Brethren, much has been said and written in recent years about the challenges of men and boys. A sampling of book titles, for example, includes, Why There Are No Good Men Left, The Demise of Guys, The End of Men, Why Boys Fail, and Manning Up. Interestingly, most of these seem to have been written by women. In any case, a common thread running through these analyses is that in many societies today men and boys get conflicting and demeaning signals about their roles and value in society. The author of Manning Up characterized it this way:
It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that whereas girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess, or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors of women and children; this was always their primary social role. Today, however, with women moving ahead in an advanced economy, provider husbands and fathers are now optional, and the character qualities men had needed to play their role-fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity-are obsolete and even a little embarrassing.
In their zeal to promote opportunity for women, something we applaud, there are those who denigrate men and their contributions. They seem to think of life as a competition between male and female-that one must dominate the other, and now it’s the women’s turn. Some argue that a career is everything and marriage and children should be entirely optional-therefore, why do we need men? In too many Hollywood films, TV and cable shows, and even commercials, men are portrayed as incompetent, immature, or self-absorbed. This cultural emasculation of males is having a damaging effect. In the United States, for example, it is reported:
Girls outperform boys now at every level, from elementary school through graduate school. By eighth grade, for instance, only 20 percent of boys are proficient in writing and 24 percent proficient in reading. Young men’s SAT scores, meanwhile, in 2011 were the worst they’ve been in 40 years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to drop out of both high school and college. . . . It is predicted that women will earn 60 percent of bachelor’s, 63 percent of master’s, and 54 percent of doctorate degrees by 2016. Two-thirds of students in special education remedial programs are guys.
Some men and young men have taken the negative signals as an excuse to avoid responsibility and never really grow up. In an observation that is too often accurate, one university professor remarked, “The men come into class with their backward baseball caps and [their lame] the word processor ate my homework’ excuses. Meanwhile, the women are checking their day planners and asking for recommendations for law school.” One female movie reviewer expressed the rather cynical view that, “What we can count on men for, if we’re lucky and choose to have a partner, is to be just that-a partner. Someone who stands in his own space even as he respects our standing in our own.”
Brethren, it cannot be this way with us. As men of the priesthood, we have an essential role to play in society, at home, and in the Church. But we must be men that women can trust, that children can trust, and that God can trust. In the Church and kingdom of God in these latter days we cannot afford to have boys and men who are drifting. We cannot afford young men who lack self-discipline and live only to be entertained. We cannot afford young adult men who are going nowhere in life, who are not serious about forming families and making a real contribution in this world. We cannot afford husbands and fathers who fail to provide spiritual leadership in the home. We cannot afford to have those who exercise the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God waste their strength in pornography or spend their lives in cyberspace (ironically being of the world, while not being in the world).
Young men, you need to do well in school, and then continue your education beyond high school… In whatever you choose, it is essential that you become proficient so that you can support a family and make a contribution for good in your community and your country.
You adult men-fathers, single adults, leaders, home teachers-be worthy models and help the rising generation of boys become men. Teach them social and other skills: how to participate in a conversation, how to get acquainted and interact with others, how to relate to women and girls, how to serve, how to be active and enjoy recreation, how to pursue hobbies without becoming addicted, how to correct mistakes and make better choices.
And so to all who are listening, wherever this message may reach you, I say as Jehovah said to Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:6). Take heart, and prepare the best you can whatever your circumstances. Prepare to be a good husband and father; prepare to be a good and productive citizen; prepare to serve the Lord whose priesthood you hold. Wherever you are your Heavenly Father is mindful of you. You are not alone, and you have the priesthood and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Of the many places you are needed, one of the very most important is your priesthood quorum. We need quorums that provide spiritual nourishment to members on Sunday and that also serve. We need leaders of quorums who focus on doing the Lord’s work and on supporting quorum members and their families.
Consider missionary work. Young men, you have no time to waste. You can’t wait to get serious about preparing until you are 17 or 18.
Our quorums also form a brotherhood of mutual support.
The Church cannot hope to save a man on Sunday if during the week it is a complacent witness to the crucifixion of his soul.”
