GPC13: The Priesthood, Gospel Principles Comments and Resources

Gospel Principles
Unit 5: The Church of Jesus Christ
Chapter 13: The Priesthood
Comments and Resources

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
  "When we receive the priesthood, we do so with the understanding that it will be used for the benefit of others.  This is an obligation we take upon us.  In fact, priesthood blesses us in two ways: first, it is the means through which exaltation comes to those who hold it; second, it is to be used in behalf of others that they also may be blessed...  No man has been given the priesthood as an ornament only.  He is expected to use it in behalf of others.
   "Not only is he expected, but he is commanded to do so." ("No Exaltation without the Priesthood." Improvement Era, June 1966, p. 538; also in Conference Report, Apr.  1966 pp. 101-102.)

During this the study of this topic, we will learn what the priesthood is, how and why it was restored, how it operates, and the duties of those who bear it.

Resources:
Gospel Principles: Chapter 13
A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Chapter 9
The Articles of Faith, chapter 10
Truth Restored, chapter 3

Scriptures:

Alma 13:1-19
  "1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. 
  2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
  3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such. 
  4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.
  5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared
  6 And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest
  7 This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things
  8 Now they were ordained after this manner being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end
  9 Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth.  And thus it is.  Amen.
  10 Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;
  11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.
  12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.
  13 And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest.
  14 Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same order which I have spoken, who also took upon him the high priesthood forever.
  15 And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes; yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed.
  16 Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord.
  17 Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness;
  18 But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people.  And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.
  19 Now, there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater; therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention."

D&C 2, 13, 84:6-44, 86, 110, 121
D&C 2
"An extract from the words of the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith the Prophet, while in the house of the Prophet s father at Manchester, New York, on the evening of September 21, 1823. HC 1: 12. Moroni was the last of a long line of historians who had made the record that is now before the world as the Book of Mormon.  Compare Malachi 4:5-6; also Sections 27:9; 110:13-16; and 128:18.
1, Elijah is to reveal the priesthood; 2-3, Promises of fathers are planted in hearts of children.
  1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
  2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
  3 If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming."


D&C 13  "Ordination of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood along the bank of the Susquehanna River, near Harmony, Pennsylvania, May 15, 1829. HC 1:39-42. The ordination was done by the hands of an angel, who announced himself as John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament.  The angel explained that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John, the ancient apostles, who held the keys of the higher priesthood, which was called the Priesthood of Melchizedek.  The promise was given to Joseph and Oliver that in due time the Priesthood of Melchizedek would be conferred upon them.  See also Section 27:7,8, 12

Keys and powers of Aaronic Priesthood are set forth

 "D&C 13:1 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness."
D&C 27:7-8, 12
 "7 And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias;
 8 Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron;
     " " "
 12 And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them;"

D&C 84:6-44  "6-17, Line of priesthood is given from Moses to Adam; 18-25, The greater priesthood administers the gospel ordinances; 26-32, The lesser priesthood administers the preparatory gospel; 33-44, Men gain eternal life through the oath and covenant of the priesthood;"

D&C 86  "1-7, The Lord gives the meaning of the parable of the wheat and tares; 8-11, Priesthood blessings to those who are lawful heirs according to the fresh. 
  1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:
  2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;
  3 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.
  4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender
  5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;
  6 But the Lord'saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also.
  7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned.
  8 Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers
  9 For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God
  10 Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.
  11 Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel.  The Lord hath said it.  Amen."

D&C 110 "Visions manifested to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery in the temple at Kirtland, Ohio, April 3, 1836. HC 2: 435 436. The occasion was that of a Sabbath day meeting.  The Prophet prefaces his record of the manifestations with these words: In the afternoon, I assisted the other Presidents in distributing the Lord's Supper to the Church, receiving it from the Twelve, whose privilege it was to officiate at the sacred desk this day.  After having performed this service to my brethren, I retired to the pulpit, the veils being dropped, and bowed myself, with Oliver Cowdery, in solemn and silent prayer.  After rising from prayer, the following vision was opened to both of us.
1-10, The Lord Jehovah appears in glory and accepts the Kirtland Temple as his house; 11-12, Moses and Elias each appear and commit their keys and dispensations; 13-16, Elijah returns and commits the keys of his dispensation as promised by Malachi.

  1 The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.
  2 We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.
  3 His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
  4 I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.
  5 Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.
  6 Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name. 
  7 For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house. 
  8 Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house. 
  9 Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house. 
  10 And the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people.  Even so.  Amen.
  11 After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.
  12 After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.
  13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
  14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come
  15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse
  16 Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors."

D&C 121  "Prayer and prophecies written by Joseph Smith the Prophet, while he was a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, dated March 20, 1839. HC 3:289-300.  The Prophet with several companions had been months in prison.  Their petitions and appeals directed to the executive officers and the judiciary had failed to bring them relief. 
1-6, The Prophet pleads with the Lord for the suffering saints; 7-10, The Lord'speaks peace to him; 11-17, Cursed are all those who raise false cries of transgression against the Lord's people; 18-25, They shall not have right to the priesthood and shall be damned; 26-32, Glorious revelations promised those who endure valiantly; 33-40, Why many are called and few chosen; 41-46, The priesthood should be used only in righteousness."


Official Declaration 2 "First Presidency announced that a revelation had been received by President Spencer W. Kimball extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church."

John 15:1-10
  "1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
  2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
  3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
  4 Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 
  5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
  6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
  7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
  8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
  9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 
  10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."


Hebrews 5:1-10; 7
  "1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
  2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
  3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
  4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
  5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 
  6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
  7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
  8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
  9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
  10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec."


Hebrews 7  "The Melchizedek Priesthood brings exaltation and administers the gospel It is received with an oath and covenant Superiority of the Melchizedek over the Aaronic Priesthood Salvation comes through the intercession of Christ."

Abraham 1:1-5
  "1 In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence;
  2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
  3 It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me. 
  4 I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.
  5 My fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;"

Articles of Faith 1:5  "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."


Topical Guide:
                            Authority
                            Called of God
                            Calling
                            Election, Elect
                            False Priesthoods
                            Foreordination
                            Jesus Christ, Authority of
                            Ordain
                            Ordinance
                            Ordination
                            Priesthood
                            Priesthood, Authority
                            Priesthood, History of
                            Priesthood, Ordination
                            Priesthood, Power of
                            Sealing, Sealed

Bible Dictionary:
                                Aaronic Priesthood
                                Anoint
                                Birthright
                                Levites
                                Melchizedek Priesthood

Guide to the Scriptures:
                                             Priesthood
                                             Aaronic Priesthood, Aaron, Brother of Moses; Law of Moses; High Priest
                                             Authority
                                             Keys of the Priesthood
                                             Melchizedek Priesthood, Elder; Melchizedek
                                             Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood
                                             Ordain, Ordination
                                             Power

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Moroni 10:4-5
  "4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

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