Strangers in Paradox
by Margaret & Paul Toscano
The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood
From time to time in the LDS church, especially in priesthood meetings, reference is made to the “oath and covenant” of the priesthood, a concept derived from an 1832 revelation now found in Doctrine and Covenants 84.1 In discussions of this concept, two troubling constants seem to emerge: first, the oath and covenant is assumed to be the exclusive province of males; and second, the teaching seems to defy [p.199] analysis and ready understanding. Our purpose in this chapter is to address four questions that often arise in discussions of this doctrine: What is the nature of the oath and covenant? To whom and by whom are they administered? To what priesthood do they belong? And what purpose do they serve?
In response to the first question, we have heard some Mormons conjecture that the terms “oath” and “covenant” are either synonyms or else comprise a single term of art. In either case, they refer to a two-party contract between God and a priesthood bearer made at the time of the man’s ordination in which he promises God to obey all of the commandments and thereby qualify himself to receive “all that [the] Father hath.” If the man fails to keep the commandments, he is guilty of breaking his “oath and covenant.” Others suggest that the phrase “oath and covenant” refers to God’s promise of “all that [the] Father hath” as a condition of and an inducement for a man’s future obedience. Still others believe that the two terms “oath” and “covenant” are not synonyms but separate labels for the two sides of a bilateral agreement or contract entered into by a man when ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood. A man’s promise to obey the commandments (the “covenant”) is given in exchange for God’s promise (the “oath”) to give him priesthood power and blessings.
In our view none of these explanations is correct. In the first place the words “oath” and “covenant” are not synonymous. They describe legal notions which are entirely different. An oath is the ritual of swearing or attestation; a covenant is a promise but not a contract (American Heritage, s.v. “oath”; Corbin). In fact, in modern American law a bare covenant is not enforceable.2 It takes the exchange of two or more covenants to make an enforceable contract. Under ancient rules of English law, a single covenant given without consideration (that is given unilaterally without a return promise, performance, or forbearance)3 could [p.200] be enforced if the person making the unilateral promise sealed the covenant with an oath. A promise sealed by an oath is a formula going back to the third millennium before Christ (Mendenhall, 50-52).4 The Hebrew word berit, from which the term “covenant” is translated, can refer to a one-sided obligation assumed by one party without expectation of return.5
It appears that Joseph Smith’s concept of an oath and covenant fits into this last category. Doctrine and Covenants 84:38 states that all the Father has will be given to the faithful priesthood bearer by way of a unilateral promise of God, a promise binding because it is made under oath. This is reminiscent of Hebrews 6:13-18, where Abraham is presented as the recipient of God’s blessings. There we are told that Abraham had patiently endured his trials and was accounted a suitable candidate to receive the promise of “all that [the] Father hath.” The writer of Hebrews states that God wished to show Abraham and his posterity that the divine promise was immutable. So God confirmed [p.201] this covenant or promise with an oath. But because God could swear this oath by no greater person, God swore upon God’s own name, thus giving Abraham and his posterity (that is, the faithful) the assurance that God would fulfill his covenant to confer eternal life, an endless priesthood, and joint-heirship with Christ.6
Mormon texts indicate that Abraham was not the first to receive such an oath and covenant. God had previously granted it to others, to Enoch (JST Gen. 14:30) and Melchizedek (vv. 25-29, 33) and later to Isaac (Gen. 26:3) and Jacob (28:4; Weinfeld, 196-99; Hillers, 103).7 [p.202] Joseph Smith asserted that it was God’s intention to make this oath and covenant with each descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at Mount Sinai (JST Gen. 14:25-34, 40). However, as a result of unfaithfulness, the greater promises of God, “the priesthood… my holy order, and the ordinances thereof” (JST Ex. 34:1-2), were withheld from the house of Israel as a people; and the law of carnal commandments was given in place of the higher priesthood blessings. The house of Israel did not become a “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:5-6; cf. Pet. 2:9; TPJS, 322).8
Joseph Smith apparently viewed the oath and covenant as a priesthood blessing administered by God, but it was a blessing reserved for recipients of the fullness of the priesthood not for those who had been ordained to that portion of the Melchizedek priesthood commonly held by men in the LDS church. In his revision of Genesis, Joseph Smith connected the oath and covenant with the fullness of the priesthood held by Enoch (JST Gen. 6:32; 14:24-31, 40). This priesthood was delivered not by man but by God’s own voice. God promised to Enoch by an oath and covenant that he should have power over nature. Melchizedek, a descendant of Enoch, also received this power. Melchizedek, in turn, ordained and blessed Abraham pursuant to this covenant.
