Friday, July 30, 2010

The Work of Our Priesthood Quorums

Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Work of Our Priesthood Quorums,” Ensign, Aug 1984, 8

I sometimes wonder how well the associates of the Prophet Joseph Smith understood the eventual consequences of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood that took place in late May or early June 1829. Other than the Prophet himself, probably very few would have foreseen that the appearance of Peter, James, and John to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery would some day result in a worldwide priesthood organization consisting of more than 600,000 Melchizedek Priesthood bearers and 31,000 quorums and groups in 89 nations of the earth. They would certainly have been surprised if they could have viewed the great assembly of brethren who today gather for general priesthood meeting twice a year, or the many thousands who now attend individual quorum and group meetings each Sunday throughout the Church.
This army of priesthood bearers has a tremendous responsibility to carry out the great work of the priesthood and the Lord’s purpose: “to bring to pass the … eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39.) This work has taken on further focus with President Spencer W. Kimball’s statement that the mission of the Church is to preach the gospel, perfect the Saints, and redeem the dead. (See Ensign, May 1981, p. 5.)

Priesthood programs are accordingly organized for the purpose of furthering these important objectives. Priesthood quorums around the Church focus their efforts on (1) strengthening individuals spiritually, (2) strengthening fathers and families, (3) performing missionary service, (4) fulfilling genealogical and temple responsibilities, (5) helping families to care for their temporal needs, and (6) watching over the Church always.
The quorum is the main channel for training Melchizedek Priesthood holders and fathers and strengthening them in their priesthood accountability. Most of the spiritual work of the Church is contained in the responsibility of the priesthood quorum.

President Joseph F. Smith spoke of the importance of priesthood units when in 1906 he said:
“We expect to see the day, if we live long enough … when every council of the Priesthood … will understand its duty; will assume its own responsibility, will magnify its calling, and fill its place in the Church, to the uttermost, according to the intelligence and ability possessed by it. When that day shall come, there will not be so much necessity for work that is now being done by the auxiliary organizations, because it will be done by the regular quorums of the Priesthood. The Lord designed and comprehended it from the beginning, and he has made provision in the Church whereby every need may be met and satisfied through the regular organizations of the Priesthood.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 159.)

As the Church has grown larger over the years, the role of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum has indeed been gradually expanded. The future of the quorum and priesthood work was described in a 1937 statement by Elder John A. Widtsoe:

“The organizations of the Church are but helps to the Priesthood. That places the Priesthood quorums in the position of leadership. They should be so ably conducted, so faithfully attended, so thoroughly serviceable, as to set an example to all other Church organizations.” (Improvement Era, Dec. 1937, p. 760.)

Strengthening Individuals Spiritually

Strengthening individuals spiritually is basic to all Church programs and activities and is usually accomplished by teaching individuals the gospel. The Lord gave this responsibility to Melchizedek Priesthood quorum leaders when he said that elders quorum presidents are to teach their quorum members according to the covenants. (See D&C 107:89.) This is a basic objective of quorum instruction each Sunday.

Since 1974 the scriptures have been the curriculum of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums of the Church. The Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide is published as an aid to personal and quorum study of the scriptures. Quorum leaders have the responsibility to teach the brethren the doctrine of the gospel and the covenants they have made. They are also to teach their quorum members their priesthood and family duties.
The high priests group of the Bountiful (Utah) 29th Ward has taken these responsibilities seriously. The group leader, William G. McFarland, and his assistants take personal responsibility for the instruction given during the high priests group meeting. They carefully evaluate the needs of the group and plan lessons from the study guide that meet those needs. They frequently teach the lessons themselves as well as call upon other members of the group to teach. When a particular lesson relates to the work of one of the group committees, they ask that committee to take responsibility for the lesson.

As part of the priesthood meeting time each week, Brother McFarland asks one group member to give a brief (five-minute) summary of his life history. This promotes a closer feeling of brotherhood and unity among the brethren and encourages the keeping of journals and histories. These histories are tape-recorded, along with the lesson and business, and the tape recording is taken to group members who are ill or who teach Primary and are unable to attend. When they finish hearing life histories of the brethren in the group, they plan to repeat the procedure by asking one brother each week to share a spiritual experience from his life.
A further aspect of strengthening individuals spiritually is the important task of activating the inactive members of the Church. This is done in an attitude of genuine love and concern using temple preparation seminars or teaching individual families in their homes. It’s the great redemptive work spoken of by the Savior in Luke 15:4–6:

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

“And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

“And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.”

Under the leadership of President C. Terry Graff of the Federal Way Washington Stake, the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums of that stake have been able to activate more than three hundred prospective elders since their stake was organized in 1977. The president put the responsibility for the program on the shoulders of the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum leaders and organized the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee to train the quorum leaders and receive weekly reports on their progress.

Capable priesthood holders and their wives are called and assigned to work with inactive families as fellowshippers and teachers. The inactive families attend a temple preparation seminar lesson each week and are also taught an additional lesson during the week by the assigned couple. The elders quorums of the stake organize and conduct the seminars, which are held quarterly in each ward.

It is the consistency of carrying out the program month after month that is the key to their success. Over a period of time as the number of those activated has increased, the percentage of attendance at meetings and tithing faithfulness have also increased.

George Skidmore was president of the Sunnyvale (California) 4th Ward elders quorum a few years ago. He took seriously his responsibility to strengthen the less active members of his quorum and invited the inactive couples to meet in his home to be taught the gospel by specially chosen teachers using the TemplePreparation Seminar Discussions. Conducting seminars twice a year for three to four years has resulted in many fine members coming into activity, including much of the current ward leadership. Brother Skidmore continues to direct the work as the current bishop of the ward. Don Bradley, himself activated through these seminars, is now the elders quorum president and carries on in the same tradition in the quorum.

Strengthening Fathers and Families

“Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership,” said President Kimball, quoting from the pamphlet Father, Consider Your Ways. “It has always been so: it always will be so. Father, with the assistance and counsel and encouragement of your eternal companion, you preside in the home. It is not a matter of whether you are most worthy or best qualified, but it is a matter of law and appointment.” (Ensign, June 1975, p. 5.)

Fathers benefit greatly from being trained in how to fulfill their family responsibilities, and the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum has the responsibility to see that they receive that training. Priesthood lessons are regularly devoted to topics of family leadership, and quorum leaders everywhere are feeling more and more their responsibility to teach and train their quorum members to be better husbands and fathers.

Alan Baczuk was an inactive member of the Auburn (Washington) 1st Ward elders quorum when the quorum leaders and others in the ward took a special interest in helping him to become a better example as a father. Russell Sly and Lawrence Hartley got to know Alan and taught him the importance of exemplary fatherhood and leadership in the home. They told him that training in these things was available in the elders quorum. Alan listened, attended the quorum meetings, and tried to be a better example. His sons later became Eagle Scouts and went on missions. Alan became a stronger father, a Scoutmaster, a stake mission president, and a bishop. He now teaches the importance of exemplary fatherhood to the brethren in his ward.

