Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Priesthood

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 25: Priesthood: “The Power of Godliness”

1. Order in the restoration of the priesthood and its offices

Read: Revelations in Context: Restoring the Ancient Order

Read: Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, Women.

Read: Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods

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‘What is the Priesthood? It is nothing more nor less than the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and act legitimately; not assuming that authority, not borrowing it from generations that are dead and gone, but authority that has been given in this day … by which they may baptize for the remission of sins and lay on hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and by which they can remit sin, with the sanction and blessing of Almighty God. It is the same power and Priesthood that was committed to the disciples of Christ while He was upon the earth; that whatsoever they should bind on earth should be bound in heaven, and whatsoever they should loose on earth should be loosed in heaven, and whomsoever they should bless should be blessed, and if they cursed, in the spirit of righteousness and meekness before God, God would confirm that curse’ (Joseph F Smith, Conference Report, October 1904, p. 97)

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2. The oath and covenant of the priesthood

Read: The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood by S Brent Farley

‘As all of us know, a covenant is a contract and an agreement between at least two parties. In the case of gospel covenants, the parties are the Lord in heaven and men on earth. Men agree to keep the commandments and the Lord promises to reward them accordingly. The gospel itself is the new and everlasting covenant and embraces all of the agreements, promises, and rewards which the Lord offers to his people.

And so when we receive the Melchizedek Priesthood we do so by covenant. We solemnly promise to receive the priesthood, to magnify our callings in it, and to live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. The Lord on his part promises us that if we keep the covenant, we shall receive all that the Father hath, which is life eternal. Can any of us conceive of a greater or more glorious agreement than this?’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1970, Afternoon Meeting 91.)

D&C 84:33 Magnifying their calling

‘We need to serve! The essence of holding the priesthood is to magnify our calling (see  D&C 84:33) by serving others. Avoiding our most important duty to serve our wives and children, not accepting or passively fulfilling callings in the Church, or not caring about others unless it is convenient is not who we should be. The Savior declared, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”  (Matthew 22:37) and later added, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me”  (D&C 42:29) Selfishness is the antithesis of priesthood responsibility, and if it is a trait of our character, we need to change.’ (Donald L Hallstrom, General Conference, April 2014)

“What does it mean to magnify a calling? It means to build it up in dignity and importance, to make it honorable and commendable in the eyes of all men, to enlarge and strengthen it, to let the light of heaven shine through it to the view of other men.’ (Thomas S Monson, General Conference, April 1986)

D&C 84:34 Sons of Moses and of Aaron

“‘Sons of Moses,’ and ‘sons of Aaron’ do not refer to their literal descendants only, for all who are faithful and obtain these Priesthoods, and magnify their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit and become the ‘sons’ of Moses and of Aaron, and the seed of Abraham, as well as the Church and Kingdom, and the elect of God (v. 34). Paul expresses this thought as follows, ‘Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham’ (Gal. 3:7).” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 504.)

D&C 84:38 All that my Father hath

‘Who in the name of the Lord can apprehend such language as this? Who can comprehend that, by obeying the celestial law, all that our Father has shall be given unto us-exaltations, thrones, principalities, power, dominion-who can comprehend it? Nevertheless it is here stated.’ (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 209 – 210.)

 

3. Principles for using the priesthood

Read: Revelations in Context: Within the Walls of Liberty Jail

Read or watch: Walk with Me by President Henry B Eyring

D&C 121:34 Why are they not chosen?

“I know of many cases where a man has gradually failed to magnify his priesthood and moved away from activity in the Church. As a result, a man who has been very active loses his testimony and the Spirit of the Lord withdraws from him, and he begins to criticize those in authority, and to persecute the saints, apostatize, and fight against God.” (N Eldon Tanner, In Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 52.)

D&C 121:35 Aspire to the honours of men

‘If there are any among you who aspire after their own aggrandizement, and seek their own opulence, while their brethren are groaning in poverty, and are under sore trials and temptations, they cannot be benefited by the intercession of the Holy Spirit…

We ought at all times to be very careful that such high-mindedness shall never have place in our hearts; but condescend to men of low estate, and with all long-suffering bear the infirmities of the weak. Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen… ‘ (Joseph Smith, Epistle to the Saints, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3: 299)

D&C 121:39 Unrighteous dominion

‘We simply cannot force others to do the right thing. The scriptures make it clear that this is not God’s way. Compulsion builds resentment. It conveys mistrust, and it makes people feel incompetent. Learning opportunities are lost when controlling persons pridefully assume they have all the right answers for others. The scriptures say that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men” to engage in this “unrighteous dominion,”  Doctrine and Covenants 121:39 so we should be aware that it’s an easy trap to fall into. Women too may exercise unrighteous dominion, though the scriptures identify the problem especially with men.’ (Larry Y Wilson, General Conference, April 2012)

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