Today, I’m studying the talk Keys of the Priesthood, by Russell M. Nelson. He gave this talk in the October 1987 General Conference.
I want to begin this post by saying that I’m so grateful for both the Priesthood and those who righteously bear and it.
What is the Priesthood?
President Nelson taught:
“The potential of the priesthood is so vast that our comprehension of it is a challenge. The Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity.”
President Brigham Young added that the priesthood is “the law by which the worlds are, were, and will continue for ever and ever.”
Priesthood is the authority of God delegated to man to minister for the salvation of men. “The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood” ” – Russell M. Nelson
The Priesthood is the power and authority of God delegated to man to act in all things for the salvation of man.
I know that there are many people who think that the “priesthood” is a bit sexist, but that is because they misunderstand what the priesthood is. It is not just some men’s organization.
The Priesthood is Power – God’s power – delegated to each of us.
We have to remember that God has a purpose for this world and for each of us:
“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” – Moses 1:39
Sometimes we forget this purpose of God’s, we get caught up with both the perceived and also real injustices in this world. We forget that this mortal life is only a part of God’s eternal work – which is OUR eternal life and immortality. Forgetting this purpose is the root of why we misplace our trust in Him.
God knew that in order to accomplish His work, we would need His help. This help comes in many forms, but one major way is through His Priesthood. This is HIS Power! And He is letting us use it so that His purposes can be accomplished! What a blessing!
The Extend of the Priesthood
President Nelson taught:
“Jesus revealed the extent of priesthood authority. To his Apostles, the Savior said, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”” – Russell M. Nelson
The authority of this priesthood extends beyond mortality and into the eternities. I have had the great blessing of growing up in the church, so I have heard the above scripture quoted often. Usually, I applied it to temple marriage (which of course is extremely important). However, I don’t think that I’ve always been appreciative of the eternal nature of the power that God has blessed us with.
Let me explain.
For the past few years, my husband and I have been working really hard. At my suggestion, he quit his conventional, “safe,” corporate job, and started working for himself. It has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever even contemplated – let alone done – in my life. It has also been a major test of my faith.
There are ups and downs in everyone’s life, and as a mother there are times when I see the sacrifices that have been made by my family which causes me to question the decisions I’ve made, even though I’ve made them with the comfort and assurance from God.
Last night, I decided to ask my husband for a priesthood blessing.
I was blessed to have increased faith, and I was reminded of the eternal repercussions that these choices have. And now, as I study these words by President Nelson, I’m reminded that the Lord gives us power to act, to have faith, to do what we need to do in this life so that we can have joy and exaltation in the next life. This power, His Power, is the priesthood power, and though I don’t administer it, the Priesthood power is fully accessible to me through the covenants I’ve made. It powers my life. And if I live in such a way that honors the covenants and commitments I’ve made, then there are eternal repercussions that will bless my family now and in the eternities.
Through the power of the Priesthood, what is bound on earth is bound in heaven. What is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. Through the Power of the Priesthood, I have been blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. Through the power of the priesthood, and this gift, I’ve made decisions like – going to college, having children, studying my scriptures, getting married – and these decisions have had eternal repercussions. These eternal repercussions are possible because the Lord has mercifully endowed us with His power.
Because of the eternal repercussions of our choices and God’s power, the Priesthood seems limitless. Indeed it is eternal, but there are still some limitations on its power.
President Nelson stated:
“To understand the power of the priesthood, we must know its limitations. If an automobile is used recklessly, future permission from parents is likely to be denied. So, if priesthood power be abused, ‘the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man'” – Russell M. Nelson
The Priesthood isn’t magic. It isn’t a carte blanche that will excuse every selfish whim and desire of man. It is God’s Power! We can remember that God is a god of order. He abides by the laws of the heavens. He has declared this law to us, and if we try to use His Priesthood in a way that breaks the laws that govern the priesthood, then it is nullified. We are powerless.
This has happened before. President Nelson shared:
“After Christ was crucified, and even before the early Apostles completed their labors, the Apostasy began. This occurred as prophesied when priesthood authority was abused and sacred ordinances were defiled.” – Russell M. Nelson
Because the priesthood was abused, the Lord took His priesthood away. What followed were the dark ages. If we want God’s power to power our lives, then we must live according to the laws that govern His Priesthood and His Power.
I’m so grateful for the power of the Priesthood. I know that it has been a major blessing in my life. I know that because of the power of the Priesthood and because of the men who were worthy and capable to bear it, I have received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have received endowments from God. I have been blessed to be able make my life something better than I would have without such power and blessings.
I’m also very grateful to know that our prophet – Russell M. Nelson honors and respects the Priesthood that he bears.
“Surely a sacred moment of my life occurred April 12, 1984, when the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles laid their hands upon my head. As had been done for others before me, all the keys of the priesthood were conferred. As it is with each member of the Quorum of the Twelve, some keys are not used until called upon by the Lord, or as directed by his senior Apostle.
I feel the weight of responsibility and the burden of timeless trust.” – Russell M. Nelson
I’m grateful to know that President Nelson feels the weight of his responsibility. I’m grateful to know that he has lived for a long time and has held various offices of the priesthood for many decades. He has learned the care must be taken in order to hold the keys that he holds. I’m grateful to know that President Nelson is both loyal to God and obedient to the commandments of God. We are so blessed to have the Priesthood blessing our lives – both on an individual basis and as a world-wide church.