President Alan Grachan of the Littleton (New Hampshire) 1st Ward elders quorum also concentrates on helping fathers take more responsibility for the gospel progress of their family members. He teaches and encourages quorum members to hold regular private interviews with their family members to help prepare them for things like Church callings, priesthood ordinations, and advancement from Primary. As a quorum leader, he tries to set the example in his home teaching and personal interviews with the brethren of the quorum by always asking about their individual lives and challenges and what he can do to help them.
Under the leadership of stake president Richard Pitcher, all Melchizedek Priesthood quorums in this stake are being encouraged to put similar emphasis on training fathers and teaching parenting skills.

With the help of the study guide, the Family Home Evening Resource Book, and other approved materials, quorums and groups everywhere should focus quorum lessons and supplementary workshops on topics such as (1) improving family home evenings, (2) conducting effective family councils, (3) establishing regular family prayer, (4) supporting and building your spouse, (5) achieving proper family discipline, (6) sharpening family communications, (7) organizing family fun activities, (8) establishing regular family scripture reading, and (9) conducting personal interviews with children. Efforts in these areas pay high dividends in strengthened families and, ultimately, strengthened quorums, wards, and stakes.

Performing Missionary Service

Priesthood bearers concern themselves with several aspects of missionary service: (1) They serve full-time missions; (2) they friendship nonmembers so that they will want to hear the gospel; (3) they prepare their children—especially sons—for missions; and (4) they give financial support to missionary work.
The responsibility to do missionary work rests with every member of the Church. (See D&C 88:81.) Priesthood bearers and priesthood quorums have a particular charge to lead out in this work. Seventies, high priests, and elders share the responsibility and are to organize ways to help quorum members fulfill this sacred responsibility.

President Chang Suen Kim of the Seoul Korea West Stake has been especially anxious to have the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum leaders carry their share of the missionary work. He has concentrated on the role of the stake Melchizedek Priesthood committee to train the quorum leaders and see that they are well organized and functioning effectively. The seventies of the stake have been able to establish a good liaison with the full-time missionaries by holding regular meetings with them and have brought many new converts into the Church. Missionary preparation activities have also been carefully organized by the quorums of the stake. Through specific training classes and consistent emphasis, they have prepared a high number of young men to be called as full-time missionaries.

Under the direction of stake president Evert W. Perciwall and stake mission president Haken Palm, the Melchizedek Priesthood quorum leaders and other members of the Stockholm Sweden Stake organized a unique missionary project in the Exhibition Hall in downtown Stockholm. They created an outstanding exhibit entitled “Sweden’s Future Is Formed in the Home.” The exhibit included guided tours and professionally prepared visual displays telling the gospel message. Members staffed the exhibit from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day for a month. They estimate that more than twelve thousand people visited the exhibit, resulting in many referrals and teaching opportunities.

Fulfilling Genealogical and Temple Responsibilities

Genealogy and temple work are the responsibility of the individual and family, carried out under the direction of the family head. Quorum leaders are to organize activities that will help each individual and family to receive temple ordinances for themselves and their dead and to write personal and family histories.

High priest group leaders serve as specialists for genealogy and temple work on the ward priesthood executive committee. One high priest group leader, Pete Sorensen, found a good way to stimulate genealogical work among the high priests and members in the Spring Ward of the Houston Texas North Stake. He conducted a written survey among the ward members to determine what each family had accomplished in genealogy work and where they needed help. Out of sixty respondents to the survey, only two said they didn’t want further help. In follow-up interviews with each family, Brother Sorensen and his helpers encouraged members to set their own goals, and together they decided what help each needed. Individual help based on needs is his secret to priesthood genealogy success. He is also planning sacrament meeting talks, firesides, and ward bulletin handouts to offer further instruction and assistance.

In the Idaho Falls Stake the genealogy work centers around the genealogy branch library. Under the leadership of President Preston Brimhall, the stake decided several years ago to have a strong genealogy program. They established a branch genealogical library financed by the high priests quorum of the stake. Through encouraging genealogy work and suggesting that families visit the library together, they’ve had as many as six hundred visits to the library in a single month. They also conducted an extensive survey to find out the status of the four-generation program and the extent to which personal histories were being prepared. Home teachers were then asked to follow up with families to find out where they needed help and to accompany them to the library to get started. They promote genealogical research frequently and talk about genealogy and temple work in all their Church meetings.

During one month, March 1983, members of a ward in the eastern part of the United States completed 941 temple assignments in the Washington Temple, which is more than four hundred miles away. They have encouraged each recommend holder to use his recommend regularly, and this has greatly increased their work for the dead.

Helping Families Care for Their Temporal Needs

Priesthood quorums teach and assist their members to attain good health, financial stability, and a year’s supply of food and clothing. They also teach their members to be self-reliant and to give their time, talents, and means in behalf of the Church, community, and needy. Quorum leaders have additional responsibilities to teach prevention and to carry out rehabilitative measures for the unfortunate.

In the Columbus (Ohio) Westerville Ward, elders quorum president Gene Arnold held a special fireside for his quorum members on the importance of having a year’s supply of food and clothing. He challenged those in attendance to try to accomplish most of that task by the end of the year—several months away. He then went to work to help them do just that—through loving encouragement and by setting the example. Many families in the quorum achieved excellent progress on their food storage during those months. President Arnold also takes quorum members with him to the cannery at the bishops’ storehouse when he goes, and together they can their own food for their year’s supply.

Bill Myers, president of the elders quorum in Bloomington, Illinois, has focused on service projects for those in need. He and his fellow quorum members assisted a single ward member who had been disabled by a shoulder injury by putting a new roof on her house and helping her with some home repairs.
Likewise, Darvel Allred, high priest group leader in the Upland (California) 3rd Ward plans a service project for group members each month. Typical of his desire to help people help themselves was one service project where group members performed repair work on a single parent’s home and had her young sons work along with them so they could learn how to do the work themselves.

Watching Over the Church Always

From the earliest days of the Church the Lord has given a charge to the priesthood to “watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them.” (D&C 20:53.) When the Church came to the Salt Lake Valley, this responsibility was carried out through block teaching. Later, ward teaching was instituted. Today, home teaching is the primary tool to fulfill this charge from the Lord.

Home teaching is carried out by the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums under the direction of the bishop. Two priesthood holders are called as home teachers to visit the homes of assigned families regularly. They represent the quorum leader and the bishop.

Leaders in the Brigham Young University 5th Stake have encouraged quorums to have frequent training sessions of five to six minutes each in an effort to strengthen home teaching. This includes brief suggestions on how to present an effective message, how to observe needs, how to be helpful to a single-parent family, and so on. “New ideas and encouragement have proven much more successful in motivating our home teachers than constantly reminding our brethren about the number of days left in the month,” says stake president Niles W. Herrod. “We feel that if we can properly train home teachers in our student quorums, they will be much better home teachers when they leave BYU and serve in quorums throughout the Church.”

