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Understanding Mormon Priesthood Authority and Keys.

Updated on March 5, 2012
LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

Kathryn Skaggs is the founder of Latter-day Saint Women Stand, a community of over 50K faithful Latter-day Saint women who love their faith!

" And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose

Mathew 16:19
Mathew 16:19

Those who exercise priesthood authority are disciples of Jesus Christ, to act in His Name

Jesus Christ is at the Head of His Church
Jesus Christ is at the Head of His Church
By His Authority Are Men Given His Power To Bless and To Heal...
By His Authority Are Men Given His Power To Bless and To Heal...

Priesthood is the authority that God gives to man to act in His Name

How does a prophet Know that He is called of God to be the "chosen" one? (This hub is the second part of a two-part answer...)

Priesthood authority or "Mormon" priesthood -- as some have referred to it as -- is the authority of God given to man, by God - to act in His Name. Within the power of the priesthood, there are also inherent powers or rights of authority, which must be authorized for use -- in order to become functional. These rights or privileges, that must be authorized for use -- are referred to as "the keys of the priesthood".

A key is thought, most often, to be what opens a door. Very simple concept. The "keys" of the Priesthood are not tangible keys that one can hold, and they do not open physical doors. Priesthood keys are power given to man, from God - to assist individuals in coming unto Christ, by unlocking the door to His Kingdom.

Within the LDS Church, those who bear the holy priesthood have the authority to assist mankind, by administering those ordinances that are required for man - and qualify for him for entry into the kingdom of God.

In a sense, these are then "doors" to our spiritual progression, along the path back into God's presence.

In order to unlock that specific door and enter into the kingdom of God here upon the earth - it is absolutely necessary to have the only authorized "key" to open this door. Authorized priesthood "holders" of these keys - turn these keys by administering ordinances to individuals. The keys of the priesthood of God, are that which allow us to enter in at the "gate".

Baptism is the first ordinance of the gospel, and is a required ordinance to enter into the kingdom of God. It is referred to as a "saving" ordinance, and is required by all men in order to progress spiritually -- and is the first step in taking upon ourselves the Name of Jesus Christ.

Ordinances then, could be thought of as doors. The keys of the priesthood are the legal right to administer these saving ordinances, or in other words, turn the keys for us -- which then make it possible for us to legally and rightfully enter through these doors and claim citizenship within the kingdom. Now as citizens, we have access to all the privileges and blessings of that kingdom, which come to all those who keep the laws of the land.

Only ONE man, at a given time here upon the earth - posesses the right to exercise all of the keys of the kingdom of God. This man is the current living prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today, the prophet and his two counselors are referred to as The First of Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. Together, these three men - under the direction of the President of the LDS Church administer the gospel.

The prophet stands in behalf of Jesus Christ, as the head of the Church organization, and whose mission and calling is to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of mankind.

This one prophet, who is called as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, is the only individual upon the earth, who not only bears the holy priesthood, but is solely authorized to exercise all the rights and powers of these keys in directing the affairs of the Church.

All worthy, adult male members, of the LDS Church are eligible to receive priesthood authority. The priesthood of God is legally delegated/bestowed by the laying on of hands, to then confer the priesthood. This is an ordinance. In this way, many are authorized to extend various blessings and ordinances of the gospel.

It is by the authorization of specific priesthood keys (or rights), by those having authority to do so - that many priesthood bearers are able to administer the gospel, with its rights, powers and privileges, etc...

When Jesus Christ Himself -- gave unto Peter, His chosen Apostle - the 'Keys' of the Kingdom of God. He was authorizing Peter - the ONE - that He had ordained to hold His Priesthood authority -- with ALL of the 'Keys' or rights of authority; to then administer the Gospel of Jesus Christ here upon the earth -- in His Name; and doing so, through the authorized organization of The Twelve Apostles and so on...

The Mark of the true Church of Jesus Christ, is that although there are many - 'they' will be ONE.

In other words, although the power of the Priesthood is the same, for all ordained, when the Priesthood is given - only a select few, at a given time... are set-apart - from the others, who hold this very same priesthood; and are authorized to administer specific rights and/or authority - to act in various capacities - representing the Savior Himself.

Thus, he has been given keys, (through legal authorization) to administer that which is necessary to fulfill his call, by the Lord.

Elder Boyd K. Packer From Recent General Conference Teaches About Priesthood Authority and Keys...

The restoration of priesthood authority today

How the Lord's people become one...

In this way, although the President of the "High" Priesthood -- personally has been authorized to exercise all authority of the Priesthood of God; utilizing all of the Keys or 'rights' of this Priesthood authority, himself -- it is his great responsibility to see that this Priesthood and the use of authorized Keys - are also given to others, who -- under his direction, then administer the Gospel of Jesus Christ, on behalf of the Savior.

This is the design, for the use of proper authority, when and in administering the Gospel throughout the world, today. This authority of the Priesthood is given by one - who... himself - has proper authorization or 'Keys' from the Living prophet, to another, etc... by the Laying on of Hands, which itself... is a Priesthood ordinance.

  • The organization, of how the priesthood is to function with order, is that although every person who has been given this Priesthood, and it is the same power; whether an Elder in the Church, i.e. missionaries are Elders; a man must hold the office of an Elder to attend the temple -- He must also be specifically set-apart to utilize different legal rights of this Priesthood, or 'Keys' as these rights are referred to.

