Lesson 23: Preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), 86–89


Objective

As he learns about the oath and covenant of the priesthood, each young man will want to prepare himself to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Matthew 25:1–13 and Doctrine and Covenants 62:6; 76:1–10; 82:10; 84:33–42; 107:1–8, 18–20, 99–100; 121:34–46; 137:1–4.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  3. 3.

    Arrange for the bishop or branch president to come to your class for five to ten minutes and discuss with the young men the lesson material about magnifying priesthood callings. All Aaronic Priesthood classes could meet together for this lesson.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Scripture and discussion

Read and discuss with the young men Doctrine and Covenants 107:1–8, 18–20. Invite them to ask questions. Briefly explain the names of the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods, how they are related, the major offices in each, and the differences between their authority and responsibilities. If the young men in your class are familiar with this material, you may want to ask questions that will allow them to provide this information. If most of the young men in your class are not familiar with this material, you may want to supplement your discussion with material from Gospel Principles or Gospel Fundamentals.

  • How do you feel about holding the Aaronic Priesthood?

  • How do you feel about preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood?

The Priesthood Is Received by Oath and Covenant

Situation and discussion

Present the following situation to the young men:

Tom was preparing to go on a mission. He had always looked forward to this opportunity to serve Heavenly Father. He had already been interviewed by his bishop and was now in the stake president’s office.

The stake president asked Tom a few questions about his family. Then he leaned forward in his chair, looked Tom in the eye, and said, “Tom, you will soon receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and be ordained an elder. This is a serious step in your life—one that you should approach with real intent and dedication.

“Tom, the Melchizedek Priesthood is received with an oath and covenant from Heavenly Father. Tell me what you know about the oath and covenant of the priesthood.”

Tom was caught completely off guard. He had heard of the oath and covenant of the priesthood, but he didn’t know what it was or how it related to him.

  • What does the oath and covenant of the priesthood mean to you?

Remind the young men that within a few years each of them will be in Tom’s situation. They will be eligible to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Explain to the young men that they should start to prepare now. The first thing they should do to understand the oath and covenant of the priesthood is read about it in the scriptures.

Scripture and chalkboard discussion

Read and discuss with the young men Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–40. Summarize the discussion on the chalkboard:

Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood

If we—

  1. 1.

    Are faithful

  2. 2.

    Are worthy to receive the priesthood

  3. 3.

    Magnify our calling

  4. 4.

    Receive Heavenly Father’s servants—the prophets

Then Heavenly Father covenants to—

  1. 1.

    Give us the priesthood.

  2. 2.

    Sanctify us by the Spirit.

  3. 3.

    Renew our bodies.

  4. 4.

    Make us his elect or chosen.

  5. 5.

    Share all that he has with us.

Point out that the blessings in this covenant depend on the faithfulness of the person receiving the priesthood. Heavenly Father always keeps his promises.

Adviser presentation

Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 84:43–44. Emphasize that receiving the priesthood is a very sacred and important step.

Remind the young men that Heavenly Father cannot break his oath and covenant. You might wish to have the young men refer to Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 and D&C 62:6.

Our Responsibility to Magnify Our Priesthood Callings

Bishop or branch president’s discussion

The bishop or branch president can take five to ten minutes to teach this part of the lesson. He should explain the responsibilities of priesthood bearers. He might wish to mention that a priesthood bearer—

  1. 1.

    Should do nothing that would displease Heavenly Father or offend the Spirit. He should detest sin of any kind.

  2. 2.

    Should learn the commandments and commit to live them.

  3. 3.

    Should fulfill all priesthood assignments.

  4. 4.

    Should work actively and willingly to build the kingdom of God.

The bishop might share a story about someone he knows who has kept his priesthood covenants. He might also testify about the blessings of the priesthood and the importance of being prepared to provide priesthood service.

Preparing to Receive the Melchizedek Priesthood

Discussion

Explain that the young men can begin preparing right now to receive and magnify their future callings in the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  • What can you do to prepare for the Melchizedek Priesthood?

Story

Tell the following story about how Heavenly Father prepared Elder George A. Smith for priesthood leadership. Emphasize to the young men that sometimes the humblest people, when they understand the power of the priesthood, become the greatest leaders.

In 1834 Joseph Smith led an army of two hundred men on a thousand-mile march from Kirtland, Ohio, to western Missouri. With the support of Governor Dunklin of Missouri, they planned to help the persecuted Saints return to their homes in Jackson County.

George A. Smith, Joseph’s cousin, was the youngest member of the army, which was known as Zion’s Camp. He was a big, awkward boy of sixteen who had little confidence in himself. He compared his talents to Joseph’s and found himself sadly lacking.