According to Joseph Smith: “Abraham says to Melchizedek, I believe all that thou hast taught me concerning the priesthood and the coming of the Son of Man; so Melchizedek ordained Abraham and sent him away. Abraham rejoiced, saying, Now I have a priesthood” (TPJS, 322). Elsewhere he said: “What was the power of Melchizedek? ‘Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings” (ibid., 322-23).
“King and priest” was the calling of Melchizedek. It was by the keys and powers of this calling, we are told, that he ruled the people of [p.203] Salem. It is said that by this power he blessed them with endless lives (TPJS, 322), and they were translated into heaven to join the City of Enoch (JST Gen. 14:33-34). Abraham, who was blessed and ordained by Melchizedek, was likewise raised to this calling. He held the right belonging to the ancients to sanctify his people and administer endless life to them. Joseph Smith also said, “the Levitical Priesthood… [is] made without an oath; but the [fullness of the] Priesthood of Melchizedek is [made] by an oath and covenant” (TPJS, 323).
Joseph Smith sometimes referred to Melchizedek as a king and priest (TPJS, 322-23) and sometimes as a “high priest after the order of the covenant God made with Enoch” (JST Gen. 14:27). These are not inconsistent descriptions. The term “high priest” can refer to any number of distinct priesthood offices. In the Old Testament the “high priest” was the presiding figure of the lesser or Aaronic priesthood (Lev. 1:10; Heb. 7:11, 8:3-5). As used in the modern Mormon church, the term refers to a member of the high priest quorum, which President John Taylor explained was “instituted for the purpose of qualifying those who shall be appointed standing presidents over the different Stakes scattered abroad. A sort of normal school, if you please, to prepare men to preside, to be fathers of the people” (JD 19:242; 9:87-88).
The term “high priest” also refers to one holding power over nature (D&C 93:17). Jesus was called a high priest (Heb. 3:1), and Abraham, ordained by Melchizedek, refers to himself as a “High Priest.” He is also called a “prince of peace,” the title by which Jesus was known (Is. 9:6), as well as a “rightful heir” with the “right belonging to the fathers” (Abr. 1:2). The point of this is that Joseph Smith connected the oath and covenant to more than clerical duties associated with priesthood office. As already shown, he envisioned queens and priestesses also, as well as kings and priests. In Section 84, we find further evidence for the view that the “oath and covenant” belongs to the fullness of the priesthood:
First, verse 33 mentions the “two priesthoods spoken of.” The first of these is clearly the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood. According to Joseph Smith, no oath and covenant is connected with this priesthood (TPJS, 323). The greater priesthood is that which was passed down from Abraham, that is, the fullness of the priesthood.
Second, verse 33 connects the greater priesthood with the doctrine of sanctification. This connection echoes the teachings of the Book of Mormon prophet Alma, who stated that those taking “upon them the high priesthood of the holy order” (Al. 13:8) were like Melchizedek, [p.204] the “high priest after this same order” (v. 14). They were “sanctified,” and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb” (v. 11). This suggests that the greater priesthood of Section 84 is the same as the “priesthood of the holy order” of Alma 13—in other words, the fullness of the priesthood.
Third, verse 34 connects the greater priesthood with the concept of election, which Joseph Smith described at length (TPJS, 150-51). The “elect of God” are described in Section 76 as “they who are the church of the Firstborn” and “they into whose hands the father hath given all things.” They are “priests and kings, who have received of his fullness, and of his glory; And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son …. These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever” (D&C 76:54-57, 62).
