(Note: These comments were prepared to be shared at a Fathers and Sons outing for the evening fireside.)
We have been asked to speak on the restoration on Aaronic Priesthood, which in other instances has been called the preparatory priesthood. I want to read to you a seemingly unrelated passage of scripture and ask you to consider this question:
How was the priesthood used to prepare this people to be in the presence of God?
Read 3 Nephi 19
Then discuss aspects of the Aaronic Priesthood and how that allows us to prepare to return to the presence of God.
After it has been established that indeed there is a great need for this priesthood, remind the brethren that this priesthood authority and power was not found upon the earth before Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery sought the Lord in prayer for power to baptize.
Doctrine and Covenants 13, Joseph Smith – History 1:68-75
From Oliver Cowdery:
“I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry; and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease.”—Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.
Personal worthiness and the preparation that that takes to be able to qualify for the blessings of Heaven are worth every sacrifice that being a bearer of this holy priesthood requires of us.
If you will understand that your priesthood is a preparatory priesthood, both for you and for those you serve,