Service to the Lord
I feel the Holy Spirit very strongly when I’m in service to the Lord. The Spirit whispers His approval to my heart, and I know the Father is pleased. We are short on Priesthood holders in my ward (or “congregation”) so I frequently am one of the two Priesthood holders who blesses the sacrament. On the Holy Sabbath Day, I look down at my hands as I break the bread and place it gently on the tray. The white sleeves of my shirt peek out from my dark suit coat and remind me that I have worn a white shirt as a symbol of purity. The bread tears easily in my hands, and I think about the Savior’s Atonement. When His body was broken on the cross, it was anything but easy. We do this action in remembrance of Him, and to renew our Covenant with Him that we made when we were baptized, and took upon us His name.
It’s hard to convey in words just how significant the privilege of blessing and preparing the Sacrament is to me. Whenever I act on my Priesthood authority, I feel the incredible privilege and honor of the duty I have carried out. When I bless and prepare the Sacrament, or give a blessing of healing or of comfort, I am acting with the Lord’s authority. I am His hands and feet. And He has chosen me–among other worthy men–to carry out His errands on this Earth.
The Answer to our Problems
There is no end to the list of problems our world faces, and the vast majority of them are rooted in the selfishness and pride of mankind. I think it’s important to note that *man*kind may be more to blame than anyone else for our challenges. Grown men who leave their families and abandon their children. Who act like children themselves, refusing to grow up and carrying on with self-destructive behaviors. Who shirk their duties in favor of convenience. And more than anything else, men who follow a relativistic philosophy when it comes to moral conduct. In other words, men who have fallen off God’s path and chosen their own instead. Why am I picking on men? Because men have been called of God to be His hands and feet, and what we see instead is a society in decline because of fatherlessness, lack of discipline, and moral relativism.
What is the Priesthood? While I was investigating the LDS Church, I attended a Sunday Sacrament Meeting, which was followed by a Sunday School class and then a Priesthood session. The Priesthood session intrigued me the most out of these three meetings. A room full of men of different ages, studying how to be better men! I had been a part of a men’s group in my Methodist Church, but it was nothing compared to this. Older priesthood holders mentored younger priesthood holders, educating them on their duties as men to uphold the Lord’s commandments, to share the Gospel, to serve the community, and most of all, to serve and love their families. Men shared with other men their own experiences with using the principles taught in the Scriptures to solve their real-life problems. Service projects were organized–Sister Smith needed at least four men to help her move into her new place. An elderly couple needed someone to take a look at their broken air conditioner. The Young Men‘s organization (boys 12-17) were having a camping trip and required chaperons. This was a body of men dedicated to serving their families, each other, the community, and the Lord. The Priesthood, I realized, was the answer to our nation’s problems.
Why I’m Thankful
As mentioned before, I am an intersex man. My spirit (and mind, and now my body too) is definitely male, as was confirmed by doctors, the Holy Ghost, and my Patriarchal Blessing. But it is only by the Grace of God that I was able to understand my place in this world, as a Priesthood holder. It is only because the Lord wanted to call me to serve that I ever found the LDS Church. One of my spiritual gifts, according to my Patriarchal Blessing, is to understand the priesthood. I feel that there is so much to understand, such a depth and breadth of knowledge, that I will never fully understand all of it. But I understand that we, as worthy men called of God, have the power to act on His behalf here. With that power we can preach the Gospel, call upon others to receive the Holy Ghost, heal the sick, and stand and lead mankind.
I can’t adequately describe my gratitude to the Lord for entrusting me with this enormous responsibility. For so long, I thought that I was a mistake who was less than a man. There are still people out there who, for lack of understanding and education, would call me “it”. But the Lord sees me as a Priesthood Holder–one who is worthy of using the same power that created the Earth, the same power that parted waters, the same power that raised the dead, healed the sick, and changed the hearts of men. This is why I’m thankful. I spent a longer time than most as a boy, and now I am a man, and have been able to assume my role as a servant of God. There is no greater honor. I am humbled by the experience, and intend to spend the rest of my life carrying out the Lord’s work on this Earth.
The Priesthood is eternal, and it is up to men today to decide if we want a part in it or not. I know that if you see the Priesthood at work, and pray about what you witness with an open heart, the Holy Spirit will bless you with a knowledge of the Truth of this power of God. I write this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.