Fourth, verses 1-5 refer to the city of the New Jerusalem and to the temple. This is important because it is in the temple that the fullness of the priesthood is conferred. Joseph Smith explained: “If a man gets a fullness 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” (TPJS, 308).
Fifth, verses 36-39 refer to heirship, which is often linked in the scriptures with the fullness of the priesthood. For example, when Abraham receives that priesthood, he accounts himself a “rightful heir” (Abr. 1:2). Paul declares that Abraham became the “heir of the world” (Rom. 4:13) and that those who suffer with Christ and are glorified with him are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (8:17). Joseph Smith revealed that “they who are of the Church of the Firstborn” are priests and kings “into whose hands the father has given all things.” They are heirs (D&C 76:54-57).
We should observe here that the original version of this revelation contains a passage deleted from the present version: “And woe unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you this day, viz. the 23rd day of September AD 1832. Eleven high priests save one, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given my angels charge concerning you” (Revelations). These ten men were probably not at this time elevated to the fullness of the priesthood but received the office of high priest. Joseph Smith taught that all priesthood was Melchizedek but that there were varying degrees of it (TPJS, 180). That portion of the Melchizedek [p.205] priesthood taken from the children of Israel was the fullness of the priesthood (JST Deut. 10:1-2; JST Ex. 34:1-2). It was restored in Jesus’ time but then lost again. Beginning in 1829 the priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith by degrees: first, the Aaronic or lesser priesthood (D&C 13), then the higher priesthood. This was followed by a period of development in which priesthood quorums, offices, and keys were defined in the growing church organization. Then on 3 April 1836 Jesus, Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared to Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith as they kneeled in prayer behind the veils of the presidency’s pulpits in the priesthood assembly room of the Kirtland temple (ibid., 110). During this visitation Joseph and Oliver received additional priesthood keys vital to the development of the church (TPJS, 224). From 1836 until his death, Joseph Smith stressed the need to build temples, where the fullness of priesthood could be bestowed upon Latter-day Saints to prepare them for the personal visitation of God.
One allusion to the bestowal of this priesthood was made by Oliver Cowdery to Parley P. Pratt at the time Pratt was ordained to the first LDS Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Cowdery said, “Your ordination is not full and complete until God himself lays his hand upon you” (HC 2:195-96). Both Wilford Woodruff and Orson Hyde, as well as other apostles, emphasized that it was in the winter of 1843-44, when they were endowed, not in 1835, when they were ordained, that they received the fullness of the keys and powers of the priesthood (Kenney, 2:341-42, 344-48, 393; MS 5:109; JD 1:134, 13:49; 19:232, 233, 235, 266; Times and Seasons 5:651,648,661,663, and 666; TPJS, 237,326, cf. D&C 124:95-97). On 6 August 1843 Woodruff reported that “[Brigham Young] remarked that if any in the Church had the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, he did not know it. For any person to have the fullness of the priesthood, he must be a king and priest. A person may have a portion of that priesthood, the same as governors or judges of England have power from the king to transact business; but that does not make them kings of England. A person may be anointed king and priest long before he receives his kingdom” (HC 5:527).
Joseph Smith made it clear that the fullness of the priesthood was not just for leaders: “We calculate to give the Elders of Israel their washings and anointings and attend to those last and more impressive ordinances, without which we cannot obtain celestial thrones. But there must be a holy place prepared for that purpose …. So that men may receive their endowments and be made kings and priests unto the Most High God, having nothing to do with temporal things” (TPJS, 362-63). [p.206] When planning the westward move of the church shortly before his martyrdom, Joseph Smith wrote to the elders who were to go west as an advance party: “I want every man that goes to be a king and a priest. When he gets on the mountains, he may want to talk with his God” (ibid., 333). Again asserting his intention to elevate others to the fullness of priesthood, Joseph Smith declared that it was God’s purpose “to make of the Church of Jesus Christ a kingdom of Priests, a holy people, a chosen generation, and as in Enoch’s day, having all the gifts as illustrated to the Church in Paul’s epistles” (ibid., 202). We have already argued at length that Joseph’s intent was that women should share in this priesthood.
