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Dear Gramps,

If a priesthood holder is living unrighteously and is performing blessings and baptisms and attending the temple does the things he is performing have any meaning? Thanks.

Jody, from New York

Dear Jody,

There are two aspects of the priesthood that must be considered in answering your question, these are priesthood power and priesthood authority. There is not a priesthood holder on the face of the earth who is without sin, less than perfect. Yet he is authorized to act in God’s behalf. Let’s take an extreme case- Let’s say that a father has committed a grievous sin for which he will be excommunicated, and before the sin has come to light he baptized his son. When the father’s sin comes to light and he is excommunicated, will his son need to be baptized again? The answer is, No, the authority of the priesthood was recognized and his baptism remains valid. However, what if this unworthy father attempts to use the power of his priesthood in commanding the elements or in healing the sick. Would the Lord recognize the pronouncements of the unworthy and deceitful person and move the elements because he invoked the power in unrighteousness? I would imagine not. Consider the example of the seven sons of Sceva,

Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded (Acts 19:13-16).


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