Posted in General Conference, Priesthood

General Conference Oct 2017 – General Priesthood Session

The session began with a rousing rendition of Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel  by a mixed age priesthood choir. This was followed by Secret Prayer

Elder Dale G Renlund

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A rocket being manouvered for take off – valuable payload. The rocket’s mission is simply to deliver the payload. Rocket=priesthood. Payload =blessings of the atonement. [An interesting analogy further developed in the talk]

Because of His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ has the power and authority to redeem all mankind. To make His atoning power accessible, He has delegated a portion of His power and authority to men on earth. This delegated power and authority is called priesthood. It permits priesthood holders to help Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in Their work—to bring about the salvation and exaltation of God’s children. It does so because it provides His children the opportunity to receive the blessings of the Savior’s atoning power. …

We need the Saviour’s atoning power so that we can be reconciled with Heavenly Father.

Christ’s atoning power needs to be delivered to his children.

God intends priesthood to …deliver the payload.

… Priesthood is essential because necessary ordinances and covenants on earth are administered only by its authority. …

… Priesthood conferral is safeguarded by priesthood keys which are the rights of presidency given to men.. … Priesthood use is likewise safeguarded by priesthood keys but also by covenants that the priesthood holder makes. …

Priesthood is not an amorphous source of autonomous power.

The purpose of the priesthood is to help others come unto Christ…

God’s atoning power is made accessible through the priesthood which delivers the payload.

Both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods are received by covenant. God determines the terms and man accepts. Broadly speaking, priesthood holders covenant to help God in His work. …

To each man who receives the Melchizedek Priesthood, God affirms His covenant promises with an oath. This oath pertains only to the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is God who swears the oath, not the priesthood holder. …

Being casual or apathetic in a priesthood calling…jeopardises the priesthood covenant.

Story of restoring priesthood blessings to a ‘young’ man.

D&C 58:42 Behold, he who has arepented of his bsins, the same is cforgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

43 By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will aconfess them and bforsake them.

The priesthood delivers the gospel of Jesus Christ.

… I invite you to make and keep priesthood covenants. Receive God’s oath and his promise… Use the priesthood to help deliver the opportunity to benefit from the Savior’s atoning power to someone else! As you do, great blessings will come to you and to your family.

Elder David F Evans

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Our individual search for truth.

Through study, prayer, and keeping the commandments, I found that there are answers to all of my important questions. I also found that for some questions, continuing faith, patience, and revelation are needed. …

… Willingness to be patient is part of our search for truth and part of the Lord’s pattern of revealing truth. …

President Monson: If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far.

I came to know that constant nourishment and continuing effort to repent and keep the commandments is needed. …

President Monson: a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.

To know the truth, we need to live the gospel and “experiment” on the word. We are cautioned to not resist the Spirit of the Lord. Repentance, coupled with a determination to keep the commandments, is an important part of each individual’s search for truth. In fact, we may need to be willing to “give away all” our sins in order to know the truth.

We are commanded to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” and to “seek … out of the best books words of wisdom” [D&C 88:118]. Our search for truth should focus on “the best books” and the best sources. Among the very best are the scriptures and the words of living prophets. President Monson has asked each of us to do what is necessary to obtain and keep a strong testimony.

… What is necessary for your testimony to deepen and strengthen? Each of us has a personal responsibility to do what is necessary to obtain and keep a strong testimony.

Patient covenant keeping brings the blessings of Heaven into our lives.

Elder Richard J Maynes

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Brethren, perhaps there is no greater compliment we could receive from the Lord than to know He trusts us to be worthy priesthood holders and great husbands and fathers.

One thing is for certain: earning the Lord’s trust is a blessing that comes through great effort on our part. Trust is a blessing based on obedience to God’s laws. Earning the Lord’s trust comes as a result of being true to the covenants we have made in the waters of baptism and in the holy temple.

I love both ancient and modern-day scriptures that use the phrase “integrity of heart” when describing a righteous person’s character. Integrity or the lack of integrity is a fundamental element of one’s character. Men who have “integrity of heart” are men to be trusted—because trust is built on integrity.

Family Proclamation – responsibilities of fathers.

Unity with our wives.