Elders quorum president Terry Lenahan found that home teaching needed improvement when he was called to preside over the quorum in Woodstock, Georgia. He first identified all families assigned to his quorum and then organized the home teachers and Aaronic Priesthood junior companions into three home teaching teams under the supervision of the three members of the quorum presidency. He held special training sessions on home teaching as part of the regular quorum instruction to teach the brethren how to relate to families, how to fellowship inactive members, and how to carry out similar responsibilities. He and his counselors also concentrated on regular and effective home teaching interviews and careful follow-up and encouragement to individual home teachers. Home teaching statistics rose from 40 percent to 85 percent and higher. Effective training and interviews were his secrets to better home teaching.

Oduvaldo Salvador Amato, elders quorum president in the Aeroporto Ward of the Sao Paulo Brazil West Stake, is also diligent in strengthening home teaching in his quorum. When he was first called to preside over the elders quorum, only 20 percent of the families were being visited. He went to work to see that every family had home teachers and that the home teaching reporting was better organized. He says that the dramatic improvement in home teaching percentages in his quorum “is mostly due to better planning in presidency meetings and the total activity of the quorum as a whole.”

President Amato also tries hard to properly fellowship the many new converts coming into his quorum. He or one of his counselors attends every baptism service in the ward, and he makes sure that all new members are introduced to their home teachers and receive instruction from the Home Teaching Lessons for New Members.
Home teaching in the Dallas (Texas) 3rd Ward is likewise going well. Month after month the high priests group leader John Bertrand, seventies group leader Paul Larsen, and elders quorum president Vern Larmen cooperate to attain nearly 100 percent, high-quality home teaching. These brethren encourage their home teachers to have a sincere interest in their families and to start early in the month with initial visits so that they will be more inclined to make additional contacts, remember birthdays, and perform other service to their families as “second mile” efforts to meet their needs. The stake presidency and high council, under the direction of Dallas Texas East Stake president Rulon Brough, set the example through their own home teaching efforts and regular and consistent home teaching interviews that motivate and inspire.

So much of this work depends on each individual priesthood bearer being diligent in his duties and obtaining the power of the priesthood in his life through personal worthiness. The Lord has said:

“Whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.

“They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God. …

“Therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto [them].

“And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.” (D&C 84:33–34, 38–39.)

Priesthood quorums and priesthood work constitute some of the most important keys to the future of the Church. If all priesthood bearers could catch the vision of the purposes of quorums and more fully understand the importance of priesthood work, the work would go forward with leaps and bounds. There is no limit to the potential of brethren working together in complete brotherhood and selflessness toward spiritual goals. The power of God working through such channels will bring unimaginable blessings to all concerned.

 **************** Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements: ********************

8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

8-8-10 Chapter 15 "The Lord's Covenant People" (Gospel Principles)

8-15-10 Chapter 16 "The Church of Jesus Christ In Former Times" (Gospel Principles)

The Musical Genius Of Rob Gardner

Visit ! This post contains videos!

Segment from the DVD "Joseph Smith the Prophet: Live at Abravanel Hall." The segment is the conclusion of the program and depicts the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and the well-known anthem to the Prophet by William W Phelps.

"Joseph Smith the Prophet" is a sacred oratorio for choir, orchestra, soloists and narrators about the life and mission of Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church. Composed and conducted by Rob Gardner. Text by William W Phelps. Scottish folk tune. Arrangement by Rob Gardner.

To order the DVD, CD soundtrack, and sheet music, or for lyrics and more information, visit

Segment from the DVD "Joseph Smith the Prophet: Live at Abravanel Hall." This segment depicts the building and dedication of the temple in Kirtland.

"Joseph Smith the Prophet" is a sacred oratorio for choir, orchestra, soloists and narrators about the life and mission of Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church. Composed and conducted by Rob Gardner. Text by William W Phelps. Music anonymous. Arrangement by Rob Gardner.

To order the DVD, CD soundtrack, and sheet music, or for lyrics and more information, visit

Segment from the DVD "Joseph Smith the Prophet: Live at Abravanel Hall." This segment depicts the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the testimony to its veracity by the Three Witnesses.

"Joseph Smith the Prophet" is a sacred oratorio for choir, orchestra, soloists and narrators about the life and mission of Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church. Composed and conducted by Rob Gardner. Text adapted from the Testimony of the Three Witnesses. Music by Rob Gardner. Soloists: Oliver Cowdery - Daniel Beck; David Whitmer - Michael Sackett; Martin Harris - Jordan Bluth.

To order the DVD, CD soundtrack, and sheet music, or for lyrics and more information, visit

Segment from the DVD "Joseph Smith the Prophet: Live at Abravanel Hall." This segment depicts the arrest of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, among others, in Missouri. Mary Fielding, wife of Hyrum, expresses the feelings of their families and friends through a beautiful text by Orson F Whitney.

"Joseph Smith the Prophet" is a sacred oratorio for choir, orchestra, soloists and narrators about the life and mission of Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church. Composed and conducted by Rob Gardner. Text by Orson F Whitney. Music by Rob Gardner. Soloist Sharon Hopkins.

To order the DVD, CD soundtrack, and sheet music, or for lyrics and more information, visit

Segment from the DVD "Joseph Smith the Prophet: Live at Abravanel Hall." This segment opens the program and depicts John Taylor, friend of Joseph Smith, mourning the loss of the Prophet and his brother Hyrum in his own words.

"Joseph Smith the Prophet" is a sacred oratorio for choir, orchestra, soloists and narrators about the life and mission of Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church. Composed and conducted by Rob Gardner. Text from a poem by Joseph Smith contemporary John Taylor. Music by Rob Gardner. Soloist Jeffry Walker.

To order the DVD, CD soundtrack, and sheet music, or for lyrics and more information, visit

****************** Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements: *********************** 
8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

8-8-10 Chapter 15 "The Lord's Covenant People" (Gospel Principles)

8-15-10 Chapter 16 "The Church of Jesus Christ In Former Times" (Gospel Principles)

Temple Blessings - August First Presidency Message

 If you have not yet reviewed the article in the August Ensign, titled "Temple Blessings", I strongly encourage you to do so. This article is short... very sweet, and will bring the Spirit. I look forward brethren, to see you at Church, I look forward to the enrichment of my testimony through experiencing yours. May the Lord attend all our Faithful needs. God bless you all.

****************** Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements:************************

8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

8-8-10 Chapter 15 "The Lord's Covenant People" (Gospel Principles)

8-15-10 Chapter 16 "The Church of Jesus Christ In Former Times" (Gospel Principles)

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Greater Desire To Share Our Testimony More


The year 2010 has been a spectacular year... and we are only approaching August!!

