President Thomas S. Monson: Reflect on your priesthood responsibilities

President Thomas S. Monson speaks about priesthood responsibilities at the 185th semiannual General Conference priesthood session. (Screenshot)
President Thomas S. Monson speaks about priesthood responsibilities at the 185th Annual General Conference priesthood session. (

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President Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, concluded the priesthood session of 185th Annual General Conference on Saturday, April 4. He spoke about the opportunities priesthood holders receive to bless others in need.

President Monson reflected on his responsibilities as a young deacon. He said that no matter a priesthood holder’s age or calling, each has specific responsibilities.

“Let us take more seriously the callings, the responsibilities and the duties which come with the priesthood we hold,” President Monson said.

President Monson prepared for his mandatory military service during World War II as his 18th birthday approached. He was recommended to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood before he left, and he met with his stake president for an interview.

President Monson was ordained an elder the same day he reported for active duty with the navy. A member of his bishopric came to bid him farewell, offering him a missionary handbook.

“I laughed and commented that I wasn’t going on a mission,” President Monson said. “He answered, ‘Take it anyway. It may come in handy.'”

One quiet night as President Monson lay in his bunk at the navy barracks, he heard his friend in an adjoining bunk moan in pain. The friend was a fellow Mormon named Leland Merrill. Merrill knew President Monson was an elder and asked for a blessing.

President Monson had neither given nor received a blessing at this point in his life. He remembered the missionary handbook that lay in the bottom of his sea bag. With the help of the handbook, President Monson blessed Merrill, who arose the next day feeling fine. Both of them felt deeply grateful for the power of the priesthood.

President Monson encouraged listeners to be prepared to give priesthood service at all times. “As we honor our priesthood and live our lives so that we are at all times worthy, the blessings of the priesthood will flow through us,” he said.

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