The Mormon Faith & Black Folks
Question #31

Q. Other churches have priesthoods and ministries that have always included black people, so why is the Priesthood of the Mormon Church so special?

A. It is special because it is from the LORD. It is His power and authority delegated to men on earth. It was restored to the earth via the ministry of angels. It is the only divinely authorized Priesthood on earth.

Men can get together and give themselves titles like “Minister”, or “Reverend”, or “Priest”, or “Rabbi”, or “Elder”, or “Pastor” or whatever. These titles are simply titles that men give themselves and each other. Nothing more. If these men (or women) are faithful and sincere then the LORD will reward them, but these titles are not from Him, but from men. These titles may be rewards for years of study, and may allow a man (or woman) to preach or teach in a particular church or denomination, but that is all it means. These mere titles have no bearing whatever on one’s Afterlife.

The Priesthood of God is totally different. These are not mere titles that men give to themselves and to other men (or in some cases women) as a reward for studies or in order that they can pastor over others. A Priesthood-holder is like a soldier, and a Priesthood-officer is like an officer. All officers are soldiers, but most soldiers are not officers.

Within the Mormon Church there are two Orders of Priesthood: the Higher Order and the Lesser Order. The Higher Order is named after Melchizedek; the high priest who was the King of Salem in Abraham’s time, and who blessed Abraham. The Lesser Order is named after Aaron; the older brother of Moses. Within the Melchizedek Priesthood are the following offices:

Presiding High Priest

Apostle

High Priest

Elder

Within the Aaronic Priesthood are the following offices:

Bishop

Priest

Teacher

Deacon

These are divine offices that have real divine authority and power. They are from the LORD Himself via the laying on of hands to His Apostles, and from His Apostles to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and from then in an chain or ordinations to the Priesthood-officers and holders in the Church today.

Every worthy male Member of the Church over the age of 12 is supposed to hold the Priesthood. They are called Priesthood-holders. Some of these Priesthood-holders who are appointed as pastors (Bishops, Presidents, Elders, etc.) are referred to as Priesthood-officers; because they hold a presiding or pastoral office in the Priesthood.

In the Mormon Faith there are two Priesthoods: the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood. The LORD has said of them:

“For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining of these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying of their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.

34 They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron, and the church and kingdom, and the Elect of God.

35 And also they who receive the Priesthood receiveth me, saith the Lord;

36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father.

38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.” (D&C 84:33-38)

We are promised that if we obtain these two Priesthoods, we shall become the Elect of God (the Chosen of the Chosen), and we shall become the adopted sons of God; inheriting all things that the Son of God has inherited from the Father.

What did Jesus inherit from His Father?

1. He inherited the title of ‘God’.

2. He inherited Eternal Life. Remember, Eternal Life doesn’t mean merely “living forever”. The Greek word “Eternal” is Aionios, and means literally “Belonging to an Aeon”. The Greek word for Christian is Christianios:

Christ + ianios (belonging to)= Belonging to Christ

The Greek word aeon can mean eternal, or everlasting, or forever, or an indefinite period of time that has a known beginning but an unknown end.

In the writings of the Greek Platonist philosophers, and of the mystical Jewish scribe Philo of Alexandria, an Aeon referred to a high-ranking spirit of God; to a spirit who had a higher rank than the angels. It referred to an eternal being.

aion (aeon) + ios (belonging to)= Belonging to an Aeon

In ancient Greek, the word Aeon could mean three things:

Aeon

or...

Aeon

or...

Aeon

The Apostle Paul wrote of Christ:

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him.” (Col. 1:16)

“Far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that world is to come.” (Eph. 1:21)

“And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” (Col. 2:10)

Scholars have speculated for centuries just what these thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers were. Some scholars thought they referred to angels, others the ranks or orders of the angels, still other the evil fallen angels, still others something else entirely.

