The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. The way that power is governed is through keys. Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood, and although all His apostles have been given the keys necessary for governing His Church, only the Prophet alone has the authority to exercise them. It is through these administrative keys that His Kingdom is governed on the earth.
Priesthood keys are given to worthy priesthood holders as they are called to serve in presiding roles of responsibility. These keys are in essence temporary permission granted to exercise authority in priesthood duties of those the leader has been given stewardship over. When a person is released from the specific leadership position, the keys that were once turned in their behalf are no longer necessary, but are passed on to another who is called to serve in the Kingdom in their place.
There is one key however that is eternally given, never to be relinquished. That key is the patriarchal key, given to fathers by the Father, to further the work of the Lord within the walls of their own home. President Harold B. Lee said, “The most important work you will ever do will be done within the walls of your own home,” and President David O. McKay cautioned that “no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” This key when exercised in righteousness has a power that is eternal in its focus. “That joyful work and calling is to do whatever is necessary to chart a course for you and your family to unitedly return and live with Heavenly Father.” (Durrel A. Woolsey)
In a talk titled, An Eternal Key, Durrel A, Woolsey explained the important role a father must play when he stated, “Dad, you need to be a hero in your family. They need a hero. They will have strong peer pressure and temptation to adopt the so-called heroes of today who are not worthy of their attention and most certainly not their emulation. The heroes or superstars in the sports and entertainment world, and there are many, frequently become examples of dishonesty, instability, and infidelity. They flagrantly and indifferently flaunt those weaknesses of character and immorality before a doting and accepting world, as Korihor said, ‘according to the management of the creature.’ (
He then outlined the following commitments that a father must make to become the hero of the home.
1) Give a generous amount of time to your family.
2) Complete fidelity, loyalty, and faithfulness to your companion are absolute essential.
3) Rely on the scriptures for guidance and instructions.
4) Follow the living prophet.
In summary he states, “You must become the family hero, worthy of not only their attention but their emulation. This will require your constant investment of sufficient time, complete emotional and physical fidelity, with unity of purpose between you and your eternal companion. This will require your constant dependency upon the Lord, demonstrated through scripture study and prayer. This will require that you follow the Brethren in every sense of the word—hearing, understanding, and doing. This simple formula will unite and strengthen your beloved family and bring countless blessings from our Father.”
To the fathers of the world, this Patriarchal key is given and “where much is given much is expected.” Our Heavenly Father is the perfect example of one who exercises righteous dominion regarding this sacred key. Only by applying the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ can one come to know the Father and His will for them in this life. This personal journey of righteous living is part of the process that is essential for the salvation of the family unit. A righteous father is of eternal importance. I am thankful that our Father organized the plan for my happiness in this beautiful way.
Thank you to the two important Patriarchal key holders in my life, my own father and the father of my children. Through the righteous example they show to me I have come to understand the role of my Heavenly Father more completely and the love He has for me individually.