A19 year-old Elder, has the same Priesthood Power - as the Prophet or an Apostle in the LDS Church. It is the different offices, or 'jobs' which are appendages of the Priesthood, but NOT the Priesthood itself -- that determine if a 'key' or 'keys' (granted authority) are necessary to be turned or authorized for use, in order for that individual Priesthood "holder" to then fulfill his calling unto the Lord.

Priesthood is the authority to act for and in behalf of Jesus Christ...


1. Could be described as an inherent capability of the Priesthood - meaning that which is already key-capable, but now you have legally been given an authorization CODE and are now legally functional for particular access to that which was always capable -- but YOU required an authorization code to access, in order to administer the fullness of the Priesthood.

2. When an individual receives this access, by another who has authority to grant access -- - the individual now has rightful authority to proceed with the full exercise of that right of the Priesthood of God.

3. The CODE is likened unto being set-apart and granted the authority or necessary KEY to now administer certain powers of the Priesthood

All those who PRESIDE (or who are President's) as their callings or responsibility in the Church, are given 'codes', in these leadership responsibilities; to act in behalf of Jesus Christ, for the term of their service to the Lord.

REVIEW - The Priesthood of God is Power and Authority, which He has given to man -- to ACT in His Name.

We could also say -- that this Power and Authority of God, is in reality that which IS -- Jesus Christ. This Power and Priesthood of God is given to man, and - is the 'legal' authority to act in His Name - even Jesus Christ; as if He were administering Himself.

The Priesthood of God, is only given unto those who are called and chosen; or qualify to receive His Priesthood. The purpose of the Priesthood of God, is to bless the entire human race, in the Name of Jesus Christ.

What it is NOT - is some exclusive and secret combination or cult-like system.


Finding Equality With Differing Roles -- But One In Purpose...

Worth The Effort To Understand...
Worth The Effort To Understand...

Priesthood power operates on the principle of righteousness

ONE who 'holds' this priesthood, can only exercise this authority and its power on behalf of others - never for the self; else to even try to do so... would be to say 'Amen' to that priesthood.

The Holy Priesthood of God, operates on the principle of individual righteousness. If any man holding this priesthood, exercises unrighteous dominion over another - the power that he has access to - is gone. It is that simple. Thus, many are called - but few are chosen.

Now, in conclusion to this brief examination of the Priesthood of God -- let "me" just add some very personal thoughts...

Many today, would have the world in general, and sadly "they" are doing a good job with this distortion -- believe, that the fact that the ordaining of the Priesthood of God, to the men only -- in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, is degrading to women in the LDS Church; and creates a system that does not recognize women as equal to men in the Church.

I will treat this topic, eventually in a separate Hub. I would personally, want you, who read my articles to know -- that this is just what I have said - a distortion of the doctrines and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints!

I will refrain from writing an epistle on this complete misunderstanding of the doctrines of Mormonism at this time... although I am needing to tie my hands, literally not to do so here and now.

I will say this... there is no organization, denomination, country or system, that regard "Women" as highly as does - the doctrines as taught, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

Until or Unless you have been completely educated on the topic of Women and Mormonism... by Mormon women - living today and actively practicing Mormonism - you do not know or understand what this means...

I trust, that in the near future, you will allow myself or another active Mormon woman to share with you, the blessings of the Priesthood of God in our lives; and how we KNOW that we are not short changed in any way whatsoever regarding equality before God and in His Church.

There is not a safer place in the world, for women and women's rights - than in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints!

I do not declare this without strong conviction and experience of its truth.



Mormon Women Who Know and Want You to Know Too...

Which church upon the earth has authority from God?

Please feel free to leave your comments here...

Submit a Comment
  • Perspycacious profile image

    Demas W Jasper 

    23 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

    Martin Luther once made the comment "What is lacking is the priesthood." Certainly the original church of Christ could not be restored without the original priesthood powers that existed in those early days. When it was restored, it enabled the miracles which followed, not the least of which is the restored gospel and the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • Ginny Crandall profile image

    Ginny Crandall 

    7 years ago

    This is wonderful! I have some good friends that are Mormon, and I am comforted to know of their Christianity beliefs (like those of other Christian faiths - ). While there are some that don't believe in Christ, it is good to know that my Mormon friends are, indeed, Christians. Thanks for the post!

  • profile image

    Line of Authority 

    9 years ago

    It's so cool to see a hub discussing about one of the most important topics in the salvation of mankind. Without the priesthood authority restored here on Earth, we couldn't possibly go back to our Heavenly Father's presence. I am really delighted that you shared your thoughts about this topic and hope to read more like this.

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    10 years ago from Southern California

    Mark -

    Thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to add that important info:-)



  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Nice Job! Added to your thoughts is that Men and Women cannot progress throughout the eternities without each other. Priesthood is thus shared in the eternities for us to have "eternal lives" (i.e. a life that God lives) and not just eternal life (i.e. living with God) Even in this mortal existence, Mormon men understand clearly that men and women are equal in the eyes of God and know that Priesthood is an eternal concept without beginning nor end.


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