President Faust: Priesthood is greatest power in the world

President James E. Faust contrasted earthly forms of power with priesthood power along with its proper use and its companion, the performance of duty.

Speaking to the young men of the priesthood Saturday evening, he said: "Power is highly attractive. It can be both good and bad. In your formative years, you young men are attracted to power figures of one kind or another. These often in clude sports idols, entertainers, people of wealth and those who have political power."Young holders of the Aaronic priesthood have access to the greatest power source in the world, President Faust declared. "It is the priesthood of God. In complete contrast to other power sources, the holy priesthood, through its proper exercise, continues to build spiritual and physical strength which endures through eternities."

He quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith as saying priesthood "is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation and every important matter is revealed from heaven. . . . It is the channel through which the Almighty . . . has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time."

Priesthood power comes in proportion to one's faithfulness in fulfilling duties, President Faust explained. "As the Prophet Joseph observed, `The Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race before us, and grace and help as our needs required.' As an example, the Prophet Elijah, using his priesthood, was able to call forth fire from heaven to demonstrate the power of God."

To illustrate that the power of the priesthood includes weighty responsibilities and trials, President Faust spoke of Zion's Camp, formed in the 1830s to redeem the lands in Missouri from which the Saints had been dispossessed. Quoting at length from the remembrances of George A. Smith, 16 years old at the time he participated with the camp, President Faust told of the deprivation and hardships the members experienced.

"Although Zion's Camp failed in its stated purpose . . . it was invaluable as a stern schooling," President Faust said. "They learned that faith is more important than life itself. . . . The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy were chosen from the ranks of those who had served in Zion's Camp. These valiant brethren led the Church for the next 50 years."

Another lesson the Lord taught during

the early period of Church history was concern for the poor, President Faust said. This was reflected, he said, in the exodus from Missouri and later from Nauvoo, when a body of the priesthood met and covenanted to provide the means for taking the poor and destitute with the body of the Saints in the great migration west.

"The continuing duty of the priesthood of the Church today is to care for all members, including the poor and needy, the widows, the orphans, and the single mothers and their families," he affirmed. "We have the additional duty in our time to increase our labors in love to the spiritually poor among our brethren so that they and their families can enjoy `peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.' " (See D&C 59:23.)

He listed some of the duties of young men in the Aaronic Priesthood, including baptism, sacrament administration, and following the counsel of those in authority over them, including parents, quorum presidents, bishops, stake presidents, apostles, seers and revelators and other General Authorities.

"The priesthood of God has become the eminent power for good in the world," he declared. "We are no longer a handful of people on the fringes of society. This great power for good has been entrusted to us, and we must not weaken it by failing in our responsibilities. We must buckle on the armor of righteousness. We have the duty to be worthy in every respect so that we can invoke all of the great power of the priesthood. We must be totally honest in all our dealings. We must be morally clean. We must help the poor and needy. As the great army of God, we have the charge to foster the cause of truth and righteousness all over the world."

Priesthood holders, as they look to the future, will continue to encounter obstacles, difficulties, challenges and opposition, President Faust acknowledged. "One day in the future, we will have to account through President Gordon B. Hinckley to the Prophet Joseph for what we have done with this great power which the Lord has invested in us.

"We are grateful that the work of God moves forward as powerfully as it does under the leadership of President Gordon B. Hinckley. After the death of the Savior, His apostles did great and marvelous things in His name. Peter and John were asked by Caiaphas and the high priests, By what power . . . have ye done this?' (Acts 4:7) Like Peter we declare to the world that all this happens by and through the power of the holy priesthood and in thename of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.' "

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