Keys of the Kingdom
To be able to ask and have God answer (see T&C 141:32; compare T&C 26:20; 82:12; 90:1; 131:5; and 151:12). Joseph Smith used the term keys of the kingdom to mean when a person can ask and receive an answer each time he asks. Those directed by God hold the keys of the kingdom because the kingdom belongs to God, and God must direct its affairs for it to be His.1 Without revelation to obtain God’s answer, Mormonism is just as adrift in uncertainty as apostate Christianity. They are like Laman and Lemuel who could not understand a revelation given to their father. In response to Nephi’s inquiry as to why they did not ask God, they responded, the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us (1 Nephi 4:2). It takes revelation to understand revelation. That “key” is to sacrifice your life by obedience to God. Man must live humbly and meekly before God, obeying every word that proceeds from Him. They must do this, despite the rage of false religionists who will always condemn the things of God by pretending they, without revelation, can know what God meant, intended, or is doing. They are pretenders and are without authority. They fight against God. A man who has the “keys” must sacrifice all to know God.2 Immediately following the two letters Joseph Smith wrote from Liberty Jail, he wrote the following (in one of the only talks he ever wrote out), Thus we behold the keys of this Priesthood [the priesthood that belonged to Noah before the flood, the priesthood that warned him about the coming flood and so on] consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah, that he talked with him in a familiar and friendly manner, that he continued to him the keys, the covenants, the power, and the glory with which he blessed Adam at the beginning, and the offering of sacrifice which also shall be continued at the last time (T&C 140:16). The keys of the Priesthood — the Priesthood that Noah held, the fullness of the Priesthood, the Holy Order, the version that came down then — consists in obtaining the voice of Jehovah, and He talked with him in a familiar manner. Therefore it is given to abide in you, the Record of Heaven, the Comforter, the keys of the kingdom, the truth of all things, that which quickens all things — which makes alive all things, which knows all things, and has all power according to Wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment (Genesis 4:9). It’s given to abide in man; it is the Record of Heaven, the keys of the kingdom — the ability to get the voice of Jehovah to tell one the truth of all things, the answer to what one needs. If there is a group of people who claim to hold all of the keys who will tell you plainly that the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us, like Laman and Lemuel (but unlike Nephi, who says, “Have you asked God? He talks to me”), then one can know for a surety that those claimants do not have the keys. If God won’t talk to them, they cannot have the keys.3
1 “Signs Follow Faith,” March 3, 2019, talk given at Centerville, UT, recording.
2 “Was There An Original?” expanded paper of address given at Sunstone Symposium, July 29, 2016, 44n178.
3 Instructions to Scripture Committee, May 31, 2018.