“Priesthood Fireside on Righteousness, Service,” Ensign, July 1992, 75–76
The rights, blessings, and power of the priesthood are dependent upon personal righteousness and worthiness, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, reminded priesthood holders during a May 3 satellite-relayed fireside commemorating the 163d anniversary of the restoration of the priesthood.
President Hinckley was the concluding speaker at the meeting, which originated from the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Other speakers included Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Stephen D. Nadauld of the Seventy. President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the meeting, and music was provided by a priesthood chorus from the Bountiful, Woods Cross, and Val Verda, Utah, regions.
President Hinckley said, “Every one of us who holds this divine power must recognize this transcendent truth—that those powers of heaven which are associated with the priesthood ‘cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.’” (D&C 121:36.)
Any degree of unrighteousness will result in the loss of priesthood authority. Sins mock the priesthood and defame the name of Christ. “They desecrate the sacred gift which came through ordination,” said President Hinckley.
President Hinckley warned all priesthood holders to shun pornography, sexual sin, dishonesty, and deceit, and to rid themselves of pride and vain ambition.
He said they should also guard against attitudes of compulsion or dominion over their wives and children. Quoting Doctrine and Covenants 121:41, President Hinckley reminded listeners that “‘no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by … priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.’” [D&C 121:41]
Those kind and loving men who honor their priesthood, who turn their backs to temptation, and who fulfill their responsibilities in righteousness live without regret, President Hinckley said, for God knows their hearts are pure.
Elder Ballard told Melchizedek Priesthood bearers that they have a sacred obligation to serve. “All priesthood holders assist our Heavenly Father in accomplishing His divine purpose: ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.’” (Moses 1:39.)
“From the time one is first ordained to any office in the priesthood, he should be committed to a lifetime of service in the kingdom of God,” he said.
Different offices in the priesthood provide opportunities for service and should not be thought of as status symbols. “You and I are fellow servants in the Church of Jesus Christ,” Elder Ballard continued.
He observed that while the priesthood itself cannot be magnified or diminished, worthy men who use their priesthood in the service of others can magnify their callings in the priesthood. This is an eternal obligation.
Opportunities to serve may be as a full-time missionary or in any ward or stake calling. Priesthood holders should frequently ask how they can serve ward members and neighbors and listen to suggestions from the leaders of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary auxiliaries.
Elder Ballard quoted the words of President Marion G. Romney, who once said: “Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.” (Ensign, Nov. 1982, p. 93.) There is no retirement from service in the Church, Elder Ballard said.
Elder Nadauld stressed the importance of the Aaronic Priesthood in helping young men prepare for future service in the Church.
“The Aaronic Priesthood has been restored—the priesthood of God, whose purpose is to begin the carving and molding to prepare a boy to become a special kind of man. When we look at you young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, we see missionaries, we see husbands, we see fathers, we see Melchizedek Priesthood holders doing Melchizedek Priesthood work to build our Heavenly Father’s kingdom,” Elder Nadauld noted.
The mission of the Aaronic Priesthood is important in understanding how the Aaronic Priesthood helps young men prepare for these future callings, he said.
Elder Nadauld said a young man must understand the gospel and apply its principles in his life in order to have the power of the Aaronic Priesthood. Aaronic Priesthood holders are also responsible for inviting people to come unto Christ by teaching faith, repentance, and the remission of sins through baptism.
“The most important thing you can do in this life is hold the priesthood honorably and use it wisely. As the days go by and you live by its precepts, the handiwork of the Lord will make of you mighty men of God,” Elder Nadauld said.