Sign in to follow this  
georgia2

What is Priestcraft?

Recommended Posts

I'm not asking this due to lack of knowledge or the scriptures. I'm asking because during a scripture reading the term came up and people disagreed totally on it's meaning. I thought Priestcraft was anyone who posed as a person who claimed to have the right to preach, teach, and administer ordinances, got paid to, yet did not hold the Holy Priesthood, as restored by Joseph Smith. Others thought that there were good preachers in other religions who didn't know about the fullness of the Gospel, so therefore they didn't practice Priestcraft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the Welfare of Zion." (2 Nephi 26:29)

 

Note that this does not mean that all paid clergymen are practicing priestcraft, as is sometimes taught in the Church. Our own apostles and other General Authorities (and mission presidents) draw a stipend, and thus are "paid clergy". I hope none of us think they are practicing priestcraft.

 

Priestcraft is all about glorifying the person himself. It is an imitation of what Lucifer did premortally. Anyone -- ANYONE -- who seeks to draw fame, glory, and attention to himself by setting himself up as "a light unto the world" is practicing priestcraft. That means that legitimate Priesthood holders can practice priestcraft; doubtless there have been cases of this very thing, and probably are cases of it right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the Welfare of Zion." (2 Nephi 26:29)

 

Note that this does not mean that all paid clergymen are practicing priestcraft, as is sometimes taught in the Church. Our own apostles and other General Authorities (and mission presidents) draw a stipend, and thus are "paid clergy". I hope none of us think they are practicing priestcraft.

 

Priestcraft is all about glorifying the person himself. It is an imitation of what Lucifer did premortally. Anyone -- ANYONE -- who seeks to draw fame, glory, and attention to himself by setting himself up as "a light unto the world" is practicing priestcraft. That means that legitimate Priesthood holders can practice priestcraft; doubtless there have been cases of this very thing, and probably are cases of it right now.

can't say it better than this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Televangelists come to mind.

 

Some of them do.  Even too many of us that align with much of what they teach, we cringe at some of their antics.  Then there are the Billy Grahams of the world.  He came to Tacoma once--during the height of the scandals of the late 1980s.  A local TV reporter asked him how much he made.  Given Graham's solid reputation, the question was phrased gently.  Nevertheless...there it was.  Graham did not miss a beat.  "I make $57,000 a year.  It's an amount set by the board of trustees, and I have no say in the matter, other than to turn down increases, which I have done."  Even as a teen, I nearly fell out of my chair.  The reporter did too!  It was a great moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a good and talented friend that having served a mission got a summer job singing for the Billy Gram organization.  It was, at the time a means to pay for his education.   He quit and did not complete his summer instead taking a lower paying job.  I cannot speak directly as this was not my experience but a friend I know and trust - there may be good people involved with organizations of priest-craft.  Since this is my only input to such I cannot speak directly for the organization - only to say that I believe those that walk in society claiming to have a message direct from G-d have above all the greatest responsibility to know of what they speak -- more so than any other claim before men -- and should be under the greatest of all scrutiny and accountability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides the money factor - I thought I would add another dimension to the term "Priest Craft".  It is also the practice of confusing, blurring and replacing (sometimes outright opposition to) the simple truths of divine revelation with doctrines that are more suitable and pleasing to human nature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel quite strongly that many LDS artists/musicians/authors are practicing priestcraft. I won't name names though, as A) I'm sure some of them I think are would be others favorites and B) I don't really know what's in their hearts and so my "judgment" may be mistaken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to enjoy Time Out for Women, put on by Deseret Book, until I became more and more aware of and concerned by the commercial aspect of this supposedly uplifting event.  Don't get me wrong, it is uplifting, but I personally have a hard time with where that line is when we commercialize otherwise sacred things.

 

I kind of agree with The Folk Prophet on this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get that paying money to experience "worship" (i.e. Christian music concerts), or learn about how to be a more godly man (many Evangelical men's conferences have registration fees), or even learning how to invest/save/manage money in a biblical manner (I'm sure names are coming to mind of those who host such trainings), can have the appearance of "priestcraft."  My sense is that it's more dangerous to adopt a broad definition, and then go hunting after violators than it is to perhaps miss potential ulterior motives in certain "ministry" experiences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't hesitate to "judge" the payment of clergy as priestcraft.  Can you imagine John the Baptist sending Jesus an invoice for his baptism?  

