Some people question the importance of following the counsel given by priesthood leaders. Priesthood leaders have stewardship over those they are called to lead; therefore, they can receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost in counseling the members of their group. If we listen to the counsel given by our priesthood leaders and follow it, we will have greater capability to make wise choices and may even be protected from spiritual and physical danger.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of theQuorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that we have two lines of communication with our Heavenly Father and how the two lines work together for good. Those two lines of communication can be called the personal line and the priesthood line. “All should understand and be guided by both of these essential lines of communication.”
“In the personal line we pray directly to our Heavenly Father, and He answers us by the channels He has established, without any mortal intermediary. We pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and He answers us through His Holy Spirit and in other ways. The mission of the Holy Ghost is to testify of the Father and the Son …, to guide us into truth …, and to show us all things we should do …. This personal line of communication with our Heavenly Father through His Holy Spirit is the source of our testimony of truth, of our knowledge, and of our personal guidance from a loving Heavenly Father. It is an essential feature of His marvelous gospel plan, which allows each one of His children to receive a personal witness of its truth….
“The personal line is of paramount importance in personal decisions and in the governance of the family….”
After explaining about the personal line of communication to our Heavenly Father, Elder Oaks explained why we need the priesthood line of communication. “Unlike the personal line, in which our Heavenly Father communicates with us directly through the Holy Ghost, the priesthood line of communication has the additional and necessary intermediaries of our Savior, Jesus Christ; His Church; and His appointed leaders….
“During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ conferred the authority of the priesthood that bears His name and He established a church that also bears His name. In this last dispensation, His priesthood authority was restored and His Church was reestablished through heavenly ministrations to the Prophet Joseph Smith. This restored priesthood and this reestablished Church are at the heart of the priesthood line.
“The priesthood line is the channel by which God has spoken to His children through the scriptures in times past. And it is this line through which He currently speaks through the teachings and counsel of living prophets and apostles and other inspired leaders. This is the way we receive the required ordinances. This is the way we receive calls to service in His Church. His Church is the way and His priesthood is the power through which we are privileged to participate in those cooperative activities that are essential to accomplishing the Lord’s work. These include preaching the gospel, building temples and chapels, and helping the poor. In respect to this priesthood line, our belief and practice is similar to the insistence of some Christians that authoritative ordinances (sacraments) are essential and must be performed by one authorized and empowered by Jesus Christ…. We believe the same but of course differ with other Christians on how we trace that authority.”
Elder Oaks listed several examples of both the personal line and the priesthood line and then encouraged us to “use both the personal line and the priesthood line in proper balance to achieve the growth that is the purpose of mortal life. If personal religious practice relies too much on the personal line, individualism erases the importance of divine authority. If personal religious practice relies too much on the priesthood line, individual growth suffers. The children of God need both lines to achieve their eternal destiny. The restored gospel teaches both, and the restored Church provides both.”
We all have a personal line of communication to our Heavenly Father who hears and answers prayers. If we are quick to listen and follow the promptings He sends to us through the Holy Ghost, He will be quick to help us. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s living prophet on earth today, and he “holds the keys that govern the priesthood line.”