“Fulfilling Your Duty to God,” New Era, Sept. 2011, AP4–AP6
While serving as full-time missionaries in Chile, my companions and I had several opportunities to give priesthood blessings. On one occasion, after pronouncing a blessing on a single mother suffering from cancer, we expressed our appreciation for the opportunity of blessing her. Her response surprised us. She exclaimed, “Elders, you are the real blessing.” She continued, “Having worthy priesthood men in my home is the greatest blessing of all.”
As we thought about her comments, we recognized that God really does bless His children through righteous priesthood holders. If we hadn’t been there, ready to fulfill our priesthood duty, she could not have received the blessing we provided. We learned that fulfilling our duty to God meant living worthy to bless and serve others.
Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, the purpose of Fulfilling My Duty to God is to help you experience the power, authority, and divine mandate you received when the priesthood was conferred upon you. The Lord has said that “men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them” (D&C 58:27–28).
Duty to God helps you exercise this power by taking the initiative to serve others, including your family, and to magnify all of your priesthood duties. More importantly, Duty to God helps prepare you to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, make sacred covenants and receive temple ordinances, serve honorable full-time missions, and become righteous husbands and fathers.
Fulfilling your Duty to God is not a program but a process. As you participate in Duty to God, you learn about what God expects of you and make plans specific to your own feelings and circumstances. As you act on your plans, you gain a testimony and learn from your experiences. You then share what you are learning with your family, quorum members, and others. As you make and implement your plans, you learn how to express your feelings and take personal responsibility for your own spiritual growth and development.
President Thomas S. Monson has taught, “Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants on the stage of priesthood service” (“To the Rescue,” Ensign, May 2001, 48).
Everything about Duty to God invites you to act—you act by learning, you act by serving and by doing, and you act by sharing. As you implement your plans from Duty to God, you become full participants in the priesthood by magnifying your priesthood duty. You learn more profoundly that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
President Monson has also taught: “Each of us has duties associated with the sacred priesthood which we bear. Whether we bear the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood, much is expected of each of us” (“True to Our Priesthood Trust,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, 56).
If someone were to ask you to name the duties of a deacon, you would probably say that a deacon passes the sacrament and collects fast offerings. And you would be right. However, as the Fulfilling My Duty to God booklet illustrates, the service of a deacon encompasses much more than that. For example, a deacon is to watch over the Church, fellowship quorum members, speak in meetings, and share the gospel and his testimony with others. As you work on Duty to God, you will gain a much broader vision of what is expected of you and how you can better fulfill your duties as a deacon, teacher, or priest.
Duty to God also helps you establish spiritual habits that will bless your life. For example, you develop plans to pray regularly and to study the scriptures. Through Duty to God, you learn how to teach doctrines and make plans to share what you have learned with others now and as a full-time missionary in the future.
One young man, Logan G. Van Wagoner, shared the result of his plans to make scripture study more meaningful: “Duty to God has made a big change in my life. One great change is that I used to just read my scriptures. I wouldn’t pay a lot of attention and just ended up glancing through the verses so I could say I had read. But soon after I started Duty to God, it helped me realize the importance of the scriptures. I started to read each verse and mark or highlight things the Spirit made me feel were important and significant. I also started to check the cross-references to help me really understand and learn what I could. Now I feel the Spirit every time I read, telling me those things are true. It’s made a huge and positive difference in my life.”
We invite each of you to make Duty to God a part of every aspect of your Aaronic Priesthood experience. We encourage you to dedicate time each week to learn your duty, to make plans, and to diligently carry out your plans. We know that as you share your experiences with your family and friends, your testimony will grow and you will strengthen and bless those around you as well.
President Henry B. Eyring called the Fulfilling My Duty to God booklet “a powerful tool.” He went on to promise: “It will strengthen the testimonies of young men and their relationship with God. … It will strengthen their relationships with their parents, among quorum members, and with their leaders” (“Help Them on Their Way Home,” Ensign, May 2010, 24).
We promise that as you fulfill your duty to God, you will experience the powerful blessings of the priesthood in your life. You have the Holy Ghost as your companion and will be prepared to serve wherever and whenever you are called upon. As a worthy priesthood man, you will be a profound blessing to all you serve.