The title of this lesson is taken from Carole M. Stephens’ talk, Do We Know What We Have?
Daughters of God, do we know who we are? Do we know what we have? Are we worthy to receive the power and blessings of the priesthood? Do we receive the gifts given to us with gratitude, grace, and dignity?
I think you could take this lesson into 2 different directions: How do I receive the power of the priesthood in my life? and How do I receive the blessings of the priesthood in my life? I’m going to give some ideas for both.
How do I receive the power of the priesthood in my life?
In every church lesson about the priesthood, almost always the class is asked, “What is the priesthood?” And the standard answer is “The authority to act in God’s name.” This has been the answer in manuals, on mormon.org, and pretty much every talk on priesthood I can think of. Feel free to ask it again!
What does it meant to act in God’s name? For me, I imagine someone walking around all day constantly remembering that they are acting as if they are God. This reminds me of the baptismal covenant and sacramental renewal of that where we take Christ’s name upon us. When we are willing to take on Christ’s name, we are saying that we will act as if we are Christ, or as Mosiah 18:9 and the YW theme state, we are willing to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” By nature of baptism, we choose to act in Christ’s name and have that authority.
What does God’s power do? I think this would be a good question to brainstorm on a chalkboard. List the things you know that have happened, currently happen, or will happen, because of God’s power. The Creation, the Restoration of the Church, the Atonement, and the Resurrection are the big ones. The girls may come up with “smaller” ones, too: people being healed, birth, rainbows, reconciliation with family members, etc.
How do we contribute to those things mentioned above? Discuss the list you made with the class. Some ideas might include:
- When we forgive or ask for forgiveness or comfort someone grieving, we are forwarding and allowing the atonement to work in our lives.
- When we share the gospel, we are forwarding the Restoration.
- When we make thoughtful choices about our environmental impact, we are aiding in the creation of the Earth.
I want to include an Carol Lynn Pearson poem here titled Creation Continued. It’s one of my favorites. It’s been published in multiple places and you can find it here through Google Books.
I will continue
To create the universe today
Right where God left off.
Little pockets of chaos
Somehow survived the ordering
And I feel moved
To move upon them
As in the beginning
The Spirit of God moved
Upon the face of the waters.
I will move upon my backyard today
And the weeds will be subdued
And the flowers can grow
And it will be good.
I will move long-distance
Upon a broken heart
And leave a little balm
And it will be good.
I will move upon
The hunger of my children
With salad and spaghetti
Which is Emily’s favorite
And it will be good
And even they will say so.
And I will move too
Upon their minds
Leaveing a little poem
Or an important thought
And that will be even better
Though they won’t say so.
I will move upon
Birth defects and cancer
With five and ten dollar checks
To help the scientists
Who are battling the big chaos
And I will move upon world hunger
With a twenty-four dollar check
For little Marilza in Brazil
And it will be good.
I will move upon
The kitchen floor
And the dirty laundry
And a blank piece of paper
And at the end of the day
Have a little creation to show.
And the evening and the morning
Are my eighteen thousand
And ninety-sixth day
And tomorrow will start another one.
And here is chaos and there is chaos
And who knows if creation
Will finally be done?
More discussion questions: What have you done in the past week by the power of God? What can you do this next week?
How do I receive the blessings of the priesthood in my life?
This part of the lesson is covered pretty well in the lesson on lds.org. I particularly like the scripture examples and the variety of priesthood-related blessings they touch on. I’ll re-share them here. Matthew 3:1–6, 13–17 (baptism); Acts 3:1–10 (healing); Mosiah 18:7–18 (baptism); 3 Nephi 18:1–5 (sacrament). You can list these on the board and ask the class if they have other experiences with the priesthood not listed here. For example, some of the girls may have received their patriarchal blessings, done baptisms for the dead, or have been to a temple dedication. Be careful in assuming all the girls have a home that has a male priesthood holder in it. Not everyone has a father who is a member or regular home teachers.
Discussion: How do these ordinances or experiences bless you? Ideas: Help us feel the Spirit, feel comfort, given guidance, help us progress in the Plan of Salvation, etc. The class may have specific stories to share, or you can share your own story.
I think it is important to recognize that while the priesthood is for serving others, the ability to perform priesthood ordinances and blessings is in itself blessing to the priesthood holder and some of the girls may desire this experience. This would be a perfect time to add that women can officiate in some temple ordinances such as the initiatories and that they do indeed put their hands on the heads of other women and pronounce blessings upon them and that those ordinances are essential and required for progression and the sealing ordinance.
B. H. Roberts, in the History of the Church, volume 4, chapter 35, page 607, recorded a talk given by Joseph Smith:
President Smith then gave instruction respecting the propriety of females administering to the sick by the prayer of faith, the laying on hands, or the anointing with oil; and said it was according to revelation that the sick should be nursed with herbs and mild food, and not by the hand of an enemy. Who are better qualified to administer than our faithful and zealous sisters, whose hearts are full of faith, tenderness, sympathy and compassion. No one.
In the Relief Society Minutes, Eliza R. Snow recorded Joseph Smith instructing the women:
“Go ye into all the world” – no matter who believeth; these signs, such as healing the sick, casting out devils should follow all that believe whether male or female. He ask’d the Society if they could not see by this sweeping stroke, that wherein they are ordained, it is the privilege of those set apart to administer in that authority which is confer’d on them— and if the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold their tongues, and let every thing roll on….Respecting the female laying on hands, he further remark’d, there could be no devil in it if God gave his sanction by healing— that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on the sick than in wetting the face with water— that it is no sin for any body to do it that has faith, or if the sick has faith to be heal’d by the administration.
Even Brigham Young stated,
It is the privilege of a mother to have faith and to administer to her child; this she can do herself, as well as sending for the elders to have the benefit of their faith. Journal of Discourses XIII, page 155
I want a wife that can take care of my children when I am away, who can pray, lay on hands, anoint with oil, and baffle the enemy; and this is a spiritual wife. History of the Church, volume 6, page 322.
My mother died when I was seven, but in my tender youth she taught me the truths of the gospel. She was a woman of great faith; because of her faith and prayers and a miraculous healing, I have sight in my left eye today. Father was out of town. I severely burned the pupil of my eye with a hot metal lid lifter from our wood-burning stove. Mother exercised her faith and prayed fervently to Heavenly Father as she held me lovingly in her arms. Her prayers were heard and my eye was healed. I am very grateful to have been raised in a loving home by goodly parents.
Discussion: Share a time when a woman’s words have healed you or given you guidance or comfort. Someone in the class may have an experience where a woman (mother, grandmother, aunt, friend) has prayed or fasted and worked miracles through that.
Last summer, I wrote about using prayer like a dedicatory prayer. When I consecrate my time in that way, I feel inwardly how I imagine it must feel to dedicate a home or temple with the priesthood and I feel as if I an enacting God’s power on my time and life.
Encourage the girls to use their prayers and words to bless themselves, their families, their class members, and the people around them. Perhaps they can set goals to take time to ponder on the gravity of promising to act like Christ in their lives and perhaps resolve a problem they’ve been dealing with in their lives or comfort someone they know is suffering.