This excerpt covers keys, and some interesting remarks on priesthood, on keys, and on apostleship, including Brigham Young’s account of how Joseph Smith reacted when some of the other apostles wanted Brigham Young to be ordained a high priest when they found out he had only every been ordained to the office of elder.
From the discourse by Brigham Young found on J of D vol 1 pages 131-137
To say a man is an Apostle, is equal to saying that a man is ordained to build up the Kingdom of God from first to last; but it is not so by saying he is ordained a High Priest. The Bishopric by right belongs to the literal descendants of Aaron, but we shall have to ordain from the other tribes, men who hold the High Priesthood, to act in the Lesser, until we can find a literal descendant of Aaron, who is prepared to receive it.
The Lesser Priesthood then, you perceive, comes within the purview of the Apostleship, because a man that holds it has a right to act or officiate as a High Priest, as one of the High Council, as a Patriarch, as a Bishop, Elder, Priest, Teacher, and Deacon, and in every other office and calling that is in the Church, from first to last, when duty demands it.
This is the order of the Priesthood, brethren. I felt as though I wished to make some remarks upon this subject on the Temple ground; but dismissing the congregation hurt me much. I wanted to make some remarks at the same time, but I despaired of making you hear, so I thought I would omit speaking in the open air, and say what I had to say in the Tabernacle.
I know what was done at Nauvoo; it was all right. Everything is right with me. There the Twelve were called to lay the North West Cornerstone, if I mistake not. However, it is no matter, they were just as well there, as anywhere else. But to take up the Priesthood in its perfect order and form, you perceive that the Apos tleship circumscribes everything in the Church of God on earth. This is the order, and I have endeavored to carry it out before you, that you all might know hereafter, what is the true order, as far as it can be exhibited in the laying of Cornerstones. So far as simply laying a cornerstone is concerned, one corner is just as good to me as another.
I will give you the explanation why we proceeded as we have. It was suggested to me, that perhaps the Twelve would feel better to lay the second stone. When I told them the fourth stone was the stone they should lay, it struck my mind that I was ordained an Apostle; and I still belong to the Apostleship; did you ever cut me off, brethren? [Voices in the stand, No.] It struck my mind if you wanted to lay the second stone, you did not feel that you had the Apostleship in you, or you did not feel like as I did; for it is the beginning and the end, the height, depth, length, and breadth of all that is, that was, and ever can be to all eternity. I have not heard that there were any feelings about the matter, only somebody suggested the thing. It was three of the Twelve, then, that laid the first stone, and then the Quorum of the Twelve laid the fourth.
Now will it cause some of you to marvel that I was not ordained a High Priest before I was ordained an Apostle? Brother Kimball and myself were never ordained High Priests. How wonderful! I was going to say how little some of the brethren understood the Priesthood, after the Twelve were called. In our early career in this Church, on one occasion, in one of our Councils, we were telling about some of the Twelve wanting to ordain us High Priests, and what I said to brother Patten when he wanted to ordain me in York State: said I, brother Patten, wait until I can lift my hand to heaven and say, I have magnified the office of an Elder. After our conversation was over in the Council, some of the brethren began to query, and said we ought to be ordained High Priests; at the same time I did not consider that an Apostle needed to be ordained a High Priest, an Elder, or a Teacher. I did not express my views on the subject, at that time, but thought I would hear what brother Joseph would say about it. It was William E. McLellin who told Joseph, that I and Heber were not ordained High Priests, and wanted to know if it should not be done. Said Joseph, “Will you insult the Priesthood? Is that all the knowledge you have of the office of an Apostle? Do you not know that the man who receives the Apostleship, receives all the keys that ever were, or that can be, conferred upon mortal man? What are you talking about? I am astonished!” Nothing more was said about it.
I know that Joseph received his Apostleship from Peter, James, and John, before a revelation on the subject was printed, and he never had a right to organize a Church before he was an Apostle.
I have tried to shew you, brethren, as briefly as possible, the order of the Priesthood. When a man is ordained to be an Apostle, his Priesthood is without beginning of days, or end of life, like the Priesthood of Melchizedek; for it was his Priesthood that was spoken of in this language, and not the man.