Topic Guide: Priesthood, Keys of

(November 2002 TG Entry: Priesthood Keys of  Given as a Sacrament Meeting Talk, May, 2005, Woodridge Second Ward, Joliet Stake)

Continued From

Priesthood Authority


Priesthood keys are the means by which the Lord controls the use of the priesthood upon the earth.

I             President of The Church Holds All Keys

Elder Boyd K. Packer said in, “The Shield of Faith,” Ensign, May 1995, 7

In 1976 following a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, President Spencer W. Kimball invited us to a small church to see the statues of Christ and the Twelve Apostles by Bertel Thorvaldsen. The “Christus” stands in an alcove beyond the altar. Standing in order along the sides of the chapel are the statues of the Twelve, with Paul replacing Judas Iscariot.

President Kimball told the elderly caretaker that at the very time Thorvaldsen was creating those beautiful statues in Denmark, a restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ was taking place in America with apostles and prophets receiving authority from those who held it anciently.

Gathering those present closer to him, he said to the caretaker, “We are living Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ,” and pointing to Elder Pinegar he said, “Here is a Seventy like those spoken of in the New Testament.”

We were standing near the statue of Peter, whom the sculptor depicted holding keys in his hand, symbolic of the keys of the kingdom. President Kimball said, “We hold the real keys, as Peter did, and we use them every day.”

Then came an experience I will never forget. President Kimball, this gentle prophet, turned to President Johan H. Benthin, of the Copenhagen Stake, and in a commanding voice said, “I want you to tell every prelate in Denmark that they do not hold the keys! I HOLD THE KEYS!”

There came to me that witness known to Latter-day Saints but difficult to describe to one who has not experienced it—a light, a power coursing through one’s very soul—and I knew that, in very fact, here stood the living prophet who held the keys.

II            Span of Authority

Elder Hickum [Joseph T. Hicken] in Joliet Stake Priesthood Leadership in November 2002 explained that keys provide boundaries to the work we do.  A bishop cannot council someone who lives in someone else’s ward.

III           Delegation

Consider expanding upon the idea that the keys of the priesthood are is the perfect metaphor for how one should delegate.  Delegation implies making someone independent within a certain sphere of influence.  Having keys allows someone to work independently, to decide when to enter a building.

Delegated keys means that someone else owns the keys.  We are able to use them for a time, with the understanding that they will need to be returned.

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