Gospel Principles 13: The Priesthood

This lesson consists of four questions that the manual recommends assigning to small groups and have them answer the questions. That’s a quick way to get the lesson done if someone is running short on time and could be effective. I’ve used these questions as general subjects and listed more questions with quotes that can help this lesson be a little more applicable to both genders.

1.  Why do we need the priesthood on the Earth?
I would use this section to define the priesthood.

What is the priesthood?
D&C 84: 19-21

How do we use the priesthood?  (or, What ordinances do we have that must be done with the authority of the priesthood?)

How has the priesthood blessed your life?

2.  How do men receive the priesthood?
I think the fifth Article of Faith covers this questions nicely.  I might push the group a bit here.

How do women participate in the priesthood?

All faithful members of the Lord’s Church are equally blessed by priesthood ordinances. The first ordinance in a child’s life usually takes place when he or she is a baby and is given a name and a blessing. When children reach the age of accountability, they are baptized. There is not a separate baptism for boys and girls. The same baptismal ordinance is performed for a young girl and a young boy, who are baptized in the same font. When those children are confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost, the same power is given to each of them. They qualify for the help of that holy power through their faithfulness and not in any other way.
Julie Beck, “An Outpouring of Blessings”

Because the priesthood has been restored, we also share equally in the blessings of spiritual gifts. The Lord gives us these gifts for our own benefit and to help each other.

Moroni said that “there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.

“For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom;

“And to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

“And to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit.”
Julie Beck, “An Outpouring of Blessings”

What happens when we all enjoy the blessings and the work associated with the priesthood?
Matthew 7:20-23

3.  How do men properly use the priesthood?
D&C 121:41

What happens when men use the priesthood without this scripture in mind?

What is our duty, as women, when it comes to the execution of priesthood power?
What is our duty when we see a problem in this area?

4.  What blessings come when we use the priesthood properly?
I think this question may come up already in the earlier questions, but I think it’s an important way to end the lesson, reminding us of the stories we have where the priesthood has blessed us with spiritual strength or insight.  I’d come prepared with a story or two of my own to get the discussion started here.

Close with your testimony.

Need more ideas?
Additional priesthood lessons here at The Exponent:
Caroline’s The Everlasting Priesthood
Emily’s Women and the Priesthood (based on Pres Julie Beck’s talk, “An Outpouring of Blessings”)

Note: This lesson was originally written for the Relief Society audience in 2010-2011, when the Gospel Principles manual was temporarily used as curriculum for Relief Society, Elders Quorum and High Priest classes. The lesson may require adaptation for Gospel Principles classes, which are mixed gender and primarily serve new members and investigators of the church.


EmilyCC works for a national non-profit and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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16 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    Thank you for your lesson helps. I find them very helpful and well thought out!

  2. Jane McKenzie says:

    Thank you so very much for the lesson helps! I am a 2 year convert and new to teaching RS! It is such a blessing and your lesson helps are a tremendous blessing that provides me comfort and the ability to feel more confident with my lessons! THANK YOU!

  3. Chris says:

    “What is our duty, as women, when it comes to the execution of priesthood power?
    What is our duty when we see a problem in this area? ”

    This could be a fascinating discussion is some wards 🙂

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you for your ideas. They are very helpful. I enjoyed the talk by Elder Boyd K packer, What every Elder Should Know–and Every sister as well: A primer on Principles of Priesthood Government.

  5. Kelly Ann says:

    EmilyCC, thank for this outline -particularly for the question relating to how women relate to the priesthood.

  6. Sheri says:

    I would love input to the ? posted by Chris

    “What is our duty, as women, when it comes to the execution of priesthood power?
    What is our duty when we see a problem in this area? ”

    What are some of your thoughts in answering these ?s

  7. EmilyCC says:

    Jessica, Jane and Chris, thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the lesson.

    Susan, I haven’t read this talk, but it sounds like an excellent one for covering questions that may arise about the priesthood and logistics. Thanks!

    Kelly Ann, glad you liked the questions. I struggled to find a way to make the lesson a little more relevant to women.

    Sheri, these are questions I would ask in the lesson to help women see their role in the correct use of the priesthood. If we see something wrong, we need to be ready to speak up.

