The following are interesting excerpts from Webster’s 1828 dictionary for the word “power.”
1. In a philosophical sense, the faculty of doing or performing any thing; the faculty of moving or of producing a change in something;…Power in man is active or speculative. Active power is that which moves the body; speculative power is that by which we see, judge, remember, or in general, by which we think.
Power may exist without exertion. We have power to speak when we are silent.
Active power: the power of doing or moving
Passive power: receiving impressions or of suffering.
In strictness, passive power is an absurdity in terms. To say that gold has a power to be melted, is improper language, yet for want of a more appropriate word, power is often used in a passive sense, and is considered as two-fold; viz.as able to make or able to receive any change.
10. Influence; that which may move the mind; as the power of arguments or of persuasion.
16. Legal authority; warrant; as a power of attorney; an agent invested with ample power.
Power of attorney, authority given to a person to act for another.Go to Comments
“If any are in error, try to reclaim them by kindness; if they have a bad spirit, show them a better one; if any do not do right, do right yourselves and say, ‘Come follow me, as I follow Christ.’ Would not that be the right course to pursue? I think it would; that is the way I understand the Gospel. We do not, any of us, have the priesthood for self aggrandizement, or to be used to oppress, or take advantage of anybody, or to use improper language; but with all kindness and long-suffering and forbearance and with love unfeigned.” – John Taylor, JD 20:261
These principles are also found in D&C 121.Go to Comments
I have been thinking about priesthood service; what it means and the principles upon which it operates.
D&C 121:36 reveals a simple truth:
…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.
We also learn that “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood (vs. 41).” While it is true that man may hold the authority, or in other words the potential, to act in the name of God, the power of the priesthood is only in effect when certain conditions are present.
What are those conditions?
Having pondered on this subject, I have concluded that the conditions required for the power of the priesthood to be in effect can be summed up thus:
“Be worthy, be there.”
The principles of worthiness are based off of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the covenants that man has made in relation to it. Worthiness is “To be personally righteous and to stand approved in the sight of God and his appointed leaders” (The Guide to the Scriptures).
To be “there” means to be where God desires you to be. On any given day, you go about your duties to provide for your family and attend to other services and activities. If you are living worthy of the Spirit then God will often direct you toward someone in need of his blessings; you have your agency to respond or ignore these directions. If you respond and are where God desires you to be then you will be a conduit for the power of the priesthood.
These two simple conditions provide a simple vision for any priesthood holder to understand his role and obligation toward his family and fellow man.
If one ponders this simple vision, they will observe that these two principles are not limited to priesthood holders. Whether we are men or women, whether we hold the priesthood or not, the path that each of us must walk is the same.
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There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated – And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20,21)