Joseph Fielding Smith teaches that the "fulness of priesthood" is required for exaltation.

Joseph Fielding Smith

Bruce R. McConkie, comp., Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956), 3: 131-34

Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph Fielding Smith
Reading Public


HOW CHRIST GAINED FULNESS OF PRIESTHOOD. Joseph Smith said: "If a man get a fulness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord."

I hope we understand that. If we want to receive the fulness of the priesthood of God, then we must receive the fulness of the ordinances of the house of the Lord and keep his commandments. This idea that we can put off our salvation because of some weaknesses of the flesh until the end, and then our children will go and do this work for us in the temple of the Lord when we are dead, will get us nowhere. Salvation for the dead is for those who died without a knowledge of the gospel so far as celestial glory is concerned. And those who have rejected the truth and who have fought the truth, who would not have it, are not destined to receive celestial glory. Now, the Lord says this-it is not my saying, I am glad to say, although I fully believe it. 18

FULNESS OF PRIESTHOOD NOT DEPENDENT ON OFFICE HELD. Let me put this in a little different way. I do not care what office you hold in this Church-you may be an apostle, you may be a patriarch, a high priest, or anything else-you cannot receive the fulness of the priesthood unless you go into the temple of the Lord and receive these ordinances of which the Prophet speaks No man can get the fulness of the priesthood outside of the temple of the Lord. There was a time when that could be done, for the Lord could give these things on the mountain tops-no doubt that is where Moses got it, that is no doubt where Elijah got it-and the Lord said that in the days of poverty, when there was no house prepared in which to receive these things, that they can be received on the mountain tops.

But now we have temples, and you cannot get these blessings on the mountain tops; you will have to go into the house of the Lord, and you cannot get the fulness of the priesthood unless you go there. Do not think because somebody has a higher office in this Church than you have that you are barred from blessings, because you can go into the temple of the Lord and get all the blessings there are that have been revealed, if you are faithful; you can have them sealed upon you as an elder in this Church, and then you have all that any man can get. There have to be offices in the Church, and we are not all called to the same calling, but you can get the fulness of the priesthood in the temple of the Lord by obeying this which I have read to you. I want to make this emphatic.

FULNESS OF PRIESTHOOD REQUIRED FOR EXALTATION. There is no exaltation in the kingdom of God without the fulness of priesthood. How could a man be an heir in that kingdom without priesthood? While the sisters do not hold the priesthood, they share in the fulness of its blessings in the celestial kingdom with their husbands. These blessings are obtained through obedience to the ordinances and covenants of the house of the Lord.

To obtain the fulness of the priesthood does not mean that a man must become President of the Church. Every man who is faithful and will receive these ordinances and blessings obtains a fulness of the priesthood, and the Lord has said that "he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion." Only one man at a time on the earth holds the keys of the priesthood; only one man at a time has the power to receive revelations for the Church; but the Lord has made it possible for every man in this Church, through his obedience, to receive the fulness of the priesthood through the ordinances of the temple of the Lord. This cannot be received anywhere else.

Only in the temple of the Lord can the fulness of the priesthood be received. Now that temples are on the earth, there is no other place where the endowment and the sealing powers for all eternity can be given. No man can receive the keys of exaltation in any other place.

FULNESS OF THE PRIESTHOOD FOR LIVING AND DEAD. Joseph Smith has said that, "the saints have not too much time to save and redeem their dead, and gather together their living relatives, that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten, and the consumption decreed falls upon the world." When that day comes, those who have professed to believe in the latter-day work, and who have rejected the doctrine of temple building and the ceremonial endowments therein, will find themselves shut out of the kingdom of God. This subject occupied the mind of the Prophet Joseph Smith for several years before his death, for the Lord revealed to him all things pertaining to the work in the temples, and he revealed them unto others that the work might go on.

FULNESS OF PRIESTHOOD IS IN SEALING POWER OF ELIJAH. But now we have the fulness of the power of the priesthood. The Lord has restored the keys and authorities of all the dispensations and has made it possible, by the power of Elijah, to make every act performed by authority of force when men are dead or out of the world, Let us remember that all contracts, bonds, oaths, or performances, which are not entered into by the authority of this sealing power, are of no efficacy or virtue after men are dead. The house of the Lord is a house of order and everything in it is obedient to divine law.

When a man assumes authority which he does not have and becomes a law unto himself, according to the word of the Lord, he is not justified and must remain filthy still. Let each member of the Church reflect carefully upon these things and see to it that he or she is in perfect harmony with that which the Lord has revealed, and that all ordinances are received under the hands of those who are officially called and endowed with power from on high.

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