Each of us has access to gifts of the Spirit and to personal revelation. (See D&C 88:63.) However, the ordinances of salvation and other priesthood blessings must be administered by those who hold the priesthood.
“Priesthood is the authority and the power which God has granted to men on earth to act for Him,” said Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve. (Ensign, Feb. 1993, p. 7.) Through this power, we have access to guidance from living prophets and from general and local priesthood leaders. We also have the opportunity to receive priesthood ordinances and blessings that can bring us peace in this troubled world and lead us toward eternal life.
One of the goals of the Relief Society is to teach women how we can be “full participants in the blessings of the priesthood.” (Relief Society Handbook, 1988, p. 1.) In the Church, women do not baptize, ordain, or stand in the circle to confer a priesthood blessing. But, as the late Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve wrote, “Men have no greater claim than women upon the blessings that issue from the Priesthood and accompany its possession.” (Priesthood and Church Government, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 83.)
Priesthood blessings necessary for salvation include the ordinances of baptism, confirmation, temple endowment, celestial marriage, sealing, and baptism for the dead. If we are to take full advantage of any of these blessings, we must actively and persistently seek them.
For many, the seeking requires sacrifice. “After my conversion, I had to wait half a year to be baptized,” recalls Olga Kovárová of Czechoslovakia. “It was 1983, and because we had no baptismal font, we needed to wait until summer when we could be in the woods and not be noticed.” When they reached the reservoir on the night of the baptism, they saw many fishermen. “We waited, and the time dragged on,” she said. “Finally, a brother suggested, ‘I think we must pray and ask Heavenly Father to make it possible for Olga to be baptized.’ This was my first miracle with a priesthood prayer. Within a few minutes of our quiet prayer, most of the fishermen left the water’s edge. You can imagine my feelings of joy as I came up out of the water.” Olga was the first young woman convert in Czechoslovakia in almost forty years. When she was confirmed, she was told that through her, “many people would come to the Church.”
What effort might be required for you to receive the blessings of salvation?
In times of loneliness and heartache, priesthood blessings and counsel can bring peace and solace. During sickness, a blessing can lighten emotional and physical burdens. Patriarchal blessings can give direction and purpose. As we partake of the sacrament each week, we can renew our covenants with the Savior.
Sister Chieko N. Okazaki of the Relief Society general presidency recalls, “When my husband passed away, I was in the depths of sorrow and pain and was grasping for comfort. I turned to the scriptures and began to evaluate my life. When I went to church that Sunday after we buried him, I listened closely to the sacrament prayer and felt very surely that I could have the Savior’s spirit with me—and that I could do this by renewing my covenants with him. It was as simple as that. I am grateful that I can partake of this priesthood ordinance and receive this comfort every Sunday.”
What priesthood blessing would give you comfort at this time?
What could you do to prepare to receive it?