6. Priesthood and Priesthood Keys, Doctrinal Mastery Core Document (2018)
6.1. The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children. The priesthood is conferred upon worthy male members of the Church. The blessings of the priesthood are available to all of God’s children through the ordinances and covenants of the gospel.
6.2. The keys of the priesthood are the rights of presidency, or the power God gives to man to govern and direct the kingdom of God on the earth (see Matthew 16:15–19). Priesthood keys are necessary to direct the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the ordinances of salvation.
6.3. Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood pertaining to His Church. He has conferred upon each of His Apostles all the keys that pertain to the kingdom of God on earth. The President of the Church is the only person authorized to exercise all of those priesthood keys. Temple presidents, mission presidents, stake presidents, bishops, and quorum presidents also hold priesthood keys that allow them to preside over and direct the work they have been commissioned to do.
6.4. All who serve in the Church—men and women—are called under the direction of one who holds priesthood keys (see D&C 42:11). Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties” (“The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 51). Priesthood authority can only be exercised in righteousness (see D&C 121:36, 41–42).
6.5. Those who are ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood enter into the oath and covenant of the priesthood. If they magnify their calling and faithfully receive the Lord and His servants, they will obtain the blessings of exaltation. Women are likewise promised the blessings of exaltation as they are faithful to the covenants they have made with the Lord.
Related topics: The Restoration; Prophets and Revelation; Ordinances and Covenants
6.6. The Aaronic Priesthood is often called the preparatory priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood “holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism” (D&C 13:1). Through the exercise of this priesthood, the sacrament is prepared, blessed, and administered. The offices of the Aaronic Priesthood are deacon, teacher, priest, and bishop.
6.7. The Melchizedek Priesthood is the higher, or greater, priesthood and “holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things” (D&C 107:8). All of the blessings, ordinances, covenants, and organizations of the Church are administered under the authority of the President of the Church, who is the President of the Melchizedek Priesthood. This priesthood was given to Adam and has been on the earth whenever the Lord has revealed His gospel. Within the Melchizedek Priesthood are the offices of elder, high priest, patriarch, Seventy, and Apostle.
Related reference: Ephesians 4:11–14