Of course, as has been repeated by prophets over the years, “The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home.” We have much to do to strengthen marriage in societies that increasingly trivialize its importance and purpose. We have much to do to teach our children “to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:28). Our task is nothing less than to help our children experience the mighty change of heart or conversion to the Lord spoken of so eloquently in the Book of Mormon (see Mosiah 5:1-12 and Alma 26). Together with the Relief Society, priesthood quorums can build up parents and marriages, and quorums can provide the blessings of the priesthood to single-parent families.
Yes, Brethren, we have work to do. Thank you for the sacrifices you make and the good you do. Keep going, and the Lord will help you. At times, you may not know quite what to do or what to say-just move forward. Begin to act, and the Lord assures that “an effectual door shall be opened for [you]” (D&C 118:3).
Begin to speak, and He promises, “you shall not be confounded before men; for it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say” (D&C 100:5-6).
Every person is different, and has a different contribution to make. No one is destined to fail. As you seek revelation to see the gifts God sees in them, you will be blessed to lift their sights to the service they can perform. With your guidance, those you lead will be able to see, want, and believe they can achieve their full potential for service in God’s kingdom.
With my own children, I prayed for revelation to know how I could help each of them prepare for specific opportunities to serve God. And then, I tried to help them visualize, hope, and work for this future. I carved a board for each son with a quotation from scripture that described his special gifts and an image that represented this gift. Beneath the picture and the legend, I carved the dates of each boy’s baptism and ordinations into priesthood offices, with his height marked at the date of each milestone.
I will describe the boards I carved for each son to help him see his spiritual gifts and what he might contribute in the Lord’s work. You can be inspired to recognize, as I did, specific gifts and unique opportunities for each of the youth you love.
When my oldest son became a deacon and an Eagle Scout, a picture of an eagle came to my mind as I thought of him and his future. We were living in Idaho near the base of the South Teton Mountain, where we hiked together and watched the eagles soar.
In fact, we had stopped hiking below the peak of the South Teton because my son grew weary. He said, “Will I always be sorry that we didn’t make it to the top? You go on-I don’t want you to be disappointed.” I replied, “I’ll never be disappointed, and you’ll never be sorry. We’ll always remember that we climbed here together.” At the top of his height board, I carved an eagle and the inscription “On Eagles’ Wings.”
My son soared higher as a missionary than I had imagined in my fondest hopes. In the challenges of the mission field, some of what he faced seemed above his reach. For the boy you lift, it may be as it was for my son, that the Lord lifted him higher in preaching the gospel in a difficult language than I had thought possible. If you will try, with any young man, to sense his priesthood possibilities, I promise you the Lord will tell you as much as you need. The boy may have potential even beyond what the Lord will reveal to you. Help him aim high.
The boy you are encouraging may seem too timid to be a powerful priesthood servant. One of my sons was so shy as a little boy that he wouldn’t talk to a clerk in a store. I worried as I prayed over his priesthood future. I was led to a scripture in Proverbs:
“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
I carved “Bold as a Lion” on his board, beneath an image of a large lion’s head. On his mission, and in the years that followed, he fulfilled the hope in my carving. My once-shy son preached the gospel with great conviction and faced dangers with bravery. He was magnified in his responsibilities to represent the Lord.
That can happen for the young man you are leading. You need to build his faith that the Lord can transform him into a servant braver than the timid boy you now see.
We know the Lord makes His servants bold. The young boy who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, in a grove of trees was transformed into a spiritual giant.
The Lord will give His righteous servants’ opportunities to be bold as lions, when they speak in His name and as witnesses in His priesthood.
Another son, even as a boy, had a large circle of friends who often sought his company. He forged bonds easily among people. As I tried to foresee his contribution in God’s kingdom, I felt that he would have the power to draw people together in love and unity.
That led me to the account in the Doctrine and Covenants that describes the efforts of priesthood elders to build Zion in Missouri to the acclaim of angels who saw their contributions. That required great sacrifice. The revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants says:
“Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.”
On my son’s height board, I carved “Angels Rejoice Over You.”