2 Nephi 4:34 O Lord, I have atrusted in thee, and I will btrust in thee forever. I will not put my ctrust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his dtrust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

Trust brings, peace, love and an environment where that love can grow.

Trust plays an important part in creating a Christ-centred home.

Story of going on a business trip to Los Angeles with his father. Offered a bribe.

Brethren, it is my prayer this evening that we might all first place our trust in the Lord, as Nephi exemplified, and then through the integrity of our hearts earn the trust of the Lord, as well as the trust of our wives and children. As we understand and apply this sacred principle of trust built on integrity, we will be true to our sacred covenants. We will also succeed in presiding in our families with love and righteousness, providing the necessities of life, and protecting our families from the evils of the world.

Hymn: How Firm a Foundation

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

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Story of elderly man buying stamps at post office. Young woman offered to show her how to use machine. He replied that he preferred waiting – ‘The machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.’

We accept aging and illness as part of our earthly journey.

We also face spiritual challenges.

Spiritual wellness.

Sometimes spiritual illness comes because of sin.

..we lose sight of the joy of the gospel. We might even feel that we have no more to give.

We can heal spiritually. Even the deepest spiritual wounds…can be healed. The healing power of Jesus Christ is not absent in our day.…

Whatever causes our spiritual ailments, they all have one thing in common: the absence of divine light.

Darkness reduces our ability to see clearly. It dims our vision of that which was at one time plain and clear….When we are in darkness we are more likely to lose hope.

Light, on the other hand, allows us to see things as they really are. It allows us to discern between truth and error.…We will find spiritual healing as we step away from the shadows of the world and into the everlasting light of Christ.

John 8:12 I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

D&C 84:45-46 For the aword of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is blight, and whatsoever is light is cSpirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

46 And the aSpirit giveth blight to cevery man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.

Matthew 6:22 if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

What is night? Night is nothing more than a shadow.

The absence of light causes darkness.

Darkness is not an indication that there is no light. Most often, it simply means we are not in the right place to receive the light. During the recent solar eclipse many made great efforts to get into the narrow band of shadow…

Satan will make every effort to create a shadow or get us into a shadow of our own making.

Even in moments of grearest darkness God hears our humble petitions.

It is up to us to be in the right place to see and feel the divine light and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even when night has fallen and the world seems dark, we can choose to walk in Christ’s light, keep His commandments, and courageously testify of His reality and His greatness.

As a bearer of God’s priesthood and as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are a bearer of light. Keep doing the things that will nurture His divine light. Hold up your light and let it shine before men…

My dear brothers, you are instruments in the hands of the Lord with the purpose of bringing light and healing to the souls of Heavenly Father’s children. Perhaps you do not feel qualified to heal those who are spiritually ill…maybe you face spiritual challenges of your own Nevertheless the Lord has called you…. to uplift and bless God’s children.…

Every time you reject temptation and choose purity…the light chases away darkness and attracts others who are seeking light and truth…..

Our young people are seeking light and they need to hear from you…

Christ’s light brings hope, happiness, and healing of any spiritual wound or ailment. Those who experience this refining influence become instruments in the hand of the Light of the world to give light to others…

It is my prayer and blessing that you will succeed in fulfilling your destiny as priesthood holders of Almighty God and always be joyful bearers of His heavenly light.

[Another wonderful talk from President Uchtdorf that I suspect will repay greater study]

President Henry B Eyring

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Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church

He leads his church by speaking to men called prophets

He gives confirming revelation to those who serve under the leadership of his prophets.

The Lord’s leadership of His Church requires great and steady faith from all who serve Him on earth. …

It takes faith to believe that he knows the people that he calls perfectly.

… You have the capacity to receive revelation and to act on it fearlessly.

It takes faith to do so. It takes even greater faith to believe that the Lord has called imperfect human servants to lead you. My purpose..is to build your faith…that the Lord is inspiring the imperfect persons that he has called as your leaders…

Faith is essential.

Story of secretary in teachers quorum sent to a less active boy.

A bishop is sometimes called to serve people who know him well…These members have to know that the call to serve as a bishop came from the Lord by revelation.

Mosiah 2:10-11 I have not commanded you to come up hither that ye should fear ame, or that ye should think that I of myself am more than a mortal man.