This notwithstanding, a practice was instituted in the early days of the church of ordaining individuals to become kings and priests or queens and priestesses rather than actually bestowing these titles and offices directly on them.9 This promissory and conditional ordination was referred to in an address given in the Nauvoo Temple by Apostle Heber C. Kimball: “We have come to this place and all your former covenants are of no account, and here is the place where we have to enter into a new covenant, and be sealed, and have it recorded. One reason why we bring our wives with us is that they may make a covenant with us to keep these things sacred. You have been anointed to be kings and priests, but you have not been ordained yet. And you have got to get it by being faithful” (Kimball Journal; Cannon).
Ordination to the fullness of priesthood is presented in Mormon texts as a multi-step spiritual journey: A person must be spiritually born into the family of Jesus Christ by faith and through grace (D&C 84:33; 76:53). Then a male must receive the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods available in the church. Both males and females must be endowed with the priesthood and the fullness of the keys thereof and be sealed in marriage in the new and everlasting covenant (ibid. 84:33; 131:1-3; TPJS, 308). The sealed couple must be anointed king and priest and queen and priestess, thus becoming members of the holy order of God, and they must magnify that calling by manifesting to [p.207] God a willingness to sacrifice all earthly things to become one in Christ (D&C 84:34). By this means, these individuals become sanctified by the Spirit, thereby becoming the children of Moses, of Aaron, the seed of Abraham, the church, the kingdom, and the elect of God (v. 37). They may receive the visitation of angels. But eventually, either in life or death, they must also obtain the visitation of Christ, who is the Father and the Son—the “second comforter” spoken of in John 14 (vv. 36-37). They must receive from Christ the Father the promise or covenant of “all that [the] Father hath,” a promise that is sealed by God’s own oath “out of the heavens” (vv. 38-40). Finally, they may also receive the fulfillment of the promise of the Father by actually obtaining power over nature as a token of their inheritance in the world to come (vv. 63-67; cf. Luke 22:29-30).
If these experiences are not realized in mortality, then apparently they may be realized in the after life. The ordinances by which men and women are ordained kings and priests and queens and priestesses may be done by proxy for the dead in the temple. These steps cannot be taken suddenly (1 Tim. 5:22). Faith in Christ, endurance of affliction, and submission to all his ordinances, including the covenant of marriage, are presented as fundamental preconditions for receiving the fullness of priesthood (D&C 50:26-29; 76:53; Eth. 12: 6-9; D&C 101:4-5; JST Gen. 14:26-27). Those anointed to the fullness of the priesthood have authority to administer in all the ordinances of the gospel and of the priesthood (TPJS, 337), to officiate in any of the offices of the church and kingdom of God, including the apostolic office (D&C 107:1-10), to bear witness of the Father and the Son (84:63-64), to pray in the true order, to detect the source of revelations (124:95, 97), and to assist the presidency of the Holy Order in anointing other kings and priests and queens and priestesses.10
[p.208] Though the second anointing is the highest ordinance conferred in the church, this ordinance must be sealed by God. This sealing is the oath and covenant. Joseph Smith explained this teaching in his discourse on Elias, Elijah, and Messiah: “The spirit of Elias is first, Elijah is second, and Messiah last. Elias is a forerunner to prepare the way, and the spirit and power of Elijah is to come after, holding the keys of power, building the temple to the capstone, placing the seals of the Melchizedek Priesthood upon the House of Israel, and making all things ready. Then Messiah comes to His temple, which is last of all” (TPJS, 340). In other words the spirit and power of Elias refers to the work associated now with the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods—proclaiming faith and repentance, baptizing for the remission of sins, laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; in short adopting new members into the family of Christ (TPJS, 335-36; Eth. 3:14).
