2. The keys he gave Peter are "the keys to the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 16:19)
3. Heaven is not of this world.
4. The Catholic Church used "keys" as a basis to create an earthly institution whereby its Pontiff was made the most powerful churchman among his peers.
5. What if priesthood keys were not meant to run an earthly organization? What then are they for?
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
In 1839, Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee went to Washington D.C. to meet with U.S. President Martin Van Buren. They were seeking redress from the federal government for the losses suffered in Missouri.
In a letter dated December 5, 1839, they wrote to home:
In our interview with the President, He interogated us wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day.
Bro, Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands--
We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost.
[Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee, "Letter to Hyrum Smith and Nauvoo High Council, 5 December 1839," The Joseph Smith Papers]
Well, that's interesting.
Joseph did NOT say that priesthood keys make us different -- he said the gift of the Holy Ghost does.
But . . . aren't priesthood keys necessary to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands?
The Holy Ghost
Is the Holy Ghost God?
When the gift of the Holy Ghost is given, do some people get a bigger version of the Holy Ghost than others, or do we all receive equally?
Huh. What if priesthood keys were given in order for the gift of the Holy Ghost to be given to us, and after we received the gift of the Holy Ghost we are then led by Him? Paradigm Shift
Okay, here is the take-away from Nephi, which is one of the greatest things I've ever read in the scriptures. It opened up my eyes and changed how I see "keys."
I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
[Notice - It is God (not persons with keys) who show us all things we should do]
Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ.
(2 Nephi 32:5-6)
Wait . . . THIS is the doctrine of Christ?!
So We Want Us Some Keys?
Why are we so obsessed with priesthood keys? Well, I guess it is because we want to establish a pecking order. We want show whose got the biggest authority.
But isn't the whole purpose of priesthood keys to bring us into the presence of God?
And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
So why do we invoke "keys" as a byword for bossing the body of Christ? For exercising authority over others? I think we have forgotten what keys are for. What we should be asking (instead of "who's in charge?") is, "How can we unlock the 'mysteries of the kingdom?' How do we get the 'key of the knowledge of God?'"
Hmmm. Is the answer . . . the Holy Ghost?!
Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
It is interesting that the scriptures always talk about "the power of the Holy Ghost." Why? Because Joseph Smith taught that "keys" is just another word for "power."
John says, 'I baptize you with water, but when Jesus comes, who has the power (or keys), he shall administer the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 360).
So anywhere we see "the power of the Holy Ghost," we could replace it with "the keys of the Holy Ghost." (See, e.g., Romans 15:13).
The Holy Ghost is the Key
And how do we obtain power, or keys? Well, the best explanation of how we obtain keys comes from Joseph Smith:
Thus we behold the keys of this Priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that He talked with him [Noah] in a familiar and friendly manner.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 171).
Now things are adding up. But I want to throw this out there, too:
[Joseph] spoke of delivering the keys of the Priesthood to the Church . . . [whereby we] might know how to ask the Lord and receive an answer.
(Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 226).
Does that sound familiar? What is the Holy Ghost but a revelator?
Was this what Moroni really meant, when he said:
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power [i.e. keys] of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power [i.e. keys] of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
How are we supposed to be led? How do we know what is true?
Did Moroni say it was by a person's title or office or rank or position or keys?
No . . .
We know what is true by the keys (or power) of the Holy Ghost which we all hold.