This “dispensation of the fulness of times” 9 opened with the appearance of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph Smith. 10 Next the angel Moroni showed Joseph where the plates containing the Book of Mormon had been buried. 11 Joseph was given power to translate them. 12
During translation Joseph and Oliver Cowdery read about baptism. They prayed to know what to do. 13 There appeared to them an angelic messenger, John the Baptist. He conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood, “which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.” 14
The Apostles Peter, James, and John, who were closest to the Lord in His ministry, appeared next and conferred upon Joseph and Oliver the higher priesthood, 15 or “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.” 16 The priesthood, the scriptures direct, was to be named after Melchizedek, the great high priest to whom Abraham paid tithes. 17
This then became their authority. Through the keys of the priesthood, they had access to all of the powers of heaven. They were commanded to carry the gospel unto all nations. 18
It has never been easy to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was not easy when He lived, and it was not easy in the early days of the Church. The early Saints were subjected to unspeakable suffering and opposition.
It has been over 180 years since the priesthood was restored. We now number nearly 14 million members. Even so, we are a tiny fraction when compared to the billions of people on earth. But we are who we are, and we know what we know, and we are to go forth and preach the gospel.
The Book of Mormon makes it clear that we never will dominate by numbers. But we have the power of the priesthood. 19
The prophet Nephi wrote, “It came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few … ; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small.” 20
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “While it may be said … that we are but a handful in comparison with … the world, yet we may be compared with the leaven of which the Savior spoke, which will eventually leaven [or lift] the whole world.” 21
We can and in due time certainly will influence all of humanity. It will be known who we are and why we are. It might seem hopeless; it is monumentally difficult; but it is not only possible but certain that we will win the battle against Satan.
Boyd K. Packer’s October 2010 General Conference Address, The Power of The Priesthood. Boyd K. Packer is the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Read, listen to, or watch Boyd K. Packer’s Full address here.