homepage logo

Conference Counsel: Importance of and gratitude for priesthood keys

By Ryan Comer - | Apr 13, 2024

Photo supplied

Ryan Comer

One of the lasting memories from my honeymoon happened before the honeymoon actually started. My wife and I were about to drive to the airport when I realized I had locked my keys in my car. Imagine my frustration as I realized that this long-anticipated trip was not going to happen without the keys necessary to enter and operate our vehicle. Thankfully, I had a wife who was calm and collected. Seemingly not annoyed at all, she took a wire coat hanger, climbed up on top of the car and inserted the hanger between the front door window frame and the body. From there, getting the car unlocked was a piece of cake. Now having possession of the keys, we were happily able to get on our way.

Ryan Comer, Standard-Examiner

The author’s wife uses a coat hanger to unlock the couple’s car prior to their honeymoon. The vehicle’s keys were locked inside.

The word “keys” is important in the lexicon of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s used to refer to priesthood keys. Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of the church, described priesthood keys during an April 2014 general conference message titled “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood”:

“Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to priesthood (holders) to direct, control and govern the use of his priesthood on earth.”

He continued:

“Every act or ordinance performed in the church is done under the direct or indirect authorization of one holding the keys for that function.”

Priesthood keys were the subject Russell M. Nelson, president of the church, spoke about during this most recent general conference, held last weekend.

It was a timely message given the church’s recent announcement that it has purchased the Kirtland Temple, as well as some historic sites in Nauvoo. Kirtland, in Ohio, and Nauvoo, in Illinois, were the sites of two temples constructed before the body of the church moved west to Utah.

The Kirtland Temple holds special significance because it is where important priesthood keys were returned to the earth.

In his talk, titled “Rejoice in the Gift of Priesthood Keys,” President Nelson said:

“Priesthood keys distinguish The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from any other organization on earth. Many other organizations can and do make your life better here in mortality. But no other organization can and will influence your life after death.

“Priesthood keys give us the authority to extend all of the blessings promised to Abraham to every covenant-keeping man and woman. Temple work makes these exquisite blessings available to all of God’s children, regardless of where or when they lived or now live. Let us rejoice that priesthood keys are once again on the earth!”

To that end, 15 new temples were announced in this most recent general conference, marking the seventh consecutive general conference where a double-digit number of temples has been announced. In the last three years, 118 temples have been announced.

Why so many temples? This is a frequent question, especially in Utah. My answer: Why not? If priesthood keys provide “the authority to extend all of the blessings promised to Abraham to every covenant-keeping man and woman,” and temple work makes those blessings “available to all of God’s children, regardless of where or when they lived or now live,” then it logically follows that we should have as many temples as we can possibly have. What are some of these blessings specifically? President Nelson explained:

“My dear brothers and sisters, here is my promise. Nothing will help you more to hold fast to the iron rod than worshipping in the temple as regularly as your circumstances permit. Nothing will protect you more as you encounter the world’s mists of darkness. Nothing will bolster your testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Atonement or help you understand God’s magnificent plan more. Nothing will soothe your spirit more during times of pain. Nothing will open the heavens more. Nothing!

“The temple is the gateway to the greatest blessings God has in store for each of us, for the temple is the only place on earth where we may receive all of the blessings promised to Abraham. That is why we are doing all within our power, under the direction of the Lord, to make the temple blessings more accessible to members of the church.”

It’s hard to imagine ever having too many temples.

Stressing the importance of priesthood keys, President Nelson said:

“Consider how your life would be different if priesthood keys had not been restored to the earth. Without priesthood keys, you could not be endowed with the power of God. Without priesthood keys, the church could serve only as a significant teaching and humanitarian organization but not much more. Without priesthood keys, none of us would have access to essential ordinances and covenants that bind us to our loved ones eternally and allow us eventually to live with God.”

Without priesthood keys, I would obviously not be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I would not have served a two-year, faith-building mission in Taiwan. I would not have been married in the temple. I would likely not be living in Utah. But most important of all, I would not have the hope for eternal blessings that I now have. My perspectives would be completely different. My entire life would be different. Would it be good? I don’t know. But I know that because of priesthood keys being restored, my life is good, even despite the challenges I have faced and continue to face. I feel I can say with certainty that my life is better. I don’t think about the restoration of priesthood keys nearly enough, but when I do, I can’t help but feel immense gratitude.

Contact Ryan Comer at rcomer@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @rbcomer8388 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rbcomer8388.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)