Those who bear and honor the priesthood are the Lord’s representatives and should be received as his ambassadors.
The credentials of servants of the Lord are that they always are properly called by an approved method.
Those who receive the Lord’s servants receive the Lord, and those who reject the Lord’s servants reject the Lord.
This is as true in our day as in Jesus’ day.
Local leaders as well as General Authorities must be sustained.
We receive the servants of the Lord by respect and obedience.
New Testament Reading Assignment
Chapter 11, “He That Receiveth Whomsoever I Send Receiveth Me”
D&C 68:2-4. What is the Lord’s definition of scripture?
2 Nephi 33:10-15. What does Nephi say about those who truly accept Christ?
Ether 12:38, 39. How well did Moroni know Jesus?
Luke 16:28-31. Why do people reject the prophets?
Teachings, p. 74. Who unlocks the door of the kingdom of heaven?
Discourses, pp. 139-40. What happens when an apostle magnifies his calling?
DS, 1:310. What happens if we reject the apostles?
DS, 3:153-54. What must the Twelve Apostles know?
Joseph Fielding Smith in CR, Apr. 1972, pp. 98-99. When are the keys of the presidency conferred?
Harold B. Lee in CR, Apr. 1972, pp. 120-22. What happens when we try to be “a law unto ourselves”?
Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Oct. 1972, pp. 27-31. Apostolic succession from an eternal viewpoint.
Jesus the Christ, pp. 328-31. Jesus’ charge to the Twelve summarized.
Jesus the Christ, p. 426. What does acceptance of Christ today require?
Boyd K. Packer, “Follow the Brethren,” Speeches of the Year, 23 Mar. 1965. Why must we follow living prophets?
Marion G. Romney in CR, Oct. 1960, pp. 73-78. What are the reasons the prophets aren’t deceived?
Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:857-58. Can apostles remit sins?
Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:337. What position does Joseph Smith have with reference to the world and Christ?
Cassette tape (Elder Boyd K. Packer), Follow the Brethren ( :56)
Some Suggestions for Presentation
What Is a Vested Servant or Agent (A Discussion)
There are many illustrations which show the usefulness and authority of agents. For example, consider the power of insurance agents to obligate the companies they serve to pay claims.
If the teacher chooses this illustration to teach the power of apostleship, he should think through his objectives in advance and determine how he will deal with the questions that may arise. For example, what will he do with the questions of whether an agent of Christ has to be as perfect as Christ? What of the question of credentials or proof of agency? Or what of the question When is an apostle a perfect agent, as Jesus was to the Father (see John 3:34, 35), and when is he just a man (see Deuteronomy 18:22)? The teacher will think of more questions. He should not necessarily raise them himself unless he has a good reason and knows he can handle them. If he has done his part in preparation, the Spirit will aid him.
If You Were in the Days of the Prophets
One device some teachers have used since, at least, Orson Pratt’s day is to compare our day with the days of Peter and Paul. For example, when asked about credentials for modern prophets, the teacher may respond with a question: Did Jesus expect the Jews of Peter’s day to accept Peter as the Lord’s agent with no more witness than that of the Spirit in the heart and mind? (See 2 Peter 1:16-21.) Why did people reject Jesus? (See John 3:18-21.) A resourceful teacher will see that many problems can be handled by having found New Testament parallels to modern situations. See, for example, what Paul said of the Roman Jews who rejected him (Acts 28:23-29). Do those who reject Jesus’ agents in our day sometimes “have great reasonings among themselves,” also? Would not faith and a listening ear solve their problems better than rational exercises that may be only self-serving excuses for turning a deaf ear to the message of God’s servants?
The Casting of Lots
Sometimes students have heard that Judas’ replacement was chosen by throwing dice (casting lots). What is there in the account itself which shows that the event was based on revelation? (Note Acts 1:24.) What do we know from the modern system of succession that justifies a deduction that the “putting forth of lots” was a process of coming to an inspired unity? (See President Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Oct. 1972, pp. 27-31.)
If the teacher knows any stories which illustrate proper reception of the Lord’s servants, this method can be very effective in teaching proper reverence for the priesthood of God. For instance, Elder Ezra Taft Benson tells how his father read his family the instruction of the First Presidency to have family home evening and announced, “The Presidency has spoken, and this is the word of the Lord to us!” (“Timely Counsel,” Solemn Assembly, Cardston, Alberta, Canada, 2 Aug. 1975. Used by permission.) It became a family tradition to hold family home evening. Has this meant anything to the Benson family?