President Eyring conducted the Saturday evening Priesthood Session. Direct quotations (based on notes by Kent and myself) are given in quotes; all other text represents my summary of the remarks given. Text in italics is my own editorial comment. I have highlighted in bold type one particularly striking thought or comment in each talk.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Twelve, on priesthood power:
- Question once posed by David O. McKay: Name the most distinguishing feature of LDS Church. His answer: the divine authority of the LDS priesthood.
- The priesthood is the authority of God delegated to men on earth to act for the salvation of souls. Worthiness and willingness are the qualifications.
- “Nothing about the priesthood is self-centered. It is inherently active rather than passive.”
- Quotes D&C 121: No control or dominion or compulsion in any degree of unrighteousness, or else amen to the priesthood authority of that man. Righteousness is required to act with priesthood power.
- Story: Elder Bednar’s father was not LDS, but he attended LDS meetings his adult life. He told a teenage Elder Bednar, “I will join the Church when I decide it is the right thing to do. But why don’t your LDS priesthood holders do their home teaching?” Elder Bednar concedes that LDS men are no better than others, but as priesthood holders they should do better. Years later, Elder Bednar’s father was finally baptized.
- In interviews with married sisters, the most common wish they shared with Elder Bednar was to help their husbands understand their responsibility as a priesthood holder in the home. “Brethren, the time to act is now.”
Elder Richard C. Edgley, just released from the Presiding Bishopric, on rescuing the inactive:
- Story: Stake missionary call extended to young inactive sister. Result: she got active.
- Hey, it’s tough to come back into activity! Treat less active members as equals, as sons and daughters of God.
- The priesthood should lead out in reactivation efforts: that’s what the priesthood is all about!
- All’s well that ends well, he said to a recently reactivated man. No, the man replied — I lost my kids to the Church and am now losing my grandkids. So don’t just think of one reactivated person, think of the many more you may bring back or bless.
Elder Adrián Ochoa of the Young Men General Presidency, on young men and the priesthood:
- His greatest joy in his calling: seeing young Aaronic Priesthood serve. His greatest sadness: their failure to realize what they can accomplish with their sacred priesthood.
- “Young men you know that you are at your best in the service of God.”
- Social media are divine tools to use in doing your priesthood duty. But be careful.
This was a very upbeat talk to the young men.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, on the why of priesthood service:
- Story: In Frankfurt, Germany, his “old-fashioned” Branch President called him to be Deacon’s Quorum President and shared the why as well as the what of the calling. “After, I felt taller than before.”
- “The what informs but the why transforms.”
- “We need to be constantly reminded of the eternal reasons behind what we are called to do.”
- There are lots of good things to do, but they are not all priorities. We must use the why to set priorities, so we don’t get caught in hobbies, temporal or spiritual, which distract us. Our lives need regular pruning, so we can accomplish our life’s real purpose.
- Diligently study the scriptures and study the words of the living prophets. This will show you the path to follow in the various periods of your life. Citing President Monson: If you are on the Lord’s errand, you will not be left alone.
- Despite good intentions, we sometimes stumble. Understanding the why will help us do the right thing, even when it is hard. Shall we not go on in such a great cause? Yes, we will, and we will not give up.
- Become the man you were meant to be! (Channeling Elrond to Aragorn: Become who you were born to be. Take the Dimholt Road.).
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency on the sealing power.
- April 3, 1836: Elijah gives sealing keys at the Kirtland Temple. Cites President Harold B. Lee saying that while the Melchizedek Priesthood has power, its blessings would not endure without the sealing power. Only the President of the Church holds those keys, which power is delegated to just a few who serve in temples.
- Notes that nothing is more important than living up to the marriage and temple covenants made in the temple, which must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. God sees the heart and is the one who judges whether and when these covenants and blessings are sealed (I’m filling in a bit here).
- President Eyring lists four imperatives:
- Get a witness that the First Presidency holds the priesthood keys! You’ll be happier.
- Put your wife’s happiness above your own.
- Enlist the whole family in the project of loving each other. Recognize acts of unselfish service.
- Lead the family in the Lord’s way when it comes to discipline. No power or influence ought to be maintained … reproving at times with sharpness, but showing afterwards an increase in love. Control your tempers; subdue your pride.
President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church, on priesthood duty:
- Priesthood is an eternal principle. (Joseph Smith)
- Priesthood is a channel of communication from God to man. (Wilford Woodruff)
- Priesthood is the power of God delegated to man. (Joseph F. Smith)
- Priesthood is the government of God. It governs all things and sustains all things. (John Taylor)
- The priesthood is a commission to serve, not a gift. It carries responsibilities and duties. Let every man learn to do his duty, and act with all diligence. The priesthood is a call to duty.