1two lines communications
Dallin H. Oaks---Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
We must use both the personal line and the priesthood line in proper balance
to achieve the growth that is the purpose of mortal life.
Our Heavenly Father has given His children two lines of communication with
Him—what we may call the personal line and the priesthood line. All should
understand and be guided by both of these essential lines of communication.
I. The Personal Line
In the personal line we pray directly to our Heavenly Father, and He answers
us by the channels He has established, without any mortal intermediary. We
pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and He answers us
through His Holy Spirit and in other ways. The mission of the Holy Ghost is
to testify of the Father and the Son (see John 15:26; 2 Nephi 31:18; 3 Nephi
28:11), to guide us into truth (see John 14:26; 16:13), and to show us all
things we should do (see 2 Nephi 32:5). This personal line of communication
with our Heavenly Father through His Holy Spirit is the source of our
testimony of truth, of our knowledge, and of our personal guidance from a
loving Heavenly Father. It is an essential feature of His marvelous gospel
plan, which allows each one of His children to receive a personal witness of
The direct, personal channel of communication to our Heavenly Father through
the Holy Ghost is based on worthiness and is so essential that we are
commanded to renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament each Sabbath
day. In this way we qualify for the promise that we may always have His
Spirit to be with us, to guide us.
On this personal line of communication with the Lord, our belief and
practice is similar to that of those Christians who insist that human
mediators between God and man are unnecessary because all have direct access
to God under the principle Martin Luther espoused that is now known as “
the priesthood of all believers.” I will say more of that later.
The personal line is of paramount importance in personal decisions and in
the governance of the family. Unfortunately, some members of our church
underestimate the need for this direct, personal line. Responding to the
undoubted importance of prophetic leadership—the priesthood line, which
operates principally to govern heavenly communications on Church matters—
some seek to have their priesthood leaders make personal decisions for them,
decisions they should make for themselves by inspiration through their
personal line. Personal decisions and family governance are principally a
matter for the personal line.
I feel to add two other cautions we should remember in connection with this
precious direct, personal line of communication with our Heavenly Father.
First, in its fulness the personal line does not function independent of the
priesthood line. The gift of the Holy Ghost—the means of communication
from God to man—is conferred by priesthood authority as authorized by those
holding priesthood keys. It does not come merely by desire or belief. And
the right to the continuous companionship of this Spirit needs to be
affirmed each Sabbath as we worthily partake of the sacrament and renew our
baptismal covenants of obedience and service.
Similarly, we cannot communicate reliably through the direct, personal line
if we are disobedient to or out of harmony with the priesthood line. The
Lord has declared that “the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor
handled only upon the principles of righteousness” (D&C 121:36).
Unfortunately, it is common for persons who are violating God’s
commandments or disobedient to the counsel of their priesthood leaders to
declare that God has revealed to them that they are excused from obeying
some commandment or from following some counsel. Such persons may be
receiving revelation or inspiration, but it is not from the source they
suppose. The devil is the father of lies, and he is ever anxious to
frustrate the work of God by his clever imitations.
2II. The Priesthood Line
Unlike the personal line, in which our Heavenly Father communicates with us
directly through the Holy Ghost, the priesthood line of communication has
the additional and necessary intermediaries of our Savior, Jesus Christ; His
Church; and His appointed leaders.
Because of what He accomplished by His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ has
the power to prescribe the conditions we must fulfill to qualify for the
blessings of His Atonement. That is why we have commandments and ordinances.
That is why we make covenants. That is how we qualify for the promised
blessings. They all come through the mercy and grace of the Holy One of
Israel, “after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23).
During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ conferred the authority of the
priesthood that bears His name and He established a church that also bears
His name. In this last dispensation, His priesthood authority was restored
and His Church was reestablished through heavenly ministrations to the
Prophet Joseph Smith. This restored priesthood and this reestablished Church
are at the heart of the priesthood line.
The priesthood line is the channel by which God has spoken to His children
through the scriptures in times past. And it is this line through which He
currently speaks through the teachings and counsel of living prophets and
apostles and other inspired leaders. This is the way we receive the required
ordinances. This is the way we receive calls to service in His Church. His
Church is the way and His priesthood is the power through which we are
privileged to participate in those cooperative activities that are essential
to accomplishing the Lord’s work. These include preaching the gospel,
building temples and chapels, and helping the poor.
In respect to this priesthood line, our belief and practice is similar to
the insistence of some Christians that authoritative ordinances (sacraments)
are essential and must be performed by one authorized and empowered by
Jesus Christ (see John 15:16). We believe the same but of course differ with
other Christians on how we trace that authority.
Some members or former members of our church fail to recognize the
importance of the priesthood line. They underestimate the importance of the
Church and its leaders and its programs. Relying entirely on the personal
line, they go their own way, purporting to define doctrine and to direct
competing organizations contrary to the teachings of prophet-leaders. In
this they mirror the modern hostility to what is disparagingly called “
organized religion.” Those who reject the need for organized religion
reject the work of the Master, who established His Church and its officers
in the meridian of time and who reestablished them in modern times.
