Mother Hen Do you want the good news or the bad news?
The good news: we have temples!
The bad news: we don't have the fulness of the priesthood.
But let's focus on the good news.
Jesus lamented to the Nephites:
How oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.
(3 Nephi 10:5)
In our day, Jesus lamented:
How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!
Question: We wouldn't . . . what? What would we not do?
Answer: Be "gathered."
What Does it Mean to be "Gathered?"
On June 11, 1843, Joseph Smith gave an amazing discourse on the temple, priesthood, and hell (the trifecta!).
We have several accounts of his discourse. Let's look carefully at what Joseph taught about gathering.
1. "The reason why the Jews were scattered and their House left unto them Desolate was because they refused to be gathered that the fulness of the Priesthood might be [received] among them which never can be done but by the gathering of the People."
(Discourse, 11 June 1843–A, as Reported by Franklin D. Richards, p. , The Joseph Smith Papers)
2. "It was the design in the cou[n]cils of heaven before the world was. that the pri[n]ciple & law of that pri[e]sthood was predicated up[o]n the gathe[rin]g of the people in every age of the world. Jesus did every thing possible to gather the people. & th[e]y would not be gathered."
(Discourse, 11 June 1843–A, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. , The Joseph Smith Papers)
1. Who is gathered? 2. What is gathered? 3. Where are they gathered to? 4. When are they gathered? 5. Why are they gathered? 6. How are they gathered?
I think the answer to all these questions are found in understanding the relationship between three things:
(1) Gathering + (2) Temple + (3) Fulness of the Priesthood = ?
What Happened to the Fulness of the Priesthood?
Remember how in the 20th Century we were told to notgather anymore?
So instead of gathering . . . we stay put.
As Bruce R. McConkie taught, "To create a stake is like founding a City of Holiness. Every stake on earth is the gathering place for the lost sheep of Israel who live in its area." (Bruce R. McConkie, “Come: Let Israel Build Zion,” Ensign, May 1977, 118.)
Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep, and doesn't know where to find them; leave them alone, And they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them.
The only place in the scriptures that uses the phrase "fulness of the priesthood" (that I am aware of) is in Section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Given in 1841, it says:
For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.
From this verse it appears:
1. The Lord restored the "fulness of the priesthood" sometime in this dispensation;
2. At some point before 1841, the "fulness" had been "lost" or "taken away" from the Saints;
3. The Lord required the Saints to build a House in order for the "fulness" to be restored "again"; and
4. The Nauvoo temple was not completed in Joseph's lifetime, so we do not know what the Lord may have restored through Joseph had he lived.
Little Bo-Peep fell fast asleep, and dreamt she heard them bleating; but when she awoke, she found it a joke, for they were still a-fleeting.
It seems like we've lost a lot in this dispensation already. (And here I thought we were doing better than the Nephites, spinning along on their hamster wheel of pride.)
During Joseph's day there was a lot going on; but after his death it seems like the Good Ship Zion lost some of its steam. I mean, as a Church, we've lost:
1. The fulness of the priesthood;
2. The law of adoption;
3. The Kingdom of God and His Laws with the Keys and Power thereof, and Judgment in the Hands of His Servants, Ahman Christ;
4. The second anointing (for all practical purposes);
5. The rights and privileges afforded to women of the original Relief Society (see the series, "The Key of the House of David").
Is it at all shocking that without these things we are running on fumes ― especially when it comes to our temple worship?
Then up she took her little crook, determined for to find them; she found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed, for they'd left their tails behind them.