Priesthood. Understood to be the power and authority to act in God’s name. May also refer to Mormon males who hold this authority.
There are two divisions: Aaronic and Melchizedek. Authority to hold the priesthood is for male members only. According to tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith, “There is no exaltation in the kingdom of God without the fulness of the priesthood. …Every man who is faithful and will receive these ordinances and blessings obtains a fulness of the priesthood, and the Lord has said that ‘he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion’” (Doctrines of Salvation 3:132. Ellipses mine). According to twelfth President Spencer W. Kimball, “Priesthood is the means to exaltation. The priesthood is the power and authority of God delegated to man on earth to act in all things pertaining to the salvation of men. It is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. Without this priesthood power, men are lost. Only through this power does man ‘hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church,’ enabling him to receive ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened’ unto him (see D&C 107:18-19), enabling him to enter the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and to have his wife and children bound to him in an everlasting tie, enabling him to become a patriarch to his posterity forever, and enabling him to receive a fullness of the blessings of the Lord” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 494). He also said, “Presumptuous and blasphemous are they who purport to baptize, bless, marry, or perform other sacraments in the name of the Lord while in fact lacking his specific authorization. And no one can obtain God’s authority from reading the Bible or from just a desire to serve the Lord, no matter how pure his motives.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 494).
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