- Declare mind, will of God
- Are true servants of the Lord- Give heed to their counsel
The same sacred authority the Lord gave to Peter in conferring upon him the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:19) is inherent in the ordination of every apostle in this dispensation.
So stated President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, in his address Saturday morning.
President Packer referred to Paul's teachings that apostles and prophets were called "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," and declared that these offices would endure "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God." (Eph. 4:12-13.)
He spoke of the division and disunity that existed from the time of the demise of the original apostles until the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the same organization that existed in the primitive church built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets. The restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the formation of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the offices of the Seventy and Presiding Bishopric came "a piece at a time as the Brethren were ready and as they inquired of God," President Packer said.
President Packer, quoting President J. Reuben Clark Jr., explained that the apostles have had assigned to them a special calling and special gifts; are sustained as prophets, seers and revelators; and have the right, the power and authority to declare the mind and will of God to His people. Only the President of the Church has the right to receive revelations for the Church, give authoritative interpretations of scriptures, or change in any way the existing doctrines of the Church, he said.
The Twelve, explained President Packer, "are commissioned to go to all the world, for the word apostle means `one who is sent forth.' " They "are called to be . . . special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world." (D&C 107:23) "Each carries a certain witness that Jesus is the Christ," said President Packer.
He quoted from the 124th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, in which the Lord gave "the sternest warning that I know of in all scripture" as He rebuked the Saints for delaying the building of the Nauvoo temple. "Often overlooked in that revelation is a marvelous promise. `If my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.' " (D&C 124:45.)
"Remember this promise; hold onto it," President Packer admonished. "It should be a great comfort to those struggling to keep a family together in a society increasingly indifferent to, even hostile toward standards essential to a happy family."
He said that the promise was followed by a caution: "But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest." (D&C 124:46.)
"The most precious thing we have to give is our witness of the Lord, our testimony of Jesus Christ," President Packer said. . . . These men
members of the TwelveT are true servants of the Lord; give heed to their counsel. So, too, with the Seventy, who as especial witnesses carry an apostolic responsibility, and the Bishopric, worthy men of God. So, too, with the brethren and sisters across the Church who are called to lead, who have earned that knowledge precious above all else."