    The prophets warn us about the temptation for unrighteous dominion. When we see this happening as women (and men), I think wee need to have the courage to name the problem and try to fix it. I like these questions because I think it’s helpful in our RS communities to name what these problems might look like and how, as a community, we can think of solutions.

  8. Sheri says:

    thanks emily! i agree that we as women should feel emotionally safe in our relationships and be able to voice our opinions within and out of the home.

  9. Laurel C. says:

    Thank you so much for your lesson outline! With this new simplified lesson manual, I struggle every week with what to teach and how to hold the attention of the sisters. Your insights are just what I’ve been looking for (and frankly, what’s missing from the new manual). Thanks for taking the time to proivide these outlines for us all.

  10. Brooklin says:

    Thanks for the ideas! As my husband and I were discussing this lesson while I prepared to teach, he also pointed out a wonderful point. That a priesthood bearers line of authority can be traced back to the Savior. We did some digging with his father and mapped out my husband’s line of authority. It feels really special to have somehting like that on paper– to literally see the authority of the priesthood connected to the Savior.

  11. wendy says:

    I found this lesson to be written more with the men in mind than the sisters (and I haven’t thought this yet of this new manual). For instance, the last section is really about the blessings of holding the priesthood. What am I supposed to do with that?

    Thankfully, many of the ideas and questions in this post (and comments) have given me a little more direction on how to teach this lesson to RS tomorrow.

    I’m going to do a concept web on the board (kind of like a visual thesaurus– see dictionary.com) with “Priesthood” in the center. The four themes that I want the sisters to connect to the Priesthood are: obedience, responsibility, revelation, and love (e.g. we must obey the prophet who holds priesthood keys; we are responsible for our callings, that are given from priesthood leaders; we often receive personal revelation following priesthood orindances such as the sacrament or temple work; the number of blessings that come from the priesthood speak of God’s love for us, etc.) I’m hoping that we will have a lot of discussion, sprinkled with quotes from the manual, general authorities (loved Julie B. Beck’s talk), and scriptures.

  12. StellaStar007 says:

    I just read this beautiful talk by elder Boyd K. Packer, A tribute to Women.
    He talks about the roles of both men and women, and how motherhood and the priesthood complement each other.
    “It should not disturb either men or women that some responsibilities are bestowed upon one and not the other.” If you’re curious about the rest, read the talk! 😉

    Also from the talk: “While fathers and sons bear the burden of the priesthood, it was declared in the very beginning that it was not good for man to be alone. A companion, or “helpmeet,” was given him. The word meet means equal. Man and woman, together, were not to be alone.”

    What do you, sisters, think about “men bearing the burden of the priesthood”? Which burdens is pres. Packer talking about?

  13. Lisa M says:

    Your lessons comes out to late . It would be helpful to recieve the lessons help before the lesson. This Sunday will be July 18. The third week of each month would be lesson 14. Today is July 17 and I can’t get any help for my lesson because it only has last weeks lesson 13 on website. I been using your lesson help for a year and I love it. Do you think you could have it out sooner so I can use help and ideas with my lesson ? Im a convert and need to have guidance in teaching my lesson and you’ve got it. The sisters always compliment me after my lessons I teach. Please help me. Thank you.

  14. Kelly Ann says:

    Lisa, Lesson 14 was posted earlier this week. The link is


    We have been posting on the 1st and 2nd Tuesdays of the month for the corresponding 2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month. Sometimes this is more than a week beforehand but sometimes it is only the week beforehand. I am sorry you did not see the link.

    As a note, starting next month, we have been planning on moving the postings up by a week to the last Tuesday and the 1st Tuesday for the corresponding 2nd and 3rd Sundays. This should allow anyone preparing earlier to have the reference that our bloggers provide as a service sooner.

  15. Lisa M says:

    Thank you so very much for responding. Now im all excited again to be teaching. I love your help and reading other’s ideas that they share too. This site is very helpful to me to prepare but I need about a week in advance. I will be looking for lesson 16 for August.

  16. LuAnn says:

    I teach lesson 15 on the 8th of August, when would that lesson be posted?

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