Priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. It is the greatest power on this earth. The priesthood is the power by which the heavens and earth were created, and the power by which man was created. In Moses 1:39 the Lord informs us that it is by the power of the priesthood that we may obtain eternal life and live with God. "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Focus your mind on the words work and glory, two descriptive terms of the power of the priesthood. That brings us to a scripture in D&C 18:10, 15-16 "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people (work), and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father (glory)!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" If we work to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, we will have joy in a kingdom of glory.
What does the power of the priesthood mean for us? All worthy male members of the church can hold the priesthood. Church leaders are given the keys of the priesthood to organize and lead the church as the Spirit directs. I quote True to the Faith: "The most important exercise of the priesthood takes place in the family. Each husband and father in the Church should strive to be worthy to hold the Melchizedek Priesthood. With his wife as an equal partner, he presides in righteousness and love, serving as the family's spiritual leader. He leads the family in regular prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. He works with his wife to teach the children and help them prepare to receive the ordinances of salvation (see D&C 68:25-28). He gives priesthood blessings for direction, healing, and comfort."
My father has taught me the importance of living worthily in order to have the Spirit and be prepared to give priesthood blessings. There are several experiences throughout my lifetime when he has been able to give me a priesthood blessing. I have received father's blessings for sickness, for comfort, for help in making important decisions. My dad blessed me along with Brother Arehart when I became sick in March of last year. Recently, he blessed me in preparing mentally to serve a mission. I was speaking with my parents one evening and expressed why I was nervous to leave on a mission. I was reluctant to go. I asked my dad to give me a blessing. After he did, I felt calm and reassured.
My father also taught me the importance of the Melchizedek priesthood. On a Saturday morning earlier this year he asked me to come with him and brother York to see Wendell Roth, who was ill and in need of a priesthood blessing. When we arrived, my dad asked me to administer the anointing of the oil. This was one of my first experiences with holding the Melchizedek priesthood. I didn't have a small vial of oil yet, and was given a large bottle of consecrated olive oil. I was so nervous that, as I applied the oil, I dumped a puddle on Brother Roth's head-- "For more blessings," we joked. I had help with the words, and I closed in the name of Jesus Christ. It was a simple prayer, but I felt the Spirit.
What are specific blessings of worthily holding the priesthood? In D&C 121:45-46 the Lord promises, "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." President David O. McKay promised every man who uses the priesthood in righteousness that he "will find his life sweetened, his discernment sharpened to decide quickly between right and wrong, his feelings tender and compassionate, yet his spirit strong and valiant in defense of right; he will find the priesthood a never failing source of happiness—a well of living water springing up unto eternal life" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay , 116).
Most recently, the place where I've felt the Spirit strongest was in the temple. The covenants and ceremonies there are very much a part of the priesthood. If you have been through the temple, or have been to a temple open house, you know what the Celestial room is. It is a beautiful room at the end of the endowment session where you can pray, read scripture, and receive inspiration. The Spirit is very strong there, and I feel happiness in the Celestial room.
The power of the priesthood is very sacred. True to the Faith explains, "Priesthood holders must remember that the priesthood should be a part of them at all times and in all circumstances. It is not like a cloak that can be put on and taken off at will. Any ordination to a priesthood office is a call to lifelong service, with the promise that the Lord will qualify priesthood holders to do His work according to their faithfulness. Priesthood holders must be worthy in order to receive and exercise priesthood power. The words they speak and their everyday behavior affect their ability to serve. Their behavior in public must be above reproach. Their behavior in private is even more important. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord declared that "the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness" (D&C 121:36)."
For young men age 19 and older, duties of the priesthood entail serving a full-time mission. Serving is the key word there. James E. Faust said: "Caring for others is the very essence of priesthood responsibility. It is the power to bless, to heal, and to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. Righteous priesthood authority is most needed within the walls of our own homes. It must be exercised in great love." As a missionary, you are supposed to love your companion and the people you teach. Without love, it's hard to have a desire to serve. In Moroni it speaks of the true love of Christ.
"45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." As a missionary, it is my desire to gain charity, that pure love of Christ, and grow that love for the rest of my life.
In closing, I would like to share my favorite scripture, which also testifies of the power of the priesthood.
"22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
23 For we saw Him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father--
24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." Doctrine and Covenants 76: 22-24
I testify of the power of the priesthood. I know that it is the power of God, and that by living righteously, we can access that power. I know that this is the true church, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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