Quotes on Priesthood

Many people do not understand our belief that God has wisely established a guiding authority for the most important institutions in the world.  This guiding authority is called the priesthood.  The priesthood is held in trust to be used to bless all of God’s children.  Priesthood is not gender; it is blessings from God for all at the hands of the servants He has designated. — Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1993, p. 36

Holding the priesthood means following the example of Christ and seeking to emulate his example of fatherhood.  It means constant concern and caring for one’s own flesh and blood.  The man who holds the priesthood is to honor it by eternally cherishing, with absolute fidelity, his wife and the mother of his children.  He is to extend lifelong care and concern for his children, and their children. — Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1993, p. 36

The priesthood is for the benefit of all members of the Church.  While women do not hold the priesthood, men have no greater claim than women upon the blessings that issue from it. — President Thomas S. Monson, Church News, March 21, 1992, p. 7

I desire to emphasize, brethren, that although we may continue to hold the office, we may lose the power.  Many men seem to think that because they have been ordained, the priesthood is theirs in perpetuity to exercise as they choose.  They feel they can break a covenant and a commandment here and there, and sin in this way or that, and yet still have within themselves the power of the priesthood and that God will ratify that which they speak in His holy name, and in the name of the Redeemer.  This becomes mockery, and I believe that in such an exercise they take the name of God in vain.  They profane the name of His Beloved Son.  They desecrate the sacred gift which came through ordination, and the authority of which they have lost because of transgression. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, address given at Priesthood Commemoration Fireside in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 3, 1992

The man who carved the walking stick looked past the bark, past the gnarled shape and, looking into the heart of the wood, saw what it could become.  So it is with a boy.  Heavenly Father looks past the freckles, the tousled hair and the legs too short to dunk a basketball.  He sees what a boy may become.  But there is carving and molding to be done.  And so the Aaronic Priesthood has been restored, the priesthood of God whose purpose is to begin the carving and molding to prepare a boy to become a special kind of man. — Elder Stephen D. Nadauld, Priesthood Commemoration Fireside, May 3, 1992

Vaughn J. Featherstone once spoke of priesthood worthiness:

“I know of a great man who held his dead son in his arms and said, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power and authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, I command you to live.’  And the dead boy opened up his eyes.

“This great brother could not have possibly done that had he been looking at a pornographic piece of material a few nights before or if he had been involved in any other transgression of that kind.  The priesthood has to have a pure conduit to operate.— Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, Ensign, May 1975, p. 66

What is priesthood? . . . I shall briefly answer that it is the government of God, whether on the earth or in the havens, for it is by that power, agency, or principle that all things are governed on the earth and in the heavens, and by that power that all things are upheld and sustained.  It governs all things – it directs all things – it sustains all things – and has to do with all things that God and truth are associated with.  It is the power of God delegated to intelligences in the heavens and to men on the earth; and when we arrive in the celestial kingdom of God, we shall find the most perfect order and harmony existing, because there is the perfect pattern, the most perfect order of government carried out, and when or wherever those principles have been developed in the earth, in proportion as they have spread and been acted upon, just in that proportion have they produced blessings and salvation to the human family. . .

[Priesthood] is . . . the principle and power by which [God] regulates, controls, dictates and manages His affairs, His worlds, His kingdoms, His principalities, His powers, His intelligence, and all things that are underneath Him and above Him, and with which He has to do. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, pp. 119-20

We believe the salvation of the world has been placed upon the priesthood of this Church. This responsibility rests squarely upon us.  We cannot shirk it.  As President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“If the world is going to be saved, we have to do it.  There is no escaping from that. No other people in the history of the world have received the kind of mandate that we have received.  We are responsible for all who have lived upon the earth.  That involves our family history and temple work.  We are responsible for all who now live upon the earth, and that involves our missionary work.  And we are going to be responsible for all who will yet live upon the earth” (Mission presidents’ seminar, 25 June 1999; quoted in “Church Is Really Doing Well,” Church News, 3 July 1999, 3).

Now, brethren, because we hold these precious powers, I believe we are going to be held accountable in our efforts to accomplish this overwhelming responsibility.  We cannot be ashamed of the doctrine because it is not popular or socially acceptable.  We must not apologize for what has been revealed through our prophets in our time.  It is the word of the Lord to the world.  There is always a price to be paid if we are to have a witness of this holy work.  There is always a trial of our faith (see D&C 105:19). — President James E. Faust, “Of Seeds and Soils,” Ensign, November 1999, p. 48

What will this Church do for a man?  Every worthy man may hold the priesthood of God and speak in the name of God, even the Savior of the world.  What a precious and marvelous and wonderful boon that is, my brethren, to be able so to do.

