as Abel did unto paul. therefore  Jude spoke of him 14 & 15 verses in Jude. [“]and  Enoch the Seventh revealed these sayings. Behold  the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints[”]  Paul was also aquainted with this Character  and received instructions from him. Heb  11 Chap. 5 ver. [“]By Faith Enoch was translated that  he should not see death, and was not found  because God had translated him for before  his translation he had this testimony that he  pleased God. But without faith it is impossible  to please God, for he that cometh to God must be lieve that he is, and that he is a revealer to those  who diligently seek him,[”]——

Now the doctrine of translation is a power which  belongs to this priesthood, there are many things  which belong to the powers of the priesthood and  the keys thereof that have been kept hid from  before the foundation of the world. they are hid  from the wise and prudent to be revealed in the  last times. many may have supposed, that the— [p. 6]

doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men  were taken immediately into the presence of God  and into an Eternal fulness but this is a mistaken  idea. There place of habitation is that of the terres trial order and a place prepared for such char acters, he held in reserve to be ministring Angels  Unto many planets, and who as yet have not enter ed into so great a fulness as those who are resur rected from the dead, See Heb 11 Chap part of the  35 verse “others were tortured not accepting deliverance  that they might obtain a better resurrection[”]  Now it was evident, that there was a better resurrection  or else God would not have revealed it unto paul  wherein then can it be said a better ressurrection?  This distinction is made between the doctrine of  the actual ressurrection and the doctrine of  translation, the doctrine of translation obtains  deliverance from the tortures and sufferings of  the body but their existance will prolong as to  their labors and toils of the ministry before they  can enter in to so great a rest and glory, but  on the other hand those who were tortured not  accepting deliverance received an immediate  rest from their labors, See Rev [blank] [“]And I  heard a voice from heaven saying blessed are  the dead who die in the Lord for from henceforth  they do rest from their labors and their works  do follow them[”]— They rest from their labors  for a long time and yet their work is held in  reserve for them, that they are permitted to do  the same works after they receive a ressurection [p. 7]
for their bodies, but we shall leave this subject  and the subject of the terrestial bodies for another  time in order to treat upon them more fully The next great grand patriarch who held the keys of the priesthood was Lamech See Gen 5 Chap 28 & 29  verses— [“]And Lamech lived 182 years and begat a Son  and he beg called his name Noah saying this same shall  comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our  hands because of the ground which the Lord has  Curst.[”] The priesthood continued from Lamech to Noah  Gen 6 Chap 13 verse. [“]And God said unto Noah the end  of all flesh is before me, for the earth is filled with  violence through them, and behold I will destroy  them with the earth,” thus we behold the keys of  this priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice  of Jehovah that he talked with him in a familiare  and friendly manner, that he continued to him  the keys, the covenants, the power and the glory  with which he blessed Adam at the beginning  and the offring of sacrifice which also shall be  continued at the last time. for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the priest hood under the directions and commandments of  the Almighty in the last dispensation at the end  thereof in any of the dispensations, shall all  be had in the last dispensations— Therefore  all things had under the Authority of the Priesthood  At any former period shall be had again—  bringing to pass the restoration spoken of  by the mouth of all the Holy prophets— then  <Malach 3— 3> shall the Sons of Levi offer unto the Lord  an acceptable offering” [p. 8]
then shall the sons of Levi offer an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord  Se[e] Malichi 3 Chap— 3 & 4 [“]And he shall sit as a refiners fire and purifier  of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge  them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord[”]

It will be necessary here to make a few  observations on the doctrine, set forth in the above quotation,  As it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely  done away, <when the great sacrif[ic]e was offered up—> and that there will be no necessity for the  ordinance of sacrifice in future; but those who assert  this, are certainly not aquainted with the duties, privileges  and authority of the priesthood. <or with the prophets> The offering of sac rifice is has ever been connected, and forms a part of the  <duties of the> priesthood. It began which with the priesthood and will be  continued untill after the coming of christ from generation  to generation——

We frequently have mention made of the offering of  Sacrifice by the servants of the most high in antient  days prior to the law of moses, See [blank]  which ordinances will be continued  when the priesthood is restored with all its Authority  power and blessings. Elijah was the last Prophet  that held the keys of this priesthood, and who will,  before the last dispensation, restore the Authority and delive[r]  the keys of this priesthood in order that all the ordinan[c]es  may be attended to in righteousness. predjudi[ced]>>

And I will send Elijah the prophet before the  great and terrible day of the Lord &c &c.
Why send Elijah because he holds the keys of  the Authority to administer in all the ordinances of  the priesthood and without the Authority is given  the ordinances could not be administered in  righteousness. [p. 9]

It is a very prevalent opinion that in the sacrifices <sacrifices> of <which>  were offered were entirely consumed, this was not  the case if you read Leviticus [blank] Chap [blank] Verses  you will observe that the priests took a part as a  memorial and offered it up before the Lord, while  the remainder was kept for the benefit <maintenance> of the priests—  So that the offerings and sacrifices are not all consu med upon the Alter, but the blood is sprinkled and  the fat and certain other portions are consumed  These sacrifices as well as every ordinance belonging  to the priesthood will when the temple of the Lord  shall be built <and the sons [of] Levi be purified> be fully restored and attended to then  the Sons of Levi shall be purified. all their powers raniffications [ramifications], and blessings— this  ever was did and will be exist when the powers of the Melchisadc  Priesthood are sufficiently manifest. else how can  the restitution of all things spoken of by all the  Holy prophets be brought to pass be brought to  pass, It is not to be understood that, the law of  Moses will be fully established again with all  its rights and <variety of ceremonies> ceremonies <this has never been spoken off by the prophets> but those things which  existed prior to Mose’s day viz sacrifice, will  be continued— It may be asked by some what necess sity for Sacrifice since the great Sacrifice was offered?  In answer to which if Repentance Baptism and faith  were neccessary to Salvation <existed> prior to the days of christ  what necessity for them since that time———The priesthood has descended in a regular line from  Father to Son through their succeeding generations See Book of Doctrine & Covenants


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