One of the perennial (and perennially fun) debates in legal theory revolves around the issue of commidification. In this context commidification means the ability to take something and sell it. Thus, we have all sorts of fun debates about prostitution, markets in adoption rights, surrogate mothering contracts, and the like. So does Mormonism offer us anything that gives us any unique traction in these debates, or as Mormons do we simply argue about these sorts of issues in the same way as everyone else?
We do have some scriptures stating in no uncertain terms that the priesthood cannot be baught or sold. Thus, the priesthood cannot be commodified and if we can understand what it is the makes the priesthood uncommodifiable we could be well on our way to a possible Mormon theory in the general commodification debates. It seems that there are a couple of alternatives:
1. It may be that the priesthood is metaphysically incapable of commodification. A sold priesthood would be no priesthood at all.
2. It may be that the only kinds of desires giving rise to a wish to commodify the priesthood are wicked. Only a bad person would want to buy the priesthood.
3. It may be that there is something about the uses, roles, etc. of the priesthood that make it inherently uncommodifiable.
If we want to use the priesthood as a way of thinking about commodification debates, it seems that we need to opt for 3. The reason is that 1 provides us with very little traction for other issues. Sex clearly CAN be bought and sold. 2 is probably too narrow of a category, since we are unlikely to have the complete and exclusive identification between any particular kind of character and a potential object of commodifcation. For example, the desires for sex is not inherently evil, but it can clearly lead to its commodification. That leaves us with 3. However, I am not certain that 3 is the right answer, and if it is then I am not sure what its substantive content is. What about the priesthood makes it special?