It offers the blessing of governance in the Church, the power and the authority and the gift to lead out in the affairs of the Church, and in so doing to develop leadership and strength of personality and rise above the ordinary things of life and walk as a Son of God in the authority of His divine priesthood.  That is what this Church will do for men.  It will give them opportunity to serve, to teach, to grow in many ways, to read the precious things the Lord has revealed and make them a part of His store of knowledge. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Cairns, Australia, January 26, 2000; Church News, May 5, 2001, p. 2

In regard to the holding of the priesthood in pre-existence, I will say that there was an organization there just as well as an organization here, and men there held authority.  Men chosen to positions of trust in the spirit world held priesthood” (President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 33:81). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” BYU Classic Speeches, Vol. 1, p. 160

Young men, your ordination to the priesthood is a grand privilege and responsibility, and not a license to dominate.  Be unfailingly worthy to exercise this godly power, which is given you to be of service.  A man is never more magnificent than when he is guided by the Spirit to honor the priesthood he holds. — Sheri Dew, “It Is Not Good for Man or Woman to Be Alone,” Ensign, November 2001, p. 13

The priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the first presidency and held the keys of it from generation to generation.  He obtained it in the creation before the world was formed.  He had dominion given him over every living creature.  He is Michael, the Archangel spoken of in the scriptures.  Then to Noah, who is Gabriel. . . . These men held keys, first on earth, and then in heaven.    

The priesthood is an everlasting principle and existed with God from eternity and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years.  The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the gospel is sent.  When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority. . . . The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man and organized them.  He (Adam) is the head; [he] was told to multiply.  The keys were given to him and by him to others, and he will have to give an account of his stewardship, and they to him. — Joseph Smith, Discourse of summer of 1839, recorded in Willard Richards’ “Pocket Companion;” WJS, 8-9

The Book of Mormon makes it clear that we never will dominate by numbers.  But we have the power of the priesthood.   (See 1 Nephi 14:14.) . . .

The authority of the priesthood is with us. After all that we have correlated and organized, it is now our responsibility to activate the power of the priesthood in the Church. Authority in the priesthood comes by way of ordination; power  in the priesthood comes through faithful and obedient living in honoring covenants.  It is increased by exercising and using the priesthood in righteousness.

Now, fathers, I would remind you of the sacred nature of your calling.  You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home.  There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power.  You will receive direction from the Lord by way of the gift of the Holy Ghost. — President Boyd K. Packer, “The Power of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2010, pp. 7, 9

It is most appropriate for Aaronic Priesthood youth, as well as Melchizedek Priesthood men, to quietly, and with determination, set some serious personal goals in which they will seek to improve by selecting certain things that they will accomplish within a specified period of time.  Even if the priesthood holders of our heavenly Father are headed in the right direction, if they are men without momentum they will have too little influence.  You are the leaven on which the world depends; you must use your powers to stop a drifting and aimless world. — President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, April 1985

The priesthood of this Church carries the responsibility to help move the work of righteousness in all the world.  Priesthood service requires us to set aside our selfish interests and desires.  Brethren, we need to prepare so that we are able to accept priesthood callings should they come.  We should try to live providently with respect to our personal lifestyles.  Living providently means living well within our means and providing for future needs and events.  We should avoid the bondage of crushing, unnecessary indebtedness.  We should also try to have some savings to tide us over for a rainy day.  In short, we should seek to manage our affairs so that we are better able to accept the calls which might come to us now, as well as in the future. — President James E. Faust, General Conference, April 1997

Power in the priesthood comes from doing your duty in ordinary things: attending meetings, accepting assignments, reading the scriptures, keeping the Word of Wisdom.

President Woodruff said:  “I traveled thousands of miles and preached the Gospel as a Priest, and, as I have said to congregations before, the Lord sustained me and made manifest His power in the defense of my life as much while I held that office as He has done while I have held the office of an Apostle.  The Lord sustains any man that holds a portion of the Priesthood, whether he is a Priest, an Elder, a Seventy, or an Apostle, if he magnifies his calling and does his duty.”  (Millennial Star, 28 Sept. 1905, p. 610) — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Aaronic Priesthood,” Ensign, November 1981, p. 33

