Tag Archives: Restoration

Tolerating the Weeds

Not Free Willy

My wife and I watched Blackfish a few months ago. Going into it we knew it was about SeaWorld and orca whales and the issues that arise from their captivity, but we didn’t know much more than that. Thinking that our two year-old son might find it interesting to see killer whales, my wife invited him to join us.

“Hey, do you want to watch a show about whales?”

*turns on Blackfish*

(From the television) “…Um, we need someone to respond… the whale just ate one of the trainers…” *ominous music* Continue reading Tolerating the Weeds


The Parable of the Vegan Conference

I really enjoyed the parable posted on Millennial Star yesterday.

(Side note: I often really enjoy their posts.)

What’s more, the comments (at least, as of the time of me posting this) have been great, and enhance the conversation around the premise of the original post.

I highly recommend it for those who, like me, are new to this whole new world of online Mormonism.

Testimony Meeting

Every first Sunday of the month in the LDS Church is a Fast Sunday, where the entire Church is encouraged to fast. Also on the first Sunday of the month, during sacrament meeting, members of the congregation are encouraged to bear their testimonies, or tell what they know to be true.

The resource “Teaching: No Greater Call” has this to say about testimony:

“It is important to understand what a testimony is and what a testimony is not. First, it is not an exhortation, a call to repentance, a travelogue, a sermon, or an instruction. It is a simple, direct declaration of belief—a feeling, an assurance, a conviction…. Testimonies are often most powerful when they are short, concise, and direct.”

What are you going to hear today? What am I going to hear? A thank-imony? A travel-mony? A preach-imony?


But maybe I will also hear about how people know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Or how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today. Or that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Or that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet who guides this Church as Moses or Peter did in the past. Or that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the World, who helps us to repent, become better, and become clean.

I can always hope.

If you have the opportunity, count with me. See how often you hear a testimony about the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, Joseph Smith, Thomas S. Monson, the Church, or the Savior. Hopefully those testimonies will outnumber the others (and the primary kids don’t count).


Would you believe that someone broke out to spontaneous song during sacrament meeting? Spontaneous a cappella song at that.

Mormon Observations on “Mere Christianity” – Preface 4

This is a post continuing my analysis of Mere Christianity from an LDS perspective. See my table of contents here.

The Parable of the Hall and the Rooms

At the very end of his preface, Lewis gives an analogy, a parable if you will. He says,

“I hope no reader will suppose that ‘mere’ Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions – as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think, preferable.”

I talked about this idea briefly in Part 1. I laid out briefly my personal stance, which is echoed by the stance of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We unequivocally and unapologetically claim to be the one true church on the earth today, the one door that offers the fullness of salvation. The Lord himself told Joseph Smith that this Church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30). Yet Latter-day Saints do not believe that they have a monopoly on truth. They believe that the Lord has given to all nations the portion of truth that he sees fit that they should have (Alma 29: 8; see also 2 Nephi 29:10-13).

In 1978, the First Presidency of the Church (at the time, Spencer W. KimballN. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney, all pictured above) released an official statement which summarizes this position. In reads, in part:

“The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals… Consistent with these truths, we believe that God has given and will give to all people sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation, either in this life or in the life to come.

We also declare that the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored to his Church in our day, provides the only way to a mortal life of happiness and a fullness of joy forever. For those who have not received this gospel, the opportunity will come to them in the life hereafter if not in this life.”

Thus, even though there is one true church, that does not make all other churches wrong. It just makes them not enough. Some Christians may have a problem with a statement such as this, but isn’t this essentially what they are saying to everyone else? “There may be some truth in your religion, but to be saved it is not enough. You must come to Christ.” That is, of course, the truth. And to their statement we only add, “And you must come to the true Christ, and the Church wherein you can find the fullness of his gospel, his priesthood power, and his chosen leaders.”

The contradictions that are set up if one believes in a plurality of truth will not be covered in depth here; perhaps I will write on that later. Suffice it to say that God will contradict himself if he allows multiple churches, who all teach different things, to be true. This is not the God I believe in. The God I believe in teaches, instead, of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5, emphasis added).

For those who share beliefs similar to this, in the biblical position of one true church, it seems that Lewis may not go quite far enough. While many of the rooms may contain, as Lewis puts it, a “hint of truth,” there is only one room that provides eternal life through the gospel of Jesus Christ. That room is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Waiting in the Hall

Lewis gives some profound advice about choosing a door near the conclusion of his analogy. He says,

“You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and panelling. In plain language, the question should never be: ‘Do I like that kind of service?’ but ‘Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular doorkeeper?'”

It is true that I have grown up in the Mormon Church, and so I have very little experience of “hallway” time. I gained a testimony for myself that I was where I wanted to be, and I have learned much of other churches and religions, but I admit that I have spent little time in the hallway.

I have, though, served as a full-time missionary for two years (you can see me to the left at a baptismal service). Many of you have probably met someone much like me. We come in pairs, knocking on doors, clean cut and in white shirts and ties. Though we are young, we go by the title of “Elder.” We probably tried to talk to you about eternal familiesmodern day prophets, or the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And unfortunately, few of you have probably spent time with us in places other than on your doorstep for a few brief moments.

I did have the opportunity, though, of teaching quite a few people over the course of those two years, people that spent time in the hall deciding whether or not to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I can tell you from personal experience that there were many things they considered that were not important. They were worried about what their friends or family might think, or about how hard it might be, or about a “pet sin” they would have to give up. Concerns about things like these kept them from entering into the door.

Being Kind to Others

Lewis concludes his metaphor with an admonition. He says,

“When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still In the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.”

How to we balance kindness with the need to share the gospel?

This is a very difficult question to answer, but it is absolutely essential to answer it. The difficulty is in finding balance between two seemingly conflicting gospel ideas. The first idea is the need to be Christlike to those around us, even (and perhaps especially) our enemies. In following his example, we would expect to use kind words, to be generous and accommodating, and to have all the other qualities the Savior exemplified perfectly during his life here on earth. The second idea is the need to be a witness for the gospel, and to testify fearlessly to our friends and neighbors of the truth we hold so dear. We believe these are eternally significant principles, so why wouldn’t we want to share them?

The reason these ideas conflict for so many is that we naturally prioritize our missionary duties above our Christlike-living duties. We think, “Certainly our neighbors should forgive us for being bold, when in the long run they can learn to qualify for eternal life!” Many do not know where to draw the line, and boldness quickly crosses over to overbearance. I talked about how being a Latter-day Saint made me especially sensitive to the issue of defining what it means to be Christian. It is the same with this issue of being kind to those of different denominations. Other Christians often loose sight of the line between boldness and overbearance, and end up saying very hurtful things about me in the name of saving my soul.

How can we avoid this kind of behavior, which is certainly disappointing to our Savior? I believe the key is in something said by Rex Lee, a BYU law school dean. He said,

“It’s not enough to do the right thing. We have to do the right thing in the right way” (see here, page 4).

I think there is great wisdom in this statement, but I would go one step further. We need to do the right thing, in the right way, and for the right reasons. If we remember that the ends do not justify the means, and always have as our motive the love of God and for our fellow man, it will be difficult to go astray.  Chip Ingram suggests that we “add more light, not heat.”  We want to illuminate a subject, and discover truth, but heated contention will prevent that and often cause more harm than good (see 3 Nephi 11:29).

If all else fails, it never hurts to make the issue a matter of prayer.

Study Questions from this Section

The Parable of the Hall and the Rooms

  • Is this analogy valid?
  • How does being in a “room” differ from being in the “hall”?
  • Is it right to believe in one true church? Or are there a plurality of true Christian religions or true world religions? What implications does this have on who we believe God is?
  • If there is one true church, does that make all the other churches completely wrong?

Waiting in the Hall

  • What should we do and consider when looking for a “door”?
  • What should we not do or consider when looking for a “door”?

Being Kind to Others

  • What does it mean to be kind? What does it mean to be unkind?
  • How might this relate to Alma 38:12?

Mormon Observations on “Mere Christianity” – Preface 3

This is a post continuing my analysis of Mere Christianity from an LDS perspective. See my table of contents here.

The Meaning of  “Christian”

Lewis addresses the objection that he should not be allowed to define who is and who is not Christian. He says,

“People ask: ‘Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?’: or ‘May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?’ Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every available quality except that of being useful. We simply cannot, without disaster, use language as these objectors want us to use it. I will try to make this clear by the history of another, and very much less important, word.”

He goes on to tell how the word “gentlemen” once had a useful meaning. It meant someone who had a coat of arms and some landed property. Over time, it eventually came to be used more as a compliment when someone else did something you liked. As a result, it becomes quite useless if anyone tries to use it in its old sense. As Lewis says, “it has been spoiled for that purpose.”

He concludes that it’s important to define who is a Christian so that it does not become useless. It, like the word gentlemen, will simply be used as a compliment. Instead, he suggests that

“We must therefore stick to the original, obvious meaning. The name Christians was first given at Antioch (Acts xi. 26) to ‘the disciples’, to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles.”

I think Lewis’ analogy is a good one. It is important to define who is Christian so that the word doesn’t lose it’s meaning. He is not looking to exclude people; he is simply trying to make sense of the hundreds of Christian denominations he sees and find a common ground.

The question of who is Christian will be one that he tries to answer for the rest of the book, and I think generally he does a good job (though I don’t agree with everything he says). But while he takes an entire book to answer that question, it is important to note that he answers it wonderfully in just two lines – someone who is a follower of Christ and of the apostles whom Christ chose to speak for him after his ascension.

Are Mormons Christians?

But are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Christian? As a member of the Mormon church, this question has particular import for me. I have worshiped and followed Jesus Christ all my life, but often mainstream Christians would call me unchristian, or worse, a member of a cult!

(For an in-depth discussion of this, see my post on Mormonism and Robert Jeffress. Briefly, though, the claim that Mormons are members of a cult is also one of semantics. Much like the word “gentleman” has been corrupted into little more than a compliment, the word “cult” has been corrupted to little more than an insult. We’re a little weird, sure, but who isn’t? Perhaps someone who is abiding be the rule Lewis mentions as “common to the whole house” should choose different terminology (see Part 4).)

This is not a simple question. If, when we say “Christian” we mean something akin to what Lewis identified above, a follower of Jesus Christ and his apostles, then certainly Mormons are Christian.

Usually, though, the term “Christian” means something entirely different for those who use it. Instead of a follower of the apostles, one must also be a follower of the Church Fathers and all their creeds, including the doctrine of the Trinity (for a discussion of the authority of the Church Fathers, see here). They must also adhere to only the Bible, and believe that God has stopped speaking to his Church as a whole. In this respect, Mormons are unlike other Christians.

I am somewhat unique (among Latter-day Saints) in my belief that there is great power in focusing on what makes us ‘non-Christian’ rather than shouting, “We’re Christian too!” In the introduction to his book “Here We Stand,” Joseph Fielding McConkie expounds on this idea:

The message of the Restoration centers on the idea that it is not common ground we seek in sharing the gospel. There is nothing common about our message. The way we answer questions about our faith ought to be by finding the quickest and most direct route to the Sacred Grove. That is our ground. It is sacred ground. It is where the heavens are opened and the God of heaven speaks. It is where testimonies are born and the greatest truths of heaven are unveiled. It is of this sacred ground that we say, here we stand.

Do Latter-day Saints believe in Jesus Christ? Of course we do! We believe that he was born of a virgin, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth. He died for the sins of all men, becoming the only way we can gain salvation (Mosiah 3:17). He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. As a church,

“we bear testimony… that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son” (for a summary of what Mormons believe about Jesus, see this statement written by the apostles of the Church; compare it to what makes someone a “Christian”).

But we also believe in a Jesus Christ that appeared to Israelites in the Americas, showing to them as well as other scattered tribes that he indeed had died for them and had been resurrected (See 3 Nephi 11; also 3 Nephi 11-30). We also believe in a Jesus Christ who is a separate and distinct personage, separate from the Father and the Holy Ghost (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). We also believe in a Jesus Christ who appeared to answer the prayer of a 14 year-old boy and end the dark night of apostasy that had swept over the world since the death of the apostles (see Joseph Smith – History; see also here and here). We also believe in a Jesus Christ who stands at the head of this Church, leading it today through a modern prophet.

