Honor priesthood and its officers

The Savior of the world "chose to honor us with His priesthood, so we honor Him by honoring His priesthood - both its power and those who bear it," Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve told priesthood bearers Saturday evening.

"By so doing, men, women and children throughout the world will be blessed. Honoring the priesthood fosters respect, respect promotes reverence, and reverence invites revelation."Church members have been asked to follow priesthood protocol, he noted, and explained that the Lord's Church differs from man-made institutions. It is neither a democracy nor a republic, but rather, a kingdom with ultimate authority at the top: the Lord directing His anointed servants who testify to all the world that God has spoken again.

"Priesthood titles are not created by man; neither are they for adornment, nor do they express mastership. They denote appointment to service in the work of the Lord," he said.

"Titles pertaining to the holy priesthood deserve our utmost care and respect," he cautioned, adding that each member of the First Presidency is spoken of and addressed as "President," as are members in a presidency of a stake or mission and quorum or branch presidents.

The title "Apostle" is sacred, belonging to those who are called and ordained as special witnesses of Christ, and the preferred title for one of the Twelve is "Elder" or "Brother," Elder Nelson said.

"Bishop" also expresses presidency, and "Elder" is a sacred title shared by all who bear the Melchizedek Priesthood, he explained.

While General Authorities are ordinary human beings who "require haircuts, laundry services and occasional reminders, just like anyone else," they are recognized as instruments in the hand of the Lord, and their official acts are valid on earth and in heaven, Elder Nelson observed.

In addition to respecting leaders, honoring the priesthood also means honoring one's personal call to serve, he said, by taking counsel, not speaking ill of Church leaders, not coveting position, not second guessing who should or should not have been called, not refusing an opportunity to serve and not resigning a call.

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