The priesthood, of course, must not be taken lightly, and as I have said to you before, the priesthood cannot be taken off and put back on at will as you would a coat. Once endowed by the priesthood it remains with you.  You may forfeit its power, the power may go, but your priesthood is still there, and in the days to come God will judge us by the use we have made of it, and we can no more escape that consequence than we can escape death.  That fact should be with us always and never absent from us. — President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., General Conference, April 1950

There is no greater church calling than that of a Home Teacher.  There is no greater church service rendered to our Heavenly Father’s children than the service rendered by a humble, dedicated, committed Home Teacher. — President Ezra T. Benson

I have beheld the power of God manifest in my home and in my ministry.  I have seen evil rebuked and the elements controlled.  I know what it means to have mountains of difficulty move and ominous Red Seas part.  I know what it means to have the destroying angel “pass by them.”  To have received the authority and to have exercised the power of “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God,” is as great a blessing for me and for my family as I could ever hope for in this world.  And that, in the end, is the meaning of the priesthood in everyday terms – its unequaled, unending, constant capacity to bless. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Our Most Distinguishing Feature,” Ensign, May 2005

Priesthood is the authority and the power which God has granted to men on earth to act for Him.  (See JST, General 14:28-31.)  When we exercise priesthood authority properly, we do what He would do if He were present.

Less than a year after the Church was organized, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation which said:  “Hearken, O ye elders of my church whom I have called, behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall assemble yourselves together to agree upon my word;  And by the prayer of your faith ye shall receive my law, that ye may know how to govern my church and have all things right before me.” (D&C 41:2-3)

There are some things about the priesthood that every elder should know if he is to understand how the Church is governed to have things right before the Lord.  There are principles and precepts and rules which are often overlooked and seldom taught.  Some of these principles are found in the scriptures, others in the handbooks.  Some of them are not found in either.  They are found in the Church.  You might call them traditions, but they are more than that. They are revelations which came when the Brethren of the past assembled themselves, agreed upon His word, and offered their prayers of faith. — President Boyd K. Packer, “A Primer on Principles of Priesthood Government,” Ensign, February 1993, p. 7

[The] full restoration [of the priesthood] involved the coming of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, whose head was taken to satisfy the whims of a wicked woman, and of Peter, James, and John, they who faithfully walked with the Master before his death and proclaimed his resurrection and divinity following his death.  It involved Moses, Elias, and Elijah, each bringing priesthood keys to complete the work of restoring all of the acts and ordinances of previous dispensations in this the great, final dispensation of the fulness of times.            

The priesthood is here.  It has been conferred upon us.  We act in that authority.  We speak as sons of God in the name of Jesus Christ and as holders of this divinely given endowment.  We know, for we have seen, the power of this priesthood.  We have seen the sick healed, the lame made to walk, and the coming of light and knowledge and understanding to those who have been in darkness.

Paul wrote concerning the priesthood:  “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4)  We have not acquired it through purchase or bargain.  The Lord has given it to men who are considered worthy to receive it, regardless of station in life, the color of their skin, or the nation in which they live.  It is the power and the authority to govern in the affairs of the kingdom of God.  It is given only by ordination by the laying on of hands by those in authority to do so.  The qualification for eligibility is obedience to the commandments of God. 

“There is no power on the earth like it.  Its authority extends beyond life, through the veil of death, to the eternities ahead.  It is everlasting in its consequences. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Cornerstones of Our Faith,” Ensign, November 1984, pp. 52-53

No one should seek to be appointed to any particular office in the Church.  Such an aspiration is not a righteous desire; it is a self-serving ambition.  We should have a motivating desire to magnify our callings in the priesthood, whatever they may be.  We should demonstrate that desire by living the gospel and diligently performing whatever service we are called upon to render.  Holding a particular office in the Church will never save a person.  One’s salvation depends upon how well he discharges the duties of the service to which he is called. — President Marion G. Romney, “Magnifying One’s Calling in the Priesthood,” Ensign, July 1973, p. 89

One does not really need to fear the angels of evil.  They are essentially cowardly. They fear light and truth.  Darkness and untruth are their native habitats.  Their successes always come when the mind of man is darkened by unbelief or unholy practices.  A resolute determination to have nothing to do with them drains their strength.  They are mortally afraid of the power of the Priesthood. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p.109

God has laid upon our shoulders and has sealed upon our heads the holy and eternal Priesthood, which is from eternity unto eternity.  Without that Priesthood we have no power to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel of Christ, either for the living or the dead.  But with that Priesthood we have power to perform the work that is assigned unto us. — President Wilford Woodruff, April 1889, 60th Annual Conference