11 But I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind; yet I have been chosen by this people, and aconsecrated by bmy father, and was suffered by the hand of the Lord that I should be a ruler and a king over this people; and have been kept and preserved by his matchless power, to serve you with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me.

Your leader in the Lord’s Church may seem to you weak and human or may appear to you strong and inspired. The fact is that every leader is a mixture of those traits and more. What helps servants of the Lord who are called to lead us is when we try to see them as the Lord did when He called them.

The Lord sees His servants perfectly. He sees their potential and their future. He knows how their very nature can be changed. He also knows how they can be changed by their experiences with the people they will lead. …

I try not to judge servants of the Lord.

James E Faust: We also need to support and sustain our local leaders, because they also have been “called and chosen.” Every member of this Church may receive counsel from a bishop or a branch president, a stake or a mission president, and the President of the Church and his associates. None of these brethren asked for his calling. None is perfect. Yet they are the servants of the Lord, called by Him through those entitled to inspiration. Those called, sustained, and set apart are entitled to our sustaining support……Disrespect for ecclesiastical leaders has caused many to suffer spiritual weakening and downfall. We should look past any perceived imperfections, warts, or spots of the men called to preside over us, and uphold the office which they hold.

Brigham Young: Joseph was a Prophet, and I knew it, and that they might rail and slander him as much as they pleased, they could not destroy the appointment of the Prophet of God, they could only destroy their own authority, cut the thread that bound them to the Prophet and to God and sink themselves to hell.

There is a thread that binds us to the Lord in our service. It runs from wherever we are called to serve in the kingdom, up through those called to preside over us in the priesthood, and to the prophet, who is bound to the Lord. It takes faith and humility to serve in the place to which we are called, to trust that the Lord called us and those who preside over us, and to sustain them with full faith.

[An emotional and powerful address by President Eyring]

Closing hymn: We Ever Pray For Thee

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Posted in Leadership, Priesthood, Prophets, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 19: Priesthood Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

“I do not know why in His grand scheme one such as I would find a place. But having this mantle come upon me, I now rededicate whatever I have of strength or time or talent or life to the work of my Master in the service of my brethren and sisters. Again, I thank you … for your actions this day. The burden of my prayer is that I will be worthy. I hope that I may be remembered in your prayers.”

How can we best support and sustain the Lord’s Prophet and President of the Church?

1. The Lord calls each President of the Church after testing, refining, and polishing him.

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From the manual:

I have worked with the Presidents of the Church from President Heber J. Grant onward. … I have known the counselors of all of these men, and I have known the Council of the Twelve during the years of the administrations of these Presidents. All of these men have been human. They have had human traits and perhaps some human weaknesses. But over and above all of that, there has been in the life of every one of them an overpowering manifestation of the inspiration of God. Those who have been Presidents have been prophets in a very real way. I have intimately witnessed the spirit of revelation upon them. Each man came to the Presidency after many years of experience as a member of the Council of the Twelve and in other capacities. The Lord refined and polished each one, let him know discouragement and failure, let him experience illness and in some cases deep sorrow. All of this became part of a great refining process, and the effect of that process became beautifully evident in their lives.

What impresses you about the Lord’s “refining process” for preparing and calling a President of the Church?

‘Very few priesthood holders ever become prophets, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t all require the same refining experiences to make us better servants and better stewards over the Lord’s affairs in mortality.’ (Kelly Merrill, LDSLiving.com)

Read: First Presidency Message: Prophets to Guide Us

2. When a President of the Church dies, the senior Apostle becomes the next President.

When a President of the Church dies, the First Presidency is dissolved. Counselors in the First Presidency return to their places in the Quorum of the Twelve (if they were members of the quorum). The Quorum of the Twelve becomes the presiding quorum in the Church. The President of the Twelve becomes the presiding authority in the Church. Members of the Twelve assemble in the temple in a spirit of fasting and prayer. Guided by revelation, they come to a unanimous decision regarding the reorganization of the First Presidency. In accordance with this decision, they sustain the senior member of the Twelve as the President of the Church. They then lay their hands on his head and ordain him and set him apart as President of the Church.The new President chooses two men (usually members of the Quorum of the Twelve) to be his counselors. Vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve caused by the reorganization of the Presidency are filled.

