Gospel Principles, Lesson 13
By Margie Clark
Elder Boyd K. Packer in a talk entitled The Power of the Priesthood said...
Some years ago I gave a talk entitled “What Every Elder Should Know: A Primer on Principles of Priesthood Government.” Later, when it was to be published, I changed the title to read “What Every Elder Should Know—and Every Sister as Well.”It's important for us to understand and love the Priesthood and the power it can have in our lives. Margie had us divide up into 5 groups and answer these questions, and relate them to our lives.
I include the sisters because it is crucial for everyone to understand what is expected of the brethren. Unless we enlist the attention of the mothers and daughters and sisters—who have influence on their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers—we cannot progress. The priesthood will lose great power if the sisters are neglected.
What Is the Priesthood?
The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Through the priesthood He created and governs the heavens and the earth. By this power the universe is kept in perfect order.
Our Heavenly Father delegates His priesthood power to worthy male members of the Church. The priesthood enables them to act in God’s name for the salvation of the human family. Through it they can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern God’s kingdom on earth.
Why Do We Need the Priesthood on the Earth?
We must have priesthood authority to act in the name of God when performing the sacred ordinances of the gospel, such as baptism, confirmation, administration of the sacrament, and temple marriage. If a man does not have the priesthood, even though he may be sincere, the Lord will not recognize ordinances he performs.
Men need the priesthood to preside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to direct the work of the Church in all parts of the world.
How Do Men Receive the Priesthood?
The Lord has prepared an orderly way for His priesthood to be given to His sons on the earth. A worthy male member of the Church receives the priesthood “by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof”
Article of Faith #5: We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
This is the same way men received the priesthood long ago, even in the days of Moses: “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Hebrews 5:4).
How do men properly use the Priesthood?
The priesthood should be used to bless the lives of our Heavenly Father’s children here on earth. Priesthood holders should preside in love and kindness. They should not force their families and others to obey them. The Lord has told us that the power of the priesthood cannot be controlled except in righteousness (see D&C 121:36).
When a man uses the priesthood “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned” (D&C 121:41), he can do many wonderful things for his family and others.
Men use priesthood authority to preside in the Church in such callings as branch president, bishop, quorum president, stake president, and mission president. Men and women who hold positions in the Church as officers and teachers work under the direction of priesthood leaders and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
What blessings come from the Priesthood?
The Lord has promised great blessings to righteous priesthood holders who use the priesthood to bless others: “Then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever” (D&C 121:45–46).
Think of time when the Priesthood has blessed your life.