 Lets Look Back through the year, and recall pivotal Spiritual Blessings. All of the following are taken from this blog, so this will be review for our Branch Members.

(*The following is the date, and title of which the excerpt is taken from*)
January 10th, 2010 : Sterling Sharp farewell talk

  From Post:
"Sterling Sharp, a man of great upbringing, one with focus and commitment received his Mission Call not to long ago, and we had his farewell today. He is called to the "Salt Lake City - Utah" Mission."

(*The following is the date, and title of which the excerpt is taken from*)January 9th, 2010 : A Brand New Year

From Post:
Why is it important to know the mysteries of God? President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) explained:

“Of all treasures of knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God: his existence, powers, love, and promises. … 

“If we spend our mortal days in accumulating secular knowledge to the exclusion of the spiritual then we are in a dead-end street, for this is the time for man to prepare to meet God; this is the time for faith to be built. … 

“Secular knowledge, important as it may be, can never save a soul nor open the celestial kingdom” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [1982], 390).

(*The following is the date, and title of which the excerpt is taken from*)January 5th, 2010: Our Heavenly Father

From Post:
Knowing God is so important that the Savior said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
The first and greatest commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matthew 22:37).
The more we know God, the more we love Him and keep His commandments (see 1 John 2:3–5). By keeping His commandments we can become like Him.
We can know God if we will:
As we do these things, we will come to know God and eventually have eternal life.

(*The following is the date, and title of which the excerpt is taken from*)January 3rd, 2010: The Book Of Helaman

From Post:
In 91 B.C. (see the end of the book of Mosiah) King Mosiah convinced the people that they did not want a king, nor should they suffer there to be one because not all kings could be accounted for righteous kings.... whether their Fathers raised them or not. A great example of this, is King Noah. King Noah's pride caused his haughtiness and wicked ways to cause heavy burdens on his people.  Succession of the Judges were somewhat alright, and with a little chaos here and there. But, for the most part, good. 40 years of the reign of the judges passed (That being the entire book of Alma) and some things start to happen in the ranks of government.

******************** Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements: ***************************

7-25-10 "Power of the Priesthood" Boyd Packer 180th General Conference

8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

8-8-10 Chapter 15 "The Lord's Covenant People" (Gospel Principles)

8-15-10 Chapter 16 "The Church of Jesus Christ In Former Times" (Gospel Principles)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Additional Insight On Priesthood Organization

Brethren! We were blessed with the abundance of the Spirit of the Lord today! I must say thank you to all of you for the great edification that comes only by mutual interaction in sharing and proclaiming the great value that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has to each of us.

We were blessed to be visited by Brother Gagne today, (Former Plainview Member- visiting from California) as well as Brother Mortensen. We pray the blessings of the Savior rest upon these men as they return home in travels... praying they stay safe.

We also had the greatest blessing of having another Elder ordained in our midst. Olympo Calderon was ordained an Elder and what a great honor it was to stand in the midst, and feel of the great Spirit that permeated the room, palpable and nearly overwhelming to tears. This ordination to Elder for Brother Calderon, comes weeks after another was ordained an Elder, that person is Josh West. Congrats to both these great men, and may the Lord ever bless them.

Since next Sunday we are to be discussing the talk given by President Boyd K. Packer from this most recent past General Conference (180th Annual) We should still be trying to digest all we can concerning the Priesthood. Below is a video with good reference to the elect of God, so grab your scriptures, say and prayer, and hit play on the video embedded below. (Visit blog to watch)

 **************Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements: ***************

7-25-10 "Power of the Priesthood" Boyd Packer 180th General Conference

8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

8-8-10 Chapter 15 "The Lord's Covenant People" (Gospel Principles)

8-15-10 Chapter 16 "The Church of Jesus Christ In Former Times" (Gospel Principles)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Discussions On The Doctrine & Covenants: Sections 84 - 87

Visit ! This post contains videos!

More Incredible Insight Concerning The Priesthood!

****************************************************** Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements:

7-18-10 Chapter 14

7-25-10 "Power of the Priesthood" Boyd Packer 180th General Conference

8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

8-8-10 Chapter 15 "The Lord's Covenant People" (Gospel Principles)

8-15-10 Chapter 16 "The Church of Jesus Christ In Former Times" (Gospel Principles)

Discussions On The Doctrine & Covenants: Quorums Of The Priesthood

Visit ! This post contains videos!

Want powerful, profound and in depth understanding on the Priesthood? Grab Your Scriptures, Grab Your Pencil, Say A Prayer, Then Watch This!!!

****************************************************** Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements: 7-18-10 Chapter 14

7-25-10 "Power of the Priesthood" Boyd Packer 180th General Conference

8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

8-8-10 Chapter 15 "The Lord's Covenant People" (Gospel Principles)

8-15-10 Chapter 16 "The Church of Jesus Christ In Former Times" (Gospel Principles)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Mulekites

A serious reader of the Book of Mormon will at some point likely ask himself how much is known about the Mulekites and about the role they played among Book of Mormon civilizations.
The thirty verses which comprise the Book of Omni, although written by five lesser-known authors, provide answers to many questions.
Just prior to his death, Amaleki completed the Book of Omni by briefly recording the account of King Mosiah’s discovery of the people of Zarahemla—the Mulekites. Without this brief record we would know little concerning the conversion of the Mulekites from an atheistic people into some of the most faithful Saints in the entire Book of Mormon.
One reason that readers of the Book of Mormon get confused about the Mulekites is that the name Mulekite is never used. Rather, various authors use three different appellations to refer to these people. Amaleki referred to them as the “people of Zarahemla,” after their leader Zarahemla. (Omni 1:14–15.) In the Book of Helaman, Nephi, son of Helaman, referred to them as “the seed of Zedekiah.” (Hel. 8:21.) And Mormon referred to the Mulekites by the name of Mulek, the son of King Zedekiah who came out of Jerusalem with them. (Hel. 6:10.)
The Lord has not fully revealed his purpose in leading this remnant, including a surviving heir to David’s throne, out of Jerusalem to be reunited with another chosen remnant, the Nephites. However, the limited account of their escape from Jerusalem and journey to the promised land clearly shows that it followed a divine plan. In fact, Zarahemla, the city founded by the Mulekites, became to the Nephites what Salt Lake City is to Latter-day Saints today.
The story of the Mulekites began in the days of Lehi and Jeremiah, prophets in Jerusalem at the time of the fall of the kingdom of Judah.

