Strengthening Families Through the Melchizedek Priesthood

A photo of a family

The prophetic exhortation of President Monson to 'go to the rescue' and 'save the one', has found an extraordinary echo in the objectives of the Pacific Area. One of the first priorities in establishing the Lord’s Church in the Pacific Isles through real growth, has been increasing the number of worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders.

To reach the goals of this specific objective, the high priest groups and elders quorums under the direction of ward councils and Priesthood Executive Committees have organized and participated in unprecedented recue visits.

The results have allowed many less active brethren to return to full activity, and prepare themselves to be worthy to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. This has allowed them the opportunity to also receive the sacred temple ordinances. This initiative has encouraged many families to enter the temples of the Pacific Islands to be sealed together for time, and eternity.  

How has this specific objective established the Lord’s Church in the Pacific Isles through real growth?

We can see that real growth in the Area is linked to the previously mentioned Area Presidency goal to ‘Strengthen the Priesthood’, as reported in the 2013 Pacific Area Executive Summary.

Over three years ago, the Pacific Area Action Plan had the vision for establishing the Lord's Church through real growth, building on the very substantial and successful work of previous Area leaders. The Plan was strengthened by the objective to increase the number of Melchizedek Priesthood holders.

To establish and grow the Church in an enduring way, it is crucial to understand that, essentially, the Lord's Church consists of people who receive essential priesthood ordinances from His authorized servants, keep the covenants associated with these ordinances, and qualify themselves to receive exaltation and eternal life through the sanctification of the Holy Ghost {Mosiah 25:18-24; 3 Nephi 18:5, 16; 3 Nephi 26:21; 3 Nephi 27:19-21; Moroni 6:4; D&C 10:67-69; D&C 45:57; Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 3.4 'Leadership Purposes').

Therefore, the Lord's Church must have His priesthood authority among its members. Only in this way can the essential priesthood ordinances and covenants be delivered to the people with any redeeming effect. This is what the Lord meant, among other things, when He said, 'Ye must take upon you the name of Christ ... And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day. Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name ...' (3 Nephi 27:5-7).

In short, acting 'in the name of Christ' is acting with His authority.

This is, essentially, the gospel, (Jacob 7:6; 3 Nephi 27:19-21; D&C 33:10-12), and unless the people of the Church are basing their lives squarely on this gospel, or doctrine, they are not the Lord's Church. [lf it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel' (3 Nephi 27:8; 3 Nephi 11:39-40}

This is why the pattern for establishing the Church in an enduring way consists of gathering people, establishing priesthood authority and power among them, and teaching and assisting them to receive and keep the saving ordinances and covenants of the gospel and thereby be sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Real growth is realised as we:

(1) Convert the people of the Pacific, especially families, to the gospel of Jesus Christ

     (Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 1.0 'Families and the Church in God's Plan'),

(2) Establish and strengthen the Melchizedek priesthood among them, and

(3) Assist them to receive all essential priesthood ordinances and covenants, and thereby be sanctified

     by receipt of the Holy Ghost.

Indeed, real growth occurs as we increase the number of men who receive the Melchizedek priesthood and then lead their families and others to receive saving ordinances, and keep the associated covenants, as well as increase the number of young men and young women in the Church who remain faithful into adulthood and build their own families on priesthood ordinances and covenants.

Significant are the blessings promised by the Lord when the Church is established on the real growth principles identified above. 'And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel, then will the Father show forth his own works in it' (3 Nephi 27:10)

And further, 'If you shall build up my church, upon the foundation of my gospel, and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you' (D&C18:5; D&C 33:10-13)

As previously stated, there is no Church without priesthood authority that is exercised to deliver essential priesthood ordinances and covenants to the people. Therefore, critical to establishing the Church and growing it in an enduring way is strengthening the priesthood.

There is no better way to strengthen families than to seal them to one other through temple ordinances and covenants, and thereby qualify them to become eternal families, provided they keep their covenants. Further, families that receive and keep temple ordinances and covenants are far more likely to raise children to serve missions and receive temple ordinances and covenants themselves, which serves to establish and secure the future Church.