The Power Is Real

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“The Power Is Real,” Liahona, June 1997, 44

The Power Is Real

As a priest, I had never laid hands on anyone’s head before. Now I was about to learn the reality of priesthood power.

When I became a priest in the Windsor Ward, London Ontario Canada Stake, our Young Men president, Brother Sandor, encouraged us to bless and pass the sacrament and perform baptisms as a way to exercise our priesthood. In one Sunday lesson, he also taught us about giving blessings during Aaronic Priesthood ordinations. He said, “You must be bold enough to say what the Spirit prompts you to say but be humble enough not to make up your own words!”

Not long after that lesson, a young convert in our ward was sustained as a teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood, and Brother Sandor asked me to be the “voice” in the ordination. I was scared. I had never laid my hands on anybody’s head before, and I felt inadequate. But then the Spirit reassured me that it would be fine for me to do it, and I was reminded of what my Young Men president had taught us.

The young man to be ordained sat down in the chair, and I stood directly behind him. When we were all ready, Brother Sandor guided me through the ordinance prayer, and I repeated every word he said. After we had finished the ordination by saying, “… and we wish to pronounce a blessing on your head at this time,” Brother Sandor looked at me and indicated that I was on my own.

At that point, the priesthood entirely changed its meaning for me. It was no longer just a title, but the actual authority to act in God’s name—and I was giving that authority to someone else. I paused and waited for the Spirit to whisper to me what I was to say. It is difficult for me to describe the feelings I had during the blessing, but I can say that I now have a stronger testimony that the power of the priesthood is real.

When the priesthood was restored in 1829, the keys of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel were given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. I know those keys are on the earth today and that the priesthood is the power of God.

Photograph by John Luke; posed by models