Men kind of get a bad rap in this world. It is a sad statement, but true. Of course, some of them do all they can to foster that bad rap. But they aren’t who I want to talk about. I want to talk about the benefit of having a righteous priesthood holder in my life.
I grew up with a man who was rather stingy with the priesthood, my biological father. He and my mother divorced when I was 14 and I still really had no idea what a righteous priesthood holder was supposed to do in a family.
On November 8, 1980 my mother married Fritz Hendrik Sluyter the man who came to be the father of my heart, but also the man who truly helped me to understand the power and strength of a righteous priesthood holder in the home.
First, I think we should define the priesthood:
The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Through the priesthood God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children. Priesthood holders can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern the kingdom of God on the earth. (Gospel Topics, “Priesthood,” www.lds.org)
This then, is the power a man holds when he remains worthy.
Personal worthiness becomes the standard of eligibility to receive and exercise this sacred power. It is of this that I wish to speak tonight.
I begin by reading to you from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 121:
“The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and … the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
“That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man” (D&C 121:36–37).
That is the unequivocal word of the Lord concerning His divine authority. What a tremendous obligation this places upon each of us. We who hold the priesthood of God must stand above the ways of the world. We must discipline ourselves. We cannot be self-righteous, but we can and must be decent, honorable men.
Our behavior in public must be above reproach. Our behavior in private is even more important. It must clear the standard set by the Lord. We cannot indulge in sin, let alone try to cover our sins. We cannot gratify our pride. We cannot partake of the vanity of unrighteous ambition. We cannot exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion upon our wives or children, or any others in any degree of unrighteousness.
If we do any of these things, the powers of heaven are withdrawn. The Spirit of the Lord is grieved. The very virtue of our priesthood is nullified. Its authority is lost. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Personal Worthiness to Exercise the Priesthood,” Liahona, Jul 2002, 58–61)
With that being said, let’s leave it behind and concentrate on the incredible reward of having a righteous priesthood holder in the home.
As mentioned before, my father, Fritz Sluyter, is the one who taught me the value of a righteous priesthood holder. He was the one who parented with love and gentleness, but with firmness. He was the one who was with me as my father in the toughest times I faced in my young life (open heart surgery just being one of those things.) He was the one who became the model for the man I wished to marry.
Because of him I wanted a man who loved his wife, treating her with love, respect and gentleness. Just like he did my mother.
Because of him I wanted a man who honored his priesthood and covenants made with Lord. Just as he did with God.
Because of him I wanted a man who was generous with the priesthood, giving blessings of comfort, healing or strength as the need arose, always responding in the affirmative if a blessing was asked of him. Just as he did with us.
Because of him I wanted a man who stood with strength and conviction for his beliefs, standards and testimony of Jesus Christ. Just as he was until the day he died.
And because of Fritz Hendrik Sluyter and the example he was to me I married the love my life. I am married to a man who loves, honors and respects me. He is generous with the priesthood. And because of his worthiness he makes me a better woman. Because of his worthiness a protection and shield have a physical presence in our home. He is generous with the use of the priesthood, as his Heavenly Father intended him to be.
That, my friends, is the value of a righteous priesthood holder. Let us close with the words of our prophet, Thomas S. Monson:
My brethren, let us ever remember that the priesthood of God which we bear is a sacred gift which brings to us and to those we serve the blessings of heaven. May we, in whatever place we may be, honor and protect that priesthood. May we ever be on the Lord’s errand, that we might ever be entitled to the Lord’s help.
There is a war being waged for men’s souls—yours and mine. It continues without abatement. Like a clarion call comes the word of the Lord to you and to me and to priesthood holders everywhere: “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.”
May we each have the courage to do so, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. (Thomas S. Monson, “The Priesthood—a Sacred Gift,” Liahona, May 2007, 57–60(