Anyone who had seen George A. might have understood his feelings. George’s mother had made him a pair of pants out of striped mattress cloth and a backpack from checked apron fabric. His father had given him a new pair of boots and an old musket. After a few days of marching, George A.’s boots had worn bloody blisters on his feet; his pants were ripped to shreds; and he had sat on his straw hat, smashing it into something resembling a bird’s nest. [He did not look like much of] a warrior.

The men marched twenty-five to forty miles a day and could hardly sleep during the hot, muggy nights. Mosquitoes and flies made life miserable, and there was not much food. George A. said the water on the prairie was filled with “wigglers” that he learned to strain out with his teeth as he drank.

When the camp reached Missouri, Joseph Smith learned that Governor Dunklin had withdrawn his support. Attempts to buy the Jackson County land failed. War was avoided, but the purpose of the march was frustrated. The men of Zion’s Camp were deeply disappointed. Some even turned against the prophet, but George A. did not.

Joseph, who was deeply disappointed himself, told the men that if they continued to rebel he feared something terrible would happen to them. A few days later the men began to get sick with cholera. Sixty-eight members of the camp were stricken, and fourteen died. Jesse Smith, cousin to both Joseph and George A., was one of those who died.

Joseph was heartbroken, and George A. simply could not understand. He was sure that he would never be the man that Jesse might have been. He would never serve the Church half so well. Even worse, Zion’s Camp seemed to have failed.

However, the value of the march gradually became clear. Those camp members who remained loyal, learned leadership, and gained strength during the march became leaders of the Church. And what about the awkward boy who thought he should have died instead of his cousin? Less than five years later, at the age of twenty-one, he was ordained an Apostle. He later served with Brigham Young as a member of the First Presidency. His experience in Zion’s Camp prepared him for a lifetime of leadership.

Emphasize to the young men that if they are faithful, the experiences they have now can prepare them for future service in the Church. By honoring the Aaronic Priesthood, following their Aaronic Priesthood leaders, and fulfilling their Aaronic Priesthood assignments valiantly, the young men are preparing to receive and magnify their future callings in the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 107:99–100.

  • What are your priesthood duties?

Have the young men answer the following question silently to themselves.

  • How well have you fulfilled your priesthood duties in the past? How can you do better?

Remind the young men that the most important priesthood role a man can have is that of husband and father. Every Melchizedek Priesthood holder is responsible to teach and bless his own family. Help the young men understand that by honoring their parents and serving family members, they prepare for this most important calling.

Using the Priesthood Properly

Scripture and discussion

Explain that Heavenly Father has given us instructions about how to use the priesthood.

Read and discuss with the young men Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–45.

  • What do called and chosen mean in this passage?

  • According to this passage, what attitudes or actions would keep us from honoring the priesthood? How can we avoid those?

  • According to verses 41–45, what are some attributes of righteous priesthood holders?

  • What blessings are promised to those who use the priesthood properly?

Encourage the young men to dedicate their lives to Heavenly Father and to live virtuously so that the doctrine of the priesthood and other blessings can come into their souls as promised in Doctrine and Covenants 121:45–46.

Receiving All That the Father Has

Scripture reading and discussion

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 84:35–38 Jesus says that a man who honors the oath and covenant of the priesthood will receive all that the Father has. Ask the young men to think for a few seconds about what this means. Then have them take turns reading Doctrine and Covenants 76:1–10 and D&C 137:1–4.

Use the following questions and some of your own to stimulate thought and discussion:

  • What must we be willing to offer to obtain these blessings?

  • How do these promised blessings compare to worldly gain?

  • When do these blessings begin?

  • When do they stop?

Explain that in order to receive these blessings, we must be willing to give Heavenly Father all our faith, love, time, talent, loyalty, honor, and wealth. If we give all that we have to Heavenly Father, he will share with us all that he has. We will enjoy the blessing of eternal increase. We cannot imagine the glories Heavenly Father has prepared for us if we are faithful. (You might want to have the young men read 1 Corinthians 2:9.) No worldly wealth or power can compare with those blessings. They begin now and will go on through the eternities as we remain true to our covenants.

No Earthly Treasure Compares to the Priesthood

Adviser presentation

Refer again to the story about Tom’s interview with the stake president. Encourage the young men to prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and to study and pray in order to understand its oath and covenant. Then when they are interviewed before receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood, they will be able to affirm that they are ready to receive this oath and covenant.

Conclusion

Tell the young men how you feel about the priesthood. You might also tell them about a young man you know who was truly prepared to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Testimony

Bear testimony that no earthly treasure or honor compares in value to the Melchizedek Priesthood and the blessings we can receive by keeping our covenants with Heavenly Father. Tell the young men about how the priesthood has blessed your life. You might tell them about how you have been blessed for honoring your priesthood covenants or about blessings you have received through others who magnified the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Challenge

Challenge the young men to prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood by studying the scriptures that pertain to the priesthood. Encourage them to commit themselves to fulfill their Aaronic Priesthood duties valiantly and develop the attributes of a righteous Melchizedek Priesthood holder.