by Wendy Ulrich
Doctrine and Covenants Section 84 is designated by Joseph Smith as a revelation on priesthood. Although several sections of the Doctrine and Covenants discuss priesthood administration, offices, organization, and ordinances, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes priesthood, in its fullest sense, is the very power of God, “without beginning of days or end of years” (v. 17).
God authorizes men and women throughout the Church to lead, teach, minister, and perform ordinances in a variety of ways, using priesthood authority that is delegated and extended through callings, assignments, recommends, or ordinances. Men holding priesthood keys oversee the use of priesthood authority in a given area and for a specific purpose that includes administering priesthood ordinances.
As described in Section 84, however, priesthood authority and ordinances have a purpose beyond administration or even salvation. They are intended to make the power of godliness manifest in our lives, to hold the key to the mysteries and knowledge of God, and to make that knowledge available to all God’s covenant people (Doctrine and Covenants 84:19-21).