Me: To follow the Keys which are the greatest of all, like my father before me.
Angel: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
Me: No. I know God loves his children to follow the Keys, but I do not know why.
And I saw the heavens open; and beheld a woman bearing a child in her arms. And I saw that the child held the Key of David in his hand, and was called Holy and True.
Angel: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the Key which thy father saw?
Me: Wait. "Key". . . singular? I thought we were supposed to follow the Keys (plural) held by a variety of mortal men, but more particularly those mortal men who are our contemporaries?
Angel: No, we follow Him (singular)who holds the Key of David, who is the Son of God.
Me: But surely God shares the Keys with his authorized servants below?
And when I had spoken and heard these things, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Angel: What are you doing?
Me: Respecting your authority, of course.
Angel: See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant: worship God.
And I looked and beheld Him who held the Key of David in His right hand; and His beauty was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and His whiteness did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.
Angel: Now, knowest thou the meaning of the Key which thy father saw?
Me: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
Angel: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.
Anatomy of a Keyholder
Okay, here's a fun challenge: pretend we're describing a "keyholder" to a police sketch artist, who is trying to draw this mysterious do-gooder.
What would a keyholder look like? How would we describe him or her?
Let's see if Jesus can give us some clues.
The disciples came unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 18:1-2, 4)
So after Jesus had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
(John 13:12, 15)
He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
Fitting the Pieces Together
If we add up all the clues that Jesus gave us, we would understand that priesthood keys are not for lording but for serving.
* The sign of priesthood authority is condescension. *
So What Happened???
Can someone explain how -- when Jesus expressly forbade us from exercising authority upon each other (see, Luke 22:25-26) -- and when Jesus expressly said it "shall not be so" among his children -- and when the token of priesthood keys given Peter was an upside down cross -- we have instead made a mockery of his martyr's death by exalting his heirs above the throne of heaven?
Jesus described those that worship authority in the pride of their hearts as a "generation of vipers" (Matt. 23:33).
Have we turned keys into idols, making "authorized servants" and "proper sources" our latter-day Golden Calf?
Have we let religion make merchandise of our Father's House?
Have we mocked God by using priesthood keys as an excuse to exercise control and compulsion upon the souls of the children of men?
Have we polluted our inheritance by envying power and position over condescension and sacrifice?
Have we denied the power of God by placing faith in an institution rather than in Christ who redeems us?
Have we grieved the Spirit by suppressing our spiritual gifts which come from God in order to conform to those who sit in authority?
Have we suborned our authentic selves into pretending perfection, creating a legalistic sandbox from which to throw stones at each other?
Worst of all, have we forsaken the command to love for the love of command?
We can live by faith and hope and charity instead of by handbooks and assignments and delegation.
We can turn away from priestcraft and begin relying upon the gift of the Holy Ghost rather than leaders.
We can repent and plead for God's forgiveness.
We can love God more than we love the carnal security of a dead, lesser law.
We can care for one another more than we care about our public image and financial investments.
We can lay hold on Him who is the Key of David, and chart a new course where we follow His quiet call to live by common consent.
Best of all, we can leave our children a better church and a brighter hope for Zion.