“I believe it will change your life.”
President Nelson, in the women’s session of general conference, spoke to women about understanding our access to God’s power, or priesthood power. He pled with us to understand that “the heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood” (“Spiritual Treasures,” October 2019 general conference).
Think about the significance of that statement. The heavens are open to YOU and me, my dear sisters! President Nelson continues, “Sisters, you have the right to draw liberally upon the Savior’s power to help your family and others you love.”
You have the right—and I’d add, as a covenant-keeping daughter of God, the responsibility—to draw upon the power of Jesus Christ to bless your life and the lives of those you love. Imagine how understanding these prophetic promises and invitations can literally change your life.
As members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, men and women receive priesthood power when we participate in priesthood ordinances and keep the related covenants. These include the covenants made at baptism and in the temple.
Being endowed with priesthood power—God’s power—means having greater power to press forward in fulfilling God’s purposes. It enables us to progress and advance in life. We are given the power to use our agency to influence others for good in authorized priesthood purposes. It magnifies us to be more than we could be on our own.
In a concise phrase, “Priesthood power is spiritual power used for priesthood purposes” (Wendy Ulrich, Live Up to Our Privileges: Women, Power, and Priesthood , 9).
In his address, our beloved prophet shared how he yearns “for [women] to understand that the restoration of the priesthood is just as relevant to you as a woman as it is to any man.” He entreated us as women to “study prayerfully all truths you can find about priesthood power.”
Why? I believe as we study and pray for understanding on this subject, the heavens will be opened to us and the Spirit will teach us how to more fully draw on the Savior’s power in our lives. Like President Nelson said, there’s no manual on how to do this. Revelation comes through personal study and prayer. But God will speak to you and open your mind on this subject, as he has done for me. As you study and pray, I’d invite you to consider these types of questions:
- How will I act differently because I have been endowed with priesthood power?
- What does it mean in my marriage to be endowed with priesthood power?
- What will it mean when my child is leaving the Church? Or if we are faced with serious illness?
- I have been given a gift of power—power to receive revelation, power to act. How do I act differently? What difference does it make for me?
Understanding the revealed truth shared by President Nelson that “every woman and every man who makes covenants with God and keeps those covenants, and who participates worthily in priesthood ordinances, has direct access to the power of God (emphasis added)” is an essential foundation for all that we do in our lives. When we truly understand that we are covenant daughters of God with access to priesthood power, we know we can receive strength to do what is asked in whatever responsibilities or assignments are ours.
Sometimes those responsibilities can be quite intimidating! Have you ever felt overwhelmed in a new calling? That’s how I felt some years ago when I met with Elder Robert D. Hales to be set apart as a member of the Primary general board. I felt so incredibly inadequate and overwhelmed by the upcoming responsibilities that as the setting apart concluded, I was just weeping. I didn’t express my thoughts aloud, and I was trying to mop my streaming eyes when Elder Hales looked at me with compassion and said with upbeat conviction, “Don’t spend a nanosecond thinking about your inadequacies.”
Elder Hales’s words caught me up short; I had, indeed, been focused on what I lacked rather than trusting in the powers of heaven for the help I needed. He helped me understand that when we are set apart, we are given access to the power and capacity to do the Lord’s work. As President Nelson teaches us, “When you are set apart to serve in a calling under the direction of one who holds priesthood keys, you are given priesthood authority to function in that calling.” Even though our feelings of inadequacy are very natural, when we are set apart, we are given priesthood authority to receive revelation to bless the lives of those we are called to serve.
Every covenant-keeping sister has access to God’s power, to bless her family and those she loves. In addition, when we are set apart to perform a specific duty in the Church, we are also given authority to act in that capacity and to draw upon God’s power to bless those within our stewardship.
Our Father in Heaven is liberal and generous with His power and wants to share it with those who are willing to do His work in His ways. What strikes me is that these blessings are almost all out of proportion to the small acts required of us to receive them.
I look forward to studying prayerfully all the truths I can find about priesthood power, beginning with Doctrine and Covenants sections 25, 84, and 107, as our prophet has invited. I am so grateful for a prophet of God who is leading, indeed, entreating us, to learn how to draw upon the power of God, which will change our lives.
This is the second article in a series of articles by the Relief Society General Presidency on this topic and is adapted from the address “Endowed with Priesthood Power,” given at BYU Women’s Conference in May 2019.
For the first article in this series, click here.