"The object of God's work is `to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.' (Moses 1:39.) God has given the priesthood to man at various times since Adam's day to bring about the great plan of salvation for all mankind. Through our faithfulness, the transcendent blessings of eternal life flow from this priesthood authority," said Elder James E. Faust at the October 1993 general conference.
Elder Faust, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and now second counselor in the First Presidency, added: "For these priesthood blessings to flower, there is a constant need for unity within the priesthood. We must be loyal to the leadership who have been called to preside over us and hold the keys of the priesthood. The words of President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., still ring loudly in our ears:
Brethren, let us be united.' He explained:"An essential part of unity is loyalty. . . . Loyalty is a pretty difficult quality to possess. It requires the ability to put away selfishness, greed, ambition and all of the baser qualities of the human mind. You cannot be loyal unless you are willing to surrender. . . .[A person's] own preferences and desires must be put away, and he must see only the great purpose which lies out ahead.' " (Immortality and Eternal Life [Melchizedek Priesthood course of study, 1968-69], p. 163).
"What is the nature of the priesthood?" Elder Faust asked. "The Prophet Joseph Smith said of the priesthood, `It is the eternal authority of God by which the universe was created and governed, and the stars in heaven came into existence, by which the great authority of exaltation operates throughout the universe.' "
Further, Elder Faust said: "The priesthood operates in a system of sublime order. The priesthood is not, however, a floating essence. It must be conferred by ordination with specific offices. It is held by men under sacred duty to use its authority to accomplish God's work for the blessing of men, women, and children alike. No one can claim priesthood authority except it is conferred openly by those possessing the authority `and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.' (D&C 42:11.) The exercise of priesthood authority is directed by the keys of the priesthood. These keys rest with the presiding local and General Authorities of the Church. Those who have the keys are responsible for the guiding momentum and direction of the work of the Lord on the earth."