What is the Priesthood?

“Chapter 13: The Priesthood,” Gospel Principles, 81

What Is the Priesthood?

The priesthood is the power and authority of God. By his priesthood power the heavens and the earth were created. By this power the universe is kept in perfect order. Through this power he accomplishes his work and glory, which is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

Our Heavenly Father shares his priesthood power with worthy male members of the Church. The priesthood enables them to act in God’s name for the salvation of the human family. Through it they can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern God’s kingdom on earth.

Why Do We Need the Priesthood on the Earth?

We must have priesthood authority to act in the name of God when performing the sacred ordinances of the gospel, such as baptism, confirmation, administration of the sacrament, and temple marriage. If a man does not have the priesthood, even though he may be sincere, the Lord will not recognize ordinances he performs (see Matthew 7:21–23). These important ordinances must be performed on the earth by men holding the priesthood.

Men need the priesthood to preside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to direct the work of the Church in all parts of the world. When Christ lived on the earth, he chose his Apostles and ordained them so that they could lead his Church. He gave them the power and authority of the priesthood to act in his name. (See Mark 3:13–15; John 15:16.)

Another reason the priesthood is needed on the earth is so we can understand the will of the Lord and carry out his purposes. God reveals his will to his authorized priesthood representative on the earth, the prophet. The prophet, who is President of the Church, serves as the spokesman for God to all members of the Church and all people on the earth.