"[The] full restoration [of the priesthood] involved the coming of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, whose head was taken to satisfy the whims of a wicked woman, and of Peter, James, and John, they who faithfully walked with the Master before his death and proclaimed his resurrection and divinity following his death. It involved Moses, Elias, and Elijah, each bringing priesthood keys to complete the work of restoring all of the acts and ordinances of previous dispensations in this the great, final dispensation of the fulness of times. "The priesthood is here. It has been conferred upon us. We act in that authority. We speak as sons of God in the name of Jesus Christ and as holders of this divinely given endowment. We know, for we have seen, the power of this priesthood. We have seen the sick healed, the lame made to walk, and the coming of light and knowledge and understanding to those who have been in darkness."Paul wrote concerning the priesthood: 'No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.' (Heb. 5:4.) We have not acquired it through purchase or bargain. The Lord has given it to men who are considered worthy to receive it, regardless of station in life, the color of their skin, or the nation in which they live. It is the power and the authority to govern in the affairs of the kingdom of God. It is given only by ordination by the laying on of hands by those in authority to do so. The qualification for eligibility is obedience to the commandments of God. "There is no power on the earth like it. Its authority extends beyond life, through the veil of death, to the eternities ahead. It is everlasting in its consequences."
May I just read to you from the Prophet Joseph what I assume is the responsibility for the living as well as for the dead. You all know the language for the dead. You all understand our obligation to seal our families back through every generation. What I'm not sure we have understood--in those revelations about work for the dead and baptism for the dead and sealings and why temples are built--is the language from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith himself about what we're obligated to do for the living, indeed the living in our own households, indeed, the children at our knee who eat at our table and pray at our beside. Let me give you that language from section 128: Quoting Malachi, the Prophet Joseph Smith said (I'm in verse 17 if anybody wants to follow):
Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Now, I think everyone understands, especially in terms of the work for the dead, the idea of turning the heart of the children to their fathers, but what is the meaning for your family in turning the heart of the fathers to the children? I think he goes on to talk about that.
I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind.... It is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this. . . [not only the dispensational ties, but in our time in 1981 on this campus, in your home] . . . not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.
As I understand it, that latter portion of the scripture just read has nothing to do with work for the dead or sealing back through generations to Adam. No, it has to do with things that have been hidden from the wise and prudent and they are to be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times, in this, your home and mine, today.
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