Prologue to the Destruction of Jerusalem

The tragic events leading up to the overthrow of King Zedekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem were foretold by many prophets. Nephi stated that “in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, … there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city of Jerusalem must be destroyed.” (1 Ne. 1:4.)
Even as early as 125 years before the captivity of Judah, the prophet Isaiah warned King Hezekiah:
“Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.
“And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (2 Kgs. 20:17–18.)
With the exception of King Josiah, all of the kings following Hezekiah caused great wickedness in the kingdom of Judah. Perhaps the most infamous was King Mannaseh, who built altars for Baal or other heathen deities—some even in the temple—and “made his son to pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards.” (See 2 Kgs. 21:3–6.) Perhaps worst of all, he shed innocent blood until it “filled Jerusalem from one end to another.” (2 Kgs. 21:16.)
During the reign of Jehoahaz, Pharaoh-nechoh came from Egypt and dethroned Jehoahaz and placed Jehoiakim (also known as Eliakim) on the throne. Jehoiakim had reigned only eleven years when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, overthrew the Egyptian rule and took control of the Kingdom of Judah. Jehoiakim was left in power, but after three years he rebelled and was killed. His eighteen-year-old son Jehoiachin was then instated as king. Jehoiachin had reigned only three months when Nebuchadnezzar came up again to Jerusalem, besieged it, and took captives back to Babylon. He then left Mattaniah, renamed Zedekiah, in charge and returned to Babylon. (See 2 Kgs. 23:34–24:17.)

The End of the Story Is Just the Beginning

Zedekiah, the brother of Jehoiakim and the grandson of righteous King Josiah, was only twenty-one years old when he began his reign. Nebuchadnezzar was not a brutal conqueror and was willing to give Jerusalem every opportunity to prove their loyalty to his empire. (See F. J. Foakes and D. D. Jackson, The Biblical History of the Jews, Cambridge: W. Heffe and Son L.T.D., 1917, p. 322.) But Zedekiah was a weak leader, constantly influenced by anti-Babylonian factions in Jerusalem. These nationalistic leaders seemed to have made only a superficial covenant with Nebuchadnezzar, for in 593 b.c., shortly after the Babylonian armies had departed, ambassadors from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Tyre, and Sidon came to Jerusalem to plan a rebellion against Babylon. Zedekiah listened to these ill-informed friends and attempted to rebel against Babylon in 588 b.c.
Retribution followed swiftly. Nebuchadnezzar sent his armies against Jerusalem again. During the nineteen-month siege, Jeremiah went to Zedekiah with a promise from the Lord:
“If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon’s princes, then … this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house:
“But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand.” (Jer. 38:17–18.) Jeremiah’s promises apparently fell on deaf ears, for Zedekiah continued to listen to his nationalistic friends.
The city soon fell, and the Babylonian generals entered the gates. When Zedekiah saw them coming, he and his men of war fled out of the gate by the king’s garden and headed toward Jericho. The army pursued them and captured them at the plains of Jericho. The generals then took them up to Riblah, Nebuchadnezzar’s headquarters. There Zedekiah’s sons and the nobles of Judah were slain before his eyes. Last of all, Zedekiah’s eyes were put out and he was bound and taken to Babylon. (See Jer. 39:1–9.) In the words of Josephus, “After this manner … the kings of David’s race ended their lives, being in number twenty-one, until the last king.” (Josephus, trans. William Whiston, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1974, p. 216.) Until the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, history had remained silent about any surviving son of the last of the twenty-one kings of Judah.
The Book of Mormon begins its story of the Mulekites where the Old Testament story of Zedekiah ends. Amaleki writes that Mulek, the son of Zedekiah and heir to the throne of David, came “out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.” (Omni 1:15.) Amaleki continues: “And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.” (Omni 1:16; italics added.) The Book of Mormon chronologist dates this divinely arranged reuniting of these two escaped remnants of Jerusalem sometime between 279 b.c. and 130 b.c.

A Colony Is Established in the Promised Land

The Book of Mormon gives us some general proximities of the Mulekite, the Nephite-Lamanite, and the Jaredite civilizations (see figure 1): “Now the land south was called Lehi, and the land north was called Mulek.” (Hel. 6:10.) Alma, in describing the city Bountiful, wrote that Bountiful was “so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed … , which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla the Mulekites, it being the place of their first landing.” (Alma 22:30.)
While abridging the Book of Ether, Mormon mentioned that the Jaredites were even north of the Mulekites: “And it came to pass that their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla.” (Ether 9:31.) The stone containing the story of Coriantumr and the Jaredites that was discovered by the Mulekites also placed the Jaredite civilization north of Zarahemla. (See Omni 1:20–22.)
From these references, we surmise that Mulek and his people landed near the civilization of the Jaredites, settling south of them. There they dwelt until a group of righteous Saints led by Mosiah traveled northward and, upon discovering them, joined their society.

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Relative geographical locations of the Jaredite, Mulekite, and Nephite/Lamanite civilizations. Journeys to and from the land of the Mulekites also shown.
Key to Journeys
1. Mosiah leads righteous Saints to Zarahemla.
2. Zeniff and followers return to Lehi-Nephi.
3. Alma travels eight days to Helam, then twelve days to Zarahemla.
4. Limhi sends forty-three explorers to find Zarahemla; instead, they find the destroyed Jaredite civilization and return with the twenty-four gold plates of Ether.
5. Mosiah sends sixteen explorers to find Lehi-Nephi. The journey takes forty days.
6. Ammon leads King Limhi and his people back to Zarahemla. The journey takes “many days.”

Two Remnants of Jerusalem Unite

The scriptural account of the uniting of Mosiah’s group with the Mulekites, referred to as the people of Zarahemla, explicitly shows that their meeting was no coincidence. In fact, it indicates that it was only the righteous who went with Mosiah to the land of Zarahemla. Amaleki says:
“Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness—
“And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness, until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla.” (Omni 1:12–13; italics added.)
Almost like two old acquaintances meeting after a long separation, the people of Mosiah and the people of Zarahemla “rejoiced exceedingly” to see each other. Part of their rejoicing was because “the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews.” (Omni 1:14.)
It had been almost four centuries since the Mulekites had left Jerusalem until the people of Mosiah discovered them. During this time, the language of the Mulekites had so changed that the people of Mosiah could not understand them. Apparently, moral corruption had also attended the alteration of language—partly due to the fact that they had taken no scriptural record with them when they left Jerusalem:
“And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them.” (Omni 1:17.)
At first, one might ask, Why didn’t the Mulekites bring records, as the Nephites did? Perhaps under the circumstances of their escape there was no time to gather them—to return to the city would have meant death at the hands of the Babylonian army. Or perhaps there were few records available to take. (See Ensign, Jan. 1987, p. 22.)
Seeing the condition they were in, Mosiah set out to rectify the situation. He began by causing that the people of Zarahemla be taught in his language, undoubtedly so they could be taught the word of God from the records. (See Omni 1:18; see also Mosiah 1:3–7.)
“And it came to pass that the people of Zarahemla, and of Mosiah, did unite together; and Mosiah was appointed to be their king.” (Omni 1:19.)
During Mosiah’s reign, an interesting event occurred: a “large stone” was brought to Mosiah with engravings upon it, and he was able to interpret the writing by the power of God. From the stone, Mosiah learned of a man named Coriantumr and how his people, the Jaredites, were slain. This man was not new to the Mulekites, for they had found him, and he had lived with them for nine moons until he died. (See Omni 1:20–21.) This meeting had been prophesied of and divinely arranged. (See Ether 13:20–21.)