Actually, these things refer to the divine offices or ranks of the heavenly Hosts of the LORD. The Hosts of the LORD are His Spirits. They are a numerous as the stars in the universe. An angel is a “spirit”. The word “angel” means “messenger”. Like in an army, there is the Commander-in-Chief, then generals, then colonels, then majors, then captains, then lieutenants, then sergeants, then corporals, then privates. All of them are soldiers, but not all have equal ranks (offices). An angel is the lowest rank among the Hosts (Spirits) of the LORD. The rank of messenger (angel) is like a private in the army. Yet these heavenly spirits have higher ranks than mere angel, or even archangel.

The greatest of these Spirits are called Cherubim, Seraphim, and Thrones. They are like Admirals, Generals, and Field Marshals in an army. They have the highest ranks. The Greek-speaking Jews referred to them as Aeons; which mean Eternals.

The Gentile (non-Mormon) Bible scholar writes that according to ancient mystic writings the Universe contained untold numbers of eternal beings called Aeons:

“It is populated by Aeons, also known as ‘eternals’, ‘great eternals’, ‘great eternal aeons’, ‘incorruptible beings’, or ‘immortals’ (all of which are equivalent terms).” (The Gnostic Scriptures, p.18)

The ancient Christian writer Dionysius, in his Celestial Hierarchy, listed the Hosts of the LORD as:

1.Seraphim

2.Cherubim

3.Throne

4.Dominions

5.Virtues

6.Powers

7.Principalities

8.Archangels

9.Angels.

St. Thomas Aquinas gives this same list in his Summa Theologica. In the ancient Christian work Constitutions of the Apostles the name “Thrones” is replaced with “Aeons”.

What is an Aeon?

In Catholic and Evangelical theology, Eternal Life means simply to “live forever”. Will not everyone receive “eternal” life? Will not even those burning in Hell for all eternity be living eternal lives in Hell.In Mormon theology Eternal Life doesn’t mean just living forever, but literally living the life of an Eternal One. It means to live the kind of life that God, the Eternal One, lives.

Eternal Life is the Life of an Aeon.

Eternal Life is Aionian Life.

The Greek word aionian means “belonging to an aeon”. The Greek word Christian means “belonging to Christ”.

Aionios Life “the Life Belonging to an Aeon”. It is the life of an Immortal. It is the kind of life only the Elect of God receive.

St. Ignatius of Antioch (50-117 A.D.) was a friend of Polycarp, who was a friend of the Apostle John who wrote the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelations. Ignatius was appointed bishop of Antioch by St. Peter himself. In his Epistle to the Trallians, he tells them that he can’t teach them the mysteries because they are yet too spiritually immature or ‘babes in Christ’:

“For might not I write to you things more full of mystery? But I fear to do so, lest I should inflict injury on you whoa re but babes (in Christ). Pardon me in this respect, lest, as not being able to receive their weighty import, ye should be strangled by them. For even I, though I am bound (for Christ), and am able to understand heavenly things, the angelic orders, and the different sorts of angels and hosts, the distinctions between Powers and Dominions, and the diversities between Thrones and Authorities, the mightiness of the Aeons, and the pre-eminence of the Cherubim and the Seraphim.” (Epistle to the Trallians, chap. V)

Catholic biblical scholar Patrick J. Hamell writes:

“The Aeons are intermediary between God and matter, the first syzygy (a couple, male and female), being produced by God himself directly, and it produced a second-the complete series of Aeons being the Plemora.” (Handbook of Patrology, p.47)

St. Paul writes of the “Plemora” in Ephesians 3:19, 4:14 as well as Colossians 1:19 and 2:9.

The Greek word Plemora means “fullness”. It refers to those who receive the “fullness of God” in themselves. Jesus had the “fullness of God”, and whoever receives such a “fullness” inherits what God has; which is Aeonian (Eternal) Life. It is ‘Life Belonging to an Aeon’.

The term Christ-ian means ‘belonging to Christ’. The term Aeon-ian means ‘belonging to an Aeon’.