Watch: Succession in the Presidency Elder Haight teaches about succession in the Presidency (D&C 107:21-38). (1:07)

“There is no mystery about the choosing of the successor to the President of the Church. The Lord settled this a long time ago, and the senior apostle automatically becomes the presiding officer of the Church, and he is so sustained by the Council of the Twelve which becomes the presiding body of the Church when there is no First Presidency. The president is not elected, but he has to be sustained both by his brethren of the Council and by the members of the Church” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:156).

From the manual:

Transition of authority [to a new President of the Church], in which I have participated a number of times, is beautiful in its simplicity. It is indicative of the way the Lord does things. Under His procedure a man is selected by the prophet to become a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He does not choose this as a career. He is called, as were the Apostles in Jesus’ time, to whom the Lord said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” (John 15:16.) The years pass. He is schooled and disciplined in the duties of his office. He travels over the earth in fulfilling his apostolic calling. It is a long course of preparation, in which he comes to know the Latter-day Saints wherever they may be, and they come to know him. The Lord tests his heart and his substance. In the natural course of events, vacancies occur in that council and new appointments are made. Under this process a particular man becomes the senior Apostle. Residing latent in him, and in his associate Brethren, given to each at the time of ordination, are all of the keys of the priesthood. But authority to exercise those keys is restricted to the President of the Church. At [the prophet’s] passing, that authority becomes operative in the senior Apostle, who is then named, set apart, and ordained a prophet and President by his associates of the Council of the Twelve.

What are your impressions as you review President Hinckley’s description of the way a new President of the Church is chosen? 

3. The Lord has provided principles and procedures for governing His Church if the President is not able to function fully.

Watch: God is at the Helm (President Hinckley, General Conference April 1994)

“Despite any health challenges that may come to us, despite any weakness in body or mind, we serve to the best of our ability. I assure you that the Church is in good hands. The system set up for the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve [Apostles] assures [us] that it will always be in good hands and that, come what may, there is no need to worry or to fear. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, whom we follow, whom we worship, and whom we serve, is ever at the helm.” (Thomas S Monson, Church News, February 2013)

From the manual:

The Counselors in the First Presidency carry on with the regular work of this office. But any major questions of policy, procedures, programs, or doctrine are considered deliberately and prayerfully by the First Presidency and the Twelve together. These two quorums, the Quorum of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, meeting together, with every man having total freedom to express himself, consider every major question.

What principles and procedures has the Lord established for governing the Church if the President is not able to function fully in all his duties?

4. Apostles are special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world.

‘All men who are ordained Apostles and sustained as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have all priesthood keys conferred upon them.’ (Boyd K Packer, What Every Elder Should Know – and Every Sister As Well)

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‘The role of an Apostle today is the same as it was anciently (see Acts 1:22; 4:33). Our commission is to go into all the world and proclaim “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (see Mark 16:15, 1 Corinthians 2:2). An Apostle is a missionary and a special witness of the name of Christ. The “name of Christ” refers to the totality of the Savior’s mission, death, and resurrection—His authority, His doctrine, and His unique qualifications as the Son of God to be our Redeemer and our Savior. As special witnesses of the name of Christ, we bear testimony of the reality, divinity, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His infinite and eternal Atonement, and His gospel.’ (David A Bednar, Religious Educator 12 No 2 2011)

From the manual:

As with all of us, they are men who are human. They have their strengths and their weaknesses. But henceforth, for the remainder of their lives, as long as they remain faithful, their one chief concern must be the advancement of the work of God on the earth. They must be concerned with the welfare of our Father’s children, both those within the Church and those out of the Church. They must do all that they can to give comfort to those who mourn, to give strength to those who are weak, to give encouragement to those who falter, to befriend the friendless, to nurture the destitute, to bless the sick, to bear witness, not out of belief but out of a certain knowledge of the Son of God, their Friend and Master, whose servants they are.

How have you benefited from the teachings of living prophets and apostles?