The Mulekites Are Converted to Christ

Perhaps one of the most well-known stories in the Book of Mormon is that of the people of King Benjamin. What is less well known is that the majority of these Saints were the more numerous Mulekites.
The Mulekites were initially introduced to the gospel under King Mosiah and then continued to be taught under his son, King Benjamin. Before his death, King Benjamin sent a proclamation “throughout all this land among all this people, or the people of Zarahemla, and the people of Mosiah who dwell in the land” to be gathered together for him to speak to them. (Mosiah 1:10; italics added.)
When they had gathered together near the temple built in Zarahemla, the Nephites and Mulekites offered burnt sacrifices according to the law of Moses and gave thanks to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Jerusalem and appointing just men to teach them to keep the commandments of God. (See Mosiah 2:1–4.) King Benjamin then delivered the message that he had received from an angel concerning the birth, mission, and atonement of Jesus Christ. The people were filled with the Holy Ghost and received a remission of their sins, took upon them the name of Christ, and covenanted to keep God’s commandments.
This remarkable conversion came largely to a people who only a few generations earlier were a spiritually darkened, atheistic society.

Other Righteous Saints Join the Mulekites

The over-zealous attempt of Zeniff and his followers to reestablish a colony in Nephi-Lehi, the land of their fathers, brought two more groups of righteous Saints to the Mulekites—one led by Alma and the other by King Limhi. These additions not only added strength to the Church in Zarahemla, but the circumstances of their journeying to Zarahemla may provide us with some information concerning the approximate distances between the Lamanite-Nephite, the Mulekite, and the Jaredite civilizations.
After Alma began teaching and baptizing at the waters of Mormon, he and his followers were discovered by the servants of King Noah. Then, being warned of the Lord, they “fled eight days’ journey into the wilderness” and established the community called Helam. (See Mosiah 23:3, 19.) There they flourished until they were discovered by the Lamanites and wicked priests of King Noah. After many trials, the Lord delivered them, and they “traveled in the wilderness twelve days” until they arrived in the land of Zarahemla. (See Mosiah 24.) This would make the journey from the land of Nephi to the land of the Mulekites a total of twenty days.
Prior to Alma’s arrival in Zarahemla, the Nephite people in Zarahemla wearied Mosiah with requests to send an expedition to find out what became of the people of Zeniff, for they had heard nothing from them. Mosiah commissioned sixteen men, led by a Mulekite named Ammon, to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi to inquire concerning their brethren.
Not knowing the route to take, the sixteen men, led by Ammon, wandered forty days until they arrived at the Land of Nephi. They were at first suspected of being enemies, but after gaining an audience with King Limhi and explaining their purpose in coming, the people rejoiced in anticipation of their release from Lamanite bondage. (See Mosiah 7.)
Ammon and his companions then learned of another expedition of forty-three men sent by King Limhi that had just returned not many days before from a search for Zarahemla. These forty-three explorers had found a destroyed civilization and feared the worst—they mistakenly thought that the land they had found was Zarahemla. Apparently, these men had traveled northward, but missed the land of Zarahemla. They kept traveling until they arrived at the land of the Jaredites and there found the twenty-four gold plates that Ether had left. (See Mosiah 8:7–9.) After the people of Limhi emigrated to Zarahemla and joined the church established there, Mosiah translated these plates through the use of “interpreters,” or seer stones, divinely preserved and empowered for just such a purpose. (See Mosiah 28:11–17.)
Thus, the once spiritually benighted and degenerate society of the Mulekites became the ecclesiastical and political capital of the Nephites, at least until the time of Christ. It became the center stake, as it were, for the righteous Saints. (See Alma 5:1; Alma 6:1; Alma 27:20.) Nephi, a prophet who lived just prior to the time Christ visited the American continent, underscored the prominence of the Mulekites by asking a simple question, yet one with profound meaning for our day as we reestablish the Church among the children of Lehi: “Yea, and do ye not behold that the seed of Zedekiah are with us?” (Hel. 8:21.)
What a joy it is for us to realize that as we teach gospel truths to the indigenous people in the areas of Book of Mormon heritage that we are offering gospel truths not only to the descendants of Lehi—but also to those of the colony of Mulek.

********************* Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements:

7-18-10 Chapter 14 Priesthood Organization - Gospel Principles

7-25-10 "Power of the Priesthood" Boyd Packer 180th General Conference

8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

8-8-10 Chapter 15 "The Lord's Covenant People" (Gospel Principles)

8-15-10 Chapter 16 "The Church of Jesus Christ In Former Times" (Gospel Principles)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Because I Have Been Given Much & How Great Thou Art

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********************************************* Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements:

7-18-10 Chapter 14 Gospel Principles

7-25-10 "Power of the Priesthood" Boyd Packer 180th General Conference 8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

“Chapter 14: Priesthood Organization,” Gospel Principles, (2009),72–80 *Lesson For 7-18-10*

The Priesthood Is on the Earth Today

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is governed by the priesthood. The priesthood, which is always associated with God’s work, “continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years” (D&C 84:17). It is upon the earth today. Men young and old are baptized into the Church, and when they are judged worthy they are ordained to the priesthood. They are given the authority to act for the Lord and do His work on the earth.

Two Divisions of Priesthood

  • • How did the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods get their names?
For teachers: Use questions at the beginning of a section to start a discussion and send class members or family members to the text to find more information. Use questions at the end of a section to help class members or family members ponder and discuss the meaning of what they have read and apply it in their lives.
The priesthood is divided into two parts: the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Aaronic Priesthood (see D&C 107:1). “The first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood … because Melchizedek was such a great high priest.
“Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.
“But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood” (D&C 107:2–4; italics in original).
The lesser priesthood is an appendage to the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is called the Aaronic Priesthood because it was conferred on Aaron and his sons throughout all their generations. Those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood have authority to administer the outward ordinances of the sacrament and baptism. (See D&C 20:46; 107:13–14, 20.)
Those holding the Melchizedek Priesthood have the power and authority to lead the Church and direct the preaching of the gospel in all parts of the world. They administer all the spiritual work of the Church (see D&C 84:19–22; 107:8). They direct the work done in the temples; they preside over wards, branches, stakes, and missions. The Lord’s chosen prophet, the President of the Church, is the presiding high priest over the Melchizedek Priesthood (see D&C 107:65–67).

