Monday, October 29, 2012

Lesson: The Powers of Heaven

Yesterday our lesson was on The Powers of Heaven, Elder David A. Bednar, taught by Trudy Cook

I love that Trudy prints out the talk and numbers the sections so that we can refer to various sections during our discussion.

And discussion is what we had. Trudy acknowledged that we all have different feelings and questions about the Priesthood because these are valid for women in the church today. But it was also acknowledged that we are thankful for the restoration of the authority to act in God's name, and that it's blessed our lives.
I invite each of you to consider how you would respond to the following question posed to the members of the Church many years ago by President David O. McKay: “If at this moment each one of you were asked to state in one sentence or phrase the most distinguishing feature of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what would be your answer?” (“The Mission of the Church and Its Members,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1956, 781).

The response President McKay gave to his own question was the “divine authority” of the priesthood. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands apart from other churches that claim their authority is derived from historical succession, the scriptures, or theological training. We make the distinctive declaration that priesthood authority has been conferred by the laying on of hands directly from heavenly messengers to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I think it's important to recognize that the Priesthood is the current mechanism of administration that makes possible the salvation of all on earth at this time. The future may be different. Think of the promises made in the temple about what is ordained and may be fulfilled for us.
Priesthood is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. One of the defining features of the Church of Jesus Christ, both anciently and today, is His authority. There can be no true Church without divine authority.
The expectations for how the Priesthood is to be handled are clear.
A priesthood holder is expected to exercise this sacred authority in accordance with God’s holy mind, will, and purposes. Nothing about the priesthood is self-centered. The priesthood always is used to serve, to bless, and to strengthen other people.
Priesthood power can only be accessed upon personal righteousness. I have felt that many times from good men who truly seek the Lord's will.
As we do our best to fulfill our priesthood responsibilities, we can be blessed with priesthood power. The power of the priesthood is God’s power operating through men and boys like us and requires personal righteousness, faithfulness, obedience, and diligence. A boy or a man may receive priesthood authority by the laying on of hands but will have no priesthood power if he is disobedient, unworthy, or unwilling to serve.
And we know that the powers of heaven are available to all through personal righteousness, faith, prayer, and our own relationship to God and Christ. Yet we long to be more equally yoked.
The sisters rarely complained or criticized, but they often responded as follows: “Please help my husband understand his responsibility as a priesthood leader in our home. I am happy to take the lead in scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening, and I will continue to do so. But I wish my husband would be an equal partner and provide the strong priesthood leadership only he can give. Please help my husband learn how to become a patriarch and a priesthood leader in our home who presides and protects.”

I reflect often on the sincerity of those sisters and their request. Priesthood leaders hear similar concerns today. Many wives are pleading for husbands who have not only priesthood authority but also priesthood power. They yearn to be equally yoked with a faithful husband and priesthood companion in the work of creating a Christ-centered and gospel-focused home.
This talk is also instructive in that it joins many Priesthood talks where the men and boys of the church are encouraged (chastised?!) to be clean, righteous examples, on the Lord's errand, worthy to act when needed. Sisters, we need to know that our concerns are known and the leadership tries to address them.
Brethren, I promise that if you and I will prayerfully ponder the pleas of these sisters, the Holy Ghost will help us to see ourselves as we really are (see D&C 93:24) and help us recognize the things we need to change and improve. And the time to act is now!
Discuss this with the men in your lives, with support and encouragement.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, but please be respectful.