5. The First Presidency and the Twelve seek revelation and total harmony before they reach decisions.

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‘In trying all matters of doctrine, to make a decision valid, it is necessary to obtain a unanimous voice, faith and decision. In the capacity of a Quorum, the three First Presidents must be one in their voice; the Twelve Apostles must be unanimous in their voice, to obtain a righteous decision upon any matter that may come before them…. Whenever you see these Quorums unanimous in their declaration, you may set it down as true’. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:91-92)

From the manual:

No decision emanates from the deliberations of the First Presidency and the Twelve without total unanimity among all concerned. At the outset in considering matters, there may be differences of opinion. These are to be expected. These men come from different backgrounds. They are men who think for themselves. But before a final decision is reached, there comes a unanimity of mind and voice.

How can we apply these principles in our families and in the Church?

6. A stake president is called by inspiration to serve as an adviser to bishops and a leader for the people.

Read or watch: The Stake President (Gordon B Hinckley, General Conference, April 2000)

‘The Church officer who presides over several wards (congregations) that comprise a stake is the stake president. A stake president is selected by the General Authority assigned by the Quorum of Twelve Apostles to preside at that stake’s conference. He typically interviews many Melchizedek Priesthood leaders in the stake and then seeks inspiration from God to determine whom to call. The General Authority calls the stake president and instructs him to nominate two counselors who are interviewed and called. These three men constitute the stake presidency. They serve voluntarily, receiving no financial remuneration from the Church. Counselors to the stake president advise and assist him in his responsibilities and counsel with him in decision making. As with all officers in the Church, members of the stake presidency must be sustained by the vote of the members over whom they preside (D&C 20:65; see Common Consent). Each stake president supervises and is responsible for the progress of the Church in his stake, including all Church activities, callings, ordinances performed, and programs.

Members of the stake presidency hold the office of high priest, and they serve as the presidency of the high priest quorum and supervise all Melchizedek Priesthood quorums. This means they hold the proper priesthood authority to act as the Lord’s agent in behalf of the members (see Keys of the Priesthood).

What the stake president performs and authorizes within the scope of his calling is recognized as official and binding by the Church. For example, the stake president authorizes ordinations of worthy men to offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood, such as elder and high priest. He submits to the First Presidency for their approval the names of men to be called as bishops. When the approval is granted, the stake president issues the call and ordains the man a bishop, after he has been sustained by his ward. The stake president calls the presidents of the women’s organizations of the stake. He sets them apart after they have been sustained by vote of the stake. Both stake and full-time missionaries are set apart and later released by stake presidents. With a few exceptions, stake presidents may delegate to their counselors, or to high councilors, the authority to perform ordinances, issue calls to serve, ordain others to priesthood offices, and give spiritual blessings. Stake presidencies are to draw upon the scriptures and are to seek inspiration through prayer. The stake president is the one ultimately responsible for decisions made, but the stake presidency is to act as a unified quorum when decisions are made and actions taken. The stake presidency is accountable to members of the General Authorities of the Church for the administration of their stake.

During semi-annual stake conferences, members of the stake gather to hear instruction and inspirational messages from the stake presidency and other leaders. Stake presidents provide additional spiritual direction through counseling individuals and families and by visiting members’ homes.

The stake president also presides over certain council meetings in which the spiritual Welfare of Church members is the focus, such as meetings to address the needs of the poor or to prepare for emergencies, or councils that conduct disciplinary procedures for Church members who have transgressed fundamental standards of the gospel. Through personal interviews, stake presidencies certify the worthiness of members to enter temples and to be ordained to Melchizedek Priesthood offices, after they have been recommended to the stake president by their bishop. Bishops are to report their stewardship and the Welfare of their congregations to their stake president.

Stake presidents are charged with fiscal responsibility for the stake. Clerks are called to help with record keeping and payments, but the expenditures of all wards, priesthood quorums, and auxiliary organizations within the stake are the responsibility of the stake president. Financial assistance provided to needy individuals is administered by ward bishops, supervised by the stake president. In addition, since most wards meet in Church-owned buildings, the maintenance and operation of all physical facilities in the stake fall under the auspices of the stake president.

The stake president serves until he is released. As is the case with all callings in the Church, he neither campaigns for the position nor chooses the time of his release.’ (Stake President: The Encyclopaedia of Mormonism)

From the manual:

He carries the very heavy responsibility of seeing that the doctrine taught in the stake is kept pure and unsullied. It is his duty to see that there is no false doctrine that is taught nor false practice that occurs. If there be any Melchizedek Priesthood holder out of line, or any other person for that matter, under some circumstances, he is to counsel with them, and if the individual persists in his or her practice, then the president is obliged to take action. He will summon the offender to appear before a disciplinary council, where action may be taken to assign a probationary period or to disfellowship or excommunicate him or her from the Church.

