Presentation on theme: "DEACONS ANDREW SINDT. WHAT’S PRIESTHOOD? God’s power is entrusted to men who he specifically chooses and calls. They being the priesthood who were also."— Presentation transcript:
WHAT’S PRIESTHOOD? God’s power is entrusted to men who he specifically chooses and calls. They being the priesthood who were also given authority to act on his behave on this world. Their commission from God being forever and ever. “Priesthood is but another name for authority and should mean an intervening power-signifies a body of men rightfully holding power to administer in the name of Jesus Christ for the conference of spiritual blessings upon men.” – Joseph Smith, Saint’s Herald, Vol 24, page 168
CONDITION OF AUTHORITY 1.The hypocrite rule: The proper use of authority requires an unswerving devotion to the divine purposes. It requires sustained righteousness as an established way of living in the priesthood member’s life. He must comply with the law in his own life. In the life of the true minister there can be no room for envy, belittlement, scorn, jealousy, or disdain of others. 2.Limitations: Ordination cannot in and of itself forever remedy the defects of ourselves. Ordination doesn’t automatically upload everything we will need to know to perform our duties. It is no substitute for learning the duties and responsibilities of our respective offices. Being ordained does not give one the right to step out in their own strength or wisdom. If one steps out of line from God/spirit he has no authority. (which is consequently the singular difference between us and the people down the street) “No power is inherent in priesthood save it be exercised be persuasion, by longsuffering, by meekness, by love unfeigned, without hypocrisy, without guile, showing increase in love with a soul full of charity towards all men and when virtue guards the thoughts unceasingly.” – Joseph Smith Times & Seasons, Vol 1 pages 131-132
PRIESTHOOD ORGANIZATION There are of course 2 divisions in priesthood one being the Melchisedec and the other being Aaronic. Melchisedec contains those of high priesthood and eldership they being the First Presidency, the twelve apostles, patriarchs, bishops, high priests, seventy and elders. “The power and authority of the higher, or Melchisedec, priesthood is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church: to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; to have the heavens opened unto them; to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn; and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” -Sec 104: 9
PRIESTHOOD ORGANIZATION The Aaronic priesthood includes deacons, teachers, and priests. “The second priesthood is called the priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations. Why it is called the lesser priesthood is, because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchisedec priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances. The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys or authority of the same.” -104: 8 “The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic, priesthood is to hold the keys of the ministering of angles, and to administer in outward ordinances – the letter of the gospel – the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeably to the covenant and commandments.” – 104: 10
VERY SHORT HISTORY OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD The purpose of the Aaronic priesthood was and still is to assist the Melchisedec priesthood in the day to day operations of the church. So that those in the Melchisedec priesthood could focus on the more important spiritual matters. This was best shown in the Old Testament when Aaron and his sons were called and ordained into office so that the physical needs of Israel could be covered more efficiently and to spread out the work load that was then all upon Moses himself.
VERY SHORT HISTORY OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD When the Melchisedec priesthood was taken up because of the transgressions of the house of Israel the Aaronic priesthood was left behind to teach and to caring out the Law of Moses which was to be like a school masters law. Harsh and strict full of material and physical commandments. But as the centuries past the law was corrupted as were the priesthood and by the time the Temple was built the Law of Moses was no longer what was given in the desert by Moses. Look at the difference between the Jews and those in the Americas. Both had the Law of Moses but those in the Americas understood that it was a lesser law and that no salvation could be attended through it. While the Jews thought of the Law as the end all be all. Those in the Americas understood that it was eventually to be replaced by the Celestial Law. While the Jews thought that the Law of Moses was the only thing required and even if there was a Celestial law it was only to be an addition to the Law of Moses. And why did the Jews believe this? Because the Aaronic priesthood had become corrupted by the power that they could wield through the Law of Moses. It wasn’t until the time of Jesus, John the Baptist and the Apostles that the Aaronic priesthood would be restored again.
VERY SHORT HISTORY OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD Though there are varying accounts of the timeframe the Aaronic priesthood was once again corrupted and ultimately lifted up from this world sometime around Emperor Constatites rule of the Roman Empire. And it wouldn’t come back to the world of man until the modern church was once again established on earth. “Which John I have sent unto you my servents, Joseph Smith Jr and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto this first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained, even as Aaron; and also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse; and also with Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers by whom the promises remain; and also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the Ancient of Days.” -26:2
WHAT DO DEACONS DO? Deacons are ministers over material things, church property, and economic matters. They are to arrange the physical setting for the higher ministry. As most of the Elders and to a lesser extent the priests were to be out traveling and ministering in the mission fields. The teachers and deacons were to focus on holding down and building up the fort. And to assist the standing Melchisedec priesthood and priests as needed. Though it should be noted that in times of shortage of men in the Aaronic priesthood it may make it necessary for those in the higher priesthood to function in the lower offices.
WHAT DO DEACONS DO? The Deacon’s ministry encompasses teaching, warning, exhorting, expounding, inviting all to come to Christ”, ministering to the needy, the widows, and the fatherless, initiating or expanding compliance with all the law but specially in regards with stewardship. Other primary duties of the Deacons revolve around the up keep and development of church properties and also the up keep and development of the individual people. Deacons were also allowed to function as branch Treasures if so approve by the branch. And if the Deacon somehow found himself in a branch were there was no other higher office available he could be the Pastor. Deacons can form quorums of 12 members. The duties of these Deacons quorums are to educate the members in their duties. The Deacon is to assist the higher priesthood in their duties and functions as needs be except for the ordinances. As the Deacon and also the Teacher can only call for the administering angles which only comes into play when there is no Elders in the area. Deacons were also allowed to function under the Bishop as his. The deacon is also to visit the Saints in their homes to teach and develop good financial and stewardship practices and to aid their visiting partner as the Spirit moves. It should be noted that most marriage problems stem from financial problems. It should also be mentioned that any financial matter that is brought to the Deacon by individual or group is confidential and the Deacon release any of the information shared to any other person without the express permission of the individual or group.