Organized religion, established by divine authority, is essential, as the
Apostle Paul taught:
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the
edifying of the body of Christ:
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the
fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12–13).
We should all remember the Lord’s declaration in modern revelation that the
voice of the Lord’s servants is the voice of the Lord (see D&C 1:38; 21:5;
I feel to add two cautions we should remember in connection with reliance on
the vital priesthood line.
First, the priesthood line does not supersede the need for the personal line
. We all need a personal testimony of truth. As our faith develops, we
necessarily rely on the words and faith of others, like our parents,
teachers, or priesthood leaders (see D&C 46:14). But if we are solely
dependent on one particular priesthood leader or teacher for our personal
testimony of the truth instead of getting that testimony through the
personal line, we will be forever vulnerable to disillusionment by the
action of that person. When it comes to a mature knowledge or testimony of
the truth, we should not be dependent on a mortal mediator between us and
our Heavenly Father.
Second, like the personal line, the priesthood line cannot function fully
and properly in our behalf unless we are worthy and obedient. Many
scriptures teach that if we persist in serious violations of the
commandments of God, we are “cut off from his presence” (Alma 38:1). When
that happens, the Lord and His servants are seriously inhibited in giving us
spiritual help and we cannot obtain it for ourselves.
History provides us a vivid example of the importance of the Lord’s
servants being in tune with the Spirit. The young Prophet Joseph Smith could
not translate when he was angry or upset.
David Whitmer recalled: “One morning when he was getting ready to continue
the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out
about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went up
stairs, and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation, but he
could not do anything. He could not translate a single syllable. He went
down stairs, out into the orchard and made supplication to the Lord; was
gone about an hour—came back to the house, asked Emma’s forgiveness and
then came up stairs where we were and the translation went on all right. He
could do nothing save he was humble and faithful.” 1
3III. The Need for Both Lines
I will conclude with further examples of the need for both of the lines our
Heavenly Father has established for communication with His children. Both
lines are essential to His purpose to bring about the immortality and
eternal life of His children. An early scriptural account of this need is in
Father Jethro’s counsel that Moses should not try to do so much. The
people were waiting upon their priesthood leader from morning till night to
“enquire of God” (Exodus 18:15) and also to “judge between one and
another” (verse 16). We often note how Jethro counseled Moses to delegate
by appointing judges to handle the personal conflicts (see verses 21–22).
But Jethro also gave Moses counsel that illustrates the importance of the
personal line: “Thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew
them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do” (verse
20; emphasis added).
In other words, Israelites who followed Moses should be taught not to bring
every question to that priesthood leader. They should understand the
commandments and seek inspiration to work out most problems for themselves.
Recent events in the nation of Chile illustrate the need for both lines.
Chile suffered a devastating earthquake. Many of our members lost homes;
some lost family members. Many lost confidence. Quickly—because our church
is prepared to respond to such disasters—food, shelter, and other material
aid was provided. The Saints of Chile heard the voice of the Lord through
His Church and its leaders responding to their material needs. But however
sufficient the priesthood line, it was not enough. Each member needed to
seek the Lord in prayer and receive the direct message of comfort and
guidance that comes through the Holy Spirit to those who seek and listen.
Our missionary work is another example of the need for both lines. The men
and women who are called to be missionaries are worthy and willing because
of the teachings they have received through the priesthood line and the
testimony they have received through the personal line. They are called
through the priesthood line. Then, as representatives of the Lord and under
the direction of His priesthood line, they teach investigators. Sincere
seekers after truth listen, and the missionaries encourage them to pray to
know the truth of the message for themselves through the personal line.
A final example applies these principles to the subject of priesthood
authority in the family and the Church. 2 All priesthood authority in the
Church functions under the direction of one who holds the appropriate
priesthood keys. This is the priesthood line. But the authority that
presides in the family—whether father or single-parent mother—functions in
family matters without the need to get authorization from anyone holding
priesthood keys. That is like the personal line. Both lines must be
functioning in our family life and in our personal lives if we are to have
the growth and achieve the destiny identified in our Heavenly Father’s plan
for His children.
We must use both the personal line and the priesthood line in proper balance
to achieve the growth that is the purpose of mortal life. If personal
religious practice relies too much on the personal line, individualism
erases the importance of divine authority. If personal religious practice
relies too much on the priesthood line, individual growth suffers. The
children of God need both lines to achieve their eternal destiny. The
restored gospel teaches both, and the restored Church provides both.
I testify of the Lord’s prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, who holds the
keys that govern the priesthood line. I testify of the Lord Jesus Christ,
whose church this is. And I testify of the restored gospel, whose truth can
be known by each of us through the precious personal line to our Heavenly
Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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【在 m****a 的大作中提到】
: two lines communications
: Dallin H. Oaks---Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
: We must use both the personal line and the priesthood line in proper balance
: to achieve the growth that is the purpose of mortal life.
: Our Heavenly Father has given His children two lines of communication with
: Him—what we may call the personal line and the priesthood line. All should
: understand and be guided by both of these essential lines of communication.
: I. The Personal Line
: In the personal line we pray directly to our Heavenly Father, and He answers