priesthood blessings
Week 31 is scheduled for study July 26 – August 1, 2021. The blessings of the gospel come from the priesthood. Priesthood blessings are thick throughout the entire gospel and in all the covenants found in the holy Temples.

Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 84:1-5, 17-28 – I have access to God’s priesthood power and blessings.

As you read Doctrine and Covenants 84, ponder the counsel to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” How will you live by the words in this revelation?

The following paragraphs are my opinion and my description of what the priesthood is, and how it is used in our lives. I have heard bits and pieces of this taught throughout my life, but this is my effort to bring all those teachings into one larger description of priesthood power and blessings. I hope you find these thoughts useful.

When was the last time you heard someone say in church something like the following? “The priesthood and Relief Society will be cleaning the chapel this week.” Or “We’ll just get the priesthood to move those tables for us.” Too often our references to the priesthood are only about the men in the church, and not the power they answer to in their personal and spiritual lives. And too often when we make such statements, there is no thought in our mind that the actual priesthood has anything to do with the women of the church or the children of the church. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could be further from the truth.

The priesthood is the power that fuels and drives the entire gospel of Christ. It is the power through which the whole plan of salvation is made possible. There is no part of anything we believe or do pertaining to our salvation that doesn’t directly relate to the priesthood in some way. The following paragraphs talk about the power that comes to each of us because of the priesthood, the power of God. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether you are a man, woman, adult, or child. All faith and good works that lead to eternal bliss are able to do what they do for us because of the priesthood that exists in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Very few of us value this power as we ought.

Every man, woman, and child in the gospel of Christ has access to the power available to all through the priesthood God has given us. The priesthood is more than just the assignments given to those who have been given priesthood authority. The priesthood is the power by which God exalts His children through the use of the gospel teachings given to us through Christ, and administered through covenants. As we keep our part of the covenants we make by living Christ’s gospel teachings, God, in turn increases our capacities in all areas of our lives.

We are all using the power of the priesthood when we make and keep covenants, when we serve others, or when we obey a commandment. It is the priesthood that gives us these things, and through which we receive all our blessings and the increase in our spiritual capacity from our obedience. No one has to be ordained to a priesthood office to reap the blessings from the power the priesthood brings into our lives. The men who hold offices in the priesthood are under assignment to behave righteously, to fulfill needed duties in God’s earthly kingdom, and to set examples of how all of us should behave each day. But the men have no more power in the priesthood because of their ordained callings than any other person who keeps the commandments and serves the Lord in faith and righteousness. Power in the priesthood is independent of priesthood authority – a thought most of us don’t consider very often.

This increase in capacity enables us to be more obedient, to do more good, to bring, through constant repentance, our lives into harmony with the way God lives. This lifestyle of obedience, and practice of godly ways of living, brings us into a state of justification – living in harmony with the laws of God. Those who become justified through their obedience to God’s laws become sanctified, or purified in their way of thinking, feeling, and living so that they become holy before God, i.e. like Him. This doesn’t mean we become perfect. Perfection doesn’t happen in this life. This process only allows us to go further down that path towards perfection while in mortality.

The priesthood is the Holy Order after the Son of God, or in other words, the organized manner of administering the plan in which God has established the way in which His children can become like Him. It is through the transformative power of His priesthood that we are able to make the changes necessary in our lives to become more like God and Christ.

The priesthood is not just an administrative tool used by the men in Christ’s church to run programs and give blessings to the sick. The priesthood is everything in the gospel. It administers the physical affairs of God’s kingdom on earth, it provides us with covenants that enable celestial blessings to flow into our lives, it enables us to have the gift of the Holy Spirit, the member of the Godhead whose responsibility it is to teach us and to testify to us of all truth. Only through the priesthood can any child of God have the constant companionship of the Spirit. And these are just the most basic blessings that come from having the priesthood in our lives, and note that it has nothing to do with gender, age, or social status. These blessings, and the power the priesthood makes available in our lives, because of our obedience to the covenants and commandments we live by, empower us to grow and change in ways that are not possible outside of the covenant path.

It was through this same priesthood power that Christ performed his atoning sacrifice for our sins, and that he created the universe in which we live. The priesthood is not a standalone entity, it uses faith and good works to enable and fuel its power. It is the power by which gods are able to do what they do, and by which their children become like them. It is the power by which repentance brings not only forgiveness, but permanent and exalting changes into our lives.

