Lori Draper: What this Relief Society board member is learning about priesthood truths hidden in plain sight

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).

Several years ago, while walking down Broadway in New York City with my 4-year-old old son in tow, we noticed a delivery truck with its company logo parked on the street.  While waiting for the traffic light to change so we could go on our way, my son pointed to the lettering on the truck and said, “Mom, look at the arrow!” 

Lori Draper, Relief Society general board member.
Lori Draper, Relief Society general board member. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

I looked to where he was pointing and did not see an arrow but saw the letters of the company logo.  With all my motherly wisdom, I began to explain to him that this was a truck that delivered packages much like a mail truck.  To this, he responded, “I know, Mom, but look at the arrow!”  

Feeling a need to correct him, I explained in more detail that he was looking at the letters spelling the name of the company, “F-E-D E-X.”  

Getting a little exasperated with me, he again pointed to “the arrow,” to which I again spelled out the letters on the truck. I couldn’t understand why he was so focused on something that simply wasn’t there. Then, with tremendous patience for one so young, he said, “Mom, look between the ‘E; and the ‘x.’  There’s a white arrow there.”  

With those clarifying instructions, I looked, and to my complete and total shock, I saw it! There in the negative, white space between the brightly colored “E” and “x,” was a distinct, white arrow, just as he had described.  I had seen hundreds of trucks just like this one, and until this moment I had never seen the white arrow, hidden clearly in plain sight.  But now that I had seen it and knew it was there, I couldn’t stop seeing it. 

Even today, years later, whenever I see a truck with this logo, I see the arrow nestled between the letters.

I’ve thought a lot about this experience over the years and wondered at the many things I have missed because I was not paying attention or because I was focused on the obvious rather than pausing to look for things that might require more patience and observation. 

Lori Draper with her son Isaac.
Lori Draper with her son Isaac. Credit: Courtesy Lori Draper

For most of my life I have seen the priesthood simply as the offices held within the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, much like the letters on that delivery truck. But President Russell M. Nelson has encouraged women “to study prayerfully all the truths you can find about priesthood power,”  promising 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 will increase.” 

As I have read and searched, studied and pondered, I have felt the Spirit teaching me with greater clarity to see and understand truths that have always been there, but which I did not see, because, like the arrow on the truck, they were hidden in plain sight.  

I’ve come to understand that the priesthood — God’s power and authority — encompasses so much more than just the offices of the priesthood, though it certainly includes them. I didn’t recognize it when I served as a full-time missionary, but I realize now that in that calling, I acted with priesthood authority. The same is true of each Church calling I have accepted. With each calling, I received priesthood authority when I was set apart to serve by one holding priesthood keys. I also see with increased understanding how my service in the temple has blessed me with “direct access to the power of God,” and I see how I have been blessed with priesthood power when I have pleaded for the Lord’s comfort and direction in my life.

Isaac Draper in front of the Angel Moroni in New York City while visiting with his mom.
Isaac Draper in front of the Angel Moroni in New York City while visiting with his mom. Credit: Courtesy Lori Draper

In his talk, “Spiritual Treasures,” President Nelson taught that “the Holy Ghost will be your personal tutor as you seek to understand what the Lord would have you know and do.”  Just as my son helped me see that arrow which was hidden from my view so many years ago, with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, I am now learning to recognize spiritual treasures while increasing my understanding of priesthood power as the empowering gift that God has always intended to be in my life.