The Prophets Speak: Wilford Woodruff on the Priesthood of God


Taken from The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected by G. Homer Durham, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946).

The Holy Priesthood is the channel through which God communicates and deals with man upon the earth; and the heavenly messengers that have visited the earth to communicate with man are men who held and honored the priesthood while in the flesh; and everything that God has caused to be done for the salvation of man, from the coming of man upon the earth to the redemption of the world, has been and will be by virtue of the everlasting priesthood. …

All the organizations of the priesthood have power. The deacon has power, through the priesthood which he holds. So has the teacher. They have power to go before the Lord and have their prayers heard and answered, as well as the prophet, seer, or the revelator has. … It is by this priesthood that men have ordinances conferred upon them, that their sins are forgiven, and that they are redeemed. For this purpose has it been revealed and sealed upon our heads.

Let [us] remember that the eternal and everlasting priesthood is bestowed upon us for the purpose alone of administering in the ordinances of life and salvation, both for the living and the dead, and no man on earth can use that priesthood for any other purpose than for the work of the ministry, the perfecting of the Saints, edifying the body of Christ, establishing the kingdom of heaven, and redeeming Zion. …

The same priesthood exists on the other side of the veil. Every man who is faithful is in his quorum there. … The priesthood is not taken from him, and he has thousands more to preach to there than he ever had in the flesh. But it depends upon the living here to erect temples, that the ordinances for the dead may be attended to, for by and by you will meet your progenitors in the spirit world who never heard the sound of the gospel. You who are here … have power to be baptized for and redeem your dead.

Let [any] man use [the] priesthood for any other purpose than the building up of the kingdom of God, … and the heavens withdraw themselves, the power of the priesthood departs, and he is left to walk in darkness and not in light, and this is the key to apostasy of all men whether in this generation or any other.