Priesthood power in Italy
In Italy I learned a great deal about the importance and power of the Priesthood. I should state that we in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe that the power and authority that Jesus’ apostles held was lost during a period of apostasy and spiritual darkness during the centuries after Christ’s ministry and life. We recognize the importance of the priesthood that these ancient apostles carried, which qualified them to do the Lord’s work here on earth. We also believe that this priesthood power was restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith.
The priesthood is the power and authority of God that is given to men to act in God’s name and carry our His will. It is a most sacred and awesome responsibility. The priesthood is for the bettering and blessing of the lives of those around us. Experience and great knowledge are not requirements for holding the priesthood. Instead personal worthiness and a willingness to serve are what the Lord desires of His servants. After all, Peter was relatively inexperienced in all things except the fishing of fish; yet the Savior called him to a very prominent position in his church to lead others and to be a fisher of men. Herein lays the beauty of our Father in Heaven’s great plan for each of His children. He takes the weak and dull things of the world, polishes and strengthens them such that little by little great and marvelous works can come to pass.
As missionaries, we were very inexperienced and raw in contrast to other individuals who spend a lifetime studying theology and other religious matters. But we held the authority and priesthood of the one true God, and in His hands we were able to accomplish many mighty miracles. It was my great honor and privilege to be able to bless the lives of many individuals who sought the guidance and comfort that only a priesthood blessing can bring. Before living in Italy as a missionary I had had very little experience with giving priesthood blessings, but as I stated before experience is not a requirement for priesthood service. The Lord requires only a willing heart and contrite spirit. I have felt many times the love of my Father in Heaven as I have spoken words of comfort and guidance that were not mine, but rather were His. It was my great opportunity to help those in need feel the love that our Father in Heaven has for each of His children and receive answers to their prayers. These experiences blessed my own life as much if not more than the lives of those who came to us in search of help and aid. I believe that there are few joys that can match the joy associated with being an instrument in the Lord’s hands as he takes you and shapes to you attain his righteous and just objectives.
This is the true nature of the priesthood, the actions of humble righteous men wherein the pure love of Christ is infused into the lives of those who most need it. I am grateful for having grown up with a worthy priesthood holder in my family, namely my own father. And I hope that all those who have been given the responsibility and commission of holding the Lord’s priesthood do everything in their power to bless and uplift those around them.
Priesthood Power in Switzerland
The Priesthood is one of the key things that make our church different than any other church on the earth. The Priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name. It is what allows us to baptize people in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; it allows us also give the Gift of the Holy Ghost to those individuals who are baptized- the baptism by water followed by the baptism by fire. There are countless other things that we are able to do with the Priesthood. Heal the sick, administrate in the church, perform ordinances, seal covenants, etc. Anything that needs to be done with heaven’s approval is performed with the Priesthood.
On my mission I gained a stronger testimony of the greatness of the Priesthood. We as missionaries were asked many times to give blessings of comfort, and even times we were asked to bless the sick. I saw miracles performed with the Priesthood. I would also ask my mission President on occasion to give me a blessing of comfort and guidance, and I knew that there was authority in those blessings.
So, why is the Priesthood something that makes our church different than all others? Well, in a nutshell, and if I may be so bold, we are the only church with the proper authority and real Priesthood on the earth. Here’s a quick overview of why. When Jesus was on the earth, I think we all agree that He holds the Priesthood; we could even say that He is the Priesthood. While on the earth he performed miracles, organized His church by calling apostles and other leaders, and he performed the Atonement (the most important event in the history of mankind). After Christ was crucified, the only ones who held the Priesthood after him were the apostles to whom Jesus himself gave this authority. These apostles then died off one by one until there were no longer apostles on the earth and no one else on earth who held this sacred authority. A couple hundred years later, the Catholic church was organized on the claim that Peter had given this Priesthood to one person in Rome- however with the couple hundred year gap between the organization and death of the head apostle Peter, I don’t know how that would have happened. The Catholic Church stood as the only Christian church on earth for hundreds of years, and after a while branches started coming off of the Catholic Church; the Protestants, Evangelical, Church of England, etc. With these churches all coming from the Catholic Church, their authority and Priesthood of these churches cannot trump the authority of the church from which it branched off. These branches are no more than different ideas, concepts, doctrines, and interpretations of Holy Scripture.
Priesthood authority comes from the laying on of hands. This is how Jesus Christ himself gave the apostles this authority. Authority does not come from studying and reading the Holy Bible and other Holy Scriptures, if this was the case, why didn’t the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees have this authority of God when their entire lives were dedicated to the study of Holy Writings? How could Adam, Noah, and Moses have this authority without much Holy Scripture? God gives this authority to those worthy by the direct laying on of hands.
Our claim in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that this Priesthood authority was restored, or brought back into its original form from its original source, through the prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith received this Priesthood from John the Baptist who appeared to him as a resurrected being and gave him by the laying on of hands the Aaronic, or lesser, Priesthood which gave him the authority to baptize. Later on, the apostles Peter, James and John appeared to the young Prophet and restored in the same manner with the laying on of hands, the Melchesidek, or higher, Priesthood. We do not branch off from any other church. This church was created and organized totally separate, because our authority comes from the source itself.
Don’t get me wrong, the other churches are great and fantastic. They teach to love your neighbors, and treat others with kindness. They teach that God exists and the Jesus Christ is the Savior. There is some truth in all churches. One of the things lacking in these churches is this Priesthood, or authority to act in God’s name to be able to perform the saving ordinances such as baptism and others. I love this Gospel. I love the church and the blessing I have had to have the priesthood in my life. This is the true church of Jesus Christ because we have the true authority to act in His name.