24 November 2008

Blessings of the Aaronic Priesthood, Part 5

What kind of people does the Lord expect Aaronic Priesthood holders to be in order to prepare for the blessings and responsibilities of the higher priesthood? Let’s look at the life of Joseph Smith for an example. He was 14 when he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ – that is the same age as the Teachers in the Church. I remember being a Deacon and thinking that the Teachers seemed old; I remember being a Teacher and marveling at what great things Joseph Smith was called to do when he was my age. Before the First Vision, Joseph spent a couple years thinking about the gospel, about the scriptures, and about which church was right. In one of his accounts of the First Vision he said that he spent time contemplating the heavens and the stars. Joseph spent a lot of time reading the Bible and attending different churches so he could figure out which one was right. He was confused so he decided to ask God in prayer. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in answer to his humble prayer.

Joseph Smith was very serious about the gospel at a young age. At the age of Deacons and Teachers today he wanted to know what was true so he read the scriptures, thought about them, and talked with his family. He followed the scriptures and prayed to know what was right. For those preparing to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, I hope that you are as serious about the gospel as Joseph Smith was. He was young, he had fun and wrestled and played, but he took the gospel seriously.

When young men are given the Priesthood, they become different than they were before. They are given a great responsibility – a portion of God’s power. These words in the Doctrine and Covenants explain some of the personal characteristics both Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood holders need to have: “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile – Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death. Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever” (D&C 121:41-46).

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