Is that different? Yes! And it’s wonderful! So are Mormon’s Christian? As we can see, the answer is yes and no depending on what you mean. But Latter-day Saints can find great strength in not abandoning those things that make us different. We can find great strength in not abandoning our “sacred ground.”

For more information on the Restoration, see here.

Study Questions from this Section

The Meaning of “Christian”

  • Is the analogy about the term ‘Christian’ a good one?
  • Who is a Christian?
  • Are Mormons Christian?

The Problem of Evil Part 3 – The Mormon Solution

In Part 1, I introduced the problem of evil, and discussed Augustine’s view that evil is an illusion. I disagreed with this view, and gave examples of evil that would be difficult to consider as an illusion.  First, I summarized an excerpt of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, where Ivan describes terrible evil to brother Alyosha. Second, I described some of the suffering in Haiti as a result of the recent earthquake. I concluded that those who think evil is an illusion are like Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter series, who see an illusion only because they have no experiences of true evil and suffering.

In Part 2, I introduced certain complications that enter into the question because of traditional Christian theology.  The first doctrine that causes complications is the creation ex nihilo, which makes an omniscient God an “accessory before the fact” to all evil done in the universe.  The second doctrine that causes complications is the idea that our post-mortal life will only be a rest.  If man is only working towards an eternal rest, then it is hard to see the necessity in suffering here in mortality.  Both of these Christian additions to the Problem of Evil make it rather impossible to answer the atheist’s charge that there is no God without help from restored truth.  I also discussed Hick’s “soul-making” defense and Plantinga’s free-will defense.  Both answer some questions, but neither are completely adequate.

Redefining God

We’ve already discussed some of the various responses to the contradiction which is the Problem of Evil.

It seems easiest to deny the existence of God (though as we all know, the easy answer is rarely the correct answer).  This is where atheist groups begin, and it is somewhat understandable since the western Christian world basically agrees on who God is.  Their definition of God leaves little wiggle room, so to speak.

Interestingly enough, the LDS position on the Problem of Evil begins with redefining God.  Latter-day Saints believe that the understanding of the nature of God has been corrupted by the creeds and philosophies of men.  Using the revelations given to Joseph Smith as their guide, they redefine God to correct the apostate traditions discussed in Part 2.

A Creation Ex Nihilo?  The LDS Take

LDS theology does not define God as a creator ex nihilo.  In fact, Joseph Smith taught that there are three things co-eternal with God.  The first two are “the mind or intelligence which man possesses” (or “primal person,” as Paulsen refers to it here) and “chaotic matter.”  Because these things are not created by God, he is not an accessory to any wickedness committed by them despite any foreknowledge he may have of their actions.

So why can’t God simply remove these sources of evil in the world?  He is still omnipotent, after all.  The third co-eternal entity is important in answering this concern.  Joseph Smith defined it as “laws of eternal and self-existent principles,” and this necessarily limits God’s omnipotence.  God is bound by these laws, and cannot bring to pass logical impossibilities.  Paulsen cites an example in Mormon theology regarding the happiness of man.  He writes that “there are apparently states of affair that even God, though omnipotent, cannot bring about. Man is that he might have joy, but even God cannot bring about joy without moral righteousness, moral righteousness without moral freedom, or moral freedom without an opposition in all things.”

Thus God’s role as creator and his omnipotence are both redefined.  Such limits to his creative power and omnipotence are not in the least bit heretical, for God’s power to save and exalt his children is not limited when he is bound by logic (i.e., he cannot create a square circle) or his own eternal principles (i.e., only righteousness brings happiness).

An Eventual Rest?  The LDS Take

LDS theology does not teach that rest is all that awaits us in the next life – that view, while true, is incomplete.  Instead, Joseph Smith taught that those who meet the requirements set by God shall one day experience godhood themselves. (This claim is one of the most controversial points of Mormonism, but it will not be examined here in detail except as it helps to solve the Problem of Evil). What is meant by “godhood” is simply living the kind of life that God lives. In essence, it is continuing family relationships beyond the grave, and continually growing and improving throughout eternity. With that much time, what could we not accomplish?

