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BLESSINGS OF PRIESTHOOD AVAILABLE TO ALL

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The blessings of the priesthood are available to everyone, Elder Robert D. Hales declared Saturday afternoon.

"A loving Father in Heaven has sent His sons and daughters here to mortality to gain experience and to be tested. He has provided the way back to Him and has given us enough spiritual light to see our way," Elder Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve explained. "The priesthood of God gives light to His children in this dark and troubled world. Through priesthood power, we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to lead us in truth, testimony and revelation. This gift is available on equal basis to men, women and children."Through the blessings of the priesthood, we can be equipped with `the whole armour of God, that

weT may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.' (Eph. 6:11-18.) This protection is available to every one of us."

Elder Hales explained: "Through the priesthood, many other blessings are also available to all of the sons and daughters of God, making it possible for us to make sacred covenants and receive holy ordinances that enable us to travel the strait way back to our Father in Heaven.

"It was through the priesthood that the Son of God, the Savior, Jesus Christ, established His Church - both in the Old World and in the New World. Following the death of Jesus and His apostles, the earth was enshrouded with darkness. Known as the Dark Ages, this was a period of great apostasy, when for a long period of time the priesthood blessings and ordinances were withheld from mortals on the earth."

Continuing, Elder Hales related: "But, as had been prophesied, the glorious priesthood of God, together with a fulness of its blessings, has been restored to the earth in our own time. As a result, the Church of Jesus Christ was restored upon the earth, complete with the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods of old. Now, as God covenanted with Abraham, all the individuals and families of the earth may be blessed."

Elder Hales then led those listening on a "child's ideal spiritual journey through life." He related the child's birth and his or her receiving a name and a blessing, attending Primary and Sunday School, being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, attending Church meetings with his or her family, then receiving the Aaronic Priesthood or entering the Young Women program.

The young man or woman receives a patriarchal blessing and may be set apart as a full-time missionary. He or she later marries in the temple and proceeds to rear a righteous family.

"And thus, the cycle of priesthood blessings begins again and again with each succeeding generation - all with the Father's sacred purpose of bringing to pass `the immortality and eternal life' of His sons and daughters." (Moses 1:39.)