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Priesthood: God's power, authority

  • Blesses lives
  • Gives direction- Provides spiritual gifts

The priesthood is God's power and authority on earth to bless lives and help bridge earthly experiences to the eternities," Relief Society Gen. Pres. Elaine L. Jack declared Sunday afternoon.

"When we receive the blessings of the priesthood we are drawing on the power and grace of God," Pres. Jack added. She related the experiences of a branch in a village in Paraguay that was devastated by flooding in 1987. Upon hearing the plight of the village, the area presidency sent Elder Ted E. Brewerton of the Seventy with a rescue party and supplies.

When Elder Brewerton asked the young branch president if there were any sick among them, the young priesthood leader responded: "There are 38 of us who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood. We watch over and bless our people."

Pres. Jack continued: "When all around them had washed away, the Saints in Mistolar held firmly to the power of the priesthood and its spiritual blessings.

"I have a firm testimony of the power of the priesthood in the lives of all Church members," she said. "It is significant to me that the women [of the Relief Society in 1842] were organized under the authority of the priesthood. We sustain the priesthood and are sustained by its power. The sisters of the Church . . . treasure our opportunity to be full partakers of the spiritual blessings of the priesthood.

"Each of us can be directed and blessed in our eternal progression by receiving these blessings. The ordinances, covenants, sealings and the gift of the Holy Ghost are essential for exaltation."

Pres. Jack then spoke of the critical ordinance of baptism, "which opens the door to eternal life;" of the sacrament; of the gift of the Holy Ghost given upon confirmation into the Church; and of the importance of personal priesthood blessings and of patriarchal blessings. In addition, she spoke of the sweet spirit one feels when being set apart for a calling.

"Spiritual gifts are powerful priesthood blessings," Pres. Jack said. "They increase our capacity as we develop them by drawing on the storehouse in heaven. One gift I value is discernment. Many women have the gift of discernment. Often blessed with the power to know and understand beyond their experience, women draw on this strength as they visit monthly to teach in the homes or to assess needs as directed by the bishop. We use it as we nurture our children and teach them the gospel. We discern, by the power of God given to us through His Spirit that `one thing is needful.' " (Luke 10:42.)

Continuing, Pres. Jack said: "The temple is the matchless setting for receiving priesthood blessings. In this holy house, we are endowed individually, and then sealed together in families for eternity.

"We have been taught in this conference by prophets, seers and revelators, and General Authorities who bear the priesthood of God. Their messages are for every member of the Church."