At the coming of Elijah, not only was power given to the priesthood, but also hearts were to be turned: "The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelation, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven."7
That feeling of his heart turning has already come to my friend and to his family. It may have come to you in this meeting. You may have seen in your mind, as I have, the face of your father or your mother. It may have been a sister or a brother. It may have been a daughter or a son.
They may be in the spirit world or continents away from you. But joy came from a feeling that connections with them are sure because you are or can be bound to them by priesthood ordinances that God will honor.
Melchizedek Priesthood holders who are fathers in sealed families have been taught what they must do. There is nothing that has come or will come into your family as important as the sealing blessings. There is nothing more important than honoring the marriage and family covenants you have made or will make in the temples of God.
The way to do that is clear. The Holy Spirit of Promise, through our obedience and sacrifice, must seal our temple covenants in order to be realized in the world to come. President Harold B. Lee explained what it means to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise by quoting Elder Melvin J. Ballard: "We may deceive men but we cannot deceive the Holy Ghost, and our blessings will not be eternal unless they are also sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Ghost is one who reads the thoughts and hearts of men, and gives his sealing approval to the blessings pronounced upon their heads. Then it is binding, efficacious, and of full force."8
When Sister Eyring and I were sealed in the Logan Utah Temple, I did not understand then the full significance of that promise. I am still trying to understand all that it means, but my wife and I decided at the start of our nearly 50 years of marriage to invite the Holy Ghost as much as we could into our lives and into our family.
- Henry B. Eyring, “Families Under Covenant“, April 2012 General Conference
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
We need to be constantly reminded of the eternal reasons behind the things we are commanded to do. The basic gospel principles need to be part of our life's fabric, even if it means learning them over and over again. That doesn't mean that this process should be rote or boring. Rather, when we teach the foundational principles in our homes or in church, let the flame of enthusiasm for the gospel and the fire of testimony bring light, warmth, and joy to the hearts of those we teach.
From the newest ordained deacon to the most senior high priest, we all have lists of what we could and should do in our priesthood responsibilities. The what is important in our work, and we need to attend to it. But it is in the why of priesthood service that we discover the fire, passion, and power of the priesthood.
The what of priesthood service teaches us what to do. The why inspires our soul.
The what informs, but the why transforms.
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Why of Priesthood Service“, April 2012 General Conference
Dear young men of the Church, let me ask you a question that I hope you will carry in your heart for the rest of your life. What greater power can you acquire on earth than the priesthood of God? What power could possibly be greater than the capacity to assist our Heavenly Father in changing the lives of your fellowmen, to help them along the pathway of eternal happiness by being cleansed of sin and wrongdoing?
Like any other power, the priesthood needs to be exercised to accomplish any good. You are called to "arise and shine forth" (D&C 115:5), not to hide your light in darkness. Only those who are brave will be counted among the chosen. As you exercise the power of your sacred priesthood, your courage and confidence will increase. Young men, you know that you are at your best when you are in the service of God. You know that you are happiest when you are anxiously engaged in a good work. Magnify the power of your priesthood by being clean and being worthy.
I add my voice to the call Elder Jeffrey R. Holland made to you six months ago from this pulpit. "I am looking," he said, "for men young and old who care enough about this battle between good and evil to sign on and speak up. We are at war." He continued, "... I ask for a stronger and more devoted voice, a voice not only against evil ... , but a voice for good, a voice for the gospel, a voice for God" ("We Are All Enlisted," Liahona andEnsign, Nov. 2011, 44, 47).
Yes, Aaronic Priesthood holders, we are at war. And in this war, the best way to defend against evil is to actively promote righteousness. You cannot listen to foul words and pretend you don't hear. You cannot watch, alone or with others, images you know are filthy and pretend you don't see. You cannot touch any unclean thing and pretend it's no big deal. You cannot be passive when Satan seeks to destroy that which is wholesome and pure. Instead, stand up boldly for what you know is true! When you hear or see anything that violates the Lord's standards, remember who you are--a soldier in the army of God Himself, empowered with His holy priesthood. There is no better weapon against the enemy, the father of lies, than the truth that will come out of your mouth as you exercise the power of the priesthood. Most of your peers will respect you for your courage and your integrity. Some will not. But that doesn't matter. You will gain the respect and trust of Heavenly Father because you used His power to accomplish His purposes.
I call on every Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidency to once again raise the title of liberty and organize and lead your battalions. Utilize your priesthood power by inviting those around you to come unto Christ through repentance and baptism. You have the mandate and power of Heavenly Father to do it.
-Adrian Ochoa, “Aaronic Priesthood: Arise and Use the Power of God“, April 2012 General Conference
Not until the gospel was restored in the 19th century, with its ancient powers and privileges, was the holy priesthood manifest again among men. And be it remembered that the authority to speak and act in the name of God is essential to a temple, and a temple is void without the sacred authority of the holy priesthood. Through Joseph Smith, the gospel of old was restored to earth, and the ancient law was reestablished. In course of time, through the ministry of the Prophet, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized and established by manifestations of divine power. - James E. Talmage, “A History of Temples,” Ensign, October 2010
I give you my testimony that the happiness of the Latter-day Saints, the peace of the Latter-day Saints, the progress of the Latter-day Saints, the prosperity of the Latter-day Saints, and the eternal salvation and exaltation of this people lie in walking in obedience to the counsels of the priesthood of God. We sing, "We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days" (Hymns, 1985, no. 19). Let us always follow that guidance.
If we will try with faith and prayer and resolution, we can accomplish great good, especially for our own souls. - Gordon B. Hinckley, “If Ye Be Willing and Obedient,” Ensign, July 1995
You live in a time of wars and revolutions. And yet, as President Brigham Young said, the world will be revolutionized by the preaching of the gospel and the power of the priesthood. And this work we are called to do. Women and men, our keeping the commandments is the most revolutionary development in the world, though it is often less noticed and less glamorous. Do not be discouraged, in the midst of the sweep of events of our time, if your life sometimes seems so small. Phillips Brooks observed, "Greatness, after all, in spite of its name, appears to be not so much a certain size as a certain quality in human lives." -Spencer W. Kimball, “The Savior: The Center of Our Lives,” New Era, April 1980
We make a mistake if we think we are fulfilling the law of God which commands that His servants shall be honored by honoring the more prominent officials in the church while we sneer at and laugh at and deride the efforts of the more humble servants of God who come among us to instruct us in the things of the Kingdom. Let this conference, then, O, Latter-day Saints, be remembered for teaching, first of all, reverence henceforth in Israel for the name of Diety; and as collateral parts of that same doctrine--honor for parents; and profound respect for the priesthood of God. - B. H. Roberts, “Conference Report,” October 1901, Overflow Meeting, p.60
We do not become saints automatically by entering the waters of baptism. We become saints, in the true sense of the word, as we live saintly lives and cultivate Christlike attributes. Similarly, we do not become the elect of God instantaneously by receiving the priesthood. Such honor will come only so fast as we remember and perform according to the priesthood covenant. - Carlos E. Asay, “The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood,” Ensign (CR) October 1985
So how do you raise a girl? Love her mother. Lead your family to the temple, be guardians of virtue, and magnify your priesthood. Fathers, you have been entrusted with our Heavenly Father's royal daughters. They are virtuous and elect. It is my prayer that you will watch over them, strengthen them, model virtuous behavior, and teach them to follow in the Savior's every footstep--for He lives! -Elaine S. Dalton, “Love Her Mother,” Ensign (CR) October 2011