The Price of Priesthood Power (Nelson)

General Conference, April 2016
Are we willing to pray, fast, study, seek, worship, and serve as men of God so we can have priesthood power?
President Russell M. Nelson
President Russell M. Nelson

Excerpts from "The Price of Priesthood Power" 

To bear means to support the weight of that which is held. It is a sacred trust to bear the priesthood, which is the mighty power and authority of God. Think of this: the priesthood conferred upon us is the very same power and authority through which God created this and numberless worlds, governs the heavens and the earth, and exalts His obedient children.3

I fear that there are too many men who have been given the authority of the priesthood but who lack priesthood power because the flow of power has been blocked by sins such as laziness, dishonesty, pride, immorality, or preoccupation with things of the world.

I fear that there are too many priesthood bearers who have done little or nothing to develop their ability to access the powers of heaven. I worry about all who are impure in their thoughts, feelings, or actions or who demean their wives or children, thereby cutting off priesthood power.

I fear that too many have sadly surrendered their agency to the adversary and are saying by their conduct, “I care more about satisfying my own desires than I do about bearing the Savior’s power to bless others.”

I fear, brethren, that some among us may one day wake up and realize what power in the priesthood really is and face the deep regret that they spent far more time seeking power over others or power at work than learning to exercise fully the power of God.4 President George Albert Smith taught that “we are not here to while away the hours of this life and then pass to a sphere of exaltation; but we are here to qualify ourselves day by day for the positions that our Father expects us to fill hereafter.”5

Why would any man waste his days and settle for Esau’s mess of pottage6 when he has been entrusted with the possibility of receiving all of the blessings of Abraham?7

I urgently plead with each one of us to live up to our privileges as bearers of the priesthood. In a coming day, only those men who have taken their priesthood seriously, by diligently seeking to be taught by the Lord Himself, will be able to bless, guide, protect, strengthen, and heal others. Only a man who has paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bring miracles to those he loves and keep his marriage and family safe, now and throughout eternity.

What is the price to develop such priesthood power? The Savior’s senior Apostle, Peter—that same Peter who with James and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery8—declared qualities we should seek to “be partakers of the divine nature.”9

He named faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, and diligence.10 And don’t forget humility!11 So I ask, how would our family members, friends, and coworkers say you and I are doing in developing these and other spiritual gifts?12 The more those attributes are developed, the greater will be our priesthood power.

How else can we increase our power in the priesthood? We need to pray from our hearts. Polite recitations of past and upcoming activities, punctuated with some requests for blessings, cannot constitute the kind of communing with God that brings enduring power. Are you willing to pray to know how to pray for more power? The Lord will teach you.

Are you willing to search the scriptures and feast on the words of Christ13—to study earnestly in order to have more power? If you want to see your wife’s heart melt, let her find you on the Internet studying the doctrine of Christ14 or reading your scriptures!

Are you willing to worship in the temple regularly? The Lord loves to do His own teaching in His holy house. Imagine how pleased He would be if you asked Him to teach you about priesthood keys, authority, and power as you experience the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood in the holy temple.15 Imagine the increase in priesthood power that could be yours.

Are we willing to pray, fast, study, seek, worship, and serve as men of God so we can have that kind of priesthood power?

My dear brethren, we have been given a sacred trust—the authority of God to bless others. May each one of us rise up as the man God foreordained us to be—ready to bear the priesthood of God bravely, eager to pay whatever price is required to increase his power in the priesthood.

The Price of Priesthood Power (Nelson) General Conference, April 2016

  1. See Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Parts A and B (2000); see also Alma 13:7–8Doctrine and Covenants 84:17–20, 35–38Moses 1:33, 35.
  2. See Doctrine and Covenants 121:36.
  3. George Albert Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1905, 62; see also The Teachings of George Albert Smith, ed. Robert and Susan McIntosh (1996), 17.
  4. See Genesis 25:29–34.
  5. See Genesis 12:3; 17:2–8; Galatians 3:29; 1 Nephi 15:14–18; Abraham 2:9–11.
  6. See Doctrine and Covenants 128:20. The Savior, Moses, and Elijah (sometimes referred to as Elias) initially gave the keys to Peter, James, and John on the mount when Jesus was transfigured before them (see Matthew 17:1–4; Mark 9:2–9; Luke 9:28–30; Doctrine and Covenants 63:21).
  7. 2 Peter 1:4.
  8. See 2 Peter 1:5–10.
  9. See Doctrine and Covenants 4:6 (note: here, in a revelation to Joseph Smith, the Lord added humility to Peter’s list).
  10. See 1 Corinthians 12:4–11; Moroni 10:8–17; Doctrine and Covenants 46:11.
  11. See 2 Nephi 32:3.
  12. See 2 Nephi 31:2–21.
  13. See Doctrine and Covenants 84:19–20.

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