This is why we say that the priesthood is more than just the authority of a man to perform some duties and assignments within the priesthood organization. The priesthood is the method by which the Lord gives spiritual power to all of His children. Through covenants, administered through His called and ordained priesthood holders, all of God’s children reap the benefits of the spiritual power the priesthood brings with it. The priesthood permeates the whole gospel of Christ, for it enables all of the blessings outlined in the gospel, and makes them all possible. Even though we don’t have the full measure of God’s priesthood yet, we have enough to provide us with salvation and exaltation. That is sufficient for now.

Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 84:31-42 – If I receive the Lord and His servants, I will receive all the Father has.

As you read Doctrine and Covenants 84, ponder the counsel to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” How will you live by the words in this revelation?

To begin today’s lesson, I would ask that you first read the following article.

The manual talks about us receiving the two priesthoods mentioned in section 84. There is a concept in this idea of receiving the priesthoods and the Lord’s servants who do his bidding that I hadn’t ever considered before. The gospel is a package, a whole. It is not like going to a restaurant and picking and choosing individual items off the menu a la cart. When we accept the gospel we accept all of it or none of it. To try to pick and choose which parts of the gospel we will live or believe, or which leaders we will listen to and which we won’t listen to is to reject what was offered to us as a whole.

For example, we can’t receive exaltation if we only accept the Aaronic priesthood and its ordinances and the gospel of Christ that it contains. It takes the covenants of the Melchizedek priesthood and the practices that make us a Zion people to qualify us individually for the celestial kingdom. God requires us to accept all that He has given us for us to receive the full gift He has in mind for us.

When we say that we need to listen to our priesthood leaders, we sometimes silently think or feel in our heart that, “Okay, I’ll listen to the prophet and my Stake President, but my Bishop is an idiot. He offended me and I don’t like the way he runs the ward, so I choose to ignore what he has to tell me.” Sometimes we accept what our lower leaders tell us, but the prophet has directives that are offensive to our sensibilities, so we choose to not follow his counsel about individual policies or doctrines.

If you have been reading my commentary all along this year, you have already read my dilemma when the prophet came out and outright asked all the Saints to please get vaccinated during the pandemic. I neither trusted the vaccine nor planned on getting it. I struggled for days with this conflict within me until I decided that if I am going to follow the prophet then it doesn’t matter what my personal views are. The Lord will bless me if I do as the prophet asks me to do, even when I disagree. It isn’t often I have ever had a beef against a prophet, so this was very difficult for me to resolve. I decided that come what may, I want to be able to look the Lord in the eye and tell him I always listened to his servants. It honestly wouldn’t have mattered if it was my Bishop or the Prophet. Either way it was a servant of the Lord doing what he felt the Lord wanted him to do, so I obeyed.

As to the covenants we receive in the temple, this is, I believe, where we get the bulk of our spiritual power, for it is the priesthood power we find in the temple that propels us forward in our spiritual journey. But we must be willing to accept all of it. We can’t cherry pick covenants and blessings or we lose the big prize.

I started this lesson with an article on vicarious works. It is through our choosing to do vicarious works for others that the vicarious work done for us becomes most efficacious in our life. But we must accept all that God gives us, not just the parts and people we like. Only by being “all in” will we see the full blessings of the gospel in our lives.

Day 3

Doctrine and Covenants 84:43-58 – I come unto Christ as I heed His words and hearken to His Spirit.

As you read Doctrine and Covenants 84, ponder the counsel to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” How will you live by the words in this revelation?

In the verses for today’s lesson, the Lord makes an interesting comparison. He compares light with truth and spirit. We consider light to have physical properties, but have no concept as to how to quantify or identify the physical properties of truth and spirit. Yet Christ treats them as equals with each other, almost like they are just different words for the same thing. We know he can discern things like faith even more easily than we can discern degrees of light. There are examples throughout the scriptures where he states that someone lacks faith for certain things or has sufficient faith for certain things. To him such things as faith are actually both discernable and measurable, and he knows how much of it is needed to do certain things like being healed.

A ready example of Christ’s ability to see and sense things like faith can be found in stories like the New Testament story of the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of his garment and was healed. Here Jesus was, on a crowded street, being jostled and pushed from all directions, and he asked, “Who touched me?” He felt virtue go out of him the moment she exercised her faith in him and touched the hem of his garment. As the source of all light/truth/spirit in the universe, he knew when some of that light/truth/spirit left him to go into her, so he stopped to find her in the crowd.