This son’s great ability to gather and influence people extended well beyond his school years. With fellow priesthood holders, he organized stake activities that gave the youth in his area faith to endure and even triumph in difficult situations. As he built faith in these young men and women, he helped build outposts of Zion in the urban centers of America. In the carving, I had the angels blowing trumpets, which may not be exactly how they do it, but it was easier to carve than a shout.
Angels rejoice as priesthood leaders across the world build Zion in their wards, stakes, and missions. And they will rejoice over the young men and women you help to build Zion wherever they are, and in whatever circumstances they may be. Zion is the result of people bound by covenant and love. I invite you to help your youth to join.
For one of my sons, I was prompted to carve a sun and the words from the Savior’s Intercessory Prayer, “This Is Life Eternal.” Near the end of His mortal ministry, the Savior prayed to His Father:
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<hr class=’system-pagebreak’ /><hr class=’system-pagebreak’ />0001pt;”>“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work thou gavest me to do.”
Life eternal is unity, in families, with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.Eternal life is only possible through the keys of the priesthood of God, which were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Holding that goal before the youth you lead is as great a gift as you could give them. You will do it primarily by example in your own family. Those you lead may not have a family in the Church, but I challenge you to help them feel the love of family on both sides of the veil.
The height boards I have described are only one way to help young people glimpse the grandeur God sees in them and the unique service He is preparing them to give. He will help you see how to do it for your children, or for other youth. But as you prayerfully seek to glimpse this future yourself, and then to communicate it to the young person, you will come to know that God knows and loves each of His children as individuals, and sees great and unique gifts in each of them.
As a father, I was blessed to see great futures in God’s kingdom for my daughters as well as my sons. When I prayerfully sought guidance, I was shown a way to help my daughters recognize the trust God had placed in them as servants who could build His kingdom.
When my daughters were young, I saw that we could help others feel the love of those beyond the veil, throughout the generations. I knew that love comes from service and inspires hope of life eternal.
So, we carved breadboards on which we placed a loaf of homemade bread, and went together to deliver our offering to widows, widowers, and families. The legend I carved on each breadboard read, “J’aime et J’espere,” French for “I love and I hope.” The evidence of their unique spiritual gifts appeared not just on the boards I carved, but more clearly as we distributed them to those who needed, in the midst of pain or loss, reassurance that the love of the Savior and His Atonement could produce a perfect brightness of hope. This is life eternal, for my daughters, and for each of us.
For example, new communication technologies allow sharing messages of faith and hope acros great distances, instantaneously and at little or no cost. My wife helps me do this each evening. We begin by talking by telephone with as many of our children and grandchildren as we can reach. We ask them to share stories of personal successes and service rendered. We also invite them to send photos of the day’s activities. We use these photos to illustrate a few paragraphs of text. We end with one or two verses from the Book of Mormon. Perhaps Nephi and Mormon wouldn’t be very impressed by the spiritual quality of our content or the limited effort required to create what we call “The Family Journal: The Small Plates.” But Sister Eyring and I are blessed by the effort. We feel inspired in selecting the passages of scripture and the brief messages of testimony we write. And we see evidence in our grandchildren’s lives of their hearts being turned toward us and to the Savior.
There are other ways to reach out; you are already engaged in many of them. Your habits of family prayer and scripture reading will create more lasting memories and greater changes of heart than you may realize now. Even apparently temporal activities, such as attending an athletic event or watching a movie, can shape a child’s heart. What matters is not the activity, but the feelings that come as you do it. I have discovered a good test for identifying activities with the potential to make a great difference in a young person’s life. It is that they suggest the activity out of an interest they feel has come to them as a gift from God. I know that is possible from my own experience.
There is absolutely nothing in this world that will provide more comfort and happiness than a testimony of the truth. Although to varying degrees, I believe every man or young man here tonight has a testimony. If you feel that you do not yet have the depth of testimony you would wish-and perhaps that would be the feeling of most-I admonish you to work to achieve such a testimony. If it is strong and deep, labor to keep it that way. How blessed we are to have a knowledge of the truth.
My message tonight, brethren, is that there are countless individuals who have little or no testimony right now, those who could and would receive such a testimony if we would be willing to make the effort to share ours and to help them change. In some instances we can provide the incentive for change. I mention first those who are members but who are not at present fully committed to the gospel.
