“The Restoration of the Priesthood”
Lesson 8 D&C 13; 20:38-67; 27:12-12; 84:6-30; 107:1-20; 110:11-16; Joseph Smith—History 1:66-73
Definition and purpose of the priesthood
· Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord gave many revelations that add greatly to our understanding of the keys, offices, organization, ordinances, duties, and blessings of the priesthood.
· Priesthood: The eternal power and authority of God; the creative and governing power in the heavens and the earth; the power by which we are redeemed and exalted.
· The purpose of giving the priesthood to worthy male saints is to empower them to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation (and exaltation), and govern His kingdom on earth.
· It is important to have the priesthood on earth so that men may act for God to bless his children and prepare them for exaltation.
· D&C 20:38-55; 107:8-12, 23, 35 teach of the ways priesthood holders act on behalf of God to bless his children.
· The restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood was the first bestowal of divine authority in this dispensation.
· Elder James E. Talmage shared his thoughts about being ordained a deacon and its effect on him: “As soon as I had been ordained, a feeling came to me such as I have never been able to fully describe. It seemed scarcely possible, that I, a little boy, could be so honored of God as to be called to the priesthood….I felt strong in the thought that I belonged to the Lord, and that he would assist me in whatever was required of me. The effect of my ordination…entered into all the affairs of my boyish life….When at play on the school grounds, and perhaps tempted to take unfair advantage in the game, when in the midst of a dispute with a playmate, I would remember, and the thought would be as effective as though spoken aloud—‘I am a deacon; and it is not right that a deacon should act in this way.’ On examination days, when it seemed easy for me to copy some other boy’s work…., I would say in my mind, ‘It would be more wicked for me to do that than it is for them, because I am a deacon’” (Incidents from the Lives of Our Church Leaders [deacons Instruction manual, 1914], 135-136)
· D&C 13; 84:26-27; 107:20 enumerate the authority and blessings restored with the Aaronic Priesthood.
Ø The keys of the ministering of angels (D&C 13)
§ President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “That means, as I interpret it, that if you live worthy of the priesthood, you have the right to receive and enjoy the very power of heavenly beings to guide you, to protect you, to bless you.” (Ensign, Nov 1982, 45)
§ As Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained, the ministering of angels can occur through personal appearances and “can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind…Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen” (Ensign, Nov 1998, 39)
§ The ministering of angels is available to all Church members, not just priesthood holders. According to Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we will keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for ‘angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ’. So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels”. (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 39)
§ D&C 84: 88 teaches us about the ministering of angels
Ø D&C 13; 84:26-27; 107:20 The keys of repentance and baptism.
§ Repentance and baptism are also called the “preparatory gospel.” These principles help us prepare to receive greater blessings that are administered thru the Melchizedek Priesthood.
§ Aaronic Priesthood holders preach repentance through home teaching, missionary work, testimony bearing, and fellowshipping. They participate in the ordinance of baptism under the direction of the bishop, worthy priests may perform baptisms and serve as witnesses at baptisms.
§ The Aaronic Priesthood also officiates as we renew baptism covenants in the sacrament ordinance. Elder Jeffery R, Holland said: “We ask you young men of the Aaronic Priesthood to prepare and bless and pass the emblems of the Savior’s sacrifice worthily and reverently. What a stunning privilege and sacred trust given at such a remarkably young age! I can think of no higher compliment heaven could pay you. We do love you. Live your best and look your best when you participate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.” (Ensign, Nov. 1995)
· The Melchizedek Priesthood is the greater priesthood that has the authority, knowledge and covenants necessary for exaltation of God’s children. It was restored to the earth through Peter, James, and John’ordination of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey. The authority and blessings restored with this priesthood include:
Ø D&C 84:19. Authority to administer the gospel of Jesus Christ includes the authority to govern the Church, preach the gospel, and administer the ordinances of salvation.
Ø D&C 107:18-19. “The keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church” include these blessings:
§ Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom and knowledge of God…which comes thru the Holy Ghost
§ D&C 84:20-21. The power of godliness is administered thru the gospel ordinances.
§ D&C 84:22; 107:19. The opportunity to see, commune with, and enjoy the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Ø D&C 107:8-9. The right of presidency is the right to preside in the Church. The President of the Church is the only person on earth who may use (or authorize another to use) the keys of the priesthood for governing the Church. He authorizes the regional and local priesthood leaders.
Ø D&C 110:11-16. The keys of the gathering of Israel, the gospel of the dispensation of Abraham, and the sealing power were restored by Moses, Elias, and Elijah in 1836.
· Women and children are blessed by the priesthood as ordinances (baptism, the sacrament, blessing of babies, blessings of healing, marriages for time and eternity, endowments, etc.) are performed that benefit them.
· Those women and children who do not have the priesthood in their home may share in its blessings thru home teachers, priesthood leaders, and extended family members.
The priesthood and its keys have been restored. Priesthood holders hold the authority to direct God’s work on earth and to act for Him in blessing His children and helping them prepare for exaltation. The blessings of the priesthood are available for all.