Topic Study: Priesthood, Line of Authority

(April 2015)

Why would the three witnesses search out the Twelve.

Here’s an interesting quote from the church’s website on this topic:

Apostle Line of Authority for President Spencer W. Kimball

  • Spencer W. Kimball was ordained an Apostle October 7, 1943, by Heber J. Grant
  • Heber J. Grant was ordained an Apostle October 16, 1882, by George Q. Cannon
  • George Q. Cannon was ordained an Apostle August 26, 1860, by Brigham Young
  • Brigham Young was ordained an Apostle February 14, 1835, by the Three Witnesses
  • Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the priesthood in 1829 from Peter, James, and John
  • Peter, James, and John were ordained Apostles by the Savior (see John 15:16)

President George Q. Cannon, First Counselor in the First Presidency to John Taylor, said, “I believe the time will come when it will be necessary for every man to trace the line in which he has received the Priesthood that he exercises. It is therefore of great importance in our Church that records should be kept and that every man should know whence he derives his authority—from what source, through what channel he has received the Holy Priesthood and by what right he exercises that authority and administers the ordinances thereof. I believe this is of extreme importance and that where there are doubts as to a man’s legitimately exercising that authority, that doubt should be removed” (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of George Q. Cannon, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist [1957], 224).

It’s interesting though, that there isn’t a laying on of hands noted in between the Three Witnesses and Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

I think there is more to be known here.  I think there was another ordination of the 12 by Joseph Smith in Nauvoo in which the keys where committed.  I think that event may be the more pertinent event; yet that would cause problems to use that event, wouldn’t it.  Because they ordained others to priesthood offices before that date,

Was there an ordination of the Three Witnesses by Joseph and Oliver, which we don’t have recorded?  Hmmm, this isn’t right, Parley Pratt recorded in his book his ordination as an Apostle in his book.  I should read that account again.  Perhaps that is what is referred to above as the date.

I             Later thinking

The History of Parley P Pratt, Chapter 15 makes it clear he was ordained by Joseph Smith, Oliver. Cowdry, and David Witmer (no mention of Martin Harris is made). This was a very clear ordination, and answers my question below. I think the church website could be made to be more clear.

Hmmm, Parley’s ordination was on Feb 21, not Feb 14th like Brigham Young. Perhaps Brigham was only ordained by the 3 witnesses

II            Later Still

There is no problem with Brigham’s ordination: Oliver Cowdry was assistant President, ordained by Peter James and John, and one of the Three Witnesses.  The ordination of Parley P Pratt shows that he was acting in accord with Joseph Smith.

The church’s website could make that relationship more clear perhaps.

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