The priesthood is God’s power and authority. Somebody who holds the priesthood is a representative of Him and can act in His name by blessing others, healing others, administering to others, etc. After Jesus Christ and His apostles died, the priesthood authority to administer God’s kingdom on earth departed with them, leaving this world truly in the “dark ages.” But then in 1820 a young boy, at the age of fourteen, Joseph Smith, prayed in a grove of trees and received The First Vision, which brought back the ever so longed for light of God. It was there that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to the boy Joseph. In that glorious meeting Joseph was given a mandate to bring back Christ’s church on the earth. After years of preparation, in 1829, the priesthood was finally restored—just one year prior to the official organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”). Male members of The Church of Jesus Christ are able to receive this restored priesthood by the laying on of hands (Holy Bible, Acts 8:17) by those who already have the authority.
What is the purpose of the priesthood of Christ?
An apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ, Elder M. Russell Ballard, said in a recent Mormon conference address:
The primary purpose of this priesthood power is to bless, sanctify, and purify us so we can live together with our families in the presence of our heavenly parents, bound by priesthood sealings, participating in the marvelous work of God and Jesus Christ in forever expanding Their light and glory (“This is My Work and My Glory,” Ensign, May 2013).
In essence, the purpose of the priesthood is to provide the way for families to be together forever. Of course, those who administer to priesthood duties do other things, like blessing those who are sick and afflicted with holy consecrated oil, as was done in Biblical times:
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him (James 5:14, 15).
These “assignments” of the priesthood all help in an effort to fulfilling this purpose. The priesthood of Christ is a real power that God has restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. And because of it, God’s purpose can be fulfilled, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
What about Women in the Priesthood?
Men are the only ones who are ordained to priesthood offices. But to say that women are not involved in the priesthood is like saying that fathers are not involved in creating offspring for their posterity. Men and women have unique roles, different from each other; yet work side-by-side in order to accomplish the same purpose. And that is a divine principle of eternity. Those who argue this sentiment do not fully understand the glorious plan of equality that our Heavenly Father has instituted for His children.
‘And I, God said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man [not a separate man, but a complete man, which is husband and wife] in our image, after our likeness; and it was so.’ (See Moses 2:26.) What a beautiful partnership! Adam and Eve were married for eternity by the Lord. Such a marriage extends beyond the grave. All peoples should call for this kind of marriage. … (Spencer W. Kimball, “Speaking Today,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 71).
How Does Christ’s Priesthood Strengthen the Family?
Personally, the priesthood has blessed my family in countless ways: receiving blessings when we are sick, down, or otherwise afflicted, having my husband be our “spiritual leader,” so that we are sure to have family prayer, scripture study, weekly Family Home Evening, making sure that we are attending church meetings, serving others, etc. But the greatest way that it has blessed our family is the hope that we can be together forever. You see, in the holy temples families are not just married, they are sealed by those who have the priesthood—this sealing binds individuals to become “one.” Of course this blessing is only realized if we remain faithful. Knowing this, I have the desire to be faithful each and every day so that I can qualify to be with all of my family members, for eternity—the very thought of it warms my soul. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father who created families as the top priority and caused the priesthood power to be available in order to bless and strengthen the family. It just makes sense.
Elder Ballard continued in his conference address by speaking of a recent leadership training video that was produced by Mormon leaders titled, Strengthening the Family and the Church through the Priesthood.
This innovative and instructive DVD is translated into 66 languages. It teaches how the power of the priesthood can bless, vitalize, and revitalize our lives, the lives of our families, and the lives of all the members of the Church.
It shows us all—men, women, children; married, widowed, or single; no matter what our circumstances—how we can be partakers of the blessings of the priesthood…
Parents, review, share, and discuss what you learn and feel with your children, and let them watch and do the same with you, that your families may be strengthened through the priesthood.
I invite you to ask God to open your heart to see the truthfulness of this message, and the messages shown in Strengthening the Family and the Church through the Priesthood and then to watch them. I witness that they are of God, and that as you seek to be enriched by the true priesthood of God, you will be enlightened and renewed. Each of us, regardless if we feel we are in a personal “dark age” can be shown the light of Christ in just as powerful as a way as the boy Joseph did. It may not come in a vision—but it will be an undeniable feeling of peace and light. I know that is true because I have felt it in my life.