Heidi S. Swinton and David Clare spoke on the topic of attaining, accessing and using priesthood power during a Friday afternoon session of Women’s Conference held in the Marriott Center.
Swinton, the author of President Monson’s biography, focused her remarks on three privileges that all women of the church have relating to the priesthood of God.
The first privilege is to exercise faith in God the Father and in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. She shared the story of the faith the woman with an issue of blood exercised.
She “was healed as she reached down to touch the garment of the Lord,” Swinton said. “She believed in Him, she counted it a privilege to be in His presence, and she stretched out her hand, exercising faith in His power, the priesthood power that perpetrated the very folds of his cloaks.”
After sharing stories of Mary and Emma Smith and their faith in the power of God, Swinton posed the question to the audience, “Do we have that profound faith in God?” She encouraged the women to be steadfast and immovable, looking forward with a brightness of hope and not to stand on the sidelines.
The second privilege is to understand, seek and feel the power of the priesthood in our very own homes, sharing the story of being raised in a single-parent home and the faithfulness of her mother to illustrate her point. It was not until she was married that she experienced the blessings of a righteous priesthood holder in her home.
Swinton taught that if we keep our sacred covenants we will receive blessings of priesthood power. She emphasized, “Priesthood ordinances are an expression of God’s love” and that people need to choose to be believers.
The third privilege was to draw upon and act with authority given us by those holding the priesthood. Swinton stated that women perform the acts of sustaining members, partaking of the sacrament, attending and serving in the temple all within spheres of authority.
“It all comes down to having faith in Jesus Christ and trusting in his ways,” Swinton said. “It is the privilege as sisters of this church to receive exaltation and receive authority and power as queens and priestesses, and I am sure they have some power to rule and reign, or else why would they be priestesses?”
David Clare, a stake president from Salem, Utah, opened by commenting on the beauty of the room, jokingly adding that he too was beautiful, as this was the first time he had worn make-up.
He posed the question, “What are the roles of men and women in the priesthood of God?” He then shared a story of a woman who came to him when he was a bishop in a student married ward where members would ask, “What is my role in the priesthood?”
Clare went on to compare men to the mind and women to the heart and how the body cannot live without either, and that the eternal plan of God cannot be fulfilled without both men and women. The purpose of the priesthood is to bring together men and women and make them one.
“Without faith, there is no power,” Clare said.
He clarified by saying that faith and priesthood go hand in hand; faith is power, and power is priesthood.
He encouraged the women to learn to understand the priesthood and access it because the priesthood is theirs. Clare mentioned the keys to unlocking the power of the priesthood — faith and righteousness — and that we learn to better understand the power of the priesthood by personal revelation.
Clare encouraged the audience to study “Lectures on Faith,” practice and exercise faith and ponder what their role is in the priesthood.
“The only place on earth that you can learn your role and the power of the priesthood is in the temple,” Clare said.