Elder Perry on the Priesthood, Part 3: The Priesthood Strengthens the Family

Presiding in the home is one of the greatest priesthood responsibilities, according to Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In this third of a four-part series on the oath and covenant of the priesthood, Elder Perry also said that priesthood quorums play an important role in teaching fathers their duties and responsibilities.

“One of the greatest responsibilities [of quorums] is teaching fathers their duty and responsibility as presiding officer in the home and how [to] handle that particular assignment and do it with the most sacredness, the greatest spirit, the greatest encouragement, and the greatest enthusiasm they can possibly have in building that home in the proper way,” Elder Perry said.

Strengthen priesthood, strengthen family

Using the example of his relationship with his own son, Elder Perry talked about the privilege of guiding children through various stages and steps in their spiritual life. “The family will be presided over by the father, the priesthood bearer,” he said. “And he will tie generations together as we go forward. . . . Can you think of a more glorious opportunity than being led by your own father in the eternities to come, and having the opportunity as a father in leading your children as they go forward?”

The relationship between husband and wife is also strengthened by the priesthood, Elder Perry said. “Any priesthood bearer that doesn’t respect motherhood doesn’t honor his priesthood,” he said, “and I think it should be taken away from him. The respect and honor we give our sweet companions is one of the great responsibilities we have as a priesthood bearer.” He said that children should be taught to honor and respect their mother, and that his own father taught him that disrespect was not tolerated in their home.

Sharing in the blessings

Women share in all the blessings of the priesthood, Elder Perry said. “The Lord gave them the greatest assignment on earth. He entrusted unto women the opportunity of bringing forth His children to the earth.” Speaking of mothers and fathers, he said, “The Lord distinguished between the two so that the two would work in concert one with another, so the blessings of the priesthood, in oneness, in unity, and harmony apply to both.”

A woman who has a loyal priesthood bearer as the head of the family, he said, “should have the comforting assurance that he will take care of her first above anything else in his duty and responsibility,” noting that the father is to be the provider and protector, taking care of the family unit. He counseled priesthood bearers to be mindful of widows and single sisters, and to be supportive of those who are raising children.

Section 121 is a guide

He said that Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants contains some of the strongest language in the scriptures, and that it offers great counsel about what the priesthood is and how it should be used—with persuasion, gentleness, and kindness. Particularly, he noted, the Holy Ghost can prompt us to reprove with kindness and to show faithful love, so that others know our faithfulness is “stronger than the cords of death” (D&C 121:44).

“What a great binding power that is in the priesthood!” he said.

Also in this series

This four-part series on the priesthood began with a segment on the oath and covenant of the priesthood, featured comments about the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods in part two and, in part three, the priesthood and the family, and concludes with this segment, part four, on the restoration of the priesthood.

President Packer On the Priesthood: Authority and Power

In his general conference address in April 2010, President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. 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,” Liahona, May 2010, 6–10).

President Packer’s remarks referred in part to the expansion of the Seventy in recent years to meet the growing worldwide demands for priesthood direction and training.  Even as President Packer spoke, all of the Seventy in the world, more than 300 in number, were gathered together in Salt Lake to be instructed by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.   The Seventy come from 39 countries and speak more than 55 languages.

More importantly, President Packer was speaking of the stake presidents, bishops, quorum leaders, and fathers that live and serve in more than 160 countries around the globe.  His talk was a call to every priesthood holder to understand and exercise priesthood in a way to permit its power to bless and protect families and others.  Since President Packer’s talk Church leaders have placed even greater emphasis on instructing and building stronger priesthood holders.

In October 2010, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provided instruction to General Authorities on the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. The interview presented here, as well as the others in this four-part series, provides us with important principles that if understood and applied will help us develop in our homes and congregations the power of the priesthood spoken of by President Packer.