- Without this restoration, we would be locked out from the vehicle necessary to transport us on our journey home to loving heavenly parents. The performance of every ordinance of salvation comprising our covenant pathway back to the presence of our Father in Heaven requires appropriate governance through priesthood keys.
Elder Stevenson defines priesthood authority and priesthood keys. He shares that all ordinances in the church require priesthood keys.
- The priesthood, or priesthood authority, has been defined as “the power and authority of God” and “the consummate power on this earth.” Priesthood keys are defined for our understanding as well: “Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to priesthood leaders to direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on earth.” Priesthood keys control the exercise of priesthood authority. Ordinances that create a record in the Church require keys and cannot be done without authorization.
He shares that there are three items that we can do to bless the life and lives or others.
First: Prepare for Missionary Service
- My young brothers and sisters, you may not realize it, but the keys of the gathering of Israel, restored by Moses, enable missionary work in our dispensation. Consider the full-time missionary force of approximately 75,000 laboring in the field under the direction of these keys. With this in mind, remember it is never too early for you to prepare for missionary service. In For the Strength of Youth, we read, “Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, … work diligently to prepare yourself to represent the Lord as a missionary.” Young women can prepare also, but you “are not under the same mandate to serve.” All of your preparation, however, whether you serve as a full-time missionary or not, will accrue lifelong benefits to you as a member missionary.
- We encourage you young men and young women to research and find the names of your ancestors and perform proxy baptisms for them in the temple. We note that this is already taking place in significant and unprecedented numbers throughout the world! Baptistries in many temples are filled with young men and young women early in the morning and into the night. Keys are turned that allow families to be bound together as sacred ordinances are performed in these temples.
- Through this restoration, each of you has access to the great blessings promised to Abraham. These blessings can be yours if you remain faithful and live worthy. In the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth, you are given some very practical instruction about how to “go forward with faith.” I summarize some of that counsel: “To help you become all that the Lord wants you to become, kneel each morning and night in prayer to your Father in Heaven. … Study the scriptures each day and apply what you read to your life. … Strive each day to be obedient. … In all circumstances, follow the teachings of the prophets. … Be humble and willing to listen to the Holy Ghost.”
- This counsel is followed by a promise leading to promises that come through the blessings of Abraham: “As you do these things, the Lord will make much more out of your life than you can by yourself. He will increase your opportunities, expand your vision, and strengthen you. He will give you the help you need to meet your trials and challenges. You will gain a stronger testimony and find true joy as you come to know your Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and feel Their love for you.”
Finally, Elder Stevenson shares his hope that the youth of the church can serve in the church and receive necessary blessings in their lives.
- I pray that you, the rising generation of young men and young women, will “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,” that you may understand that it is your sacred privilege to act under the direction of those who hold the priesthood keys that will unlock blessings, gifts, and powers of heaven for you.
The analogy of Elder Stevenson's car keys to priesthood keys shows the need for order within the church. Without keys to a car, it is just a pile of metal. Without priesthood keys, the church is just like everything other church in the world. The keys of the priesthood bring order and guidance to the Saviors kingdom on earth.