The purpose of this lesson is to help us recognize how priesthood ordinances bless our family.
Priesthood ordinances are special acts that priesthood holders may perform to bless the Lord’s children. Worthy men who hold the priesthood may perform these ordinances for family members and, when authorized, for others.
Some priesthood ordinances are essential to our salvation and exaltation. These include baptism, the conferring of the Holy Ghost, and the temple endowment and sealings. Other ordinances, such as blessings to heal the sick or special blessings to comfort and guide the lonely, come through the priesthood to help us on life’s journey.
Display a poster of the following list of priesthood ordinances or refer to the information on the chalkboard:
Display visuals 12-a, “A priesthood holder performs the ordinance of baptism”; 12-b, “A new member being confirmed into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by two elders”; 12-c, “A worthy father names his child and gives her a blessing”; and 12-d, “Administering to the sick.” Discuss the purpose of each of these ordinances (see “Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings” in the Family Guidebook ).
Which ordinances have you or your family received?
Priesthood ordinances bless our lives in many ways. In addition to the ordinances that are necessary to our salvation, Bishop H. Burke Peterson mentioned other ways in which the priesthood can bless our lives: “If we live for it, ours can be a power given us from our Heavenly Father that will bring peace to a troubled household. Ours can be a power that will bless and comfort little children, that will bring sleep to tear-stained eyes in the wee hours of the morning. Ours can be the power that will … calm the unsettled nerves of a tired wife. Ours can be the power that will give direction to a confused … teenager. Ours, the power to bless a daughter before she goes on her first date or before her temple marriage, or to bless a son before his departure for a mission or college. … Ours can be the power to heal the sick and comfort the lonely” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 50–51; or Ensign, May 1976, 33).
As wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, we can request such a blessing from our husband, father, brother, or home teacher.
Ask the sisters to think of men they could call on to receive a priesthood blessing if they needed one.
Sister Kyuln Lee of Korea received the comfort of a priesthood blessing in her home. She told the following story:
“It happened about seven years ago, when … my husband, a member of the Korea District presidency, had to travel long distances almost every weekend to carry out his assignments for the Church, leaving me alone with our daughter, Po Hee. On this particular weekend, he had traveled 270 miles to Pusan on Saturday (a seven-hour ride each way) and then returned to … the Seoul East Branch on Sunday. It was tiring, and I felt sorry for him.
“Po Hee was in normal health Saturday and Sunday, and, though she was a bit noisy at sacrament meeting, after we returned home she drank her bottle and went to sleep. About 9:30 P.M. she began to cry. She was crying louder than usual, and when I picked her up, I discovered she had a high fever. I didn’t know what to do. I found out that the only hospital near our home had closed for the day. Her cries continued for some time, and when my husband finally walked in the door, I started crying, too.
“My husband embraced the baby and me together and asked what was wrong. Po Hee looked miserable. When I told him what had happened, he put down his coat and briefcase and took out his consecrated oil. Then he administered to our daughter. I don’t remember all the words, but after saying the formal words of administration he went on: ‘Heavenly Father, I’m grateful for life, for my wife and baby. I’m grateful for this restored gospel and the opportunity to serve. You sent me down to Pusan and to Seoul East Branch to handle some Church affairs. I have fulfilled my given responsibility yesterday and today, and now I find my baby very ill. You have helped me all the time. Please help me tonight.’
“Before he concluded the prayer, the baby was asleep, and when I looked up, my husband stood there with tears in his eyes.
“Our little girl is now in the second grade and is healthy and happy” (“Our Baby, My Husband, and the Priesthood,” Ensign, Aug. 1975, 65).
Special priesthood blessings are available to all family members. A child who has a difficult problem can request a special blessing. A wife or single woman who needs comfort or guidance can also request such a blessing. However, we need to remember that many trials come for our experience. We must work them out as much as we can. When we find that we need extra help, we can turn to a priesthood holder—our husband, father, home teacher, or other priesthood leader—and ask for a special blessing.
Ask the sisters to mention blessings they have received through priesthood ordinances.
After we have received a priesthood ordinance, we may not immediately obtain the blessings we desire. Sometimes we fail to receive the blessings because we do not have enough faith in the Lord. Perhaps we have not been keeping all the commandments. We may have asked for blessings that we are not prepared to receive.
We cannot expect to get rid of every trial that comes into our lives. Some of our problems teach us to be humble, patient, or understanding. Others help us learn to endure suffering. President Spencer W. Kimball said that sometimes we desire to remove problems because we do not understand why we have them. If every selfish or unwise prayer were answered yes, there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death. But without these experiences there would also be no joy, no success, no resurrection, no eternal life, no godhood. President Kimball said: “If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.” (See Faith Precedes the Miracle , 97–99.)
Sister Edna O. F. Shaw learned this lesson through the following experience:
“Our beloved eldest daughter, Carol Jean, had become ill with swollen lymph glands. We took her to the doctor, and he sent us to Salt Lake City for tests. We learned that she had a stomach tumor. She was so ill that she couldn’t keep any food down. We took her home, but she was so sick that we had to take her back to the hospital. It was then that they told us she had sarcoma, a form of leukemia.
“I never prayed so hard in my life. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to us. The elders administered to her several times while she was in the hospital. But despite our efforts, she died.
“I blamed myself; I thought that … I had not had enough faith for her to have lived. Then I started to turn to the scriptures. As I read, I came across several verses in the Doctrine and Covenants that helped me understand” (“If Appointed unto Death,” Ensign, Dec. 1972, 32).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 42:44, 46, 48. Why will not all the sick be healed?
Not all priesthood blessings are fulfilled when we want. One woman came to Vaughn J. Featherstone when he was a member of the Presiding Bishopric. She complained that many of her priesthood blessings had not been fulfilled. She still had poor health and had not been able to bear a child. Bishop Featherstone was inspired to tell her that she had put a time limit on the Lord. Because these blessings had not been fulfilled after five years of marriage, she had become disillusioned. He told her, “But I promise you, as surely as God is in heaven, that those promises made by righteous priesthood bearers will take place in your life.” The right time for the fulfillment of the blessings had not come yet. We must trust in the Lord. (See “Acres of Diamonds,” in Speeches of the Year, 1974  346–49.)
Through priesthood ordinances we can receive salvation and exaltation. We can receive guidance and comfort, be protected from danger, and be healed from sickness. We need to prepare to receive these ordinances.
Discuss with your family the priesthood ordinances you can receive. Prepare to receive these ordinances.
3 Nephi 17 (the Savior healing the sick and blessing little children)
Before presenting this lesson: