Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sunday's Sermon: The Priesthood

Dear Brothers and sisters, it is an honour to be standing up here today for the first time as a conducting Elder and been given the chance to give this sermon. Today my talk will be about the priesthood.
 
The priesthood is the power and authority of God given to man, to act in the name of God within his church. The priesthood is the power of God on earth given to worthy males and females it includes the power Jesus gave his apostles to perform miracles such as the casting out of devils and the healing of sick (Luke 9:1). As Latter Day Mormons we believe that the Biblical miracles performed by prophets and apostles were performed by the power of priesthood, including the miracles of Jesus, who holds all of the keys of the priesthood. Priesthood is the authority by which a bearer may perform ecclesiastical acts of service in the name of God. Latter Day Mormons believe that acts performed by one with priesthood authority are recognised by God and are binding in heaven, on earth, and in the afterlife. In addition, Latter Day Mormons believe that leadership positions within the church are given with the aid of priesthood authority. For the most part of the history of the Mormon movement, only men have been ordained to specific offices in the priesthood. However we know that this is not what God wanted for his people. The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ in accordance with the will of God and the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1842 allow all women under revelation the privilege of holding the Aaronic Priesthood of God and holding all the offices with that priesthood office. We do this not because it is popular or because it is easy but because it is what the Lord wishes and is what has been revealed to us by the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Lord. What follows is an explanation on how the Priesthood blessings were conferred upon the women of the early church and in turn have now been conferred upon the women of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ.
 
Two weeks after he organised the Relief Society of Nauvoo, Illinois, and gave them complete autonomy in running this organisation Joseph Smith announced his intention to confer the priesthood upon women. He told the gathered sisters at Relief Society on the 30 March 1842 that “the Society should move according to the ancient Priesthood” and that he was “going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests as in Enoch's day and as in Paul's day.”  It must be remembered that the early Mormon sisters did not request the priesthood; however the Prophet Joseph Smith would soon confer it upon them as part of the restoration of the gospel. His private journal, called the Book of the Law of the Lord, specified the priesthood promise in his instructions to the women on 28 April 1842 it states, “gave a lecture on the priesthood showing how the Sisters would come in possession of the privileges & blessings & gifts of the priesthood & that the signs should follow them. Such as healing the sick casting out devils & that they might attain unto these blessings. By a virtuous life & conversation & diligence in keeping all the commandments.”  It is clear for all to see who wish to see that our dear and much beloved Prophet Joseph Smith clearly intended that Mormon women in 1842 were to be bestowed  the “gifts of the priesthood”  upon them not merely as simply ministrations of faith but as actual holders and partakers of the gifts of the priesthood. The conferral of the priesthood on individual women occurred on 4 May 1842, six days after his remarks to the Relief Society. Emma Smith the wife of the Prophet became the first women to receive the “fullness of the priesthood”. Thus Emma Smith began the fulfilment of the Prophet's promise to make the Relief Society “a kingdom of priests”. She was anointed to become a “queen and priestess” and was ordained to the fullness of those offices by the Prophet himself. Joseph Smiths first counsellor and friend Sidney Rigdon later commented on this event in his history of the church when he stated, “Emma was female to whom the priesthood was first given.”  Unfortunately over time many Mormon have relegated the role of women in their churches and have made every attempt to whitewash this from the history of Mormonism. However today The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ not only recognise the importance and independence of the Relief Society program but that the women of the church have the right given them by God to have bestowed upon them the Aaronic Priesthood of God.
 
I am so grateful that I have a chance to hold the priesthood of God and that I am now ordained an elder in his church. I have been blessed with the Melchizedeck priesthood to do a duty to God to help others to bless them and to fulfil my role within his kingdom. I pray that I may be able to live up to the standards that God has asked of me. Thank you for listening to me today, sorry if I was a little nervous but I have many years left to improve. God bless you all in his holy name Amen.
 
Elder Levi M. Gill

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