All can live every hour “blessed by the strength of priesthood power,” no matter their circumstance in life, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve said during the Sunday afternoon session of general conference on Oct. 6.
“We sometimes overly associate the power of the priesthood with men in the Church,” he said. “The priesthood is the power and authority of God given for the salvation and blessing of all — men, women and children.”
Elder Andersen compared the priesthood to a man opening drapes to allow warm sunlight to come into a room. The man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings, showing that “the blessings of the priesthood are infinitely greater than the one who is asked to administer the gift.”
To receive the blessings, power and promises of the priesthood in this life and the next is one of the great opportunities and responsibilities of mortality, he said.
“As we are worthy, the ordinances of the priesthood enrich our lives on earth and prepare us for the magnificent promises of the world ahead,” Elder Andersen taught. ”The Lord said: ‘In the ordinances the power of godliness is manifest.’ Through the ordinances of the priesthood ... all of us receive comfort, strength, protection, peace and eternal promises.”
As individuals make and keep sacred covenants they are able to receive priesthood power and blessings.
“Some may sincerely ask the question, ‘If the power and blessings of the priesthood are available to all, why are the ordinances of the priesthood administered by men?’” he asked.
In response, Elder Andersen shared the words of Nephi when he said he knew God loves all of His children, even though he did “not know the meaning of all things.”
Elder Andersen spoke of “things we do know” about the priesthood.
Although God loves all of His children the same, He did not create men and woman exactly the same. Sacred responsibility is given to each gender and, from the beginning, the Lord established how His priesthood would be administered, Elder Andersen said. The power of the holy priesthood takes faith and worthiness, with righteousness as the qualifier for all to invite priesthood power into their lives.
“While we know a lot about the priesthood, seeing through the lens of mortality does not always give a complete understanding of the workings of God,” he said. “But His gentle reminder, ‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ reassures us that with time and eternal perspective we will see things ‘as they really are’ and more completely understand His perfect love.”
The keys of the priesthood — held by members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, direct the work of the Lord upon the earth, while specific priesthood keys are conferred upon stake presidents and bishops for their geographic responsibilities.
“They call men and women by revelation who are sustained and set apart to exercise delegated authority to teach and administer,” he said.
Sincerely asking for and listening to the thoughts and concerns voiced by women is vital in life, in marriage and in building the kingdom of God, Elder Andersen said.
Under the direction of President Monson and the First Presidency, there were many discussions with the General Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies about the age change for missionary service, before President Monson’s decision and historic announcement. As bishops follow the example of President Monson, they will feel the guiding hand of the Lord blessing their sacred work more abundantly, he said.
"The power of God’s holy priesthood is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," he said. "I testify that as you worthily participate in the ordinances of the priesthood, the Lord will give you greater strength, peace and eternal perspective. Whatever your situation, your home will be ‘blessed by the strength of priesthood power’ and those close to you will more fully desire these blessings for themselves.”