What is the priesthood? What is the power of the priesthood and how does that work? What is the difference between authority and power?
I come across questions like these regularly from friends, family, at church, and in online forums; I’ve asked myself similar questions throughout the years. After many years of gathering up pieces here and there, I’d like to share some of the things that I have learned thus far.
The answers that I have found are simple in principle, but therein lies the challenge.Read Full Post0 Comments
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.0 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 121.3 Comments
- 1 Nephi 2:16 – First, the Lord softens our hearts.
- “That our garments may be pure, that we may be clothed upon with robes of righteousness, with palms in our hands, and crowns of glory upon our heads, and reap eternal joy for all our sufferings.” – D&C 109:76
- Philosophy – 1. …an explanation of the reasons of things; an investigation of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and matter.
- Mingle – 1. To mix; to blend; to unite in one body… 2. To mix or blend without order or promiscuously.
- A grateful person will not pray for burdens to be removed but for strength to bear them.
- Priesthood works only upon persuasion.
- The word “priesthood” appears 7 times in the Book of Mormon and 6 of those times in one chapter, Alma 13. In all cases, the phrase “high priesthood” is used.
- “Soil is broken to make wheat, wheat is broken to make bread, bread is broken to…make us whole.” – Randy D. Funk
- “The Lord sees weaknesses differently than he sees rebellion” – Richard G. Scott
- We are given separate and distinct blessings as men and women so that it becomes necessary that we work together as one to become one.
- There is only comfort at the end of the iron rod, never in the false complacency found in the mocking masses of the great and spacious building.
- Without adversity, there can be no empathy.
- The power of language is its ability to transfer knowledge back and forth across the veil, through time and space and all eternity.
- Christ called us his ‘body’. If a part of our body is sick or injured, we don’t forget it or ignore it, we direct all of our attention to helping it heal and become restored.
- Rite – a formal act of religion or other solemn duty.
- Ritual – pertaining to rites, consisting of rites
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.
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)