The Priesthood of the Living God, Lesson 32: Section 84

“The Priesthood of the Living God, Lesson 32: Section 84,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 63–64

“Lesson 32,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 63–64

The Priesthood of the Living God

Lesson 32

Section 84


The priesthood is everlasting and eternal and carries with it great responsibility for each individual who holds it.

Theme Analysis

  1. The Aaronic Priesthood is the lesser priesthood and holds the keys to the preparatory gospel.

    1. The Aaronic Priesthood was on the earth from the days of Aaron until the days of John the Baptist.

    2. The Aaronic Priesthood carries with it great blessings for worthy service.

  2. The Melchizedek Priesthood is the greater priesthood.

    1. The Melchizedek Priesthood was held by many faithful men from the days of Adam to the days of Moses. After the time of Moses it was held by the prophets but not by the Lord’s people in general.

    2. The prophets who have represented the Lord throughout the mortal history of the earth have held the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  3. The Melchizedek Priesthood is received by an oath and a covenant.

  4. The priesthood is necessary to warn the nations of the impending judgments before the second coming of Christ.

    1. Those who hold the priesthood are responsible to warn the nations.

    2. Great blessings are promised to those who honor the priesthood and serve faithfully.

Study Sources

Student Manual

Section 84; Enrichments M and N, “Priesthood and Church Government, Parts 1 and 2”

Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach this revelation in its historical context.

Standard Works

  • D&C 84. Keeping in mind the theme of this lesson, read and ponder this section.

  • D&C 107:2–4. Why was the priesthood given the name Melchizedek?

  • D&C 107:99. What are two of the major responsibilities of anyone who accepts the priesthood?

  • D&C 4:2. What attributes are required for service in the Lord’s work?

  • D&C 113:7–8. How does the Church “put on her strength”?

  • D&C 121:36. Upon what principle does the priesthood operate? Alma 13:1–19. An extended discussion of the Melchizedek Priesthood and its powers.

Basic Library

  • Discourses, p. 319. What is the purpose of the priesthood in the Church?

  • Gos. Doc, pp. 158–59. What is the responsibility of everyone who holds the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood?

  • DS, 2:37–38. What future blessings await righteous priesthood holders?

  • DS, 3:141–42. How serious is it to break the oath and covenant of the priesthood?

  • Marion G. Romney, in CR, Apr. 1972, pp. 111–13. What are the consequences of not taking the oath and covenant of the priesthood seriously?

  • Joseph Fielding Smith, in CR, Apr. 1970, pp. 58–59. An excellent definition of the oath and covenant of the priesthood.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods (Chalkboard Illustration, Discussion)

You may want to place two columns on the chalkboard, one titled Aaronic Priesthood and the other titled Melchizedek Priesthood. Then by using section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants contrast the two divisions in the priesthood so students can understand the differences between them.

Aaronic Priesthood

  1. Holds the keys of the ministering of angels (see D&C 84:26)

  2. Administers the preparatory gospel (see D&C 84:26), including:

    1. Faith

    2. Repentance

    3. Baptism for remission of sins

    4. The law of carnal commandments

  3. Officiates in temporal matters (see D&C 20:46–59)

Melchizedek Priesthood

  1. Administers the gospel (see D&C 84:19) and holds the keys to the spiritual blessings of the Church (see D&C 107:18)

  2. Holds the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom (see D&C 107:19; 84:19)

  3. Necessary to see God and live (see D&C 107:19; 84:22)

Oath and Covenant (Scripture Analysis, Transparency, Discussion)

The importance of the oath and covenant of the priesthood cannot be overemphasized, yet there are many who do not understand its importance. Joseph Fielding Smith stated: “There is no exaltation in the Kingdom of God without the fullness of the priesthood, and every man who receives the Melchizedek Priesthood does so with an oath and a covenant that he shall be exalted” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 58). President Smith also gave the definition of the oath and the covenant of the priesthood (see Transparency 14, “The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood”). Share this with the class as preparation for their own study.

You might want to work through Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44 verse by verse with the students. An outline could be placed on the chalkboard as follows:

  1. Accept the two priesthoods

  2. Magnify their callings

  3. Become sanctified by the Spirit

  4. They also become sons of Moses and of Aaron

  5. Receive the Father’s kingdom

  6. Live by every word of God

The following questions might then be asked:

  1. What are the two priesthoods?

  2. What does it mean to be faithful?

  3. What does it mean to magnify a calling in the priesthood?

  4. How does one become sanctified?

  5. What is the relationship of Moses and Aaron to the priesthood?

  6. How are faithful priesthood holders sons of Moses and Aaron?

  7. What does the Father’s kingdom include?

  8. How should a person live who holds the priesthood?

Priesthood Means Service (Discussion, Transparencies)

Before teaching the following concept, you should establish an open, warm class atmosphere wherein the students feel free to share their feelings. Suggest that there is an aspect of priesthood power that escapes many people because they fail to comprehend the significance of using it in selfless service.

You then may wish to emphasize that you would like to share some insight on this principle from a prophet who truly understood it and who was known throughout the world for the way he lived it-President David O. McKay. Several of his insights on priesthood are given on Transparencies 15A and 15B, “Priesthood Means Service.”

Read the first quote from Transparency 15A and then illustrate this principle from the parable of the talents (see Matthew 25:15–30) and Doctrine and Covenants 84:62–95.

President McKay also illustrated this mighty message in an analogy familiar to nearly everyone. (See the second quote from Transparency 15A.)

Point out that it is not just the general priesthood throughout the Church that is such a blessing to the Saints and to the world, but the specific priesthood held by individuals, along with their individual acts of kindness, that blesses others. (See the third quote from Transparency 15A.)

“Strictly speaking, priesthood, as delegated power, is an individual acquirement” (David O. McKay, “Priesthood,” Instructor, Oct. 1968, p. 377).

Stress that as one engages in righteous, energetic service he has certain rights the Lord has extended for his own blessings, as well as for the blessing of those he serves. President McKay also explained this. (See the quotes on Transparency 15B.)

You might summarize this principle with the experience of Enos. As soon as a man receives divine approbation and personal purification, his love expands to the blessing of others (see Enos 1:5–12).

(Note: This lesson deals specifically with obligations of priesthood holders. The sisters’ relationship to the priesthood could be discussed in connection with Section 25 or Enrichments M and N in the student manual.)