 

River fees: 4 silver 

Camel hair rental: 2 silver

Locust and honey reception: 3 silver

Recording fees: 1 silver per gospel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't hesitate to "judge" the payment of clergy as priestcraft.  Can you imagine John the Baptist sending Jesus an invoice for his baptism?  

 

River fees: 4 silver 

Camel hair rental: 2 silver

Locust and honey reception: 3 silver

Recording fees: 1 silver per gospel

 

What are your thoughts on stipends for clergy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charging per blessing or ordinance does indeed strike me as priestcraft -- though to be thorough, we must admit that the early Saints operated in exactly this manner. If we are to make blanket statements about priestcraft, those statements might very well apply to our own ancestors, early Church members and even leaders of the time.

 

Some cases of priestcraft are more clear-cut and egregious than others. The guy pumping his congregation for funds to buy a private jet? Priestcraft practitioner. I have no problem making that judgment. Other cases are not so obvious.

 

I certainly do not believe that any "man of the cloth" who accepts remuneration for his life work is practicing priestcraft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been times on this forum and in other places in life when my focus and/or my desire has been to be liked or to be complimented because of my knowledge or because of the things that I think that I know. When this has been the condition of my heart when I am teaching or preaching the words of God then I have been practicing priestcraft. However, practicing priestcraft doesn't have to be so overt. I have fallen in to the practice of priestcraft in very subtle ways as well such as when I use scripture or the words of God to put someone in their place, even when it was clearly justified.

 

I want to add that the idea here is that when we teach the word of God we should do so without any guile, with sincerity, with love unfeigned, and for the glory of God alone!

 

-Finrock

Edited by Finrock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the great treasure and legacies of my family is a well preserved original copy of the Rules of the United Order that hung in my Great grandfather's office.  One rule read something like this. - We will patronize the businesses of our brethren in the Order.

 

Making a living is not outside our covenants as saints.  I have worked in the entertainment industry and personally know others trying to make a living in such a manner.  It is much easier to make such living by compromising standards.  The group I played with in college made much more in bars than at LDS activities - but I never made it through a single night performing at a bar.  Two ladies from my group went on to have a profession without compromising their standards.  They did well and become somewhat famous on a TV program many your parents probably enjoyed.

 

I also know a Lady that runs a high end fashion bridal shop that specializes in brides wanting to maintain temple standards with their special once in a lifetime dress.  She is not shy about presenting her fashions as LDS worthy.  I do not think doing such things for a living is a priestcraft - unless they do so with intent to somehow lower standards.  I also believe good people should patronize businesses that of others they trust - money and cost is not the most important issue.  My father said that the first consideration in a business deal or important purchase - is how well you trust the individual you are dealing with.  His second recommendation was to purchase by best quality possible.  According to him the last consideration should be the prince - never would he put price before the other two.  For myself - as a consultant - my stated goal is not to be the cheapest (lowest bidder) but rather to be the very best.

Edited by Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are your thoughts on stipends for clergy?

 

As in living expenses?  

 

I think the GA's should pay their own living expenses or be released if they can't and go back to making money until they can. Heck they expect 19 year old kids to pay their own way, why not everyone else?  You could argue that some GA's have a 40+ year calling and could never do it.  That's fine, just rotate them for shorter duration.  It's not the church of a man or of a few men. Nothing wrong with changing up the leadership every few years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the GA's should pay their own living expenses or be released if they can't and go back to making money until they can. Heck they expect 19 year old kids to pay their own way, why not everyone else?  

 

I get that this would save the church some money, but other than that, why?  Also, while some missionaries may earn their own way entirely, don't most LDS families support their children's missionary experience--at least in part?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As in living expenses?  

 

I think the GA's should pay their own living expenses or be released if they can't and go back to making money until they can. Heck they expect 19 year old kids to pay their own way, why not everyone else?  You could argue that some GA's have a 40+ year calling and could never do it.  That's fine, just rotate them for shorter duration.  It's not the church of a man or of a few men. Nothing wrong with changing up the leadership every few years. 

 

I think many individuals fulfilling callings can and should be paid for many different reasons.  We can pay a cowboy to run a welfare farm cattle ranch and we can pay software engineers to maintain church web sites and we can pay lawyers to assist the church in legal matters.  I do not believe it is about money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this