The priesthood is the authority of God delegated to men on the earth to act in all things for the salvation of mankind (see Spencer W. Kimball, "The Example of Abraham," Ensign, June 1975, 3). Priesthood is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. One of the defining features of the Church of Jesus Christ, both anciently and today, is His authority. There can be no true Church without divine authority.
Ordinary men are given the authority of the priesthood. Worthiness and willingness--not experience, expertise, or education--are the qualifications for priesthood ordination.
The pattern for obtaining priesthood authority is described in the fifth article of faith: "We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof." Thus, a boy or a man receives the authority of the priesthood and is ordained to a specific office by one who already holds the priesthood and has been authorized by a leader with the necessary priesthood keys.
A priesthood holder is expected to exercise this sacred authority in accordance with God's holy mind, will, and purposes. Nothing about the priesthood is self-centered. The priesthood always is used to serve, to bless, and to strengthen other people.
The higher priesthood is received by a solemn covenant that includes the obligation to act in the authority (see D&C 68:8) and the office (see D&C 107:99) that have been received. As bearers of God's holy authority, we are agents to act and not objects to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26). The priesthood is inherently active rather than passive.
- David A. Bednar, “The Powers of Heaven” – April 2012 General Conference
In Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, the Lord teaches us what it means to sow in the Spirit and what really places us in the Lord's territory, as follows: humble ourselves before God, come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, witness before the Church that we have truly repented of all our sins, take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, have a determination to serve Him to the end, manifest by our works that we have received the Spirit of Christ, and be received by baptism into His Church. Our disposition to fulfill these covenants prepares us to live in God's presence as exalted beings. The remembrance of these covenants must guide our behavior in relation to our family, in our social interaction with other people, and especially in our relationship with the Savior.
Jesus Christ established the perfect behavior pattern by which we can build upon our attitudes to be able to fulfill these sacred covenants. The Savior banished from His life any influence that might take His focus away from His divine mission, especially when He was tempted by the enemy or by his followers while He ministered here on earth. Although He never sinned, He had a broken heart and a contrite spirit, full of love for our Heavenly Father and for all men. He humbled Himself before our Father in Heaven, denying His own will to fulfill what the Father had asked of Him in all things until the end. Even at that moment of extreme physical and spiritual pain, carrying the burden of the sins of all mankind on His shoulders and shedding blood through His pores, He told the Father, "Nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt" (Mark 14:36).
My prayer, brothers and sisters, as we think about our covenants is that we may keep ourselves strong against "the fiery darts of the adversary" (1 Nephi 15:24), following the Savior's example so that we may sow in the Spirit and abide in the Lord's territory. Let us remember President Monson's formula: "You can't be right by doing wrong; you can't be wrong by doing right."
- Ulisses Soares, “Abide in the Lord’s Territory!“, April 2012 General Conference
Submitted by: Theodore Sumrall ~Thanks for your thoughts!
When I was much younger and before I became a member of the Church, the world had me on the run. I lived my life to please others in the great and spacious building. Finally, I realized I was being a phony and began to reflect and to change.
Many years later, as I look back, I recognize that I was being driven by Satan. Being led by The Lord is a much safer path I have concluded and had I not recognized that the path I was following was the wrong one, I most likely would be dead by now.
I have seen so many individuals energetically climb the ladder of success and once they reached the top realized that the ladder had been leaning against the wrong wall. Often, however, they do not recognize this until they have been driven down the path that they do not have the desire to change.
One of the great lessons that each of us needs to learn is to ask. Why does the Lord want us to pray to Him and to ask? Because that is how revelation is received.
When I am faced with a very difficult matter, this is how I try to understand what to do. I fast. I pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. That process is cyclical. I start reading a passage of scripture; I ponder what the verse means and pray for inspiration. I then ponder and pray to know if I have captured all the Lord wants me to do. Often more impressions come with increased understanding of doctrine. I have found that pattern to be a good way to learn from the scriptures.
There are some practical principles that enhance revelation. First, yielding to emotions such as anger or hurt or defensiveness will drive away the Holy Ghost. Those emotions must be eliminated, or our chance for receiving revelation is slight.
Another principle is to be cautious with humor. Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life.
Another enemy to revelation comes from exaggeration or loudness in what is stated. Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation.
