In part one I discussed what I mean by the terms “holding” the priesthood and “having” the priesthood. (Reading part one first will help in understanding this article.) I talked about the role of the priesthood holder and talked about how the power of the priesthood does not belong to the men, but to God, and that is the part that is available to all the members of His Church. I repeat again here that the substance of this talk comes from a General Conference Priesthood Session talk given by President Joseph Fielding Smith in 1970.
The power of the priesthood is woven throughout everything we do in the Lord’s kingdom. We make covenants, baptismal, temple, etc. by using the priesthood. Even the gift of the Holy Ghost that everyone in the Church takes for granted, is conferred by the priesthood. Revelation is more readily available because of covenants made through the priesthood. The blessings that come with the presence of the priesthood in our lives are completely pervasive, affecting everything we do and everything we become in this life. It is through the presence of the priesthood in our lives that our Father in Heaven can give us His greatest gifts.
There is no gift or blessing a man holding the priesthood can receive that is not also available to every woman. The priesthood does not discriminate whom it blesses, it comes from God and therefore blesses everyone who comes in contact with it.
Two of the most important blessings of the priesthood are revelation and covenants with God. It is in honoring the laws and revelations of God that we are blessed with greater knowledge and understanding of His ways. As we obey the commandments, and become more Christ-like in our behavior, we come to understand how God thinks and feels. So having the priesthood in our lives would be “key” to coming to understand the personality and nature of God.
The priesthood is intertwined in all of the covenants we make, being the power by which we are able to make those covenants and have them recognized by the Lord. As we receive the priesthood, and all that comes with it, we receive the Lord’s servants, which to the Lord, is the same as receiving him and his father. And we have been promised that if we receive Him all that He has will be given to us.
This is the Lord’s oath and covenant to his children. This is not just to his sons, but to all his daughters as well. When we receive the obligations of the priesthood, (generically think baptismal promises, temple covenants) and hence, the blessings as well, we promise to receive the revelations and commandments from God through his servants, and are promised in return all the blessings from obedience to those laws and commandments, which is all that the Father has. The sole purpose for God to make covenants with His children, is to exalt them. Exalting us is His work and His glory. He is focused and singular in that work. All other tasks we know of are appendages to this work of exalting His children.
In its broadest sense, this is the oath and covenant of the priesthood, and it applies to all members of the Church. We speak of the oath and covenant of the priesthood in relation to men, because the men are administering the ordinances of the priesthood, and use the priesthood callings as their training ground to become as sensitive to the spirit as motherhood and the natural traits of women do for the sisters of the Church.
Compare this wise advice to the analogy of every member of the Church being a part of the body of Christ. As long as every member acts in his/her calling, fulfilling all required duties and responsibilities, then the body as a whole will be well and functioning as is ought, and all will be greatly blessed. It is only when people act out of turn or try to do someone else’s calling, without the authority to do so, that we suffer as a body.
It is important to remember that priesthood authority is by calling and delegation. Those who seek ordination or office, be they male or female, are under condemnation from the Lord. This is as true in our day as it has ever been throughout time.
Are we not all called to be ministers of Christ, each in our respective sphere?
Though all receive the blessings of the priesthood because of the presence of the priesthood, those blessings are made available because of the ministrations of those who are ordained as Christ’s ministers, “who represent him, who are in fact his servants and agents.”