Monday, February 7, 2011

Priesthood authority and computer security

A couple weeks ago I gave a talk in church on priesthood authority. As I prepared I made a Google Doc for my notes and opened it up for editing by anybody. I also notified my Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and family email lists of the doc. A handful of people contributed, and I think I ended up with a decent talk.

I spent some time this past week trying to come up with an allegory that captured the principles I am sharing today. I thought about the allegory of the olive tree, popular movies, Harry Potter, and many others. I thought about nuclear engineering, pigeons, and aviation. None of them seemed to fit. Then, while I was at the temple last Thursday, a good allegory came to me: This may come as a shock to those of you who do not already know, but I am a software engineer. So the allegory I came up with has to do with computer systems.

There is a perpetual issue with computer security in the our age of the internet. This can vary widely in type: misinformation spread either ignorantly or maliciously, phishing for personal information, denial-of-service a web portal, sending a computer virus as an international attack. A computer system is a very dangerous place for data (just watch Tron). One useful tool for combating these dangers is the use of encryption and keys.

Encryption transforms data so that it cannot be decoded and read or used without knowing the key. Controlling the key also controls access to the data. For example, if I send an unencrypted email to my grandma, anyone who intercepts the message may read it or even change it before arrival. On the other hand, if I encrypt it first, even if they intercept the message then they cannot read it without knowing the key. My grandma can then use the key to unlock the message.

A Supreme Being wanting to guide His creations would want to ensure that guidance remained true. He would use keys to ensure His works and messages reached their destination without interception or modification.
  1. Heavenly Father
    • Supreme being, different names
    • Heavenly Father
    • We are his children
    • He has a plan for us. Happiness and salvation
    • jaj All powerful, wise, loving, loves interacting with his children and sending blessings
  2. Need - walk by faith
    • jaj Executing the Plan of Salvation (Christ’s plan to bring us back to God).
    • jaj Great and eternal work requires a host of manpower (that is, God can do all things, but He uses men to accomplish His work> teaching/baptizing/ministering/leading)
    • jaj allocating responsibility to His children (and seeing them succeed) brings Him joy
    • Eph 4:11-14 - Priesthood offices so we will not tossed around by every wind of doctrine
  3. Historical
    1. Priesthood in Old Testament
      • Lord’s church established with Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses
      • Heb 5:4 - And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron - must be called by someone holding keys
      • Exodus 28:41, 40:13-15 - Aaron and sons consecrated
      • Numbers 27:23 - Moses laid his hands on Joshua - passing keys
    2. Priesthood in church established by Christ
      • Matt 16:15-19 - Peter given keys of the kingdom
      • Mark 3:14, John 15:16 - Christ ordained twelve
      • Acts 6:6 - Apostles lay hands upon seven men
  4. Apostasy
    • Foretold -
      • Old testament - Amos 8:11-12 - famine of the word of the Lord
      • New testament - 2 Thess 2:3-4 - falling away first, 2 Timothy 4:3-4 - Not endure sound doctrine
    • D&C 121 - amen to authority of that man, unrighteous dominion, unrighteousness
    • Rejection, persecution, death, and exile of apostles and church members loss of keys
    • Dark Ages - without revelation and priesthood authority, philosophies of men, corruption
    • Gutenberg Bible
    • Protestant Reformation - John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin
    • First and Second Great awakenings in the United States
  5. Restoration - PMG Chapt 3 lessons 1 and 5
    Could mention line of authority, always back to Christ. (We believe that a man must be ordained of God, by those who are in authority...) —tvandy
    • Confusion of many different churches
    • James 1:5 - if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him
    • First vision - JSH 1:16,17
    • Asked which to join. Answer: none of them, but Lord would restore through Joseph
    • Heavenly messengers restoring keys
    • John the Baptist (ministering of angels and baptism) - D&C 13
    • Peter, James, and John (ministry) - D&C 27:12
    • Moses (gathering of Israel), Elias (gospel of Abraham), and Elijah (turn hearts) - D&C 110
  6. Book of Mormon
    • Ancient volume of scripture comparable to the Bible
    • Translated by Joseph Smith (fruit, by their fruit ye shall know them)
    • Priesthood keys, apostasy, and restoration
    • Alma the elder Mosiah 18:18, Alma the younger Alma 6:1, Christ 3 Nephi 11:21
  7. Today
    May not go with current outline, but could talk about D&C 121 and the fact that no man maintains authority in the priesthood when they are unworthy. Holding the priesthood is not sufficient, must be worthy of the Holy Spirit to properly exercise the priesthood. —tvandy
    • Prophet, apostles, seventy.
    • Bishop, quorum presidents.
    • Revelation open
  8. Conclusion - Moroni’s promise - Moroni 10:3-5
  • The Power of the Priesthood
  • Apostasy and Restoration
  • Authority in the Church
  • Monty Python politics
  • Christ telling apostles to not rebuke imitators - Luke 9:49-50
  • Pharoah’s priests - Exodus 7:11
  • Definition of ordain
  • Allegory of the Olive Tree - Jacob 5
    • Apostasy and restoration
    • The Gardner and his servants

    That's it. You can also see the Google doc embedded here:
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