The holy priesthood is one of those mysterious blessings we have been given on this earth. Women typically think it is synonymous with the men, therefore, there is no real need to understand it. The priesthood is NOT just for men, and women DO need to strive to understand it better.
For someone to fight for the right to have the priesthood is to completely misunderstand what the priesthood is. The priesthood is all around us. It is the light, the world, and the substance therein. It is our responsibility to use the power it offers in the way God designs.
From a church website, it states:
“The word priesthood has two meanings. First, priesthood is the power and authority of God. It has always existed and will continue to exist without end (see Alma 13:7–8; D&C 84:17–18). Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He exalts His obedient children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man” ( Moses 1:39; see also D&C 84:35–38).
“Second, in mortality, priesthood is the power and authority that God gives to man to act in all things necessary for the salvation of God’s children. The blessings of the priesthood are available to all who receive the gospel. (“Priesthood Authority,” Handbook 2, Administering the Church)”
HOW DOES THE PRIESTHOOD AFFECT US?
The first meaning (from the quote above) talks about power. Women need to learn how they have power because the priesthood is on the earth. Pres. Hinckley says the priesthood brings “light and knowledge and understanding to those who have been in darkness.” Everyone can receive this light and knowledge, but to truly understand it, it takes action on our part: making a covenant with the Lord.
The oath and covenant of the priesthood is found in D&C 84:33-44. This is what we, and the Lord, swear to one another:
- Magnify our callings.
- Keep the commandments.
- Give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.
- Live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.
- That He will give us all that my Father hath.
The Second meaning talks about authority. The Relief Society was organized “under the priesthood after the pattern of the priesthood.” This means that the presidency has authority to call on the Lord to make Relief Society work sacred. For what purpose? That our society is sanctioned by the Holy Ghost to do divine works.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of responsibility on us to perform to prove ourselves worthy of this incredible blessing of eternal life. It is not free, but we have the power of the priesthood to help us and keep us focused.
Because we are all imperfect, the Holy Ghost comes and goes according to our desires, but a portion of Him is always felt. There is a point when the Holy Ghost can no longer be with us when we choose to break our covenant.
A friend of mine, unfortunately, got caught up in adultery. It was a surprise to discover this because she was always sharing her latest discoveries in the scriptures and had such great insights. She bravely went to the bishop and confessed. Action needed to be taken. When her blessings, and the Holy Ghost, were renounced; taken away from her completely, she instantly felt that emptiness. Even while sinning, she still had access to the blessings of the priesthood, but she didn’t truly understand its power until it was completely taken away from her.
The priesthood is the assurance that God is next to us, holding us, saying, “You can get through mortal life and all its hazards because I’m here. Stay close to Me and you will one day have all that I have.”
Because God’s perfect world is a Patriarchal order, by being baptized and participating in the covenant we have chosen to enter the patriarchal order. Joseph Smith said, “The power of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to have the power of endless lives” (Teachings, p. 322). Endless Lives is Eternal Lives, which is the continuation of the family unit. For that, you need women.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught, “All those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. … This covenant, made when the priesthood is received, is renewed when the recipient enters the order of eternal marriage” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 313).
Pres. Boyd K. Packer said,
“It is crucial for everyone to understand what is expected of the brethren. Unless we enlist the attention of the mothers and daughters and sisters—who have influence on their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers—we cannot progress. The priesthood will lose great power if the sisters are neglected.
“The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be” (“The Power of the Priesthood,” April 2010).
Under “Woman,” in Mormon Doctrine, Elder Bruce R. McConkie explains how both men and women need, and participate in, the priesthood:
“In the true Patriarchal Order man holds the priesthood and is the head of the household, . . . but he cannot attain a fulness of joy here or of eternal reward hereafter alone. Woman stands at his side a joint-inheritor with him in the fulness of all things. Exaltation and eternal increase is her lot as well as his (D&C 131:1-4). Godhood is not for men only; it is for men and women together” (D&C 132:19-20; Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 844).
The priesthood is given to men because at baptism we enter into the patriarchal order of God and this is His design. The priesthood is given to help us return back into the presence of our Father in Heaven. As we progress in this life both male and female make covenants with the Lord that will gain our entrance into the glorious promise of Eternal Lives.