The teaching materials for the learning experience on “Priesthood and Priesthood Keys” are divided into four parts. In part 3, students will study paragraphs 6.5 through 6.7 of this doctrinal topic using the information in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. They will learn about the keys and powers of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, and they will study the doctrinal mastery passages Doctrine and Covenants 13:1 and Doctrine and Covenants 107:8.
Note: You could teach the segments of this lesson in a single class session or over the course of several class sessions. If you choose to teach the segments over the course of several class sessions, you may need to briefly review with students what they learned in previous segments before you teach a new segment.
Write Aaronic Priesthood and Melchizedek Priesthood on the board. Give students time to think about how they would explain to someone the differences between these two priesthoods. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share their explanations with the class.
Invite a student to read aloud paragraphs 6.5 through 6.7 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask students to follow along, looking for information that might help them further explain the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods and how they are different from one another.
What statements from these paragraphs could help you explain the differences between the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods?
Invite students to consider marking the following key statement of doctrine from paragraph 6.6 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: The Aaronic Priesthood “holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism.” Explain that the statement is from Doctrine and Covenants 13. Ask students to turn to Doctrine and Covenants 13:1, and invite them to consider marking this doctrinal mastery passage in a distinctive way in their scriptures so that they will be able to locate it easily.
To help students understand the context of this passage, explain that Doctrine and Covenants 13 contains words John the Baptist spoke to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery when he conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon them. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 13:1 aloud.
Explain that the blessings that the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood unlock are available to all members of the Church through the ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood. These ordinances are authorized by those who hold the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency. (If possible, display or provide a copy of this statement for each student.) Ask the class to listen for how the ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood help members of the Church receive the blessings mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants 13:1.
“What does it mean that the Aaronic Priesthood holds ‘the key of the ministering of angels’ and of the ‘gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins’ [D&C 84:26–27]? The meaning is found in the ordinance of baptism and in the sacrament. Baptism is for the remission of sins, and the sacrament is a renewal of the covenants and blessings of baptism. Both should be preceded by repentance. When we keep the covenants made in these ordinances, we are promised that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. The ministering of angels is one of the manifestations of that Spirit. …
“We cannot overstate the importance of the Aaronic Priesthood in this. All of these vital steps pertaining to the remission of sins are performed through the saving ordinance of baptism and the renewing ordinance of the sacrament. Both of these ordinances are officiated by holders of the Aaronic Priesthood under the direction of the bishopric, who exercise the keys of the gospel of repentance and of baptism and the remission of sins.
“In a closely related way, these ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood are also vital to the ministering of angels. …
“… As explained earlier, through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for ‘angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ’ (2 Ne. 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 37–39).
What did you learn from President Oaks’s statement about the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood?
How have you been blessed because of the Aaronic Priesthood?
Invite students to mark the first sentence of paragraph 6.7 in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: The Melchizedek Priesthood is the higher, or greater, priesthood and “holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things.”
Invite students to turn to Doctrine and Covenants 107:8 and consider marking this doctrinal mastery passage in a distinctive way in their scriptures so that they will be able to locate it easily.
To help students understand the context of this passage, invite them to silently review paragraph 6.2 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, looking for a definition of the phrase. (They should find that the rights of presidency are “the power God gives to man to govern and direct the kingdom of God on the earth.”) Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 107:8 the Lord is specifically talking about the powers given to the Melchizedek Priesthood to govern and direct the kingdom of God on the earth.
Invite students to silently review paragraph 6.7 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, looking for what it says about the Melchizedek Priesthood. Ask students to report what they find.
What are some of the ordinances or blessings that are performed through the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood? (Confirmation, temple ordinances, priesthood blessings.)
To help students feel the importance of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales (1932–2017) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Can you imagine how dark and empty mortality would be if there were no priesthood? If the power of the priesthood were not upon the earth, the adversary would have freedom to roam and reign without restraint. There would be no gift of the Holy Ghost to direct and enlighten us; no prophets to speak in the name of the Lord; no temples where we could make sacred, eternal covenants; no authority to bless or baptize, to heal or comfort. … There would be no light, no hope—only darkness” (Robert D. Hales, “Blessings of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 32).
When have you felt particularly grateful for the blessings available through the Melchizedek Priesthood?
Note: The following review activities are not intended to be taught during the same class session as this lesson—“Priesthood and Priesthood Keys, Part 3.” Please present these activities during seminary class sessions that take place after you have taught this lesson, but before you teach “Priesthood and Priesthood Keys, Part 4.” These short reviews can be taught at the beginning or end of classes in which you teach a regular sequential scripture lesson from the Doctrine and Covenants. Be sure that these reviews take no longer than five minutes each, so as not to take away from the scripture block students will be studying in class.
Before class begins, invite a student to write the following statement of doctrine on the board: The Aaronic Priesthood “holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism” (D&C 13:1).
Remind students that these priesthood keys were conferred upon the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by John the Baptist when he ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood. Ask students what ways they can think of to remember that these events are recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 13. Invite several students to share ideas. Encourage students to ask each other a question similar to the following as they interact between now and the next seminary class period:
In which section of the Doctrine and Covenants can we read about the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood?
Encourage students to remind their fellow students (if they have forgotten) that the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood are listed in Doctrine and Covenants 13. At the end of class, you might ask some students the question as they exit the room.
Before class begins, write the following scrambled statement of doctrine on the board:
Invite students to rewrite these statements in the correct order (as found in paragraph 6.7 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document) in their class notebooks or study journals. (The correct order is 5, 3, 1, 6, 4, 2.)
After students have finished writing, invite several of them to suggest ways they can remember that Doctrine and Covenants 107:8 is about the Melchizedek Priesthood.
On each of four different pieces of paper, write one of the following doctrinal mastery passage references on one side and its corresponding key statement of doctrine on the other side:
- Doctrine and Covenants 42:11
All who serve in the Church—men and women—are called under the direction of one who holds priesthood keys.
- Doctrine and Covenants 121:36, 41–42
Priesthood authority can only be exercised in righteousness.
- Doctrine and Covenants 13:1
The Aaronic Priesthood “holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism.”
- Doctrine and Covenants 107:8
The Melchizedek Priesthood is the higher, or greater, priesthood and “holds the right of presidency and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things.”
Use these “flash cards” to review the doctrinal mastery scripture references along with the key statements of doctrine. You might choose to show students one side of a flash card and ask them to tell you what is on the other side. (If you show students a doctrinal mastery scripture reference, do not require them to tell you the entire corresponding key statement of doctrine. For example, if you show students the reference “Doctrine and Covenants 107:8,” it might be sufficient for them to reply “Melchizedek Priesthood.”) You may want to repeat flash cards that students struggle with until they know them better. Then you might want to repeat the activity using the other side of the flash cards. Do not spend more than five minutes on this activity.