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).
A few vignettes, connected over time, have helped me better understand and cherish what the priesthood is and how its threads are woven throughout my life.
It began with faith. As a missionary serving in the lush rolling hills of upstate New York, I was reading “Lectures on Faith” when I learned a profound principle: Faith is more than just positive thinking. Rather, it is the power that holds the worlds together. Or, as President Harold B. Lee once taught, “Remember, faith is the activating force of priesthood, without which, priesthood is not effective in your lives” (“The Teachings of Harold B. Lee,” p.489).
That principle struck me and, over time, it became a foundation stone for me in relation to priesthood power. “[This] principle of power, which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith. All things … exist by reason of faith, as it existed in Him” (First Theological Lecture on Faith, circa January-May 1835, part 15).
Here I was as a missionary, teaching the basic principle of faith, yet I hadn’t quite grasped the significance of such a common and foundational principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Did I really understand what was available to me, my companion, those we taught, and each one of us here on earth if we just exercise our Faith?
This faith in Jesus Christ gives us direct access to His power which blesses, redeems, sanctifies, and heals us. It seems overwhelming to consider its magnitude. But simply put, it is the power of God and, as stated previously, it “exists in Him.”
Being a single adult sister in the Church, I do not have a bearer of the priesthood in my home. Yet just like faith, priesthood power also holds the worlds together. It lives in us. It is the manifestation of the love of God and God most often manifests Himself in quiet moments, between only us and Him.
A few years ago, when I bought my first home, my parents came so that my father could dedicate it. Together, we knelt and united our faith to help him speak the words the Lord would have him pronounce upon me and my home. It felt symbolic, at the time, that they were there with me as I started my own home with their love and support. As my father gave voice to some of the blessings that my Heavenly Father desired for me, I felt of His great love and care.
My father passed away soon after, but that special priesthood blessing lingers on in my memory and has given me a glimpse into one of the ways in which priesthood power is able to reach me individually.
Shortly after my father’s passing, I visited a hidden gem on the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland, called Dunquin Pier. There was a stunning sunset as I sat pondering the beauty of this amazing world and God’s vast creations.
I had just lost my father and felt so alone. It was as if I had quietly asked both my fathers: ‘Where are you?’
Just then, a very clear phrase entered my mind: “I am right here. I am always with you.”
To me, this message, which came through the Holy Ghost, is a manifestation of God’s priesthood power. My Father in Heaven healed my broken heart that day and helped me to feel and see Him so keenly. It was a direct message from Him to my heart. It wasn’t complex to understand.
Like my earthly parents, I imagine my Heavenly Parents also united on my behalf — loving and supporting me from afar — or perhaps not that far — in this new ‘home’ on earth.
The Lord visits us and shares His love. He restored the priesthood again to the earth for this very purpose.
Often, we may think solely of the priesthood power being linked to either a male leader in the Church, a sacred event, or an ordinance. Yes, this is true, but that is not all that the priesthood is. The priesthood is not limited by man or earthly bounds.
When President Nelson recently invited us to study the priesthood, I found Doctrine and Covenants section 84 to be full of new meaning as I pondered how it could pertain to me and my life. It begins with describing Zion and how we build it “beginning at the temple lot” (D&C 84:3). Why a temple? Because, the Lord continues, “the glory of the Lord … shall fill the house” (D&C 84:5). It is His glory – His priesthood power.
I have felt that power within the walls of His house — the temple. Whenever I enter, I allow space for Him to manifest Himself in word, action, or feeling through the Holy Ghost. I try not to overthink or complicate it. The Lord promises: “All they who receive this priesthood receive me … and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father … [H]e that receiveth my Father receiveth … all that my Father hath.” (D&C 84:35, 37-38). Just as the Lord instructed those who bear the priesthood, we who receive and keep priesthood ordinances and covenants are also blessed and entitled to receive “all that the Father hath.”
As I consider His invitation to receive Him and His priesthood power, I remember: “I am right here.”