During his ministry on earth, Jesus Christ gave priesthood authority to the leaders of His Church. Unfortunately, over time apostasy occurred, and the earth was without the blessings of the priesthood until they were once again given to man during the Restoration.
But because of that Restoration, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says in this fourth and final interview segment on the oath and covenant of the priesthood, it is readily apparent that “No man leads this Church. It is the Savior’s Church, and He leads through priesthood authority by delegating to one person [the President of the Church] that power and authority, and he [the President] delegates to others the operation of the Church here on earth.”
Elder Perry says this enables the Church to teach pure doctrine. “All confusion is taken out of the doctrines and teachings because it all comes back to one head to interpret the doctrines in a way that is for the benefit [of the Saints] and the way that the Savior would want it” he says. And the Lord will never allow that presiding authority to misguide the Church, Elder Perry emphasizes. “I think every prophet has said they would never be allowed to lead our Father in Heaven’s children astray,” he notes.
Also because of the restoration of the priesthood, “every priesthood bearer in the Church can trace his line of authority back to the Savior Himself, Elder Perry says. “We have this great article of faith, the fifth article of faith. ‘We believe [that] a man must be called of God’ . . . that’s the way He governs those who are called. They’re not called [at] random, they are called by inspiration and prophesy by those who are in authority to ‘preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.’ So it’s a direct line that comes to the people through inspiration by the Lord on those called to exercise the priesthood.”
Restoration a Sacred Event
In the interview, Elder Perry traces the history of the Great Apostasy, as well as the events during the translation of the Book of Mormon that caused Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to pray, leading to the divine visit of John the Baptist, who “put his hands on their heads and said, ‘Upon you my fellow servants,’ and ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood. (See D&C 13:1 [link to /scriptures/dc-testament/dc/13.1#1].) That was a glorious event. I hope all priesthood bearers remember May 15, 1829, as a sacred event in Church history. It’s a special event in the history of time.” A short while later, the higher priesthood, or Priesthood of Melchizedek, was also restored.
“The only way that the Lord could establish His kingdom again on the earth, through the powers of the priesthood, was to have that glorious restoration,” Elder Perry says.
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.