Today I am sharing some teaching ideas for Elder Gary E Stevenson’s talk, “Where Are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood?”. I have also created a great printable for you to use during your lesson. I hope you enjoy the ideas I share here today, and are able to use them for yourself or for a lesson. Enjoy!
To begin your lesson have 3 items that need a key in order for them to work, on a table. For example: a lock, a door knob, and a car (pictures, toys, etc.). Ask your class what these 3 items have in common. If they have read the talk then they may know that each of them needs a key in order for it to work.
Pick up the first item, the lock. Let’s say this lock was attached to a chest of some sort, and you needed the contents that were inside. Without a key, you would be unable to retrieve the contents inside the chest.
Pick up the second item, the door knob. If you are standing outside of your home, and the door is locked how can you get in? You have to unlock the door with a key. In order for you to be able to enter your home, you would need the appropriate key.
Now, pick up the toy car. In Elder Stevenson’s talk he shared an experience of a time where he had lost the keys to his car.
“Arriving at the car, I reached in my coat pocket for the keys and then another pocket and another. “Where are the keys?” Everyone was anxiously waiting on the keys! The car battery was charged, and all the systems—including the heater—were ready to go, but without the keys, locked doors would deny entrance; without the keys, the engine would not provide power to the vehicle. At the time, our primary focus was on how we were going to get into the car and get warm, but I couldn’t help but think—even then—there just might be a lesson here. Without keys, this wonderful miracle of engineering was little more than plastic and metal. Even though the car had great potential, without keys, it could not perform its intended function. The more I reflect on this experience, the more profound this analogy has become to me. I marvel at Heavenly Father’s love for His children. I stand in wonder at the heavenly visitation and the grand visions of eternity God bestowed upon Joseph Smith. And in particular, my heart is filled with overwhelming gratitude for the restoration of priesthood authority and priesthood keys. Without this restoration, we would be locked out from the vehicle necessary to transport us on our journey home to loving heavenly parents. The performance of every ordinance of salvation comprising our covenant pathway back to the presence of our Father in Heaven requires appropriate governance through priesthood keys.”
Just as in Elder Stevenson’s talk, I think an understanding of these terms would be a great way to begin your lesson. First, define what ‘Priesthood’ means. You can use Elder Stevenson’s definition, “the power and authority of God” and “the consummate power on this earth”. There is also this definition from lds.org:
The word priesthood has two meanings. First, priesthood is the power and authority of God. It has always existed and will continue to exist without end (see Alma 13:7–8; D&C 84:17–18). Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power, He exalts His obedient children, bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man”
The next word that you can define is ‘Priesthood Keys’. Elder Stevenson defines this as, “Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to priesthood leaders to direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on Earth.”
Russell M Nelson defined ‘Priesthood Keys’ as, “Priesthood is the authority of God delegated to man to minister for the salvation of men. ‘The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood’ (Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era, Jan. 1901, p. 230).”
Once you have defined what these words mean, you could discuss with your class WHO holds the keys of the Priesthood. You can find this information and definitions to ‘Priesthood’ and ‘Priesthood Keys’ in the Handbook section 2.1.1, HERE.
Elder Stevenson then shares three ways that you can “find the keys,” or use priesthood keys and authority to bless your life and the lives of others. Here are the three categories:
Prepare for Missionary Service
Attend the Temple
Go Forward with Faith
For this part, I have created a printable. 🙂
This would be a great time for the class to ponder on each of these 3 things. Pass out the sheets, and ask everyone to take time to make goals for each of these categories, and to reflect on how they bless their lives.
As they do this, divide the chalkboard into 3 sections and label each column: Missionary Service, Temple Attendance, and Go Forward with Faith. After they have had time to fill out the sheets, you could invite people to share some of their thoughts or feelings for each category.
You could also ask some people ahead of time to share. You could invite a missionary from your ward to come in and share how preparing for their mission blessed them. For the temple attendance category, you could invite a youth from your ward who regularly attends the temple and does baptism for the dead. They could share how this has blessed their lives as well as their ancestors. For the last category invite people in your class to share their thoughts.
Close by encouraging those in your class to take what they have learned and felt, and do all they can to reach the goals that they have written down on their papers.
“I testify that priesthood authority and priesthood keys start the engine, open the gates of heaven, facilitate heavenly power, and pave the covenant pathway back to our loving Heavenly Father.
I pray that you…will “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,”12 that you may understand that it is your sacred privilege to act under the direction of those who hold the priesthood keys that will unlock blessings, gifts, and powers of heaven for you.”
I hope you enjoy this week’s teaching tips and are able to use them for a lesson.
Do you have any great teaching tips? I would love to hear them. Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful day!