Aaronic Priesthood essential; administers saving truths

Extends fellowship

Bears witness- Enfolds members

Worthiness and the power of God - not age - qualify men for the work of the priesthood, Bishop Keith B. McMullin emphasized in his priesthood session address Saturday evening.

"Expectation, opportunity and service contribute more to one's growth than do birthdays," said Bishop McMullin, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. "In the kingdom of God, the age of majority begins with ordination."

Though the Aaronic Priesthood is the lesser of the two priesthoods and is an appendage to the Melchizedek Priesthood, each is everlasting and essential to the Lord's work, Bishop McMullin said. He quoted John Taylor's statement that when both priesthoods are carried out and united in their purity, the glory of the Lord will be manifested.

"With this aim in view, there lies before us the duty to hold fast all those who are newly converted and baptized, rekindle the faith of those who have drifted away and protect the budding devotion of our youth," he declared.

The gospel is imparted and received first in a lesser portion that prepares and then a greater that fulfills, Bishop McMullin said, and the substance of each is found in the ordinances and workings of the priesthood.

"The lesser portion of the gospel encompasses vital, saving truths and rests on the cornerstones of obedience and sacrifice. These truths school men and women, boys and girls in the fundamentals of righteousness. . . . This lesser portion of the gospel will nourish those who are new to the Church, lead back those who have strayed, help young people recognize and overcome the temptations and deceptions of the world. Without this preparation, the fulness of gospel blessings cannot be realized or enjoyed."

Bishop McMullin said the Aaronic Priesthood is entrusted with the responsibility for administering the lesser portion of the gospel. "In the eyes of God," he said, "there is more power and authority in the hand of an Aaronic Priesthood bearer than there is among all of the world's rich, famous and influential people."

He listed a number of ways an Aaronic Priesthood holder can strengthen the new convert, bring a change of heart to those who seem lost and bolster other young people in their faith, including these: He extends the hand of fellowship and friendliness; teaches, declares and bears witness of the truth; sees that members meet together often and are not overlooked; collects fast offerings to care for the poor; administers the holy sacrament; visits members in their homes and enfolds them in the safety of the Church; searches out ancestors and presents himself to be baptized and confirmed at the temple for those who did not receive these ordinances on earth; as a priest performs baptisms and ordains other priests, teachers and deacons; and is an example of virtue and moral courage.

"Our vision of you and your work looks beyond the outward appearance of a boy and sees instead a bearer of the Holy Priesthood outfitted with its attendance powers, duties and blessings," said Bishop McMullin.

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