If you were asked to list in your head some of the blessings people can enjoy today because the priesthood was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, what would come to mind? Probably things like eternal families, temple ordinances for ancestors, missionary work, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, fathers’ blessings, and many more magnificent and powerful things.
In addition to these kinds of blessings, there are a number of other blessings associated with the priesthood that are promised in the scriptures. Here are just three that are perhaps not as obvious or well understood.
“All … who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me” (D&C 97:8).
We all yearn for acceptance. It’s a basic human need. And when it comes to our relationship with Heavenly Father, it’s a deep spiritual desire. To know that the Lord accepts us is a great source of peace and strength. He has promised that we will be accepted of Him if we make the sacrifices He asks of us. When we make these sacrifices, we are observing our covenants—covenants we make through priesthood ordinances like baptism, confirmation, and the sacrament.
People in the Old Testament were asked to offer various kinds of sacrifices in particular ways so that they would be accepted of the Lord, meaning that the Lord was pleased with them and would give them promised blessings. What sacrifices does the Lord ask of us today? Elder Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy has explained that these include simple things such as:
“Worthily partaking of the sacrament each week.”
“Accepting a calling in the Church and faithfully serving in that calling.”
“Following the invitation of our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, to reach out to those who are standing at the wayside and need to be spiritually rescued.”
“Giving silent service in our neighborhood or community.”
“Finding the names of our ancestors and doing temple work for them.”
“Striving for righteousness, being open, and listening to the promptings of the Spirit as we live our daily lives.”
“Standing firmly and faithfully when the storms of life are raging all around us” (Apr. 2013 general conference).
“All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, … shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” (D&C 89:18–19).
Who wouldn’t want to find hidden treasure? In this case, it’s not a buried pirate hoard but something even better—knowledge from God. This spiritual knowledge comes because of “obedience to the commandments,” which is a major part of the covenant we make when we are baptized and when we partake of the sacrament. Now, there are probably many people who follow the principles of the Word of Wisdom (whether they know it or not), and they probably enjoy health and other benefits from it. But the Lord promises even greater blessings for keeping the Word of Wisdom—including hidden treasures of knowledge—to “all saints,” or in other words, those who have made covenants through priesthood ordinances like baptism, confirmation, and the sacrament.
“The Priesthood of Aaron … holds the keys of the ministering of angels” (D&C 13:1).
What is the ministering of angels, and what does it have to do with the Aaronic Priesthood? Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has explained:
“What does it mean that the Aaronic Priesthood holds ‘the key of the ministering of angels’ … ? The meaning is found in the ordinance of baptism and in the sacrament. … 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. …
“… Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. …
“… 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 Nephi 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” (Oct. 1998 general conference).
Elder Oaks has said that the need to better understand the priesthood “applies to all of us” (Apr. 2014 general conference). Trying to see how the priesthood is a common thread woven between promises and blessings in the scriptures is one way to better understand how it works in our lives every day.