“The Priesthood Is God’s Power,” Liahona, August 2021
The priesthood is the power of God. He uses this power to bless all of His children and to help them return to live with Him. God has given priesthood power to His children on earth. With this power, priesthood leaders can lead the Church, and priesthood holders can perform sacred ordinances, like baptism, that help us come closer to God. Every man and woman who worthily receives priesthood ordinances and keeps the covenants (sacred promises) has access to the power of God.
When Jesus Christ was on the earth, He led His Church with priesthood power. He also gave this power to His Apostles. In the centuries after they died, many members fell away from the Church. They incorrectly changed the gospel and the way the Church worked. The priesthood of God was no longer on the earth. In 1829, Jesus sent John the Baptist and the Apostles Peter, James, and John to give Joseph Smith the priesthood. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only organization on earth with this authority from God.
Priesthood keys are the authority to direct the use of the priesthood, such as giving permission to perform ordinances. Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood. The President of the Church is the only person on earth who can use priesthood keys to direct the whole Church. Under his direction, others can use certain keys to do God’s work. Leaders such as bishops and stake presidents use priesthood keys to lead in their wards and stakes. Because callings to serve come from leaders with priesthood keys, men and women who serve in callings exercise priesthood authority as they do their duties.
The priesthood has two parts: the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Aaronic Priesthood. Through the Melchizedek Priesthood, Church leaders direct all the spiritual work of the Church, such as missionary and temple work. The Aaronic Priesthood functions under the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is used to perform ordinances such as baptism and the sacrament.
Through covenants and ordinances, God makes priesthood blessings available to all of His children. These blessings include baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the sacrament, and temple ordinances. Men and women who are endowed in the temple receive a gift of God’s priesthood power through their covenants. We can also receive priesthood blessings of healing, comfort, and guidance.
The priesthood that existed in ancient days is the same that exists now (see Moses 6:7).
Priesthood keys help make sure that we accomplish the Lord’s work in an orderly way (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:11).
Men who hold the priesthood can use it “only upon the principles of righteousness” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:36).
Some of the duties of those who hold the priesthood are described in Doctrine and Covenants 20:38–67.