Sic et Non
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Joseph Smith (with Oliver Cowdery) receiving the Aaronic priesthood under the hands of the resurrected John the Baptist
Today’s column for the Deseret News was written with the imminent papal conclave in mind:
And, if things go according to plan, the Saturday Hamblin/Peterson column will deal directly with the history and nature of papal conclaves.
Without going into deep analysis, it has long seem to me that the duties of the LDS offices of priest and bishop compare closely to, say, the duties of the RC offices of priest and bishop, just alike you say.
This tells us three things: (1) How well certain things have been preserved in RC tradition, (2) How well Joseph Smith restored them in modern times, and (3) (like you say) that most congregations in ancient times were led by the Aaronic priesthood. This is why marriage was “til death do you part,” because as a holder of the Aaronic Priesthood, that was the only form of marriage he could perform. If one wanted a celestial marriage, one had to go up an echelon.
Question: So is it hypothetically possible that some day, when all the records have been brought forth and we have a clear history, we might find that some of the Catholic clergy had valid ordination lines down to the present day? Of course, it would be without keys, but I wonder if in some cases, the ordinations themselves were valid. Interesting thought!
I don’t know exactly when priesthood authority peters out — that was an unintentional Catholic pun, I suppose — but I have been struck by the (perhaps relevant) fact that Jesus still regarded the temple of his day as sacred, and as his Father’s house, even while it was in the hands of plainly corrupt and apostate priests.
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