Many years ago, at an area conference held in Helsinki, Finland, I heard a powerful, memorable and motivating message given in a mothers and daughters session. I have not forgotten that message, though nearly forty years have passed since I heard it. Among many truths the speaker discussed, she said that a woman needs to be told she is beautiful. She needs to be told she is valued. She needs to be told she is worthwhile.
Brethren, I know that men are very much like women in this regard. We need to be told that we amount to something, that we are capable and worthwhile. We need to be given a chance to serve. For those members who have slipped from activity or who hold back and remain noncommittal, we can prayerfully seek for some way to reach them. Asking them to serve in some capacity may just be the incentive they need to return to full activity. But those leaders who could help in this regard are sometimes reluctant to do so. We need to bear in mind that people can change. They can put behind them bad habits. They can repent from transgressions. They can bear the priesthood worthily. And they can serve the Lord diligently.
Sometimes letting our brethren know they are needed and valued can help them take that step into commitment and full activity. This can be true of priesthood holders regardless of age. It is our responsibility to give them opportunities to live as they should. We can help them to overcome their shortcomings. We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become when they receive testimonies of the gospel of Christ.
The same principle, brethren, applies to those who are not yet members. We should develop the capacity to see men not as they are, but as they can become when they are members of the Church, when they have a testimony of the gospel, and when their lives are in harmony with its teachings.
We have the responsibility to look at our friends, our associates, our neighbors this way. Again, we have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become. I would plead with you to think of them in this way.
Brethren, the Lord told us something about the importance of this priesthood that we hold. He told us that we receive it with an oath and a covenant. He gave unto us the instruction that we must be faithful and true in all that we receive, and that we have the responsibility to keep this covenant even unto the end. And then all that the Father has shall be given unto us.
Courage is the word we need to hold near our hearts-courage to turn our backs on temptation, courage to lift up our voices in testimony to all whom we meet, remembering that everyone must have an opportunity to hear the message. It is not an easy thing for most to do this. But we can come to believe in the words of Paul to Timothy: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.”
I thought of the Apostle Paul before Agrippa. I thought of Agrippa’s response to Paul’s testimony: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Brother Groberg had the courage to bear his testimony to a king.
The holy scriptures contain no proclamation more relevant, no responsibility more binding, no instruction more direct than the injunction given by the resurrected Lord as He appeared in Galilee to the eleven disciples. Said He: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
This divine command, coupled with its glorious promise, is our watchword today, as it was in the meridian of time. Missionary work is an identifying feature of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Always has it been; ever shall it be. As the Prophet Joseph Smith declared: “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel.”
Brethren, to each of us comes the mandate to share the Gospel of Christ. When our lives comply with God’s own standard, those within our sphere of influence will never speak the lament: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
To stay safely on the priesthood path amid rockslides of temptation, I remind us of six fundamental principles that deepen conversion and strengthen family.
First, praying always opens the door for divine help to “conquer Satan.” Each time Jesus alerts priesthood holders to “beware, for Satan desireth to sift [you],” He prescribes prayer as the temptation-countering action. President Thomas S. Monson has taught: “If any of us has been slow to hearken to the counsel to pray always, there is no finer hour to begin than now. . . . A man never stands taller than when he is upon his knees.”
Second, studying ancient and modern scripture connects us to God. The Lord cautioned Church members to “beware how they hold [the prophets] lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall.” To avoid this sobering condemnation, we should diligently read the scriptures, as well as Church magazines and websites that enable us to “be counseled in an intimate and personal way by [the Lord’s] chosen prophet.”
Third, worthily participating in ordinances prepares us to take “the Holy Spirit for [our] guide.” When the Savior warned, “Beware lest ye are deceived,” He promised we will not be if we “seek . . . earnestly the best gifts” of the Spirit. Worthily partaking of the sacrament each week qualifies members to “always have his Spirit to be with them.” In temple worship we may “receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost.”
Fourth, showing genuine love is at the heart of personal conversion and family relations. King Benjamin directed, “Beware lest there shall arise contentions among you.” Never forget that Satan is the “father of contention” and seeks that family members “fight and quarrel.” Brethren, if we are emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive to any member of our family, then we lose priesthood power. Choose to control anger. Family members should hear blessings from our mouths, not cursings. We are to influence others only by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness, and charity.
