President Dallin H. Oaks: ‘The Melchizedek Priesthood and the Keys’

First counselor in the First Presidency

Notable quotes:

“The priesthood is a divine power and authority held in trust to be used for God’s work for the benefit of all of His children.”
“The family organization and the Church of Jesus Christ have a mutually reinforcing relationship. The blessings of the priesthood, such as the fulness of the gospel and ordinances like baptism, confirmation and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, the temple endowment, and eternal marriage, are available to men and women alike.”
“We should follow the Savior’s invitation to seek and ask to understand the truths of eternity. He promises that our Father in Heaven is willing to teach everyone the truths they seek.”

Summary points:

  • All of Heavenly Father’s children are eligible for the blessings made possible by the exercise of the Lord’s priesthood.
  • Fathers can best further the mission of the Church by magnifying their priesthood within their own family. Keeping the commandments gives fathers the power to give blessings and bless their family members.
  • By listening to messages of “the truths of eternity,” one can be filled with the Savior’s light.

Talk summary: 

The priesthood is a divine power and authority, held in trust, to be used for God’s work for the benefit of all His children.

“Priesthood is not those who have been ordained to a priesthood office or those who exercise its authority. Men who hold the priesthood are not the priesthood. While we should not refer to ordained men as the priesthood, it is appropriate to refer to them as holders of the priesthood.”

All blessings of the priesthood — including essential ordinances — are available to men and women alike.

The principle that priesthood authority can be exercised only under the direction of the one “who holds the keys for that function” is fundamental in the Church — but does not apply to families.

“A father presides and exercises the priesthood in his family by the authority of the priesthood he holds. He has no need to have the direction or approval of one holding priesthood keys in order to perform his various family functions.”

The same principle applies when a father is absent and a mother is the family leader. She presides in her home and “is instrumental in bringing the power and blessings of the priesthood into her family through her endowment and sealing in the temple.

“While she is not authorized to give the priesthood blessings that can only be given by a person holding a certain office in the priesthood, she can perform all of the other functions of family leadership.”

General conference offers “brief shelter from our mortal concerns” with a devastating pandemic.

“We have been taught great principles of eternity. I encourage each of us to have our eye ‘single’ to receive these truths of eternity so that our bodies ‘shall be full of light.’ ”

In the news:

About the speaker:

  • President Dallin H. Oaks was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1984.
  • As a young man, President Oaks obtained a radiotelephone operator’s license and later worked as a radio announcer and engineer.
  • President Oaks was a law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court and later served as a justice on the Utah Supreme Court until his call to apostleship in 1984.
  • President Oaks and his late wife, June Dixon Oaks, are the parents of six children. She died July 21, 1998. On August 25, 2000, he married Kristen M. McMain in the Salt Lake Temple.

Recently on social:

  • On March 24, President Oaks shared on Instagram his testimony of personal and prophetic revelation in preparation for general conference.
View this post on Instagram

Given current circumstances, many of us are now spending more time at home. I invite you to take advantage of this time by studying the Restoration as we prepare for this unique general conference. I wish to share some of what I have learned about the Prophet Joseph Smith. • Joseph Smith's comparative youth overarched his prophetic ministry. He was 14 at the time of the First Vision, 21 when he received the gold plates, and just 23 when he finished translating the Book of Mormon (in less than 60 working days). Over half of the revelations in our Doctrine and Covenants were given through this prophet when he was 25 or younger. He was 26 when the First Presidency was organized and just over 33 when he escaped from imprisonment in Missouri and resumed leadership of the Saints gathering in Nauvoo. He was only thirty-eight and a half when he was murdered. • The key to the uniqueness of Joseph Smith’s message and the Restoration is revelation. Revelation is the foundation of our Church doctrine and governance. Joseph Smith declared, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded upon direct revelation, as the true Church of God has ever been” (”Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith“ [2007], 195). • In our day, revelation continues to guide the Church. Likewise, each of us can receive revelation for our own lives. May we each utilize the gift of personal revelation in our lives and truly seek to #HearHim.

A post shared by Dallin H. Oaks (@dallinhoaks) on

  • He tweeted a message about the importance of faith in God’s plan, especially when seeking answers to questions, on Jan. 12.
  • In a Facebook post Dec. 8, 2019, President Oaks wrote that peace comes from individual righteousness.

At this Christmas season, the whole Christian world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace.” In His…

Posted by Dallin H. Oaks on Sunday, December 8, 2019
  • On Dec. 2, 2019, he cautioned young men and women in an Instagram post to beware of labeling themselves with a temporary identity. “Our single best quality by which to characterize ourselves is that we are sons or daughters of God,” he wrote.