How can we better support and sustain the Stake President?

7. Bishops are shepherds of the flock.

Read or watch: The Shepherds of the Flock Gordon B Hinckley, General Conference, April 1999

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Read or watch: The Shepherds of Israel Gordon B Hinckley, General Conference, October 2003

From the manual:

The bishops of the Church … are in a very real sense the shepherds of Israel. Everyone [in the Church] is accountable to a bishop or a branch president. Tremendous are the burdens which they carry, and I invite every member of the Church to do all that he or she can to lift the burden under which our bishops and branch presidents labor.

How can we better support and sustain the Bishop?

Posted in LDS Doctrine, Priesthood, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 15: The Holy Priesthood

1. God has restored the priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

Watch: Restoration of the Priesthood Church members share how they personally have been blessed because God’s priesthood authority has been restored to the earth.

Read: Revelations in Context – Restoring the Ancient Order

Read: Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods

From the manual:

What experiences have helped you gain a testimony of these truths?

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2. The priesthood is the power and authority by which God accomplishes His work.

“Any ordinances performed without that authority are as invalid as a forged signature on a loan. Many baptisms and confirmations and other ordinances are performed by well-meaning people, but if those people lack the proper authority, they have no promise that the ordinance will be validated in this or the next life. Many, we fear, will be disillusioned when they arrive on the other side and find that the ordinances performed for them were invalid and the authority those who performed the ordinances thought they had is nonexistent. Sincerity or faith alone is not enough.” (Robert E Wells, The Mount and the Master [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 201.)

From the manual:

I love the priesthood of this Church. It is a vital, living thing. It is the very heart and strength of this work. It is the power and authority by which God, our Eternal Father, accomplishes His work in the earth.

How does this truth apply in stakes and wards? in quorums? in Relief Society?

3. The blessings of the priesthood are to be enjoyed by all.

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Watch: Blessings of the Priesthood The priesthood is the power of God, which is given to man to act in His name. (3:04)

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

Read: The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood Elder Bruce R McConkie

“I think we all know that the blessings of the priesthood are not confined to men alone. These blessings are also poured out upon our wives and daughters and upon all the faithful women of the Church. These good sisters can prepare themselves, by keeping the commandments and by serving in the Church, for the blessings of the house of the Lord. The Lord offers to his daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by his sons, for neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, In Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 59.)

From the manual:

In what ways have you experienced the power and blessings of the priesthood?

4. Sons of God who hold His divine authority must be true to the very best that is in them.

Watch or read: Walk with Me President Henry B Eyring

“This is not a plaything. The priesthood of God is the most serious thing in the world. It was by the priesthood the world was created. And it is by the priesthood that your world will be created; and if you ever become a God in a world of your own, with your wife, your family, it will be through the magnifying of this priesthood which you hold.” (Spencer W Kimball, In Conference Report, Stockholm Sweden Area Conference, Aug. 1974, p. 100.)

‘Priesthood is the authority and the power which God has granted to men on earth to act for Him. When priesthood authority is exercised properly, priesthood bearers do what He would do if He were present.

We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.’ (Elder Boyd K Packer)


From the manual:

What can we learn from President Hinckley’s teachings about the difference between priesthood authority and priesthood power?

5. A priesthood quorum can be an anchor of strength for its members.

From the manual:

What impresses you about President Hinckley’s descriptions of priesthood quorums and Relief Society?

6. In homes and in the Church, men and women work together to move the Lord’s kingdom forward.

‘In the temples of the Lord, sacred priesthood ordinances (e.g., washings, anointings, clothings) are administered to men by men and to women by women who have received the endowments of the priesthood in the temple (Teachings, p. 337) and have been given that specific priesthood responsibility. Women thus may act in priesthood power when called, set apart, and authorized by those who hold the keys; however, women officiators are not ordained to the priesthood or to an office in the priesthood to do this work.’ (See BYU Religious Studies Centre: Priesthood)

From the manual:

The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.

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)