On the other hand, spiritual communication can be enhanced by good health practices. Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep, and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation. We will live for our appointed life span. However, we can improve both the quality of our service and our well-being by making careful, appropriate choices.
It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit.
Revelation can also be given in a dream when there is an almost imperceptible transition from sleep to wakefulness. If you strive to capture the content immediately, you can record great detail, but otherwise it fades rapidly. Inspired communication in the night is generally accompanied by a sacred feeling for the entire experience. The Lord uses individuals for whom we have great respect to teach us truths in a dream because we trust them and will listen to their counsel. It is the Lord doing the teaching through the Holy Ghost. However, He may in a dream make it both easier to understand and more likely to touch our hearts by teaching us through someone we love and respect.
- Richard G. Scott, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for your Personal Life“, April 2012 General Conference
As a young man I worked with a contractor building footings and foundations for new houses. In the summer heat it was hard work to prepare the ground for the form into which we poured the cement for the footing. There were no machines. We used a pick and a shovel. Building lasting foundations for buildings was hard work in those days.
It also required patience. After we poured the footing, we waited for it to cure. Much as we wanted to keep the jobs moving, we also waited after the pour of the foundation before we took away the forms.
And even more impressive to a novice builder was what seemed to be a tedious and time-consuming process to put metal bars carefully inside the forms to give the finished foundation strength.
In a similar way, the ground must be carefully prepared for our foundation of faith to withstand the storms that will come into every life. That solid basis for a foundation of faith is personal integrity.
Our choosing the right consistently whenever the choice is placed before us creates the solid ground under our faith. It can begin in childhood since every soul is born with the free gift of the Spirit of Christ. With that Spirit we can know when we have done what is right before God and when we have done wrong in His sight.
Those choices, hundreds in most days, prepare the solid ground on which our edifice of faith is built. The metal framework around which the substance of our faith is poured is the gospel of Jesus Christ, with all its covenants, ordinances, and principles.
One of the keys to an enduring faith is to judge correctly the curing time required. That is why I was unwise to pray so soon in my life for higher mountains to climb and greater tests.
That curing does not come automatically through the passage of time, but it does take time. Getting older does not do it alone. It is serving God and others persistently with full heart and soul that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength.
-Henry B. Eyring, “Mountains to Climb”, April 2012 General Conference
As we obey the counsel to avoid and get out of debt now, we use our agency and obtain the liberty to use our disposable income for helping and blessing others. - Robert D. Hales, “Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life,” Liahona, November 2010
Fortunately, our Savior has given us a direction finder and guide that will help us even when we cannot see beyond discouraging obstacles. I refer to the gift of the Holy Ghost. But we must be willing to use and rely on this divine gift, and we must keep it in good repair. - Dallin H. Oaks, “The Gospel Culture,” Liahona, March 2012
Spiritual nutrients, which keep us spiritually healthy, can lose their potency and strength if we do not live worthy of the divine guidance we need. The Savior has told us: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” We need to keep our minds and bodies clean from all forms of addiction and pollution. We would never choose to eat spoiled or contaminated food. In the same selective way, we should be careful not to read or view anything that is not in good taste. Much of the spiritual pollution that comes into our lives comes through the Internet, computer games, television shows and movies that are highly suggestive of or graphically portray humanity’s baser attributes. Because we live in such an environment, we need to increase our spiritual strength. - James E. Faust, “Spiritual Nutrients,” Ensign, (CR) October 2006
... either the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is another testament of Jesus Christ or it is not. Either it is the record of the Lord's dealings with the people on the American continent from 600 B.C. to A.D. 421 or it is not. Either it is a translation from gold plates, completed by Joseph Smith under divine guidance, or it is not. The issue is that simple and that profound. If the Book of Mormon is, in fact, the word of God, as I testify that it is, then the question of whether or not we should apply its principles and teachings in our own lives is already decided, isn't it? - M. Russell Ballard, “Steadfast in Christ,” Ensign, December 1993
Submitted by: Sheila Osmer ~Thanks!
By Iris W. Schow
"One mistake cannot ruin your life," he said,
But sometimes that is wrong, I see;
For if I dwell on your mistake,
That one mistake can ruin me!