Joseph wrote, “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end;… then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20).  When considering this prize, and the strength of character that would be required to faithfully serve under such a stewardship, it is not hard to consider evil (even atrocities like those described by Ivan Karamazov or the evils happening in Haiti [see Part 1]) as a necessary part of earthly experience.  God could allow rest without allowing evil, but the “soul-making” necessary to live the kind of life that God lives could not be accomplished without it.

An Objection to Restoration

In redefining God’s omnipotence and role as creator, and in clarifying the end purpose of creation, the issues raised by the Christian Conundrum are completely circumvented, and both Hick’s and Plantinga’s  arguments are enhanced.  Yet many reject to these clarifications in fits of neophobia.  The theology of the LDS Church is unique among modern Christianity, and this distinctiveness is often met with disdain among other more mainstream theologians.  Still, it is important to note that the rejection of Joseph Smith’s teachings are primary an objection is to the manner in which Smith claimed to receive these teachings.

Those who reject Smith’s arguments against the Problem of Evil based on his experiences are accountable to provide their own arguments to defend the existence of God.  These arguments, though, have not sufficiently shown the Problem of Evil to be invalid.

It is clear that only with the teachings of the LDS Church is Christianity able to reconcile the presence of evil with the existence of God – a God that is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful (within his logical limitations); who organizes existing matter into creation; and who has created mankind for eventual godhood.

(Because this is a post from an older blog, I’ll include an appendix where you can view older comments and exchanges I had.)

Continuing the Series

  • Part 1 – Haiti, Harry, and the Reality of Evil
  • Part 2 – The Christian Conundrum
  • Part 3 – The Mormon Solution

The Priesthood Part 2 – Restored Priesthood Authority

Is there priesthood authority on the earth right now? Yes! We can perform ordinances that God will recognize, we can preach the gospel, and we can perform miracles. Below I will discuss the restoration of the priesthood. I will also show how I can trace my authority, through this restoration, back to Peter, James, and John who received their authority from Jesus Christ. I will also give some reasons as to why priesthood is so essential to the church.

The Restoration of the Priesthood

Priesthood authority was given by Christ to the apostles while he was still on earth. This authority allowed the apostles to preside over the growing church and to baptize, confirm, and ordain others.

After the death of Judas, the apostles called Matthias to fill the vacancy in the Twelve (Acts 1:20-26). Paul was called as an apostle as well. Yet persecution increased, and it became harder and harder to keep the church together. Eventually the apostles were all gone, and the church fell into the Great Apostasy. The priesthood was lost from the earth till the early 1800s.

In 1820, Joseph Smith prayed to know which church he should join. In response to his prayer, God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph. They said that there were no true churches on the earth at the time and that through him the Church of Jesus Christ would be restored.

Divine visitations did not end there. Joseph was visited by other angels who restored priesthood power and keys. John the Baptist appeared to restore the lesser, preparatory priesthood.

Later, Peter, James, and John appeared to restore the higher priesthood. This is the same priesthood power that allowed the apostles to preside over the church and perform other priesthood duties.

Because of these appearances, the priesthood power that was lost with the death of the apostles was restored. Every priesthood holder in the LDS Church can trace his authority back to the appearance of Peter, James, and John, and from them to Jesus Christ. This trace is called a Line of Authority.

My Line of Authority

Like other priesthood holders in the LDS Church, I can trace my authority all the way to the Savior via this ordination of Joseph Smith by Peter, James and John.

I was ordained on 22 August 2004 by Douglas Larsen (my father), a high priest.

He was ordained on 27 January 1996 by J. Richard Larsen (my grandfather), a high priest.

He was ordained on 26 June 1951 by Delbert L. Stapley, an apostle.

He was ordained on 5 October 1950 by George Albert Smith, an apostle.

He was ordained on 8 October 1903 by Joseph Fielding Smith, an apostle.

He was ordained on 1 July 1866 by Brigham Young, an apostle.

He was ordained on 14 February 1835 by the Three Witnesses to the truthfulness of Book of Mormon: Oliver CowderyDavid Whitmer, and Martin Harris.

They were ordained on 14 February 1835 by Joseph Smith, Jr.

Joseph Smith was ordained in 1829 by Peter James, and John, who were ordained apostles by the Savior during His earthly ministry.

Why Authority?

You can find a Gospel Principles lesson on the priesthood here and a family home evening lesson on the priesthood here.

You can see many reasons for why priesthood authority is so important before reading any lessons, though. All it takes is an honest look at the Christian world after the turn of the first century.

One of the first casualties of the lost priesthood authority was the corruption of doctrine. Greek philosophy became mixed with Christian teachings. This is known as Hellenization.

Another thing to notice is the abundance of Christian sects today. As much as Christians like C. S. Lewis like to stress Christian unity, we are far from united. The Bible can be, and usually is, interpreted hundreds of different ways, and without the apostles to clarify God’s word we are left with enough Christian denominations to fill eight or ten pages in most phone books. They can’t all be true. They are not all true.

Yet another thing to notice are that great atrocities have been committed in the name of the Church. The Crusades and the Inquisitions were violent and left graves upon graves of innocent people. Bad feelings from those events still exist today among the ancestors of their participants. Are such events really examples of a church led by the Prince of Peace?

And yet another thing to notice is the corruption that has taken place in positions of power and leadership. The Catholic papacy has seen it’s share, as have the leadership positions of other churches. People ascend hierarchal ladders, and once there serve their own selfish interests. The teaching of the gospel, and the saving of souls, is put on the back-burner. Instead, leaders forward their own agendas, unchecked by missing apostles.

There are many, many reasons as to why authority is so essential, and perhaps I will leave the subject to you. Give it more careful thought. Think of the benefits of authority in secular institutions, like the law enforcement example we examined in Part I.  As you do, you will find similar reasons why authority would be important to the government of God, and you will see problems in modern Christianity that have arisen from lost authority.

Hugh B. Brown’s Authority from the King

Hugh B. Brown, who later became an apostle and member of the First Presidency, related this story on the subject of authority.

“I was at one time an army officer. As such, I became accustomed to having men stand at attention and salute me and call me ‘sir,’ and frankly, I liked it.

“Often men came and asked for favors—perhaps a furlough or a leave or some thing that they thought I could grant—because they knew that I was an officer of the King [of England] and that I had the right to speak in his name. And so as they came I handed the ‘blessings’ down to them and I became more haughty and self-important with each event.

“One day a messenger came to my hotel just off Piccadilly Circus. He said, ‘You are wanted immediately in the hospital.’

“I thought, ‘Well, here is another boy that wants something. I will go down and see what is wanted.’

“I called a taxi and went to the hospital.

“When I arrived the doctors stood at attention and saluted, and that fed my ego. The nurses treated me with great respect and that pleased me even more.

“They directed me to a little room and as I pushed open the door, I saw an emaciated young man lying on a cot. I recognized him as a former Sunday School student of mine in Cardston, Canada.

“When he greeted me, he did not use my rank in his salutation, but simply said, ‘Brother Brown, I sent for you to ask if you would use your authority in my behalf.’ (I thought, ‘Well, this is what I expected. What does he want?’)

“ ‘Brother Brown,’ he said, ‘you know I have a widowed mother; I am her only son; the doctors say I cannot live; will you give me my life!’

“I thought, ‘My goodness, the King of England can’t give him his life. To what is he referring?’

“Then he startled me with a request: ‘Will you administer to me!’

“At that moment … my uniform, with the insignia on it, seemed to melt away, and I stood before that young man in a uniform with insignia indicating authority. I could not have worn that uniform, which was next to my skin, if I had not had some authority given to me. I stood there thinking of that authority, and I was humbled but inspired.

“I went over to his cot and knelt beside him. I put my hands on his head and said, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the holy priesthood, I bless you and promise you that you will get well and return to your mother.’ God honored that promise.

“I went into that hospital a proud British officer, and I came out a humble Mormon elder. Ever since then I have earnestly tried to remember that there is a power and authority given to man, not from the king or the president, but from the King of Kings, and if we live properly and do not forget that we have been so endowed, we may exercise that authority in behalf of those who need our ministration.”

Continuing the Series

  • Part 1 – Where does priesthood authority not come from?
  • Part 2 – The restoration of the priesthood, and why that restoration is so important.
  • Part 3 – Exercising priesthood power and authority with style – Men in Black style, that is.