Monday, November 5, 2007


In the LDS world yesterday, just as every first Sunday of the month was fast Sunday. That means we've skipped 2 meals and given the money we would have spent on those meals to fast offering to help feed the poor and add funds to the church welfare system. It also means that our Sacrament meeting would be a testimony meeting. That's where members of the congregation are able to stand and bear witness to the truthfulness of God the father, his son Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost as well as other Gospel truths : the power of prayer, having faith, priesthood power and so on.
Let's talk about priesthood power. We believe that priesthood is the power on earth to act in the name of God.
Elder Groberg in his 2001 April Conference address (priesthood session) said:

"Just as clean wires, properly connected, are required to carry electrical power, so clean hands and pure hearts are required to carry priesthood power. Filth and grime slow or prevent the flow of electrical power. Unclean thoughts and actions interfere with individual priesthood power. When we are humble, clean, and pure of hand, heart, and mind, nothing righteous is impossible."

I think this is one of the best descriptions of Priesthood power I've ever heard.

Yesterday in sacrament a baby was blessed. Another of our LDS typical ordinances done on fast Sunday. The Brother conducting the meeting called forth all the men who would be in the blessing circle. A few men, typically male family members of the baby and it's parents are those who come forth. The father holds the baby in the right palm of his hands, those in the circle place their right hands under the baby to support him/her as well and then place their left hand on the shoulder of the brother in front of him, connecting them altogether in a circle. A blessing is then pronounced upon the baby. It was a beautiful blessing. But what really captures my attention was the blessing circle. When they called for the those who were asked to be in the circle men just kept coming and coming. There were altogether, i think 17 men, it that circle. It was the 2nd largest circled I'd ever seen. The size of the circle doesn't really matter it's all about the worthiness of the men and the power they hold to present the child to the Lord.
Typically I closed my eyes during these things but for some reason I was mesmerized by the men in the circle. 17 of them. I looked at their hands on the backs of their brothers and all I knew about the power of the prieshood came to mind.

I wanted to shout... " HEY! THA'S AN AWESOME FRATERNITY Y'ALL BELONG TO!" It really is. Men of God standing righteously together with his power. Who wouldn't want to be a member of that brotherhood. And the symbolism of their hand on the shoulders of their brother in front of them as if to say.... "It's Ok, man, Cuz I GOT YO BACK!" A BAND OF BROTHERHOOD! I made me giddy with delight!

I thought about that all through sacrament.... that Priesthood power is the same as saying... "I Got Yo BACK!" Never have I seen such a fantastic visual example of it! It actually made me giddy inside thinking of all those around me in that building that had my back from Bishopric down to the little 4 year old Joey who ran in front of me yelling,
"I get the door for you sister "Duglee."

I laughed. My hands were full my arms had stuff spilling over the top of them. He pronounced my name wrong but I had no doubt that 4 year old, he had my back!

I closed my eyes and my thoughts went to a friend of mine, in a suite, standing in that priesthood fraternity. His brothers hold up his baby, and their hand on his back as if to hold him up as well. I heard his voice trembling, overcome with emotion speaking the words of a beautiful blessing.
*sigh* alas, that was just a day dream but it felt real to me, I became emotional at the thought of such a wonderful experience and opportunity for him.

I think of all the men I know who have that power or should have that power. I know some phenomenal men. I know some shady men. I know some good men. Most claim this power of the priesthood. The Good thing about this power is that it mostly works on YOUR faith in God. That means, I don't need to get a priesthood blessing from the Prophet, or an Apostle or a bishop. I can get it from my next door neighbor, or my brother or my best friend or even the guy sitting next to me at work, because the power is the same. But I'm finding it's very important to encourage the men around us to be worthy of it, and to hold true to standards of blessings of having that power.
"Don't get caught without it!"
We used to tell the guys in college. Because
I remember a time in college when I was hurt ...Let's just say there was a lot of blood involved and I ended up in the E.R. I asked one of the guys who went with me if he could give me a blessing. He couldn't. He was ashamed. I was upset I put him in a situation that was embarrassing for him. My asking just did not make the night any better for either one of us. This was a ward brother of mine who was not in great standing to practice his priesthood power. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't have my back. Toward the end of the school year, he and I went out hiking and he talked about that day in the E. R. He thanked me for asking him that "dreaded question."

"I felt so horrible that I couldn't give you what you needed that day. And I began to think of others I cared about, that I should be prepared and worth to administer to, and how disappointing it was that I was not in a worthy position to act in the name of God if needed. I decided that Day I never wanted to experience that kind of shame again. So thank you."

WOW! Told ya that was an AWESOME FRATERNITY to belong to.

Back to my visual.... The circle of brethren together, hands on the shoulders. I can't think of anything that says "I got your back" more than that.

We should never be shy, ashamed or hesitant to expect our priesthood holders to perform those duties we need. We should hold them accountable to be worthy to hold that power which they claim. We should lovingly encourage them to be worthy of it, never holding it over their heads or rubbing it in their faces or demeaning them if they are not in a position to perform that power.
To all my Brothers out there who "Have my back..." and the backs of all those around you, I say THANK YOU.
And to those who have my back in other ways, I say THANK YOU.
Know that I will always try to have your back as well.


John said...

Great post! It makes me think that even though I've been in the church over 30 years (joined in my 20's), I can always strive to do better to make sure my priesthood abilities are always there to help others.

Alice Wills Gold said...

Love your blog. I came here from Mormon blogs. Way to be a witness. I will definitely send all my Tennessean friends your way.

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