President Bingham on women and priesthood — The Lord is leading us gently along

Editor’s note: This narrative is part of a Church News series titled “Women of Covenant,” in which women of the Church discuss their personal experiences with priesthood power and share what they have learned through following President Russell M. Nelson’s counsel to “labor with the Spirit to understand God’s power — priesthood power” (“Spiritual Treasures,” general conference, October 2019).

As women come to truly understand the privileges and power we have because of the priesthood, we will rejoice.

President Russell M. Nelson taught during his October 2019 general conference address that the heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood.

“I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life,” he said. “I would like to leave a blessing upon you, that you may understand the priesthood power with which you have been endowed and that you will augment that power by exercising your faith in the Lord and in His power.”

President Nelson invited the women of the Church to “study prayerfully” about priesthood power and “discover what the Holy Ghost will teach” us. I love that our living prophet invited each of us, as women, to learn and to receive revelation and to better “understand and use the power with which [we] have been endowed.”

President Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, and President Russell M. Nelson discuss the role of women in the restoration of priesthood authority in a video shown during the Saturday evening session of the 190th Annual General Conference on April 4, 2020.
President Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, and President Russell M. Nelson discuss the role of women in the restoration of priesthood authority in a video shown during the Saturday evening session of the 190th Annual General Conference on April 4, 2020. Credit: Screenshot, ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Many times throughout my life, I have experienced the promised blessings that come from following the counsel of the prophets. This invitation was not different. In thinking about  President Nelson’s invitation, my mind immediately turned to the temple — the place in which I was endowed with priesthood power — and the gift that power has been throughout my life. It has taken me years to recognize how that power is manifest in my life.

Priesthood power, much like the gift of the Holy Ghost, comes from our loving Father in Heaven and from our personal righteousness. In keeping our covenants with the Lord, we have the opportunity to receive revelation about our lives, about our families, jobs, school — everything for which we seek guidance. There is nothing that is important to us that is unimportant to the Lord. And when we invite the Spirit to be with us, we can come to a greater understanding of priesthood power through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

New Church News series highlights women and priesthood power

The more I’ve learned about priesthood power through personal study and experience, the more I understand how relevant it is to all facets of our lives. Priesthood power helps us receive revelation for our daily challenges.

In my callings, because I am serving with priesthood authority given to me by one who has keys, there have been numerous times when I have had thoughts or words given to me that are just what a young woman or Relief Society sister or Primary child needed to hear. I know that those words came because of the priesthood authority I was given when I was set apart for that calling. 

“Priesthood power helps us receive revelation for our daily challenges.”

In marriage, as in any relationship, people go through stages and phases of learning and growing. I have learned that when I remember who my husband is, who I am and what we are supposed to be doing together as children of God, it has changed my heart. Being sealed together through priesthood authority has empowered and motivated both of us to become more united. When the Savior said, ‘if ye are not one, ye are not mine,’ He doesn’t just mean in a Church setting. He means in our family relationships as well.

And as a mother, I remember worrying about a young adult child who was doing things that I knew were not going to make that child happy. We had agreed to discuss the concern and had set a time to talk. Before the appointed time for our phone call, I had my lecture ready; I knew exactly what I was going to say. I prayed to have the Spirit with me. What came out of my mouth from the beginning of our conversation and throughout the call was completely different than what I had planned to say. But it was exactly what that child needed. The gift of the Holy Ghost made it possible for hearts to be softened and a better solution identified. That is a demonstration of how priesthood power works in our lives. 

Sister Jean B. Bingham goes through some of the Gospel Literacy pilot program materials with members in Sierra Leone while visiting to observe the implementation of the Gospel Literacy program. Sister Bingham, Relief Society general president, visited the West African country June 5 through June 16, 2019.
Sister Jean B. Bingham goes through some of the Gospel Literacy pilot program materials with members in Sierra Leone while visiting to observe the implementation of the Gospel Literacy program. Sister Bingham, Relief Society general president, visited the West African country June 5 through June 16, 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Too often, women compare themselves with others. But none of us feel good when we compare ourselves with others. Each woman has a unique blend of abilities and talents, and all are God-given gifts. Just because you and I are not the same — or any number of women aren’t the same — doesn’t make us any less or more. We need to find our gifts and develop them, remembering who gave them to us, and then use them for His purposes. As we share our gifts to bless others, we are experiencing the power of the priesthood in our lives. 

I have had the privilege of meeting so many outstanding women who demonstrate faith and power through their actions. Women give of their talents and abilities in incredible and diverse ways. They make a huge difference in the lives of all those around them — in their families, their places of work, church, school, or wherever else they spend their time. 

One of the things I’ve learned about the priesthood is that we do best when we work interdependently with one another. That’s how the Lord designed it; that is the divine pattern. We don’t need to compete because all those different gifts and talents and abilities are needed — from both men and women. The Lord is leading us gently along that path so all of us can gain a better understanding of how to work together and how to value each other’s contributions. It truly is the best way to accomplish His work.

Women don’t need to wait for someone to tell them what to do with their gifts, talents and power. We have the ability to receive revelation for ourselves. We shouldn’t wait to be acted upon; we need to have the courage to act on the revelation that we receive.

Sister Jean Barrus Bingham, general president of the Relief Society, reads scriptures in her office in the Relief Society Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.
Sister Jean Barrus Bingham, general president of the Relief Society, reads scriptures in her office in the Relief Society Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

As President Nelson taught, “What could possibly be more exciting than to labor with the Spirit to understand priesthood power — God’s power?” He promised that, “As your understanding increases and as you exercise faith in the Lord and His priesthood power, your ability to draw upon this spiritual treasure that the Lord has made available to you will increase.” And I know these promises from the living prophet are sure.