Training Marks Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Anniversary
By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
May 15th marked the 184th anniversary of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. On that historic date in 1829, John the Baptist conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery that sacred priesthood authority, calling them his “fellow servants.”
Today’s holders of the Aaronic Priesthood can, like Joseph and Oliver, be called fellow servants of the Lord and His children, declared David L. Beck, Young Men general president during a special priesthood anniversary training meeting at the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
“There is a wonderful brotherhood that we enjoy in the priesthood, and those relationships that we develop as we serve God and serve His children and each other are relationships that are cherished. They strengthen us and protect us,” said Brother Beck.
The training meeting was carried live via web broadcast to young men and their leaders throughout the world. Rebroadcasts of the event can be viewed on demand at LDS.org/video/ym.
Brother Beck referenced the many messages delivered by members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve during the recent general conference highlighting the special opportunities and duties enjoyed by holders of the Aaronic Priesthood. Through the priesthood, young men are accepting calls to serve full-time missions to help bring the gospel into the lives of others.
The Aaronic Priesthood, said Brother Beck, has power—and holders of that sacred power serve the Lord by forwarding His work. It is “a ministering priesthood” that prepares young men for the essential duties of fatherhood.
Brother Larry M. Gibson, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, said today’s Aaronic Priesthood holders live in a dangerous world. “We are under attack from forces seen and unseen,” he said.
To help deflect such attacks, a dutiful army of young men is needed. Brother Gibson said such an army needs leaders who will mentor and serve them just as Captain Moroni and Helaman led young men as recounted in the pages of the Book of Mormon. He said Helaman remains a timeless example of a captain of young men who stayed close to the Lord while preparing his charges to assume their sacred duties and took careful steps to ensure they were protected. Helaman’s stripling warriors, Brother Gibson noted, learned from him the safety in following the Lord’s commandments “with exactness.”
Brother Gibson said safe, well-planned activities will help young men become well-rounded, self-reliant and prepared for the temple and full-time missionary work. Programs such as Scouting and Church sports leagues can bless the lives of young men.
Brother Randall L. Ridd, who was recently called as second counselor in the Young Men general presidency, spoke of the historical significance of the recent age changes regarding missionary work. As Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve taught, young men and young women are witnessing a wave of missionary enthusiasm across the globe.
“There is a feeling of urgency as these modern-day stripling warriors prepare to serve,” Brother Ridd said. To help young men better prepare, they can utilize existing and inspired tools such as the “Come Follow Me” learning curriculum, the Duty to God program and home teaching. These resources work best when a faithful adult guides young men, he said.
“The fastest learning takes place on the job with a great mentor,” he added.
The training event in the Tabernacle also included a panel discussion by members of the Young Men General Board, who shared videos of effective Aaronic Priesthood quorums and quorum presidency meetings. Such quorums, they said, can help young men prepare for missionary work by performing missionary work today.