The Priesthood Power of Women and Men

This was a talk given on December 8, 2019 to the Provo 73rd YSA Ward (a BYU Student Ward) just as they were wrapping up the semester and heading home for Christmas.  

A young mother was stranded in an airport due to bad weather.  She couldn’t get a flight out despite waiting in several lines with her soaked, hungry child.  Others criticized her for not picking up her daughter but sliding her along the floor with her foot.  Finally, an elderly man walked up and asked if he could help.  He took the young child in his arms, getting his own suit wet in the process.  He talked to someone at the ticket counter and got them on the next flight to Michigan.  After he knew they’d be okay, he left.  Later, when the woman was at a meeting being broadcast from Salt Lake, she recognized that it was the Apostle Spencer W. Kimball.

This story has been told many times in many Sacrament Meetings, but I thought there was a chance you hadn’t heard it yet, since it happened so long ago.  I want to tell you this story again with some new information that I recently learned.  But before I do that, let’s talk about the priesthood. 
I don’t need a show of hands, but have you heard of or witnessed any of the following?
1.     A father is out of town, the mother asks the oldest son to call on someone to pray. 
2.     An announcement is made at church that the priesthood will set up the tables and chairs.
3.     A Relief Society teacher introduces her lesson by stating how hard it was for her to prepare this lesson since the topic didn’t apply to women as it was on the priesthood.
4.     A recently widowed sister stands to bear her testimony and tearfully tells the congregation that she misses having the priesthood in her home. 
All four of these scenarios have happened to me.  As I have watched my seven-year-old brother put “in charge” of the family, heard men referred to as “the priesthood,” told that priesthood lessons don’t actually apply to the sisters, and heard countless times that an ordained priesthood bearer must live in a home in order for the priesthood to be in a home, it reinforced in me an incorrect understanding of what the priesthood is and how it works.  Fortunately, through careful study and personal revelation, I have learned that what I just described is not the doctrine of the priesthood. 
As these truths have been revealed to me, I have tried to share them with others when it feels appropriate.  I had such an opportunity to do this on October 4 of this year with my friend Charon.  She came over to my home so that we could make homemade pasta together.  As we worked, the conversation turned towards the priesthood and I shared with her what I’ve been learning about using the power of the priesthood, not just by those who are ordained within the offices of the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthood, but the power that men and women can access. 
The very next day, President Russell M. Nelson spoke in the General Women’s session of conference and gave an address titled “Spiritual Treasures.”  Charon texted me that night and asked, “How did you know the prophet was going to speak on this?”  Well of course I have no idea what the topics will be at General Conference, but I couldn’t help but marvel at the coincidence. 
Since President Nelson’s talk, I have realized it wasn’t a coincidence at all.  I have met many women who also have been studying how they too can access the power of the priesthood.  You see, the restoration of the gospel is ongoing.  Revelation did not end with Joseph Smith.  Even now the fullness of the gospel continues to come forth.  And when you read and study President Nelson’s talk, you’ll discover that the Lord wants to put an end to the scenarios that I described. 
1.     When a husband and father is away, the mother presides in the home.
2.     The men are not THE priesthood, they are bearers of the priesthood.
3.     Priesthood lessons apply to all priesthood organizations including the Relief Society.
4.     Every person who has been endowed in the temple can have the priesthood in their home.
I’d like to share a quote about this from Pres. Nelson’s talk.  “Every woman and every man who makes covenants with God and keeps those covenants, and who participates worthily in priesthood ordinances, has direct access to the power of God.”
Now I’d like to retell the story of the woman in the airport.  Her daughter recently wrote a book titled, “The Priesthood Power of Women: In the Temple, Church, and Family.”  In the first chapter she shares some details about what happened that day. 
Her parents had been married and sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.  After giving birth to their first child, her mom had four miscarriages.  The doctor said that in order to prevent a fifth miscarriage she couldn’t lift anything heavier than a loaf of bread.  The couple prayerfully decided that she would quit her job teaching, he would drop out of school, they would sell everything they could, and the young family would move to Michigan so that her family could help take care of her and her baby.  When the father dropped off his wife and child at the airport, he gave her what extra money he had, 35 cents.  She slipped the coins back into his coat pocket thinking that he’d need that money on his long drive to Michigan more than she would. 
So when the plane made an emergency landing in Chicago due to weather, she had no money for food or diapers.  She was desperate and didn’t know what to do.  She slumped down on the floor of the airport and using her priesthood power that she received as an endowed member, called upon her Heavenly Father for help.  Within moments an elderly gentleman approached her and asked how he could help. 
Do we fully understand the priesthood power that is available to us from a loving Father in heaven?  I don’t think we do.  And as President Nelson warns us, “Satan certainly does not want you to understand that every time you worthily serve and worship in the temple, you leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having ‘charge over’ you.” 

I wish we had at least two hours to spend together so that we can sit and discuss the priesthood power in our lives so that we might not be confused or deceived.  Instead I’d like to end with a quote by Elder Bruce R. McConkie from his April 1982 General Conference address, “This doctrine of the priesthood…cannot be learned out of the scriptures alone.  It is not set forth in the sermons and teachings of the prophets and Apostles, except in small measure. The doctrine of the priesthood is known only by personal revelation.  It comes, line upon line and precept upon precept, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
As we spend sacred time partaking of the Sacrament every week, and worship in the sacred place, the temple, we can use the blessings of the priesthood to make our homes sacred. 

I hope none of you are stranded in an airport this holiday season, but I do hope you all will have an opportunity to petition the Father and use the power and authority of the priesthood to draw down the blessings of heaven not just for yourself, but for those around you so they too can feel the love that our Heavenly Parents have for all of Their children.