In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, casually known What is it exactly?
Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15)
The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Through the priesthood God created and governs the heavens and the earth. And through this same priesthood, given to all worthy and ordained members of the priesthood (ordained by one having the authority,) is what enables them to lay their hands on the heads of those who are sick and afflicted and bless them according to the will of God.
May I share an experience of my own?
As has everyone who has ever lived on the earth, I’ve had my fair share of trials and tribulations. What I like to call my turn in the Refiner’s Fire. Being married to a man worthy to hold the priesthood of God is a blessing beyond all measure. This experience is not one of the greater experiences that burned away the dross in my soul, but one of sweetness that remains in my memory.
I was raised away from my maternal grandmother. She’d made choices in life that made her dangerous to the emotional, physical and mental health of her grandchildren. Because of that my parents decided to separate us from her for our own safety.
I was 37-years-old when my grandmother died. I hadn’t seen her since I was eight-years-old and watched her sew over her finger because she was so drunk. I didn’t know her. I didn’t love her, because I didn’t know her. And yet when I heard of her death I grieved. I cried so much I couldn’t seem to gain any sense of balance in my emotions. I was also confused that I was mourning the loss of someone I didn’t even know.
Days went by and I still found no solace. My greatest grief lay in the decisions she willfully made in life which I knew she would have to pay for eventually. For eternal laws demand justice, and if we do not avail ourselves of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in mortality, we must pay for our own sins afterward. I knew how she’d lived her life, for she’d done so unashamedly, and I knew she’d lived in direct opposition to the laws of God.
One day I came home for lunch and my husband was there. We talked about my inability to stop bursting into tears at the drop of a hat and the continued grieving I was doing for such a hardened, drunken, bitter old woman who was a stranger to me. He offered to give me a priesthood blessing of comfort.
As my husband laid his hands upon my head, I felt a certain peace begin to fill my soul. He spoke the opening words of the blessing, which is a prayer with priesthood authority unto God, and the grief melted away. Through my husband, Heavenly Father explained that my grandmother had made choices in life, but that He loved her and she would end up where she was happiest. I was reminded to keep my own covenants and keep my eye single to God. Many other wonderful and precious words and promises were given to me that day, but of the most precious was the sense of peace that pervaded and remained with me.
The power of priesthood blessings is great. Heavenly Father has given us a direct means by which we may communicate with Him and heal, comfort and inform when His knowledge and power is needed. Which, by the way, is a lot more than anyone asks for blessings and inquires through prayer.
I testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its entirety and is functioning as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I testify that the power of the priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name and is one of the greatest blessings He has given us in mortality.
President Joseph F. Smith, the sixth called prophet, seer and revelator in the modern age, defined the priesthood as,
the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, … by which [men] may speak the will of God as if the angels were here to speak it themselves; by which men are empowered to bind on earth and it shall be bound in heaven, and to loose on earth and it shall be loosed in heaven. . .[The priesthood] is sacred, and it must be held sacred by the people.” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. (1939), 139–40.)