WHAT DO DEACONS DO? Though the list of the Deacons duties is fairly long and might I add time consuming, an individual Deacon normally functions in only a fraction of the duties listed above, at least in the Center Place as there are more standing Elders and Priests in every branch. But outside of the Center Place, Deacons will generally have more duties placed on them as there is less priesthood. As the Deacon is the most subordinate of the priesthood offices what the Deacon’s duties are really come down to what the needs of the branch are and what they are allowed to do by the other priesthood. Specifically today that would normally be a presiding Elder, though if there was a Bishop of the Church he would be the President of the Aaronic Order and his authority would trump the others in the temporal matters that the deacon largely deals in.
FINANCES Which brings us to the beginning of what many consider the scariest single section in any priesthood offices handbook. The Deacon’s role in the church’s finances and the development of individual wisdom and stewardship of her members. It is the Deacon duty to teach the law of tithing. This is of course very difficult given the current state of the church and the lack of a Bishop to give guidance in these changing times. It should be noted that we were originally given the Law of Total Consecration as part of the Celestial Law. However the people of the church rejected this Law thereby they also rejected the Celestial Law. There by we were given the lessor law of tithing as we see it today. That being that we pay 10% of our increase to the church as our tithing. Which sounds simple enough until you try to define what increase is or is not, at which time everyone has a different idea. And when you try to study and flush out the details of this Law you will find that those in the past also didn’t know or agree on how to define it and even if they did agree on a detail a lot of times it is now out of date with our currently financial times. You are ultimately accountable to yourself and to God as there is no bishopric to turn in tithing states to so we have to function on the honor system. If you have any questions about your own situation you can of course still ask your deacon of choice or one of the few Bishops left in the church. Just remember that when Zion comes down again that the Law will be of Total Consecration.
FINANCES “I look upon the deacons as being one of the most important arms of the priesthood. They are part of the financial arm of the church and are by virtue of their ordination agents for the workers with the general bishopric. The deacons are not only to teach the financial law, but they should be men who would be of service to the bishopric in collecting tithes, offerings, and the general funds of the church. Not only that but they should be of direct assistance to the bishopric in dispensing the money to the poor. One of the most spiritual bodies of men in the church ought to be the deaconate. They ought to be first-class business men in every sense of the word; ability to preach a sermon is not a prime requisite. Their first work is to administer the financial law, and keep the congregation alive to church financial duties. Then they would be discharging their duties as they should. “ –Frederick M. Smith Saints Herald Nov 28, 1917
FINANCES The Deacon is also to help develop the stewardship of the people in the church which has a far larger scope than just the financial end on things. Think about it, what do you have stewardship of besides your money. Your talents, gifts, children, property, body, etc. The Deacon should be learned in as many of these areas as possible. And willing to share Gods wisdom in all of these things if the time arises. The Deacon is to do this so that the other offices don’t have to and so that they can deal with their offices higher callings and duties. So that the teacher can teach the gospel and keep the peace in the branch. So that the Elder can focus on the greater mysteries of heaven and harvesting the white fields.
CURRENT LIMITATIONS It should be noted that many of the higher duties of the Deacons to aid the orphans and widows. Along with acting as agents to the Bishop are at this time impossible or severely crippled because of the condition of the church at this time. The lack of a store house and a functioning Bishopric does limit the ability of Deacons to perform their duties and can creates a level of confusion amongst the ranks, also the lack of Quorums under mines the training and development of new Deacons. Meaning that a unified and clear vision from the standing Elders of the branch is more important than ever as we lack the President of our order.
CURRENT LIMITATIONS It is when Deacons lack this clear unified vision that you begin to see the troubling trend in today’s Deacons ranks that I like to call the “I’m just a deacon syndrome”. Which you only really see in the Center Place where you have branches that aren’t united in their leadership and there is no vision. The vision of course should be the bringing about Zion and souls unto Christ. But instead it’s become more of a power game unto many or a social activity unto others. With so many vocal leaders in the same place it can become very confusing and/or paradoxical to many deacons as to whom they follow and aid as they are to aid all the higher priesthoods. Or the bureaucracy can become so bloated with people that should otherwise be in the mission fields both here and overseas that Deacons are effectively relegated to being merely ushers. Either way you end up with some combination of disenfranchised Deacons with nothing to do or Deacons that have a fairly good grasp of what slave labor feels like and either way they have no reason/time to grow and develop into their office.
WISDOM TO THE DEACONS This can of course be prevented or rectified with effective leadership and clear vision. My wisdom unto my fellow Deacons is that in these the last days there is work everywhere that needs to be done. Seek out the Lords will, be proactive in your development as a Priesthood member. Read, study and pray for guidance on how the Store House and Law of Total Consecration were to function. Develop yourself for the coming of Zion and the functioning Store House. Seek out the less fortunate and aid them where possible. This doesn’t have to be just through the Church ether, there are many originations in town that are always looking for some volunteers to aid them in their humanitarian endeavors. Pray for your branches individual members and the wisdom to guide them as needed. Remember that your primary duties are to your home congregation as a standing minister and to aid the Presiding Elders as needed. Fight to remain humble in all of your doings and develop charity in your life, which is the pure love of Christ. Though you are a standing minister you are called to ever be calling out for those who might answer the call of God in their own lives. This can be simple defied as you being a missionary to those in your home town or day to day life. And in all things, and this cannot be stressed enough, pray for God’s guidance and then listen for that still small voice.