"[The priesthood] is veritably the power of the Almighty given to man to act in His name and in His stead," said President Gordon B. Hinckley. "It is a delegation of divine authority, different from all other powers and authorities on the face of the earth. . . . Without it there could be a church in name only, lacking authority to administer in the things of God. With it, nothing is impossible in carrying forward the work of the kingdom of God. It is divine in its nature. It is both temporal and eternal in its authority. It is the only power on the earth that reaches beyond the veil of death" ("Priesthood Restoration," Ensign, Oct. 1988, 71).
"The Priesthood was first given to Adam," taught Joseph Smith. "He obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. . . . The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam's authority" (History of the Church, 3:385–86). The keys to preside are held by presidents of priesthood quorums. The President of the Church, as the presiding high priest, holds all priesthood keys entrusted to man on earth. Through priesthood keys come spiritual blessings and knowledge (see D&C 84:19–22; 107:18–19). "The keys of the priesthood were committed to Joseph," President Brigham Young said, "to build up the kingdom of God on the earth, and were not to be taken from him in time or in eternity" (Deseret News, Apr. 30, 1853, 47; italics deleted).