The term priesthood is used in what two ways?
First, priesthood is the term used to describe the total power and authority of God.
Second, priesthood is also the term used to describe the power and authority that God gives to ordained priesthood holders on earth to act in all things necessary for the salvation of God’s children.
Why do ordained holders of the priesthood act in the name of Jesus Christ?
All priesthood keys for the earth are held by Jesus Christ, and the priesthood conferred upon mortal men was anciently named after Him: the Holy Priesthood, after the order of the Son of God (Doctrine and Covenants 107:2–3).
There has never been a time in the history of the earth when priesthood ordination has not been restricted to specific individuals, groups, or tribes. It has never been given to all of God’s children. Name five of those occasions:
1. In ancient Israel, firstborn males were hallowed to the Lord at the time of the Exodus (see Numbers 3:13).
2. Later, those of the tribe of Levi were substituted for these firstborn males, to have charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle and to do the service of the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were designated the priests that officiated in the tabernacle (see Numbers 3).
3. Non-Levites could not be priests or even hold the Levitical Priesthood.
4. After the Babylonian captivity, the children of priests whose genealogies were lost were denied priesthood ordination (see Ezra 2). It is reasonable to suppose that they were just as worthy as those who could prove their genealogy, yet they were prevented from officiating as priests.
5. For a time in this dispensation, black men of African ancestry were not permitted to be ordained to the priesthood.
Name four ways women in the Church frequently exercise priesthood power and authority, though they are not ordained to priesthood offices.
First, through a setting apart by an authorized priesthood holder, women have priesthood authority to use in their callings in their wards and branches throughout the Church. They have all the authority they need to fulfill their callings and stewardships. What authority do they have?
Second, women gain access to the power and blessings of God through receiving priesthood ordinances and making covenants. Power comes from making and keeping baptismal covenants. Power comes from receiving the Holy Ghost.
Third, faithful women invite the blessings of heaven independent of priesthood ordination.
Fourth, a woman participates in the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood through temple sealing to a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder.