Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We Believe: Priesthood Authority

Article of Faith #5: We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

We believe that before the world began, the priesthood authority of God came into play.  The Priesthood was the power that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ used to organize matter into a world for us to come.  Men were foreordained to the priesthood on account of their faithfulness in the pre-existence (see Alma 13).

We believe that any time the gospel of Jesus Christ has been on the earth, the priesthood authority of God has accompanied it.  Prophets such as Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, and all others held the priesthood.  Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his posterity were set apart and ordained by Moses to the priesthood office (see Exodus 28).  Through that authority, the posterity of Aaron was able to serve the people by offering sacrifices.

We believe that when Jesus Christ came to the earth to establish His church once again, He restored the priesthood.  He called men and gave them the authority to act in His name to bless the sick and administer the ordinances of the gospel, such as baptism (see Luke 9:1-2).  However after Christ's crucifixion, the apostles were hunted down.  Eventually the priesthood was lost as the apostles were martyred and the authority to act in the name of God was nowhere to be found on the Earth.

We believe that along with the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith, the priesthood authority was brought back to the earth.  John the Baptist restored the Aaronic priesthood and Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek priesthood.  With the priesthood back on the earth, men now have the authority to act in the name of God once more to heal the sick and to perform the saving ordinances of the gospel.  It is the Savior's priesthood and all those who hold it can trace their authority back to Him.

How grateful I am for the priesthood in my life.  I have gained a testimony for myself that it is a very real thing.  I have seen miracles performed through the proper use of it.  As Paul wrote, no one can take it unto themselves; God has an established pattern where everyone can know whom to turn to for aid (see Heb. 5:4).  Through that pattern, we can know the path on how to return to live with God.

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