There is a certain channel by and through which the Lord intends to exalt His sons and daughters, to remove wickedness from the earth and to establish righteousness, and that channel is the Priesthood. — President Lorenzo Snow, October 1901, 72nd Semiannual Conference

The Prophet of the Lord said: “My boy, never forget that when you are in the line of your duty your heart will be full of love and forgiveness, even for the repentant sinner, and that when you get out of that straight line of duty and have the determination that what you think is justice and what you think is equity and right should prevail, you ofttimes are anything but happy.  You can know the difference between the Spirit of the Lord and the spirit of the adversary, when you find that you are happy and contented, that you love your fellows, that you are anxious for their welfare; and you can tell that you do not have that spirit when you are full of animosity and feel that you would like to knock somebody down.” — President John Taylor provided this counsel to President Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1920

No true angel from God will ever come to ordain any man, because they have once been sent to establish the priesthood by ordaining me thereunto; . . . the priesthood being once established on earth, with power to ordain others, no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more. . . . You may therefore know, from this time forward, that if any man comes to you professing to be ordained by an angel, he is either a liar or has been imposed upon in consequence of transgression by an angel of the devil, for this priesthood shall never be taken away from this church. — Joseph Smith, Jr., Millennial Star, 20 November 1846, p. 139; Quoted by David B. Haight, Conference Report, October 1994

As we go through life, even through very rough waters, a father’s instinctive impulse to cling tightly to his wife or to his children may not be the best way to accomplish his objective.  Instead, if he will lovingly cling to the Savior and the iron rod of the gospel, his family will want to cling to him and to the Savior. 

This lesson is surely not limited to fathers.  Regardless of gender, marital status, or age, individuals can choose to link themselves directly to the Savior, hold fast to the rod of His truth, and lead by the light of that truth.  By so doing, they become examples of righteousness to whom others will want to cling. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Set in Order Thy House,” Ensign, November 2001, p. 69

We must remember that whenever God places the true priesthood on the earth, there is always present a false priesthood, pretending the powers of the true priesthood. By faith and prayer and the witness of the Holy Spirit, we can distinguish the truth. — President N. Eldon Tanner, “The Priesthood of God,” Ensign, June 1973, p. 3

[W]e have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. (On Sept. 30, 1978, at a general conference of the Church, President N. Eldon Tanner presented – and it was accepted by the Saints assembled as revelation – what is now known as “Official Declaration 2,” from which this excerpt is taken.)  (D&C OD 2:9-10) — President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, September 30, 1978

If anybody wants to know what the Priesthood of the Son of God is, it is the law by which the worlds are, were, and will continue for ever and ever.  It is that system which brings worlds into existence and peoples them, gives them revolutions – their days, weeks, months, years, their seasons and times by which they are rolled up as a scroll, as it were, and go into a higher state of existence. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 15:127

An individual who holds a share in the Priesthood, and continues faithful to his calling, who delights himself continually in doing the things God requires at his hands, and continues through life in the performance of every duty will secure to himself not only the privilege of receiving, but the knowledge how to receive the things of God, that he may know the mind of God continually; and he will be enabled to discern between right and wrong, between the things of God and the things that are not of God.  And the Priesthood – the Spirit that is within him, will continue to increase until it becomes like a fountain of living water; until it is like the tree of life; until it is one continued source of intelligence and instruction to that individual. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 3:192

As President Spencer W. Kimball declared, “The Lord has given to all of us, as holders of the priesthood, certain of his authority, but we can only tap the powers of heaven on the basis of our personal righteousness” (“Boys Need Heroes Close By,” Ensign, May 1976, 45). . . .

In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles.  Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. In other words, in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife.  And as husband and wife, a man and a woman should strive to follow our Heavenly Father.  The Christian virtues of love, humility, and patience should be their focus as they seek the blessings of the priesthood in their lives and for their family. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “This Is My Work and Glory,” Ensign, May 2012, p. 19

When you are tempted to stay away from that seventies’ meeting, from that elder’s meeting, from that deacons’ quorum and you shrink from going there, because you feel you will not be interested, say, ‘I will go; the duty of a Latter-day Saint is upon me; and responsibility of membership in that quorum is upon me, and I must go and help make that meeting interesting. — President David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 141

How wonderful it would be for every holder of the priesthood if he knew that the Lord knew he could count on him because of the way he lived.  I’d like to say today that it is a tremendous responsibility for members of this Church to so live that others, seeing their good works, can be led to glorify the Lord’s name. — Elder N. Eldon Tanner, “Remember Who You Are,” Ensign, November 1981, p. 78