The Bible says that God created man, male and female, in His image. Thus, the image of God is both male and female. An Aeon is a man and a woman bound together for all eternity; like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He gave them a planet (Earth), and gave them dominion over every living thing on it, and said to them “Be fruitful and multiply”. Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt writes:

“These Gods, being redeemed from the grave with their wives, are immortal and eternal, and will die no more. But they and their wives will be supremely happy. All the endearing ties of conjugal love which existed in their bosoms, when terrestrial (earthly) and fallen beings, are now greatly increased and perfected which serve to swell their souls with feelings of rapturous delight, and unbounded love towards each other, and with joys that are everlasting.” (The Seer, p.24)

Those in Hell become angels in Heaven, and do not receive Eternal Life.

Those in Paradise who are not sealed in the Temple and overcome their egos and prides and endure to the end of their lives in worthiness and faithfulness to the LORD and His Appointed Servants become angels in Heaven, and do not receive Eternal Life.

*Eternal Punishment Is The Punishment of the Eternal

To inherit Eternal Life means to inherit the kind of life that God has; because God is the Eternal. The LORD told Joseph the Seer in a revelation:

“For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name, Wherefore-

11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.

12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.”

(Doctrine & Covenants 19:10-12)

In other words, Hell is not eternal nor is it endless! It is merely the punishment of the Eternal, but not eternal in duration. When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah He destroyed it not with earthly fire, but with eternal fire; meaning God’s fire. Sodom and Gomorrah are not “burning for eternity”. The fire that engulfed those cities came and went in a matter of hours or days. Jude writes:

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in life manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are se forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7)

Is Sodom still burning?

If Sodom and Gomorrah were burned with "eternal fire", then why isn't the fire still burning? Is it not "eternal"?

Those cities suffered “eternal fire”; even though the fire only lasted for a few days. The "Eternal Fire" was not "everlasting" fire, but fire from the Eternal! It was "God fire"!

The same is true in regards to the Eternal Fire of Hell! It is in the Greek Aionious (Aeonian) fire: fire belonging to an Aeon. It is not Temporal (earthly) fire, but Eternal (Godly) fire!

*Heirs of God and Joint-heirs of Christ

Jesus is the only natural Son of God. This means He is the Only Begotten Son of God; born of a literal virgin and of God the Father. We are the sons and daughters of God in the spirit, but not in the flesh. Only Jesus was. But we may become the adopted sons of God, and inherit all things that Jesus has inherited; so that we become “heirs of God and joint-heirs of Christ” (Romans 8:17).

When a rich man dies, his sons and daughters are heirs; meaning they receive what he has left to them; usually money, lands, or homes; possessions. You can’t take it with you! Yet, God does not die. He does not cease to exist. What He has, His Son Jesus inherits from Him. And what God and Christ have, the adopted sons and daughters of God inherit from Them. This applies only to the Elect of God; because only they are the adopted sons and daughters of God.

Other churches did not include black folks in their ministries (or in many cases their churches) until recent times. The Roman Catholic Church had black members since the 13th century, but did not ordain black men until the 19th century. Other churches allowed the ordination of black men only when they presided over segregated congregations or conventions.

The teaching that black folks were the descendants of Ham was a common teaching in Catholic and Protestant churches of the 19th and early 20th centuries. All of them taught that black folks were cursed, but only one (the LDS Church) taught that black folks were also blessed.

The priesthoods and ministries of other churches ultimately can do little for the people holding those offices. They are mere titles; nothing more. Being a Christian alone can save a person, but one must have the Melchizedek Priesthood to be exalted; to become and Immortal Aeon and not a Ministering Angel. A man is ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. A woman receives it by being sealed to her husband who holds it.

