“Priesthood Restoration Honored,” Ensign, July 1983, 76–77
“The time has come for all of us who have been ordained to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and to any of the offices therein, to reflect upon our lives, to assess our shortcomings, and to repent of those matters of conduct which are at variance with the high and holy commission we have received,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, in a May 15, priesthood fireside beamed to more than 500 stake centers in the United States and Canada.
“No man, young or old,” said President Hinckley, “who has been … ordained, can regard lightly that which he holds. He is in partnership with God and has resting upon him a solid and sacred obligation so to live as one worthy to speak and act in the name of God as his qualified representative.” He said this held true for “boys who are ordained” deacons, teachers, and priests, as well as Elders, Seventies, High Priests, and Apostles.
“The priesthood is not a passive thing. It is an active power. It is ours to enjoy to exercise for the blessing of others, to magnify by the manner of our lives, and to advance the cause of the Almighty. No man is entitled to feel that he is magnifying his priesthood who is dishonest, who cheats or lies or steals. No boy is honoring his priesthood if he is immoral, or if he abuses his body which is the temple of his spirit, by the use of tobacco or liquor or those drugs which are forbidden by the law,” said President Hinckley.
“No man, be he youth or elder, is living up to the standards of the priesthood who demeans or degrades womanhood, who fails to accord that measure of respect to the daughters of God which our Father in heaven would have them accorded. No man or boy can truly regard himself as worthy of this great and holy power, this bestowal of authority to act for God in his behalf, who takes unrighteous advantage of another, or who would take from another his good name by the spreading of vicious gossip or rumor, or who fails to reach out a helping hand to those in distress,” he said.
President Hinckley’s remarks highlighted a 90-minute fireside commemorating the 154th anniversary of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on 15 May 1829. The fireside also commemorated the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood by Peter, James, and John to the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery the latter part of May 1829. The showing of the new Church film, The Restoration of the Priesthood, focused on these historical events.
In his remarks, President Hinckley said that President Spencer W. Kimball and President Marion G. Romney “would very much liked to have been here tonight, but they are struggling with the problems of age.” Of President Kimball, he said, “Our beloved prophet … has been a mighty and valiant leader in the midst of Israel. He has been an inspiration to us all. I have not the slightest doubt that the Lord has preserved him by his power.”
Also speaking was Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve. “We who hold the priesthood of God are joined together by a sacred bond,” said Elder Packer. “We often speak of ‘holding’ the priesthood. The word hold is most often used in connection with things that we can pick up and set down and then pick up again. We may, if we are not properly taught, come to think of the priesthood that way. The priesthood is not like that. It is an authority and a power that is part of us.”
Elder Packer also spoke forcefully on missionary work. “Missionary service is the work of the Lord. … We who hold the priesthood are the only ones on earth with authority to perform the ordinances connected with it. It is the duty of young men holding the priesthood to serve in the mission field. In preparation for that service you need to do three things.
“First, you should decide now, in spite of temptation and opposition, that you will serve a mission. It is your duty! …
“The second thing you must do is to remain worthy. In our society that will not be easy. But, then, why should it be easy? The physical strength of youth needs to be surpassed by the moral strength of your young manhood.
“And you have the help of your teachers and leaders in the Church—and, most of all, of your parents. …
“Finally, you need to prepare financially. Every one of you should have a savings account specifically reserved for your mission. I speak to that young man who doesn’t have any idea how he can finance a mission. I do not know either. But I do know this: if you have faith and determine that you will go, there will be a way: Opportunities will come to you as manna from heaven.”