Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Question

This week in the Deacons/Teachers quorum class, they were discussing the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. 

One of the boys wondered why Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the priesthood before they were baptized, when you need to be baptized first. It's a good question, and the adults were struggling to answer it. Wayne knew he had heard the answer before, and suspected it was from the teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith. We looked it up and he was right. Just in case you're ever in a class when the same question comes up, (or a similar one, like "Why didn't John the Baptist just baptize them?"), here's the answer:

Why Were Joseph and Oliver Commanded to Re-ordain Each Other After Baptism?* 

by Joseph Fielding Smith

[John the Baptist] after conferring the Priesthood, instructed Joseph and Oliver to go down into the water and baptize each other. After which they were to lay hands upon each other and re-confer the Priesthood which he had bestowed upon them. There are two reasons why they should be commanded to do this thing. First, to confer the Priesthood before baptism, is contrary to the order of the organized Church, therefore they were commanded to confer the Priesthood upon each other in the regular way; after they were baptized. Second, the angel did for them that which they could not do for themselves. There was no one living in mortality who held the keys of this Priesthood, therefore it was necessary that this messenger, who held the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood in the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time, should be sent to confer this power. It is contrary to the order of heaven for those who have passed beyond the veil to officiate and labor for the living on the earth, only wherein mortal man cannot act, and thereby it becomes necessary for those who have passed through the resurrection to act for them. Otherwise John would have followed the regular order, which is practiced in the Church, and would have first baptized Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and then conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood. (Essentials in Church History, 27th ed. [1950], 57–58)

*This wasn't the question asked in class, but the answer is the same.

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