This was given to a group of four 11-year olds at the Priesthood Preview held a couple of weeks ago. I was asked to speak for 5 minutes on the Purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood and the Duties of a Deacon. I am posting it here for anyone who might be able to take some insight from it in their own lessons.
The Purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood and the Duties of a Deacon
First, let me just say how proud I am of all you young men. You have made a very good decision to live worthily to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, and I know your Heavenly Father is pleased with you.
When you become a Deacon, and when you are in our Deacon’s quorum, we will use the scriptures a lot. I’m sure you’ve probably seen the Deacons eating donuts. If you bring your scriptures 4 weeks in a row, I buy donuts. But if you don’t, we start the 4 weeks over again.
Anyways, we need to understand what the priesthood is. What does the priesthood mean to you?
I asked this to each of the 4 boys. Most of them gave answers like we’ve all heard. The authority of God given to men, and all variations of that phrase, was used extensively.
Good. You all gave very good answers. Here’s what the LDS Website says:
“The Power and Authority given to man to act for God. The power by which God creates and governs all things.”
I asked them what this meant. Many of them talked about doing what God would do, and performing the rites of the priesthood for God.
Let’s go to D&C 121:36
That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
This is a very important scripture. The rights of the priesthood. What’s a right? A right is “that which is due to someone by legal claim,” or, “a legal guarantee.” You’ve got a guarantee from God that comes with the priesthood. The rights, or powers, are connected with the powers of heaven. There’s a definite connection there. But they are only controlled by principles of righteousness. That means 2 things:
1.) You can only use the priesthood power for righteous things. For serving. The priesthood is a power of serving God’s children, and your brothers and sisters on the earth.
2.) The principles of righteousness can also mean the righteousness that you all have. You will be going into middle school, and then high school. There will be times that you need to choose righteousness. And God will bless you if you choose it. He will make you strong in those times that you need Him, and you will be worthy to exercise the priesthood.
Next, go to D&C 107:13-14
13 The second priesthood is called the Priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations.
14 Why it is called the lesser priesthood is because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances.
This is the purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood. It is a lesser priesthood, or a “preparatory” priesthood, and we have power in the outward ordinances. What is an outward ordinace?
One of the boys answered that it was something done on the outside, which was funny, because it was basically taking the two words and putting them in a sentence. But he was correct.
The sacrament is an “outward” ordinance. It’s something we physically perform. Same with service, and other things. So let’s talk about the responsibilities of a Deacon.
What are the responsibilities of a Deacon?
They answered almost all of the 9 things that were on my list.
According to our Deacon’s manual, these are their responsibilities.
- 1. Gather fast offerings.
- 2. Pass the sacrament.
- 3. Serve as the bishop’s messenger.
- 4. Care for the grounds and physical facilities of the church.
- 5. Assist in service projects or welfare assignments as assigned by the bishop.
- 6. Watch over the Church and act as standing ministers (see D&C 84:111).
- 7. Be involved in missionary and reactivation efforts (see D&C 20:58–59).
- 8. Assist teachers in all their duties as needed (see D&C 20:53, 57).
- 9. Give talks in Church meetings.
I know that as you continue on in magnifying your calling that Heavenly Father will bless you with the wonderful experiences of serving in the priesthood. You have a great responsibility to live worthily to be a clean vessel for Heavenly Father to work through you for. I know that as you do this, you will develop a greater love for Him, for your Savior, and for your brothers and sisters on the earth.