President Camille Johnson: Access to Priesthood Power

Editor’s note: The Church News invited President Camille N Johnson, Relief Society general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to write an essay on accessing priesthood power. The following is her essay.

“We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant holders.”

This is the plea of ​​our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, to the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He added, “The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make and then keep sacred covenants, women who can speak with the power and authority of God” (“A Request To My Sisters,” Liahona, Ensign, Nov. 2015).

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Camille N. Johnson, Relief Society general president, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

What power does God make available to covenant holders? It is the power of the priesthood that “flows to all members of the Church, both men and women, as they keep the covenants they have made with Him” ​​(General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3.5). Covenants are made in connection with priesthood ordinances in which “the power of godliness is manifested” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:20).

What must women and men do to gain access to priesthood power?

“[Priesthood] Power comes from personal righteousness” (Gospel Themes, “Priesthood”). It is available to members of the Church who make and keep covenants at baptism and in the house of the Lord. President Nelson taught in the November 2019 general conference, “Every woman and man who makes and keeps covenants with God and who worthily participates in the ordinances of the priesthood has direct access to the power of God” (Spiritual Treasures). , Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019). Through personal righteousness we invite God’s priesthood power to flow into our lives.

How do women and men draw priesthood power?

We have the right to access priesthood power because of our personal worthiness. So what must we do to use the power of the priesthood to which we have access? How do we fill our vessels with the priesthood power that is already flowing so that we may use it?

President Nelson openly acknowledged in his 2019 address that the process of claiming the power of the priesthood, “the power of the Savior,” “is not described in any manual.” Rather, the prophet urged women to “make the Holy Ghost your personal teacher as you seek to understand what the Lord wants you to know and do. This process is neither quick nor easy, but it is spiritually invigorating. What could be more exciting than working with the Spirit to understand God’s power—the power of the priesthood?”

I undertook the spiritual strengthening exercise to understand what I must do to use the power of the priesthood. It was a very personal investigation – one that is still ongoing.

Section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants is instructive to me. The revelation was given to Emma Smith through Joseph Smith in July 1830, shortly after the Church was organized. Although the revelation was addressed to Emma, ​​it was “the voice of the Lord unto all” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:16). Emma and we were counseled to “put aside the things of this world and seek the things of a better one,” to “hold fast” to our covenants, to be cheerful, meek, and suspicious with pride, and to keep the commandments “steadfastly” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:10, 13–15). I am learning that to receive priesthood power I must do more than just obey the commandments. I must put the things of this world aside and dedicate my talents, time, and resources to God. It is a kind of dedication of heart, might, mind, and strength to the work of salvation and exaltation—the gathering of Israel—that allows me to draw on the priesthood power that has been bestowed upon me.

“Those who are gifted in the house of the Lord receive a covenant gift of the priesthood power of God, along with the gift of knowing that they know how to use that power,” President Nelson said.

When I made a commitment to examine my life “scrupulously,” the Holy Ghost promised me the prompting of “what is no longer needed, what is no longer worthy [my] Time and energy.” I made a list, “What do I do in a day/week/month?” Then, with a praying heart, I asked myself, “What isn’t worth my time and energy anymore?” Exactly how When the Prophet suggested it, things that once seemed important came to the fore, and some activities were dropped from my list because, while seemingly harmless, they were a distraction.

My self-examination was not a one-time exercise. I am learning that careful scrutiny of my time and energy is, as President Nelson said, “a lifelong process of consecration.” [my] Live unto the Lord” and has changed my understanding of what I must do to use the power of the priesthood that I have access to by keeping my covenants.

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President Camille N. Johnson, President Bonnie H. Cordon, and President Susan H. Porter stand near the Relief Society building on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 in Salt Lake City.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

For what purpose do women and men access and claim priesthood power?

Women, men, and children have access to priesthood power, the power of the Savior, and use it to help those they love (“The Melchizedek Priesthood and the Keys,” by President Dallin H. Oaks, Liahona, May 2020). The blessings of priesthood power available to all covenant-keeping members of the Church—women, men, and children— include:

  • signposts for their lives.
  • Inspiration to know how to serve family members and others.
  • Strength to endure and overcome challenges.
  • Gifts of the spirit to increase their abilities.
  • Revelation to know how to fulfill the work for which they have been ordained, set apart, or commissioned.
  • Help and strength to become more like Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father (General Handbook 3.5).

The Savior is the source of all these blessings. Guidance, inspiration, gifts of the Spirit, and revelation all come through the Holy Ghost, sent by the Father in the name of the Savior. The Redeemer explained:

“I will not leave you desolate: I will come to you. …

“The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, who will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:18, 26).

The blessings of strength to endure and overcome challenges and help and strength to become more like Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father are available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The power of the priesthood and its attendant blessings flow to us, and we can call upon them to bless ourselves and others as we are joyfully bound unto the Savior through covenants and ordinances.

In my experience, the power of the priesthood, especially the power bestowed on me in the house of the Lord, strengthens the companionship of the Holy Ghost and my understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As I access and call upon the power of the priesthood, I am a more flexible instrument in the hands of God in helping His children return to Him and their heavenly home. The power of the priesthood increases my capacity.

Sisters and brothers, God’s priesthood power is accessible. He wants to share it with you. It is yours to draw from, to develop, and to increase (“The Price of Priesthood Power,” by President Russell M. Nelson, Liahona, May 2016) to bless your life and the lives of others be. It can “flow down upon your soul like dew from heaven” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45) if you regularly do the spiritual work to keep it flowing.

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