After this the faithful are to receive, under the keys of Elijah, all the blessings of the temple. This is when the “seals are put upon the House of Israel.” Individuals so sealed and so empowered to seal others have all that can be conferred upon mortals by mortals. Then they are prepared to be visited by the Messiah (“Messiah comes to his temple”) and to receive from him the oath and covenant of the Father (2 Ne. 9:41). This is the final confirmation from the godhead of their promise of immortality, eternal life, and an everlasting possession of all that the Father has. This blessing is the capstone on the temple, “which temple,” said Paul, “ye are” (1 Cor. 3:17). This is the crowning component of the fullness of priesthood, by which the anointed are made joint heirs with Jesus Christ and saviors on Mt. Zion (HC 6:184, 364-65). Within the world view of Joseph Smith, this was a supernatural event through which recipients of all gospel, priesthood, and temple ordinances realize their calling, election, anointing, and coronation. They become numbered among those whose lives are “hid… with Christ in God” (D&C 86:8-9; cf. 101:39-42; 103:9-10; Matt. 5:13). These individuals have entered into their exaltation, awaiting only the time of the resurrection to be glorified and made one with the Most High.[p.209]
33. For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.
34. They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.
35. And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
36. For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
37. And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
38. And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.
39. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.
40. Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.
41. But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.
42. And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you. The date comes from the original manuscript in the handwriting of Fredrick G. Williams (Revelations).
2. “No society compels its members to keep every promise they may make. At the same time, the good of society demands that certain promises must be followed by performance …. [for this reason each society] perfects forms and procedures by which it can guarantee those promises. Those procedures are in the beginning of law most closely connected with religion, and are known as oaths… which [are] conditional self-cursing[s] …. appeal[s] to the gods to punish the promisor if he defaults …. At the present time the oath is merely an ‘ancient ruin still standing’” (Mendenhall, 53).
3. In law the act of making such an exchange of comparable valuables is referred to as “consideration”; also the valuables themselves are referred to as “consideration.” Sometimes the Latin phrase quid pro quo is used in place of the word “consideration.”
4. Anciently the actual oath which accompanied and upheld the promise and made it binding upon the promisor could take any of a variety of ritual forms: eating together, the use of oil and water, or drinking from a cup (Hillers, 40). Oath swearing might also entail an exchange of gifts, the shaking of hands, or the eating or spilling of salt (McCarthy, 4). “The most widely attested form of swearing a covenant, however, involved cutting up an animal” (Hillers, 40). It has been noted that slaughtering animals at the time of covenant making was considered a sacrificial offering and added solemnity to the occasion (Weinfeld, 184), creating a mystical relationship between the parties involved (McCarthy, 32-33).
5. Some scholars have analogized the covenant that God made with Israel at Sinai (Ex. 20) to Hittite suzerainty treaties in which the vassal is obligated by an oath to obey the king. This is an ancient form of adhesion contract in which the terms are dictated by the stronger party. Some scholars have even speculated that the Sinai covenant was recast in terms of the verbal formulas of the Hittite treaties in order to give legal impetus to the Decalogue. In other words, to make the Ten Commandments respectable from a Hittite point of view (Mendenhall, 66; McCarthy, 72). But the Decalogue lacks the witnessing by the gods, the cursing and blessing formula, and the requirement that the covenant be re-read periodically, as found in the suzerainty treaties. More importantly, in the Sinai covenant “God does not force himself and his covenant on the people… all texts… concerned with the covenant [at Sinai] are shot through with persuasion; the people are never compelled to enter into the relationship” (McCarthy, 55). Furthermore, the Sinai covenant was predicated on sacrificial rites, covenant meals, and the creation of mystical familial relationships. All of these facts indicate that there was, rather than a Hittite influence, “a very strong cultic element…” There is a greater sense of quid pro quo in Exodus than in Genesis. The Abrahamic covenant is discussed below (ibid., 72).
