RS/MP Chapter 12: The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood (Joseph Fielding Smith Manual)
Posted by kirkcaudle on June 5, 2014
Find the link to the entire lesson here.
Men should have a clear understanding of the covenant they make when they receive offices in the priesthood.
Joseph Fielding Smith says, “Everything connected with this higher priesthood is designed and intended to prepare us to gain eternal life in the kingdom of God.”
“They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God” (D&C 82:34)
What does this mean? Well, here a few of my own thoughts:
To be the son of Moses is to be able to commune with God. To be a son of Aaron is to be able to perform ordnances. To be of the seed of Abraham is to be connected to an eternal family. One question that might be asked is, “what is the difference between the language of becoming ‘sons’ of someone (Moses/Aaron) and becoming the ‘seed’ of someone (Abraham)?”
Priesthood holders promise to magnify their callings in the priesthood and live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Joseph Fielding Smith says, “The gospel itself is the new and everlasting covenant and embraces all of the agreements, promises, and rewards which the Lord offers to his people.”
“Therefore, let every man stand in his own office, and labor in his own calling; and let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet; for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand? Also the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that the system may be kept perfect” (D&C 84:109-10).
Just as the gospel requires all different kinds of people, so does the priesthood. We should embrace our differences and find ways to figure out how each of those differences can help us all work together as a cohesive whole.
The promise of exaltation is offered to every Melchizedek Priesthood holder who is true to the oath and covenant of the priesthood.
Joseph Fielding Smith says, “To swear with an oath is the most solemn and binding form of speech known to the human tongue.”
“Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of the Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved” (D&C 84:40).
Oaths with God cannot be taken lightly because God is faithful to God’s own promises. Likewise, we cannot take our oaths with each other lightly. It is important to trust one another and to know that we will be there for one another. The priesthood (and the gospel) is about service. This service is rooted in love and true love shows fidelity. God knows that we love him when we are faithful to him, just as we can show others that we love them when we are faithful to them through service.
The blessings of the Lord are offered to all people through the ministrations of those who hold His holy priesthood.
Joseph Fielding Smith says, “The blessings of the Lord are offered to the Saints and to the world through the ministrations of those who hold his holy priesthood, who represent him, who are in fact his servants and agents and are willing to serve him and keep his commandments.”
“And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God” (D&C 84:19).
I believe that part of this knowledge is the knowledge to see people for who they really are. The priesthood can allow us to see others as sons and daughters of our heavenly parents. When we see others in this light it will give us a greater desire to love and serve them. True representatives of God must love his children as he loves his children. Simply going through the motions of service is not true service. Love is not only required, but it is essential to true priesthood service. Anything less than this, I believe, is a false representation.