The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances (D&C 107:20).
The Aaronic Priesthood22965_000_003
In a tribute to John the Baptist and the Aaronic Priesthood, which he restored, President shared an experience from his own life that reveals the power of this priesthood.
I love the work of the Primary, [in which] teachers instruct little children to walk in the light of the gospel of Christ. …
Part of the great love of Primary teachers is preparing boys to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. …
I revere the priesthood of Almighty God. I have witnessed its power. I have seen its strength. I have marveled at the miracles it has wrought.
Almost fifty years ago, I knew a boy, even a priest, who held the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood. As the bishop, I was his quorum president. This boy, Robert, stuttered and stammered. … Self-conscious, shy, fearful of himself and all others, he had an impediment of speech which was devastating to him. Never did he fulfill an assignment; never would he look another in the eye; always would he gaze downward. Then one day, through an unusual set of circumstances, he accepted an assignment to … baptize another.
I sat next to him in the baptistry of the sacred Tabernacle. He was dressed in immaculate white, prepared for the ordinance he was to perform. I asked Robert how he felt. He gazed at the floor and stuttered almost incoherently that he felt terrible.
We both prayed fervently that he would be made equal to his task. Then the clerk read the words: “Nancy Ann McArthur will now be baptized by Robert Williams, a priest.” Robert left my side, stepped into the font, took little Nancy by the hand, and helped her into the water. … He then gazed as though toward heaven and, with his right arm to the square, [declared,] “Nancy Ann McArthur, having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Not once did he stammer. Not once did he stutter. Not once did he falter. A modern miracle had been witnessed.
In the dressing room, as I congratulated Robert, I expected to hear this same uninterrupted flow of speech. I was wrong. He gazed downward and stammered his reply of gratitude.
I testify that when Robert acted in the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood, he spoke with power, with conviction, and with heavenly help. (See Ensign, February 2002, pages 2–5.)