My message is for all men everywhere, both young and old. It’s for fathers and husbands present and future in particular, but also for the faithful women of the Church who love and sustain those men and desire to have the blessings of the priesthood in their homes.
Brethren, I invite you to give serious consideration to your divine calling and responsibility to worthily receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and to magnify your priesthood calling as a father and husband. Your own spiritual destiny and the eternal future of your marriage and family depend on how you respond to this divine calling.
The family is ordained of God and is central to Heavenly Father’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. It’s the most important unit in time and eternity. Our Heavenly Father’s work and glory is to bring immortality and eternal life to all His children. Exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom can be attained only by those who have faithfully lived the gospel of Jesus Christ and are sealed as eternal companions. The sealing, known as temple marriage, is a sacred privilege and obligation that all should strive to receive. It’s the foundation of an eternal family, and the crowning covenant in Heavenly Father’s New and Everlasting Covenant (Handbook 1.3.1). The New and Everlasting Covenant is the way exaltation comes to each of God’s children. It contains all the doctrines, principles, ordinances, ordinations and covenants necessary for each of us to become worthy and have the power to return home as eternal families. Through our faithfulness in receiving and honouring these covenants, we receive power through the priesthood to become eternal companions and families.
How do we qualify for these blessings?
A man must first be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Faithfully keeping this covenant brings spiritual power into one’s life. Second, he must continue to increase in personal righteousness receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and preparing to worthily receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Melchizedek Priesthood is received with a covenant to magnify the priesthood through greater personal righteousness and selfless service. Magnifying the priesthood through increased personal righteousness and service brings priesthood power into one’s life. Third, he must worthily prepare to enter the Holy Temple and receive the temple endowment. This sacred covenant worthily kept, brings additional priesthood power. Finally, temple marriage completes the new and everlasting covenant sealing a husband and wife for time and eternity by the authority of the priesthood.
A new eternal family is created and the foundation for a fullness of joy is established. With this blessing comes the sacred duty to have children and to rear those children in love and righteousness. Both parents have a divine calling to teach their children to understand the doctrine, and to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and prepare to receive the same sacred ordinances and covenants. The authority and the power of the priesthood are essential throughout these saving ordinances.
The key is personal righteousness.
Brethren, we have a sacred duty and responsibility as husbands and fathers. Our own personal righteousness is the very key to receiving and securing these blessings for ourselves and our families. What level of personal righteousness are you choosing? What evidence exists in your life, in your marriage, and in your home that you are living worthy to exercise the power of the priesthood? What prevents us from having greater spiritual power in our lives? Priesthood power, like spiritual power, comes through personal righteousness and personal spirituality. You get what you consistently focus on. So, what are you focused on?
Personal righteousness is the quality of living that comes from obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. It is the degree to which our life is on an undeviating course toward God. This type of living leads to a level of spirituality which enables us to enjoy the near the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. The greater the level of spirituality, the greater the clarity to see, discern and understand—the greater the power to love, teach and lead.
Where do we begin?
Everything begins with a vision. You are a beloved son of God who was “called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of [your] exceeding faith and good works…having chosen good and exercising exceedingly great faith” (Alma 13:3). You were foreordained to receive and to magnify the Melchizedek Priesthood. That’s your divine self. It’s who you really are!
Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness promises a fullness of joy that is lasting—everlasting. Your greatest joy will come as you magnify the priesthood in your life, your marriage and your home. This is your greatest potential; it’s your divine potential. But sadly, “…there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honours of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—that the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness” (D&C 121:34-36).
Start by focusing on personal righteousness. Obedience to God is the first law of heaven. The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and to do it said President Ezra Taft Benson. “…the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the Fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord….” (Mosiah 3:19).
A willingness to put off our own natural self begins with humility, meekness, patience and love. Begin by committing yourself to personal daily scripture study – everyday, everyday, everyday. Make a commitment to start today. Ponder deeply about what you are reading and learning. Associate what you are learning with what you are doing in your life. Ask questions: “What does Heavenly Father want me to understand and do?” There is great power in daily scripture study. This step alone will have an insightful impact on your perspective. It will change the way you see yourself, your eternal companion and your children.
Make sincere personal and family prayer a daily part of your life. Personal daily scripture study will increase your desire to make your prayers more meaningful, and will provide you with the opportunity to ask important and inspired questions, which will make your prayers more meaningful and lead to greater personal revelation.
Seek to serve, inspire and love more—especially at home. Begin with your lovely eternal companion. Show her more patience, kindness and love. Seek her happiness. As you increase in personal righteousness and spirituality you will be drawn to her and she will be drawn to you, as will your children. They will want to be closer to you, and your love for each other will increase. As we draw closer to God we draw closer to pure love, and the vision of His promises for each of us and for our marriages and families becomes clearer and more compelling. The power and blessings of the priesthood become a reality in our homes.
The power of the priesthood, by divine design, should be most evident in our homes and marriages. For this to be so it must first be present in our own lives as holders of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood. Brethren, it’s time for each of us to step up; to live lives more worthy of this divine power and privilege. This is our work and the great task of our lives.