My point in these ramblings is to say that when we are exposed to the voice of God, through the scriptures, the words of the prophets, or the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, giving heed to those words draws us towards Christ. Our obedience to his words brings us closer to him. Yes, the increments of movement are very small, but they are directional in that we are moving in a particular direction. Choosing to ignore a whisper from the Holy Ghost or the directions given to us from the prophet, or the scriptures, causes us to change direction and move in small increments away from the Savior and closer to the adversary of all righteousness.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s lesson, the gospel is a package deal, a whole. When we accept the whole gift and all its parts then live what we now know to be what would please God, we move closer to the Savior. And because the Savior is one with the Father, that means we are also moving closer to the Father. The Father has promised that all that He has will be given to Christ when the plan of salvation has run its course. And Christ, in turn, has promised that all he receives from the Father will be shared with those of us who have been obedient to the commandments he has given us. It’s all part of the package deal.

In the end I suppose it doesn’t really matter what we call it – light, truth, or spirit – when we obey God we get more of it, and it changes our life for the better. The only stipulation He places on our receipt of His light is that we accept all that He offers us. We must be willing to live by every word that proceeds forth from His mouth, in whatever form it takes.

Day 4

Doctrine and Covenants 84:62-91 – The Lord will be with me when I am in His service.

As you read Doctrine and Covenants 84, ponder the counsel to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” How will you live by the words in this revelation?

One of the foundational principles of the plan of salvation is that Satan does not support his followers. Indeed, he cannot support them. Nothing pleases him more than to see them follow him only to find they are betrayed when he doesn’t support them in their wickedness. In the end, his followers always realize they have been duped and deceived. The Lord, on the other hand always sustains and supports those who follow Him. Even those who die in His service are promised glory and recompense for their sacrifices made in mortality. The reason for this is because whereas Satan’s power is confined to mortality, the Savior’s power extends into the eternities. Even Satan will be judged by Christ and banished by him. So there is only one source of promises we can trust, and that is any promise made by God and His Son.

We are constantly promised the Savior’s support in our callings. It isn’t just missionaries who receive promises of protection and support. When was the last time you were set apart for a calling and the one setting you apart told you that you were on your own? ‘Don’t expect any help from the Spirit or the Lord, for you have been abandoned.’ I will answer for you – never. You have never heard any such statement made, because it never is. Once we choose to follow the Savior, he promises to lift us up, guide us, and in effect, take us under his wing and protect us. He has countless numbers of angels and righteous followers on the other side of the veil to help us in our callings. And when we are ministering as we ought, and seeking to follow the promptings of the Spirit, we find that not only do we have help from heaven, but also our fellow Saints come to our support and assistance when we are in need.

The Lord’s promises are not empty words, they do not cater to our vanity or to the desires of our flesh. His promises are meant to help our eternal souls return triumphantly back into the presence of God, and to do this he knows we will need all the help we can get. So he sends us well-meaning friends, ministering brothers and sisters, the whisperings of the Spirit, angelic assists, and whatever else we genuinely need to accomplish his work. When we exercise our faith and go about his business, there is no such thing as failure, for he can turn whatever we are able to accomplish into a furtherance of his work.

FHE/Personal Study

Improving Our Teaching – Extend and follow up on invitations to act.

Take a moment and think of three things the Savior taught his disciples and the people at large. Go ahead, just three things. Do you have them? Now, do any of them require no effort on our part to accomplish? Pick any teaching given in the scriptures that leads to salvation. Does it require we do something in order for it to be learned or become effective in our life?

It is a basic principle of the gospel that everything requires personal effort. You can’t learn any virtue without practice and effort. You can’t keep any commandment without doing what is required by that commandment. You can’t prove any doctrine in the scriptures without living that doctrine. EVERYTHING requires effort.

When we teach in a class, just teaching what something is in the gospel won’t save the souls of those in your class. If we are to teach as the Savior does, we must encourage those in the class to do something with what has been taught. We must make them aware of the blessings and advantages of incorporating those teachings into their lives. Passive learning is pointless, for only learning through doing can save a soul.

That principle, that only learning through doing can save a soul, is all fine and good, but sometimes when we teach we have to do a little thinking to figure out what we need to do to apply this or that principle. We have to think about how we can act to learn certain lessons. This may take some soul searching on the part of the teacher. That’s okay, because once you learn it you can teach it.

Click the link below to

print a PDF copy of the file.

The Power of Godliness

Week 31