A teacher once asked in a Relief Society lesson, “What have you gained from the gospel?” My testimony was not great at the time so I thought I would struggle to find an answer. Instead, the answer confidence came quickly to mind. My favorite blessing in the gospel is the added confidence and power I feel when I have the Spirit.
Perhaps it is because I have often felt powerless and useless that this is what I focus on the most in the gospel. I want to find all the ways to increase my power. This might also be why priesthood has been a difficult gospel topic for me.
About a year and a half after I returned from my mission, I was in a Sacrament Meeting listening to a man talk about the priesthood. He went over the two branches, the different offices and blessings, all the things I had heard before. He kept using the phrase, “Power of the Priesthood” repeatedly. “By the power of the priesthood, we can do this,” and “with the power of the priesthood, we can do that.” It started to make me mad.
I kept thinking that priesthood power was this separate and special kind of power that I would never have because I would never hold a priesthood key. Did that mean that this man was more powerful than me? Even after all I had done to learn and grow, why was I still unworthy of this other power when any man, even a 12-year-old boy, could have it?
That’s not true, I thought. I know I have power. No one can tell me I don’t have power.
I was thinking of that experience I had in the cemetery as a young missionary. I had felt the darkness and then I had been surrounded by light and I saw myself carrying that light and pushing back the darkness. The Lord had told me then that my light would always be stronger than the darkness, and I had no cause to fear. I knew I had power.
As I remembered this in that Sacrament Meeting, the image of myself in my mind changed slightly. Instead of the light emanating out from me at the center, the light was a column reaching up into heaven. I stood within the base of that column and pulled down light from heaven as fast as I could because I wanted so much of it.
The Spirit whispered, there is Power IN the Priesthood.
I understood, in that moment, that I stood in a conduit that connected me to heaven. The breadth and strength of that conduit determined how much and how fast I could gather light and power from heaven. The conduit was made of priesthood. Each covenant I made, each blessing I received, each calling I accepted and for which I was set apart, added to the walls of my conduit.
Even in only that one event from my mission, I could see the support of the priesthood. I prepared myself by making covenants sealed by the Melchizedek Priesthood. I had been called to a specific Mission by Apostles with priesthood. I was set apart as a missionary by my Stake President with priesthood. I was assigned to a specific area and trainer by my Mission President who had priesthood. That morning, I was given a priesthood blessing of comfort and counsel by my Zone Leader who exercised his priesthood keys. I was surrounded and supported by priesthood. Because of priesthood, I had power. That is the purpose.
Priesthood keys were not given to men so that men could have priesthood power. Priesthood keys were given to the children of god so that the power of God could cover and bless all of God’s children.
There is so much that makes us feel powerless in this world. My favorite part of spirituality, the greatest blessing from my faith, is the development of my personal spiritual power. This is also my hope for all of God’s children. May you find your power.