Posted by, Paulette
I was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting. This is my talk.
The Priesthood blesses the Whole Earth
When I was asked to give a talk on how the priesthood blesses the Earth, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the topic. I was raised in the church and as a small child I remember the blessings my Dad gave me. I treasure my patriarchal blessing as my own personal scripture, and I have felt safe in my home after it was dedicated by my husband. My husband and I went together to pick out fabrics to make blessing gowns for our precious babies for their blessings. I've had the privileged of watching three of our children be baptized, and confirmed by their father. Their tender father puts his hands on their heads before school each year to bless them. These blessings are a comfort to me as I send them away from home. There have been scary moments in hospitals when a blessing has helped in the healing of a very sick child and been a calming influence to me as an overwrought mother. I have been blessed to have the influence of the priesthood in my home as a child and now as an adult.
But what of the other peoples of the Earth who are not members of the restored church of Jesus Christ? How does the priesthood bless their lives?
Our Father in Heaven loves all of his children regardless of religion. He blesses them in ways that they are not aware of.
If we think of the beginning of time, we realize that God's influence has been felt all over the Earth.
Robert D Hales said:
"Before this world was created, the premortal Council in Heaven was held under the direction of the priesthood. The formation of the universe and of the world upon which we live was brought to pass—not by chance, but through the power of the priesthood. The great Creator spoke, and the elements obeyed. The processes of nature that enable us to exist on this planet, the resources of this world that sustain life—all were set into motion and continue their course through the power of God’s magnificent priesthood. While most of the earth’s inhabitants do not recognize this priesthood power, all living creatures are its beneficiaries."
Adam had the priesthood conferred upon him by God and his descendants after him.
When Moses spoke with God in the Mount, he was shown all of the creations of the Father. And after speaking with Him, fell to the ground utterly spent and weak. He said that he hadn't realized until that time how man was nothing.
Imagine having the heavens opened to you and you can see all of God's creations. The beginning to the end of time! Only a few prophets speak of the experience, but through them we come to understand the greatness of God. He said, that his glory was to bring to pass the immortality and Eternal life of man. His plan encompasses all of the Earth and it's inhabitants. In order to accomplish this goal he has endowed man with the priesthood, which is the power and authority to act in his name.
We are told in the scriptures that God is the source of light and truth. He is intelligence.
When Jesus established his church, he called apostles, and after his death, and resurrection, for a time, the apostles that died, were replaced in the same way that they are now, An assembly of the Saints was called and the name put forth, and agreed upon. After a time this discontinued and the outlying leaders of the church were taking too much power upon themselves, and weren't listening to the council of the prophets of God. The church was corrupted by the teachings of man, and soon after, around 200 AD, the great apostasy occurred. For almost 2 thousand years, there was no living prophet to give us council from the Lord. The line of priesthood authority was broken. This time is referred to as the Dark Ages by historians. It was called a time of intellectual darkness. Is it any wonder that the light and truth of God would be held from man in the absence of the priesthood authority?
I try to imagine what it would have been like to live at that time. Satan was bound, but there was no authority to baptize, oversee the blessing of the sacrament, and no revelation from a prophet of God. These people had no opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ in it's fullness. Life was hard, and short. I wonder at the lives of these people who had no access to the word of God. The scriptures were not available for them to read in their homes. They didn't have the Holy Ghost to whisper to testify to them of Christ. There were no temple covenants to take comfort in and remember when life became discouraging. Child mortality rates were high and people didn't live as adults to old age. The church at the time told them that their families would go to hell if they weren't baptized, or hadn't received the last rites.
When the restoration of the priesthood took place in 1830, that light and knowledge returned to the inhabitants of the Earth.
In the two centuries following 1800, the world's income increased over tenfold, while the world's population increased over sixfold. Conversely, in history the only time the common people prospered was when there was a decline in population.
Between 1800s and 1900s the population of Europe more than doubled. This was not because of larger families. Actually families were having fewer children.. This was because the death rate fell. People started eating better, mostly because farming methods improved and there was more food. The biggest reason to why the death rate fell though was because of Medical advances and improvements.
Around the same time that Joseph Smith received the priesthood, about 1830, the industrial revolution and medical advances began to occur. The light and knowledge of the Lord had returned, and God was ready to pour out a blessing on the whole Earth.
Those who were born near the turn of the century have witnessed the advent of steam powered locomotives, the invention of the automobile, and jet planes which allowed travel to go further, faster and cleaner. They've seen the invention of the transatlantic telegraph which allowed communication over thousands of miles. The first radio was invented around 1894. Today we have satellite communications, and internet. Who would have thought that one would be able to sit anywhere and visit in real time with a family member who was on another continent thousands of miles away, and be able to look into their face? Those phones are pretty smart, aren't they?
People on the other side of the Earth can watch President Monson, and his counselors speak to us at General Conference. Those who don't have the technology available to them, can view it it their stake centers. And the Ensign and Liahona carry their messages after the conference.
We have surgeries now that would have been considered miraculous 100 years ago. The deaf can "hear" with the aid of electronic devises implanted in their brain. People who couldn't see without the aid of glasses can see perfectly after a simple eye surgery. Hip, knee, and shoulder replacements are common, as are back surgeries, with very little recovery time. Jesus cured the blind,deaf, and lame. Remember? He still does today, through our hands. These advances are no coincidence.
Jesus said, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
( Matthew 7:11)
Good gifts indeed!
Construction methods have become more advanced and require less labor. We have 136 operating temples around the world with 15 in construction and 15 more that have been announced. The hearts of the children are turning to their fathers and the fathers to the children, as Isiah prophesied.
All of my life I have been told that I have been held in reserve for this time, the last dispensation. As a youth I felt very much like this was just a self esteem building exercise. Today, with the knowledge I have of history, current events, and the testimony that I have gained, I realize that this is a true statement. If we had been born at another time in history, we would be the ones wondering when our families would get the family history bug. Those ancestors who lived during the Dark Ages know that we have the technology to find them, and to act as proxies for them in the temples that dot the Earth. They urge us in the Spirit World to have that spirit of Elijah, and to help bless the world with God's Priesthood.
Robert D Hales said,
can you imagine how dark and empty mortality would be if there were no priesthood? If the power of the priesthood were not upon the earth, the adversary would have freedom to roam and reign without restraint. There would be no gift of the Holy Ghost to direct and enlighten us; no prophets to speak in the name of the Lord; no temples where we could make sacred, eternal covenants; no authority to bless or baptize, to heal or comfort. Without the power of the priesthood, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted” (see D&C 2:1–3; D&C 2:1–3). There would be no light, no hope—only darkness."
. 'Twas witnessed in the morning sky:
An angel earthward bound.
This messenger proclaimed anew
The gospel's joyful sound.
In pow'r it would be preached on earth
By men of God ordained;
All men, all tongues, all nations would
Accept and praise his name.
2. In ancient days the gospel plan
Was giv'n of God to men;
In latter days the gospel is
Restored to earth again.
By holy prophets long proclaimed,
By Saints and seers adored,
It speaks the everlasting truths
Of Jesus Christ, the Lord.
3. Apostles of a former day
To modern prophets came;
They brought the priesthood of our Lord
To bless the earth again.
The pow'rs of heav'n are opened wide
To men of God below;
The knowledge, gifts, and keys are ours,
All blessings to bestow.
I testify to you today, our Heavenly Father loves all of his children. That His Son Jesus Christ died, and lives again. Heavenly Father has blessed the Earth with his priesthood from the beginning of time until Eternity. When we take His name upon us when we are baptized, we promise to help Him in his goal to bring to pass the Eternal life of man. By honoring our covenants, and putting on the whole armor of God, each and every day, we are ready to help Him fight Satan, and take back the souls of those who have wandered from the path of righteousness. They are our brothers and sisters through all the generations of time. They watch and wait for us to use that priesthood power in the temple to redeem them. Our brothers and sisters who are still with us also watch, whether we know it or not. Wouldn't it be wonderful to let them in on the great news that their Heavenly Father loves them so much, and has provided a way for them to return to Him?