Using space-age imagery, Elder Dale G. Renlund compared the priesthood to a rocket and the opportunity to benefit from the Savior’s atoning power to the payload a rocket delivers.
“Jesus Christ has the power and authority to redeem all mankind,” said Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in his priesthood session address on Sept. 30. “To make His atoning power accessible, He has delegated a portion of His power and authority to men on earth.”
For the Father’s purposes to be accomplished, Christ’s atoning power needs to be made available to God’s children, Elder Renlund noted. “The priesthood delivers these opportunities. It's the rocket.”
Necessary ordinances and covenants on earth are administered only by priesthood authority, he noted.
As minor defects in rockets are prevented so as to safeguard the mission, priesthood use is safeguarded by priesthood keys as well as the covenants a priesthood holder makes, Elder Renlund said.
“Covenants with God are serious and solemn,” he said. “A man should prepare for, learn about and enter such covenants with the intent to honor them. A covenant becomes a pledge of self.”
Elder Renlund explained that an Aaronic Priesthood holder covenants to avoid evil, help others be reconciled to God, and prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. God in return promises hope, forgiveness, the ministering of angels and the keys of the gospel of repentance and baptism.
A Melchizedek Priesthood holder, Elder Renlund said, covenants to fulfill the responsibilities associated with the Aaronic Priesthood and to magnify his calling in the Melchizedek Priesthood. “He does so by keeping the commandments associated with the covenant” including heeding the words of eternal life, bearing testimony of Jesus Christ and His latter-day work, not boasting of himself and becoming the Savior’s friend.
God promises in return that a Melchizedek Priesthood holder will receive keys to understand the mysteries of God, Elder Renlund said. “He will become perfect so that he can stand in the presence of God.”
Elder Renlund said God affirms His covenant promises with an oath that pertains only to the Melchizedek Priesthood. “It is God who swears the oath, not the priesthood holder. Because this unique situation involves His divine power and authority, God uses an oath, employing the most forceful language He can, to assure us of the binding and irreversible nature of His promises."
Severe consequences result from breaking priesthood covenants, he warned. “Being casual or apathetic in a priesthood calling is like introducing material fatigue into a rocket component.”
Elder Renlund said he has come to realize that using the priesthood of God in any way is to assist Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in Their work, to provide the opportunity for redemption and exaltation to each of God’s children.