6. In Abraham 1:18-19, God promises to give Abraham the priesthood. In Abraham 2:7-13 and Genesis 12:2 of Joseph Smith’s Inspired Translation, God promises to bless Abraham’s posterity with the right to hold the priesthood and to give Abraham and his seed the right of adoption so that all those who accept the gospel would be accounted the seed of Abraham too. In JST Genesis 14:40 and 15:2 we are told that God conferred on Abraham the blessings promised him by Melchizedek—including the blessings of honor, riches, and an everlasting possession. In JST Genesis 15:21 God promises to give Canaan to Abraham’s posterity as an everlasting possession. And in JST Genesis 17:8-11 God promises to give to Abraham a son, Isaac, through whom will be realized all of Abraham’s other blessings relating to posterity. It is difficult to tell in exactly what sequence if any these promises were made. It is possible that these different accounts are referring to only one or two covenants. But whether one or many, God not Abraham makes the promises.
In the Genesis 15 account, God also swears to keep his promise. “It is He, accompanied by a smoking oven and a blazing torch…who passes between the parts [of the sacrificial animal] as though he were invoking a curse upon himself” (Weinfield, 196). “The author is discreet; he does not flatly say that Yahweh invokes a curse on himself. But the version he has related makes the literal restatement unnecessary, and the imagination of the reader can supply: ‘Just as this heifer is cut up, so may I… ‘” (Hillers, 103). It is similar to the oath in “the Abba-El-Yarimlim deed where Abba-El, the donor, takes the oath by cutting the neck of a lamb… saying, ‘[May I be cursed] if I take back what I gave you’” (Weinfeld, 199).
The covenant which God made with Abraham is “completely different [than other Old Testament covenants] …. it is clearly stated or implied that it is Yahweh Himself who swears to certain promises to be carried out in the future. It is not often enough seen that no obligations are imposed on Abraham. Circumcision is not originally an obligation, but a sign of the covenant, like the rainbow in Genesis 9. It serves to identify the recipient(s) of the covenant, as well as to give a concrete indication that a covenant exists. The covenant [at Sinai] is almost the exact opposite. It imposes specific obligations upon the tribes or clans without binding Yahweh [whereas the covenant of God with Abraham binds God alone] (Mendenhall, 62).
7. In Genesis 28:13-22, the granting of the blessing to Jacob is presented in a way that involves a stone, a pillar, the House of God, and an anointing with oil—all ritualistic symbols. In Genesis 35:9-15 the oath and covenant is linked with Jacob’s receiving a new name-Israel-by which his descendants would be known throughout history.
8. It is to be noted that 1 Samuel 16:13 and Psalm 89:20-37 indicate that God did later make an oath and covenant with David. Joseph Smith, however, explained that “although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of Priesthood” but received something less than the full blessings given to the ancient Patriarchs (TPJS, 339).
9. On 2 August 1883 Apostle George Q. Cannon stated to the School of the Prophets in Provo, Utah: “in the washing that takes place in the first endowment, they are washed that they might become clean from the blood of this generation—that is, I suppose, in the same way they are ordained to become Kings and Priests—that ordinance does not make them clean from the blood of this generation any more than it makes them Kings and Priests. If they fully receive of another endowment, a fullness of power, the promises are fulfilled in the bestowal of power upon them” (Minutes).
10. Heber C. Kimball reported in his journal the remarks of Brigham Young given on 26 December 1845: “Pres. Young said when we began [temple ordinance work] again he would pay no respect to quorums every man comes in is washed & anointed by good men and it makes no difference. Every man that gets his endowment, whether he is High Priest or Seventy, may go into any part of the world and build up the kingdom if he has the keys—or into any island. We have been ordained to the Melchisedek Priesthood, which is the highest order of Priesthood, and it has many branches or offices—and those who come in here and have received their washing & anointing will be ordained Kings & Priests, and will then have received the fullness of the Priesthood, all that can be given on earth, for Brother Joseph said he had given us all that could be given to man on earth.