How to recognize—even within yourself—this grievous problem and how to overcome it.
Authority and Power in the Priesthood
Some brethren do not understand that there is a marked difference between priesthood authority and priesthood power. The two terms are not necessarily synonymous. Authority in the priesthood comes by the laying on of hands by one having the proper authority. However, according to revelation from the Lord, power in the priesthood comes only through righteous living. In the scriptures we are told:
“The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
“That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (D&C 121:36–37.)
This power from heaven is the power to bless, to strengthen, to heal, to comfort, to bring peace to a household. To lift and encourage is priesthood power. To those who learn how to develop this power will come the promises described inDoctrine and Covenants 132:20–21:
“Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.” [D&C 132:20–21]
Inherent in the “law” spoken of in these verses is the principle of righteous dominion. Consider the Lord’s description of a man of power as contained in Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–42. This description is directed specifically at the priesthood, but anyone in authority, particularly husbands and fathers, would do well to adopt these principles. [D&C 121:41–42]
The Man of Power is one who presides—
By persuasion. He uses no demeaning words or behavior, does not manipulate others, appeals to the best in everyone, and respects the dignity and agency of all humankind—men, women, boys, and girls.
By long-suffering. He waits when necessary and listens to the humblest or youngest person. He is tolerant of the ideas of others and avoids quick judgments and anger.
By gentleness. He uses a smile more often than a frown. He is not gruff or loud or frightening; he does not discipline in anger.
By meekness. He is not puffed up, does not dominate conversations, and is willing to conform his will to the will of God.
By love unfeigned. He does not pretend. He is sincere, giving honest love without reservation even when others are unlovable.
By kindness. He practices courtesy and thoughtfulness in little things as well as in the more obvious things.
By pure knowledge. He avoids half-truths and seeks to be empathetic.
Without hypocrisy. He practices the principles he teaches. He knows he is not always right and is willing to admit his mistakes and say “I’m sorry.”
Without guile. He is not sly or crafty in his dealings with others, but is honest and authentic when describing his feelings.