There is a great difference between Salvation and Exaltation. To be saved means to be saved from death and Hell. All men and women are saved from death. All will be resurrected. In Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. This is called Resurrection, or Universal Salvation. Christ saved all men from an everlasting Hell; because Jesus’ blood pays the penalty for their sins. People who are not Christians, but who are righteous in this life, will spend some time in Hell; paying for their sins, until they pay ‘the uttermost farthing’. Even the most righteous non-Christians have some sins, and they must pay for them in Hell; since Jesus’ blood doesn’t wash these sins away.

People who are Christians will not go to Hell; if they die in a state of worthiness (also called a state of grace), because Christ’s blood washes away their sins. Instead of going to Hell at death, they go to Paradise, and await the Resurrection of the Just. Those who are not Christians must first go to Hell, pay for their individual sins, and then await the Resurrection. Those who are redeemed from the punishment of Hell by the blood of Jesus are “saved” from it. This is called Redemption, or Personal Salvation. But only those who are sealed in the Temple, by the power of the Priesthood, and remain worthy all their days (endure to the end) shall inherit Eternal Life; which is called Exaltation, or Eternal Salvation.

Here is the difference between the three:

1. Exaltation, Eternal Life, or Eternal Salvation.

Saints will be saved from death (Resurrection), saved from Hell (Redemption), and saved from sin (Exaltation). Between death and the Resurrection (Day of Judgment) they shall dwell in Paradise. They will become Immortal Aeons, and will receive the title of “gods”, and become Adams and Eves in Gardens of Eden on other worlds; worlds without end. They that become Immortals receive certain powers:

“He the keepeth the commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.” (D&C 93:28)

President Brigham Young once said:

“Every earth, and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through. And to carry the thing still further, we expect all who are faithful to take the place of Adams in the worlds to be created.” (Brigham Young’s Doctrine on Deity, pp.97-8)

2. Redemption, or Personal Salvation.

Christians But they will not be saved from sin (unless they become Latter-day Saints). They will become Ministering Angels for all eternity; like eternal monks or nuns.

3. Resurrection, or Universal Salvation.

Heathens (those who are not Christians) will be saved from Death (Resurrection), but they will not be saved from Hell nor from sin. Because they rejected Jesus as their Savior, they will have to pay for their own sins in Hell. But Hell is not “eternal”, but God’s punishment. It is aionian punishment: or “punishment belonging to an Aeon [Eternal Being]”. God is an Eternal Being, and the punishment of Hell is His punishment. Eventually they will be resurrected from Hell, and Death and Hell shall be “thrown into the Lake of Fire” (i.e. annihilated forever). All in Paradise and in Hell, which exist in the Hades (the Spirit-World in-between death and the Final Judgment) will be resurrected from the dead, and the non-Elect will become Ministering Angels (like eternal monks and nuns) for all eternity.

In all three types or levels of salvation, it is Jesus who saves us; from death (resurrection), Hell (redemption), and sin (exaltation). We cannot resurrect ourselves. We cannot redeem ourselves. We cannot exalt ourselves. The Blood of Jesus does all of this. However, this doesn’t mean that we do nothing in all three cases. As far as resurrection goes (salvation from death) we indeed do nothing. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all (that means everyone-saint and sinner-Christian and heathen) shall be made alive. All men and women shall be resurrected. We do nothing on our part for this. In the case of redemption, Jesus saves us, but we must accept Him as our Lord and Savior for this to happen. This doesn’t involve works, but mere faith. In the case of exaltation, Jesus saves us from sin, but we must do our part as well. We must obey all of His laws and ordinances to the best of our ability, and endure to the end. Our works cannot save nor exalt us, but our reward in Heaven will depend upon our faith and our good works in keeping His commandments. All types of salvation is hinged upon the blood of Jesus; conditionally and unconditionally.

*The Holy Priesthood vs. The Ministry

That is the difference between the Priesthood of the Mormon Faith and the priesthoods and ministries of other churches and religions. The latter are just titles for people who pastor others, and the former is the Power of God on earth for the exaltation of His Elect.

They are totally different things, and for totally different purposes.


Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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