These lesson notes are based on chapter 15 in the Gordon B. Hinckley lesson manual on the holy priesthood. Feel free to use the structure of the notes.
How many people have felt the blessings of the priesthood in their lives?
Would anyone like to share a story?
PERSONAL STORY: When my fiance had decided to take the missionary lessons we had a hard time figuring out the correct missionaries he was supposed to contact. We sat in with 4 different sets of missionaries before we found the ones for his area and once we found them we knew it was meant to be. No one could have explained the gospel better to David and no one connected with us like they did. It was truly a testimony builder of the power of the priesthood authority to place people in the right place for a good purpose.
1. God has restored the priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
Can someone read the first paragraph of section 1 and the last paragraph?
It starts…”Priesthood power and authority were given to men anciently. The lesser authority was given to the sons of Aaron to administer in things temporal as well as some sacred ecclesiastical ordinances. The higher priesthood was given by the Lord Himself to His Apostles, in accordance with His declaration to Peter: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
“It is veritably the power of the Almighty given to man to act in His name and in His stead. It is a delegation of divine authority, different from all other powers and authorities on the face of the earth. Small wonder that it was restored to man by resurrected beings who held it anciently that there might be no question concerning its authority and validity. Without it, there could be a church in name only, lacking authority to administer in the things of God. With it, nothing is impossible in carrying forward the work of the kingdom of God. It is divine in its nature. It is both temporal and eternal in its authority. It is the only power on the earth that reaches beyond the veil of death.”
Okay let’s kind of unpack a few truths about the priesthood from this section:
Priesthood power was given anciently
There are two priesthoods, Aaronic, and Melchizedek
Whatever priesthood power is performed on earth is also bound in heaven.
It is the power of God to act in his place.
The church wouldn’t exist without it
It is divine in nature
It is the only power on earth that reaches beyond death
Does anyone have an experience that has helped you gain a testimony of one of these truths?
“It is the only power on earth that reaches beyond death”
Temple work has been a huge factor in me remembering that the priesthood is a power that lasts both temporally and spiritually. I have never had an overwhelming experience in the temple but whenever I do temple work I spend a lot of time looking at the names of the women that I am representing and imagining who they are. They are women who walked on this earth, who chose God’s plan, who are waiting for their work to be done, who are being taught in the spirit world, who had families. And I let them use my body to help them. And I feel connected to these women as I am being baptized and confirmed for them. Because I know that the priesthood power and authority is reaching them beyond the veil.
2. The priesthood is the power and authority by which God accomplishes His work.
Can someone read the entirety of section 2 for me? It’s really short.
It starts… “I love the priesthood of this church. It is vital, living thing. It is the very heart and strength of this work. It is the power and authority by which God, our Eternal Father, accomplishes His work on the earth.
The holy priesthood carries with it the authority to govern in the affairs of the kingdom of God on the earth. Under the revelations of the Lord, the church is to be presided over by three presiding high priests. They are to be assisted by a council of Twelve Apostles, who in turn are the be assisted by the Seventy. A Presiding Bishopric of three are responsible for temporal affairs under the direction of the Presidency. All of these are priesthood officers. That power divinely given is the authority by which they govern. It is so in the stakes and the wards with presidencies and bishoprics. It is so in the quorums. The auxiliary officers carry forth their work under direction and delegation from the priesthood. Without the priesthood there might be the form of a church, but not the true substance. This is the church of Jesus Christ, and it is governed by the authority which is “after the Order of the Son of God.”
Okay, knowing that the priesthood affects absolutely every calling in the church, how does priesthood authority strengthen your service in God’s kingdom?
Personally for me, I am a relief society teacher, and if any of you saw my first lesson last October, you may have seen that I wasn’t award winning and I learn a little bit more each lesson and I’ve improved a little bit. But because I know that I was called of God and set apart through the priesthood power on this earth I know that I have Heavenly Father’s guidance with me. I was put here to learn and grow and learn from you all.
3. The blessings of the priesthood are to be enjoyed by all.
Let’s talk about what different powers the priesthood has. I don’t want to read section 3 word for word but you can use it as a reference. Throw out different priesthood powers.
What the priesthood includes:
The power to bless
Administer the sacrament
Bestow the Holy Ghost
Bless the sick
Declare lineage in patriarchal blessing
Does anyone have an experience they’d like to share about the blessings that came from one of these priesthood powers in their own life?
Everyone is meant to enjoy the blessings of the priesthood. Their calling is purely to help others. It is a great responsibility and a huge blessing in my own life.
4. Sons of God who hold His divine authority must be true to the very best that is in them.
Who is worthy to hold the priesthood?
Any man who obeys the commandments of God and has been baptized into the church
Who here thinks that it is difficult to remain worthy to the priesthood?
I want to read this one paragraph in section 4:
“To you men I issue a challenge. Run from the tide of sleaze that would overcome you. Flee the evils of the world. Be loyal to your better self. Be loyal to the best that is in you. Be faithful and true to the covenants that are associated with the priesthood of God.”
I love the line “be loyal to your better self.” Because even though this thought was directed to the men who hold the priesthood, President Hinckley’s words could also be directed at us.
Be faithful and true to the covenants that are associated with the priesthood of God. If we want the priesthood in our lives, we should also live worthy of it and uphold those standards for the men around us.
What do you think it means for a priesthood holder to “be true to the very best in him”?
Farther down in the section it reads… “I ask you to look into yourselves to see that there is no compulsion over your wives or your children…”
It is not that men cannot hold the priesthood because of the choices that we make but we create an environment for the people we love and we need to be on the same page as our priesthood holders.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Every single person I have ever known to leave the church has made that decision with someone else. I have a really good friend who was married in the temple to her husband and after three years of marriage, they decided to leave the church together. It wasn’t an easy decision but because they both had influence over the other, it was easier to leave together than alone. We either build each other up or tear each other down.
5. A priesthood quorum can be an anchor of strength for its members.
The priesthood quorum and Relief Society have the same basic goal: to help others.
How do you feel like we can help each other in this ward as we are now?
Reach out to each other (friendship)
Share knowledge with each other (study help)
Have the men give us blessings (priesthood)
6. In homes and in the Church, men and women work together to move the Lord’s kingdom forward.
“The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.”
Why do you think men and women need to work together as co-equals to accomplish the Lord’s work?
We both see the world differently
The Lord can communicate to us differently
We have different talents to be realized
Without each other we are incomplete.
I would like to leave you with my testimony of the priesthood. I know that it is God’s power here on earth and that it transcends death. I would challenge you to spend the next week noticing the power of the priesthood in your own life and share your knowledge and testimony of the priesthood with the men around you. If you do, I know it will strengthen both of you.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.