Fifth, obeying the law of tithing is an essential element of faith and family unity. Because Satan uses greed and the pursuit of possessions to sweep families off the celestial highway, Jesus advised, “Beware of covetousness.” Covetousness is restrained as we project our income, pay an honest tithe and generous fast offering, budget needed expenses, avoid unnecessary debt, save for future needs, and become temporally self-reliant. God’s promise to us is, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Sixth, fully living the law of chastity yields confidence to stand “in the presence of God” with the Holy Ghost as our “constant companion.” Satan is assaulting virtue and marriage with an avalanche of obscenity. When the Lord warned adulterers to “beware and repent speedily,” His definition extended beyond the physical act of adultery to the lustful thoughts that precede it. Modern prophets and apostles have spoken often and clearly about the plague of pornography. President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “[Pornography] is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful. . . . The time has come for any one of us who is so involved to pull himself out of the mire.” If you are tempted to violate the law of chastity in any form, follow Joseph of Egypt’s example who “fled, and got him out.”
These six fundamental principles help priesthood holders continue up the heavenly highway, safely between the spiritual guardrails of personal conversion and family relationships. Young men, obeying these principles will prepare you for temple covenants, full-time missionary service, and eternal marriage. Husbands and fathers, living these principles will qualify you to preside over the home in righteousness, serving as your family’s spiritual leader, with your wife as an equal partner.
Tonight I speak especially to the young men, holders of the Aaronic Priesthood, gathered from around the world for this general priesthood meeting. I share with you narrative from the Book of Mormon describing Helaman and his 2000 stripling soldiers. This scripture will provide insight into the character of those ancient young men–and inspiration for you, latter- day young men. I quote a favorite scripture: “And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold this is not all–they were men who were true at all times….” Courage, strength, activity and truth-what admirable traits!
I would like to focus on the first trait that describes them: “valiant for courage.” To me, this describes the conviction of these young men to courageously do what is right, or as Alma describes, “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all places.” The 2000 stripling soldiers had countless moments to demonstrate their courage. Each of you will also have defining moments in your life requiring courage. A friend of mine, John, shared with me one of those moments in his life.
Young men, there will be times when you will have to demonstrate your righteous courage in plain view of your peers, the consequence of which may be ridicule and embarrassment. Additionally, in your world, skirmishes with the adversary will also be fought on a silent, solitary battlefield in front of a screen. Technology with its substantial benefits also brings challenges not faced by generations before you. A recent national survey found that today’s teens are not only tempted at alarming levels each day in schools, but also in cyber-space. It revealed that teens that were exposed to images of drinking or drug use on social networking sites were three to four times more likely to use them. Commenting on the survey, a former U.S. Cabinet Secretary stated (quote), “This year’s survey reveals a new kind of potent peer pressure–digital peer pressure. Digital peer pressure moves beyond a child’s friends and kids they hang out with. It invades the home and a child’s bedroom via the Internet.” (end of quote) The demonstration of righteous courage will often be as subtle as to click or not to click. Missionaries are taught from Preach My Gospel: “What you choose to think and do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue.” Be courageous! Be strong!
Young men, I promise the Lord will empower you. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power.” He will reward you for your courage and righteous behavior–with happiness and joy. Such courage will be a byproduct of your faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, your prayers, and obedience to commandments.
I invite you to qualify yourselves as did the 2000 stripling soldiers by being valiant in courage as worthy priesthood holders. Remember, what you do, where you go, and what you see will shape who you become. Who do you want to become? Become a worthy deacon, a worthy teacher, a worthy priest. Set a goal to be worthy to receive your next ordinance at the proper age and ultimately to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. This is a pathway of righteousness which invites divine assistance. The Lord stated, “In the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.”
Parents, priesthood leaders, and prophetic priorities found in your Duty to God and For the Strength of Youth pamphlets will guide you along the way.
My love for flying influenced the direction of my entire life. But as invigorating and blissful my experiences as a pilot were, my experiences as a member of this church have been much deeper, more joyful, and far more profound. As I have immersed myself in church service, I have felt God’s almighty power, as well as His tender mercies.
