Priesthood and Priesthood Keys
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“Priesthood and Priesthood Keys,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material (2017)

“Priesthood and Priesthood Keys,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material

Priesthood and Priesthood Keys

Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session. Because there are no Book of Mormon doctrinal mastery passages listed for doctrinal topic 6, “Priesthood and Priesthood Keys,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, these activities provide only a general review of the topic.

Understanding the Doctrine (20 minutes)

Segment 1 (10 minutes)


Show the class a picture of a young man being ordained to the priesthood.

Display or write the following questions on the board:

  • What is the priesthood?

  • What are priesthood keys?

  • Who holds priesthood keys?

  • What are some differences between the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood?

Invite students to read doctrinal topic 6, “Priesthood and Priesthood Keys,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document and look for statements that provide answers to these questions. Invite them to consider marking what they find and adding notes that can help them remember what they learn.

After sufficient time, ask students to report on the statements they found that answer the questions on the board.

  • In what ways are priesthood and priesthood keys essential to Heavenly Father’s plan?

Segment 2 (10 minutes)

House Keys

Hold up a set of keys, or draw a picture of keys on the board. If necessary, briefly review with students the difference between the priesthood and priesthood keys.

Media Icon
Show students the video of the April 2016 general conference address by Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Where Are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood?” from time code 0:00 to 2:26 (on If you are unable to show the video, invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Elder Stevenson’s account that follows. Ask students to watch or listen for why priesthood keys are important to Heavenly Father’s children.

Stevenson, Gary E.

“Our family had enjoyed a fun-filled day on the ski slopes, which was now coming to a frosty close. Arriving at the car, I reached in my coat pocket for the keys and then another pocket and another. ‘Where are the keys?’ Everyone was anxiously waiting on the keys! The car battery was charged, and all the systems—including the heater—were ready to go, but without the keys, locked doors would deny entrance; without the keys, the engine would not provide power to the vehicle.

“At the time, our primary focus was on how we were going to get into the car and get warm, but I couldn’t help but think—even then—there just might be a lesson here. Without keys, this wonderful miracle of engineering was little more than plastic and metal. Even though the car had great potential, without keys, it could not perform its intended function.

“The more I reflect on this experience, the more profound this analogy has become to me. I marvel at Heavenly Father’s love for His children. I stand in wonder at the heavenly visitation and the grand visions of eternity God bestowed upon Joseph Smith. And in particular, my heart is filled with overwhelming gratitude for the restoration of priesthood authority and priesthood keys. Without this restoration, we would be locked out from the vehicle necessary to transport us on our journey home to loving heavenly parents. The performance of every ordinance of salvation comprising our covenant pathway back to the presence of our Father in Heaven requires appropriate governance through priesthood keys” (Gary E. Stevenson, “Where Are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 29).

  • How does Elder Stevenson’s analogy help us better understand the importance of priesthood keys?

  • What are some examples of ordinances of salvation, or saving ordinances, that must be administered under the direction of someone holding priesthood keys? (Saving ordinances include baptism, confirmation, ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood [for men], the temple endowment, and temple sealing [see doctrinal topic 7, “Ordinances and Covenants,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document]. Saving ordinances must be authorized by a priesthood leader who holds the appropriate keys. Authorization is also required for naming and blessing a child, dedicating a grave, giving a patriarchal blessing, and preparing, blessing, and passing the sacrament.)

  • When have you or someone you know been blessed through priesthood authority or the use of priesthood keys?

Consider sharing your testimony of priesthood authority and priesthood keys.

Doctrinal Mastery Review

Create a doctrinal mastery quiz. You might do this by listing several doctrinal mastery references on the board. Either verbally or on pieces of paper, give students clues, and ask them to write down a doctrinal mastery reference that relates to it. Clues might be key phrases from the Doctrinal Mastery Reference Guide or statements of doctrine from the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Or you might make up short scenarios in which a specific doctrinal mastery passage would be applicable.

Consider reviewing the doctrinal mastery passages with the class before students take the quiz. You might have students retake the quiz or a different version of it as part of future class sessions so they can remember the location of the passages.