Keys of the Priesthood

  • • What is the difference between the priesthood and the keys of the priesthood? Which priesthood leaders receive keys?
There is a difference between being ordained to an office in the priesthood and receiving keys of the priesthood. President Joseph F. Smith taught:
“The Priesthood in general is the authority given to man to act for God. Every man ordained to any degree of the Priesthood has this authority delegated to him.
“But it is necessary that every act performed under this authority shall be done at the proper time and place, in the proper way, and after the proper order. The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood. In their fulness, the keys are held by only one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church. He may delegate any portion of this power to another, in which case that person holds the keys of that particular labor. Thus, the president of a temple, the president of a stake, the bishop of a ward, the president of a mission, the president of a quorum, each holds the keys of the labors performed in that particular body or locality. His Priesthood is not increased by this special appointment; … the president of an elders’ quorum, for example, has no more Priesthood than any member of that quorum. But he holds the power of directing the official labors performed in the … quorum, or in other words, the keys of that division of that work” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 141; italics in original).
  • • How do priesthood keys safeguard the Church?

The Offices and Duties of the Aaronic Priesthood

  • • In what ways do Aaronic Priesthood holders serve?
When the Aaronic Priesthood is conferred on a man or boy, he is ordained to an office in that priesthood. The offices in the Aaronic Priesthood are deacon, teacher, priest, and bishop. Each office carries duties and responsibilities. Each quorum is presided over by a quorum president, who teaches the members their duties and asks them to fill assignments.
Some men join the Church or become active after they have passed the usual age to receive the offices of this priesthood. They are usually ordained to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood and can soon be ordained to other offices as they remain worthy.


A young man who has been baptized and confirmed a member of the Church and is worthy may be ordained to the office of deacon when he is 12 years old. The deacons are usually assigned to pass the sacrament to members of the Church, keep Church buildings and grounds in good order, act as messengers for priesthood leaders, and fulfill special assignments such as collecting fast offerings.


A worthy young man may be ordained a teacher when he is 14 years old or older. Teachers have all the duties, rights, and powers of the office of deacon plus additional ones. Teachers in the Aaronic Priesthood are to help Church members live the commandments (see D&C 20:53–59). To help fulfill this responsibility, they are usually assigned to serve as home teachers. They visit the homes of Church members and encourage them to live the principles of the gospel. They have been commanded to teach the truths of the gospel from the scriptures (see D&C 42:12). Teachers also prepare the bread and water for the sacrament service.


A worthy young man may be ordained a priest when he is 16 years old or older. Priests have all the duties, rights, and powers of the offices of deacon and teacher plus some additional ones (see D&C 20:46–51). A priest may baptize. He may also administer the sacrament. He may ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons. A priest may take charge of meetings when there is no Melchizedek Priesthood holder present. He is to preach the gospel to those around him.


A bishop is ordained and set apart to preside over the Aaronic Priesthood in a ward. He is the president of the priests quorum (see D&C 107:87–88). When he is acting in his Aaronic Priesthood office, a bishop deals primarily with temporal matters, such as administering finances and records and directing care for the poor and needy (see D&C 107:68).
A bishop is also ordained a high priest so he can preside over all members in the ward (see D&C 107:71–73; 68:15). A bishop is a judge in Israel (see D&C 107:74) and interviews members for temple recommends, priesthood ordinations, and other needs. It is his right to have the gift of discernment.
  • • How have you been blessed through the service of Aaronic Priesthood holders?

The Offices and Duties of the Melchizedek Priesthood

  • • In what ways do Melchizedek Priesthood holders serve?
The offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood are elder, high priest, patriarch, Seventy, and Apostle.


Elders are called to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the Church (see D&C 20:42). All Melchizedek Priesthood holders are elders. They have the authority to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (see D&C 20:43). Elders should conduct meetings of the Church as they are led by the Holy Ghost (see D&C 20:45; 46:2). Elders may administer to the sick (see D&C 42:44) and bless little children (see D&C 20:70). Elders may preside over Church meetings when there is no high priest present (D&C 107:11).

High Priest

A high priest is given the authority to officiate in the Church and administer spiritual things (see D&C 107:10, 12). He may also officiate in all lesser offices (see D&C 68:19). Stake presidents, mission presidents, high councilors, bishops, and other leaders of the Church are ordained high priests.


Patriarchs are ordained by General Authorities, or by stake presidents when they are authorized by the Council of the Twelve, to give patriarchal blessings to members of the Church. These blessings give us some understanding of our callings on earth. They are the word of the Lord personally to us. Patriarchs are also ordained high priests. (See D&C 107:39–56.)


Seventies are special witnesses of Jesus Christ to the world and assist in building up and regulating the Church under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (see D&C 107:25, 34, 38, 93–97).


An Apostle is a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world (see D&C 107:23). The Apostles administer the affairs of the Church throughout the world. Those who are ordained to the office of Apostle in the Melchizedek Priesthood are usually set apart as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Each one is given all the keys of the kingdom of God on earth, but only the senior Apostle, who is President of the Church, actively exercises all of the keys. The others act under his direction.
  • • How have you been blessed through the service of Melchizedek Priesthood holders?

The Quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood

The Lord has instructed that the holders of the priesthood be organized into quorums. A quorum is a body of brethren holding the same priesthood office.
There are three quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood:
  • 1. The deacons quorum, which consists of up to 12 deacons (see D&C 107:85). The presidency of the deacons quorum is called by the bishop from among the quorum members.
  • 2. The teachers quorum, which consists of up to 24 teachers (see D&C 107:86). The presidency of the teachers quorum is called by the bishop from among the quorum members.
  • 3. The priests quorum, which consists of up to 48 priests (see D&C 107:87–88). It is presided over by the bishop of the ward to which the quorum belongs. The bishop is a high priest and thus also belongs to the high priests quorum.
Whenever the number specified for a quorum is exceeded, the quorum may be divided.

The Quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood

At the general Church level, the members of the First Presidency form a quorum, as do the Twelve Apostles. The Seventies are also organized in quorums.
At the local Church level—in wards and branches and stakes and districts—Melchizedek Priesthood bearers are organized into the following quorums:

Elders Quorum

Each elders quorum “is instituted for standing ministers; nevertheless they may travel, yet they are ordained to be standing ministers” (D&C 124:137). They do most of their work near their homes. The quorum is to consist of up to 96 elders, presided over by a quorum presidency. When this number is exceeded, the quorum may be divided.

High Priests Quorum

Each quorum includes all high priests residing within the boundaries of a stake, including patriarchs and bishops. The stake president and his counselors are the presidency of this quorum. The high priests in each ward are organized into a group with a group leader.

Importance of Priesthood Quorums

  • • How can priesthood quorums help strengthen individuals and families?
When ordained to the priesthood, a man or boy automatically becomes a member of a priesthood quorum. From then on through life, it is expected that he will hold membership in a quorum of the priesthood according to his office (see Boyd K. Packer, “What Every Elder Should Know—and Every Sister as Well: A Primer on Principles of Priesthood Government,” Ensign, Feb. 1993, 9).
If a priesthood quorum functions properly, the members of the quorum are encouraged, blessed, fellowshipped, and taught the gospel by their leaders. Even though a man may be released from Church callings, such as teacher, quorum president, bishop, high councilor, or stake president, his membership in his quorum does not change. Membership in a quorum of the priesthood should be regarded as a sacred privilege.