As a pilot, I have touched the skies. As a Church member, I have felt heaven’s embrace.
Every now and then, I miss sitting in a cockpit. But serving alongside my brothers and sisters in the Church easily makes up for it. Being able to feel the sublime peace and joy that grows from being a small part of this great cause and work, I would not want to miss for anything in the world.
Today we are assembled as a vast body of the priesthood. It is our sacred joy and privilege to serve the Lord and our fellowmen, to commit the best that is within us to the noble cause of lifting others and building the kingdom of God.
We know and understand that the priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. We can easily recite this definition from memory. However, do we truly comprehend the significance of what we’re saying? Let me repeat: The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God.
Think of it. Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth.
Through this power He redeems and exalts His children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man.”
The priesthood, as the Prophet Joseph Smith explained, is “the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing His glory at the … creation of this earth, and through which He has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time.”
Our all-powerful Father in Heaven has entrusted priesthood authority to us-mortal beings who, by definition, are flawed and imperfect. He grants to us the authority to act in His name for the salvation of His children. By this power, we are authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, help build the kingdom of God on the earth, and bless and serve our families and fellowmen.
Available to All
This is the sacred priesthood we bear.
It cannot be purchased or commanded. The use of its power cannot be influenced, swayed, or compelled by position, wealth, or influence. It is a spiritual power that operates on heavenly law. It originates in the great Heavenly Father of us all. Its power can be controlled and directed only through principles of righteousness, not self-righteousness.
Christ is the source of all true priesthood authority and power on earth. It is His work, in which we are privileged to assist. “And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.
We do not act for personal gain, but rather we seek to serve and lift up others.We lead not by force but through persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.
The priesthood of Almighty God is available to worthy men wherever they may be-no matter their ancestry, no matter how humble their circumstances, in the nearest or farthest reaches of the globe. It is available without money or any worldly price. To paraphrase the ancient prophet Isaiah, everyone who is thirsty can come to the waters, and no money is required to come and eat!
And because of the eternal and unfathomable Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the priesthood of God can be available even if you have stumbled or have been unworthy in the past.
Through the spiritually refining and cleansing process of repentance, you can arise and shine forth! Because of the boundless, forgiving love of our Savior and Redeemer, you can lift up your eyes, become clean and worthy, and develop into righteous and noble sons of God-worthy bearers of the most sacred priesthood of Almighty God.
The Wonder and Privilege of the Priesthood
I feel a certain sadness for those who do not grasp and appreciate the wonder and privilege of the priesthood. They are like passengers on an airplane who spend their time grumbling about the size of the packet of peanuts while they are soaring through the air, far above the clouds-something ancient kings would have given all they possessed to try just once!
Brethren, we are blessed to be humble partakers of this great priesthood authority and power. Let us lift up our eyes and see, recognize, and accept this opportunity for what it really is.
Through righteous, loving, and dedicated priesthood service, we will be able to experience the true meaning of the revelation “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
Let us embrace and understand the wonder and privilege of the priesthood. Let us accept and love the responsibilities we are asked to fulfill-in our homes and in our Church units, no matter how large or small. Let us constantly increase in righteousness, dedication, and priesthood service. Let us find the joy of serving in the priesthood!
We can do this best by applying the principles of knowledge, obedience, and faith.
That means first, we need to know and internalize the doctrine of the priesthood found in the revealed word of God. It is important to understand the covenants and commandments upon which the priesthood operates.
Next, let us be wise and act upon this gained knowledge constantly and honorably. As we obey God’s laws, discipline our minds and bodies, and attune our actions to the patterns of righteousness taught by the prophets, we will experience the joy of priesthood service.
And finally, let us deepen our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us take upon ourselves His name and commit each day to walk anew in the path of discipleship. Let our works make our faith perfect. Through discipleship we may be perfected one step at a time by serving family, fellowmen, and God.
When we serve in the priesthood with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, we have a promise of sublime knowledge, peace, and spiritual gifts. As we honor the holy priesthood, God will honor us, and we will stand blameless before Him at the last day.