Differentiating between Priesthood and Priesthood Holders
While we sometimes refer to priesthood holders as ‘the priesthood,’ we must never forget that the priesthood is not owned by or embodied in those who hold it. It is held in a sacred trust to be used for the benefit of men, women, and children alike. 2 -Dallin H. Oaks
How is the priesthood different from priesthood holders? Why would it be important to differentiate between the priesthood and priesthood holders?
Many Latter-day Saints have never been married. Others are single because of the death of a spouse, abandonment, or divorce…They can enjoy the blessings, strength, and influence of the priesthood in their lives and homes through the ordinances they have received and the covenants they keep. (From the DIMK narrative)
Just as I was preparing to serve a full-time mission, my father left our family and the Church. Under these circumstances, it was difficult for me to leave home for two years, but I went. And while I served the Lord in a faraway land, I learned of my mother’s strength at home. She needed and appreciated the special attention she received from men who held the priesthood—her father and brothers, her home teachers, other men in the ward. However, her greatest strength came from the Lord Himself. She did not have to wait for a visit in order to have the blessings of the priesthood in her home, and when visitors left, those blessings did not leave with them. Because she was faithful to the covenants she had made in the waters of baptism and in the temple, she always had the blessings of the priesthood in her life. The Lord gave her inspiration and strength beyond her own capacity, and she raised children who now keep the same covenants that have sustained her. 28 -Author’s Name Withheld
How can we have the priesthood in our lives if we do not have a priesthood holder in our lives?
The priesthood is “without father, without mother, … having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Heb. 7:30), nor maleness nor femaleness. It is head to them both. Male and female alike come under it and must understand their true relationship to it, one to serve as priest within it, the other eventually as a priestess. Men here are given the priesthood power, but both man and woman must bring themselves into submission unto it, rather than she unto him as a person. The man must assume the same relationship of honor and obedience to priesthood truths and doctrines that the woman does. That is, it precedes them both. For the man to assume that because he “holds” the priesthood that it is his or that he is somehow exalted in importance is a serious distortion. – Gib Kocherhans Reference A