Aaronic Priesthood power benefits all, Elder Oakes

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    By ROB HERTZLER

    All members benefit from the sacred responsibilities of the Aaronic Priesthood, said Elder Dallin H. Oaks in Saturday’s priesthood session of general conference.

    Elder Oaks, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reminded Aaronic Priesthood holders that performing baptisms and administering the sacrament are not to be taken lightly.

    “During His ministry, Jesus taught that baptism is necessary for salvation,” Elder Oaks said. “Baptism is the first of the saving ordinances.”

    Jesus also introduced the sacrament and promised the Holy Ghost, Elder Oaks said.

    The sacrament prayer includes the relationship between the sacrament and the Holy Ghost.

    “To have the continuous companionship of the Holy Ghost is the most precious possession we can have in mortality,” Elder Oaks said.

    Elder Oaks shared a recent experience he had with cutting down a tree in his yard. After he was done he was covered with sawdust and oil and did not want anyone to see him in that condition. He likened the experience to the shame of being soiled spiritually.

    “How grateful we are that the Lord has provided a process for each member of His church to be periodically cleansed from the soil of sin,” Elder Oaks said.

    Elder Oaks said that through the sacrament the Lord renews the cleansing that takes place at a person’s baptism.

    “In a closely related way these ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood are also vital to the ministering of angels,” Elder Oaks said.

    Quoting Elder George Q. Cannon, Elder Oaks defined an angel as “any heavenly being bearing God’s message,” and said that angels appear personally, as well as through a voice or as thoughts or feelings.

    “Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen,” Elder Oaks said.

    “How does the Aaronic Priesthood hold the key to the ministering of angels? The answer is the same as for the Spirit of the Lord,” he said.

    “In general, the blessings of spiritual companionship and communication are only available to those who are clean.”

    Holders of the Aaronic Priesthood allow those who are clean to enjoy the promised companionship of the Holy Ghost, Elder Oaks said. He suggested ways deacons, teachers and priests should present themselves when participating in the sacrament.

    “The principle I suggest to govern those officiating in the sacrament — whether preparing, administering, or passing — is that they should do nothing that would distract any member from his or her worship and renewal of covenants,” Elder Oaks said.

    Elder Oaks said the principle of non-distraction involves the companion principles of being clean in appearance and spirit; being reverent in their manner; and preparing spiritually by singing the sacrament hymn.

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