Auxiliaries to the Priesthood

  • • How can auxiliaries to the priesthood help strengthen individuals and families?
All organizations in the Church work under the direction of priesthood leaders and help them carry out the work of the Lord. For example, the presidencies in a ward’s Relief Society, Young Women, Young Men, Primary, and Sunday School organizations serve under the direction of the bishopric. These organizations are called auxiliaries to the priesthood.
  • • What role do you have as an individual in helping priesthood quorums and auxiliaries be successful?

Additional Scriptures

************************************************** Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements:

 7-18-10 Chapter 14 - Priesthood Organization

7-25-10 "Power of the Priesthood" Boyd Packer 180th General Conference 8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Becoming More Powerful Priesthood Holders

We can become more powerful in blessing the lives of our Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters, more powerful in serving others.
Many years ago a certain group of worthy priesthood holders taught with great power and authority. One of them was so powerful that it was impossible not to believe his words.1 These priesthood holders helped the people learn about the Savior and His doctrine and helped them find happiness. Their teachings and examples provided a means whereby the people experienced a mighty change of heart. We learn that thousands were led by them to be baptized and make covenants to endure to the end.2 I am speaking about the great Book of Mormon missionaries who were powerful priesthood holders.
We can learn a great deal from these children of Lehi. By doing what they did, we can become more powerful in blessing the lives of our Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters, more powerful in serving others, more powerful in rescuing others, and more powerful in becoming more Christlike men.
Alma the Younger teaches us one of the things they did to become so successful: they used the records from which the Book of Mormon was taken. When he gave the record that would eventually become the Book of Mormon to his son Helaman, he taught that without these plates, “Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands … ; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance.”3
God showed His power through the plates by fulfilling one purpose, “even … the restoration of many thousands … to the knowledge of the truth.” Alma then prophesied that God would “still show forth his power in them unto future generations.”4 Thus, the records were preserved, and you and I are part of those future generations. Just as in the days of old, we can be more powerful priesthood holders by using the Book of Mormon.
The process of bringing to light the Book of Mormon cannot be compared to any literary work by any author in human history. We could say that it is a book that was shepherded by the very finger of our God. During His visit to the ancient Americas, the Lord asked Nephi to bring the records that they were keeping and place them before Him. Jesus then looked at them and commanded that certain events and passages be added.5 “And [the Savior] saith: These scriptures, which ye had not with you, the Father commanded that I should give unto you; for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations.”6 I feel everlasting gratitude to belong to those future generations. I am a member of the Church thanks to the Book of Mormon. I will never forget my feelings when, as a young boy in Uruguay, I read this sacred book for the very first time. I did not have to read much in 1 Nephi to experience such a joy that it cannot be expressed with words. It was as if the book was permeated with the Spirit of the Lord and made me feel closer to God.
This experience added meaning to the statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith about this book when he declared that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”7 I also recognize the relevance of President Thomas S. Monson’s promise when he said that “as we read the Book of Mormon and the other standard works, as we put the teachings to the test, then we will know of the doctrine, for this is our promise; we will know whether it be of man or whether it be of God.”8
These promises bring us joy now and in our future. Once I received a testimony of the Book of Mormon, the natural feeling that followed was a desire to apply the teachings of the book by making covenants. I made covenants by being baptized and confirmed a member of the Church. These covenants, made through priesthood ordinances, along with knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon changed my life.
It is not surprising that when the Savior visited the ancient Americas, besides teaching doctrine, He gave Nephi and others the power to baptize.9 In other words, the doctrine and the ordinances stood side by side. The full application of the teachings of the Book of Mormon does require priesthood ordinances with their associated covenants.
There are books that are released to the market and quickly become best sellers. Sometimes they generate so much interest that people eagerly await their release. Such books seem to flood the market right away, and you can see people reading them everywhere. God, in His infinite wisdom, reserved the Book of Mormon for our benefit. Its purpose is not to become a best seller. Nevertheless, we can turn this sacred book into a best-read and best-applied book in our life. Let me suggest three activities that can help us turn the Book of Mormon into the best-read and best-applied book, which will empower us today to become more powerful priesthood holders, even as those in ancient times.
First, feast upon the words of Christ. We must read the Book of Mormon in order to “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”10 Feasting upon the words of Christ is a unique experience. When we read and look for principles and doctrines that will help us in our daily lives, we will have a renewed enthusiasm. For example, when the rising generation faces challenges in coping with peer pressure, we can read the book looking specifically for teachings that will help them with this kind of challenge. One of those teachings could be taken from Lemuel’s experience. Lemuel made some wrong choices because he yielded to Laman’s pressure.11 He did not do the right thing because he “knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.”12 A principle that we can draw from this incident is that learning doctrine about how God deals with us will help us to cope with peer pressure. The Book of Mormon has more teachings and examples about this topic, and we are the generations who can benefit from the teachings of this book.
Second, apply in our lives all that we learn about Christ. Reading the Book of Mormon and looking for attributes of Christ is a great edifying experience. For instance, the brother of Jared recognized that the Lord was a God of truth; therefore, He could not lie.13 What great hope this attribute brings to my soul! All the promises in the Book of Mormon and the promises given by the living prophets today will be fulfilled because He is God and cannot lie. Even in these turbulent times, we know that things will be OK if we follow the teachings learned from the Book of Mormon and the living prophets. Once we learn about an attribute of Christ, such as the one recognized by the brother of Jared, we should work to implement it in our own life. This will help us to become more powerful priesthood holders.
Third, teach the doctrine and principles found in the sacred pages of the Book of Mormon. We can teach anyone from this book. Can you imagine the additional “convincing power of God”14 when missionaries and family members quote, read, or repeat by heart the book’s very words?
I remember a mission in Ecuador whose missionaries used the Book of Mormon in all their comings and goings. Because of them, thousands experienced a mighty change of heart and decided to enter into covenants through sacred priesthood ordinances. The Book of Mormon is a golden instrument in finding and converting the honest seekers of truth and in rescuing many of our brothers and sisters back into gospel activity.
I know that families will be fortified by implementing the teachings of this great book in their lives. Many of our children will be saved because they will remember, as Enos did, the words which he had often heard his father speak concerning eternal life, and because of this, he came to know that his sins were forgiven through the Atonement of Christ.15
You and I, as part of those future generations spoken about, can be more powerful priesthood holders by using the Book of Mormon and honoring our priesthood covenants. The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ, of whom I also testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Lubbock Texas Stake Announcements:

7-11-10 Chapter 13 Gospel Principles

7-18-10 Chapter 14

7-25-10 "Power of the Priesthood" Boyd Packer 180th General Conference 8-1-10 August First Presidency Message (For Home Teaching as well.)