A little over a year ago, I was invited by my stake presidency to be the speaker at our stake’s annual stake high priests quorum meeting and banquet. It is a well-attended meeting of the high priests in the stake, their wives, and the widows of high priests who have passed away. The topic they gave me was “Accessing the Power of Your Priesthood.”
I accepted the invitation and began thinking about the topic. I recalled that President Boyd K. Packer, as well as Elder Dallin H. Oaks, had given talks that related to the topic in the April 2010 General Conference. In fact, those two talks were so helpful to me that I consolidated them onto both sides of one sheet of paper, in very small font, and still carry it with me in my scriptures.
President Packer’s address dealt with the fact that the Church has been quite successful in distributing the authority of the priesthood throughout the world, but that the power of the priesthood is lacking in far too many cases. Elder Oaks addressed the topic of administering to the sick with his typical and wonderful instructional power and clarity. His instruction gave me even more confidence in administering to the sick.
One of the first thoughts that came to my mind was the need for personal worthiness on the part of the individual Melchizedek Priesthood holder. Next came the memories of several experiences I had had in the months following my being called and ordained to serve as a stake patriarch.
During those times I was approached by several acquaintances, on separate occasions, and, in so many words, congratulated me on my calling as a patriarch and went on to say that they would never want such a calling because it would require such high standards of worthiness on a continuous basis.
That got me thinking.
Why should there be any difference between my efforts to remain worthy and theirs? They should be ready and worthy, at a moment’s notice, to exercise their priesthood to bless people. The attitude of striving to be worthy, constantly, to exercise one’s priesthood to help and bless others, should be high on the list of attributes of all Melchizedek Priesthood holders. They should resist all forces and influences to the contrary.
With that in mind, I began to think of things that might stand in the way of such worthiness, including work environments, friends, and so forth. I thought back to my summer jobs as a welder, lumberjack, and railroad worker and some of the strategies I employed to lessen the impact on my spirituality when the crudeness around me threatened it.
I included a number of these situations I faced and how I dealt successfully with them in my talk. The talk came together with much help from the Spirit and was well received. Subsequently, I was invited by a number of other groups to speak on the same topic, which continued to develop and evolve in my mind.
Some months later, I was invited by my publisher, Cedar Fort, to write a Father’s Day booklet, “Unlocking the Power of Your Priesthood,” for publication this year.
The thoughts and experiences I used in preparing the talks on accessing the power of the priesthood became the basis for the writing of the booklet. It was a pleasant experience and hopefully will be helpful to many priesthood holders as they strive to unlock the power of their priesthood to a greater and greater degree.
Ed. note: “Unlocking the Power of Your Priesthood” is available in bookstores and from online retailers.
David J. Ridges taught for the Church Educational System for 35 years and has taught for several years at BYU Campus Education Week. He taught adult religion classes and Know your Religion classes for BYU Continuing Education for many years. He has also served as a curriculum writer for Sunday School, Seminary, and Institute of Religion manuals.