Fifteenth LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Without [the Priesthood], we have nothing.” (Ensign, Aug 1998, 72)
The April 2005 Visiting Teaching message suggested that the words of LDS priesthood leaders “are from the Lord Himself.” (Ensign, Apr 2005, 60)
Eleventh LDS President Harold B. Lee said the Priesthood is “the center and core of the Church and kingdom of God.” (Ensign, Jan 2002, 14)
Third LDS President John Taylor said that it is by the Priesthood “that all things are [upheld and] governed on the earth and in the heavens, and [it is] by that power that all things are upheld and sustained. It governs all things—it directs all things—it sustains all things…” (Ensign, Nov 2002, 7)
And, according to Mormonism, worthy Latter-day Saint men are given that astonishing power to carry out God’s will on earth.
Christians raise an objection to the doctrine of the LDS Priesthood, pointing out that the New Testament says all of God’s people belong to a “royal priesthood.” Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson explain,
“As for the authority of the Christian, 1 Peter 2:9 says he or she is part of ‘a chosen generation’ and ‘a royal priesthood.’ The believer is given the right to be called a child of God [John 1:12]. Indeed, when speaking of believers, 1 John 3:2 says that ‘now are we the sons of God.’ First John 5:5 adds that only those who believe ‘that Jesus is the Son of God’ have overcome the world. They, then, are the ones who have been given divine authority.” (Mormonism 101, 89)
To better understand the biblical doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, and to recognize the LDS Priesthood’s incompatibility with the biblical teaching, please read the following article from Tabletalk magazine (more of my comments follow this quoted article).
A Royal Priesthood in Christ
1 Peter 2:9-10: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
As we consider the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood, it is important to remember that although the tribe of Levi was set apart to perform the sacrifices and lead worship in the tabernacle and temple, God never intended the descendants of Levi to be the only priestly figures in the nation of Israel. In fact, the Lord originally called His people out of bondage in Egypt so that the entire nation would serve Him as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:1-6). The priestly institution itself was needed only because the sin of the people had not yet been finally dealt with, and an intermediary was required between Israel and God lest His holiness break out and destroy His sinful people (Ex. 19:24; Amos 5:6).
Only when the wickedness of Israel had finally been dealt with could the people of God truly become that nation of priests that requires no Levitical mediator between them and the Almighty. Having sanctified and perfected us in His Father’s sight forevermore through His offering of Himself (Heb. 10:10-14), Christ Jesus has made all who are in Him the priesthood that God always intended His people to be. No longer need we rely on an intermediary who is a sinner like us; rather, the Lord has become the mediator between Himself and His own in the person of the God-man Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:15).
Peter explains in 1 Peter 2:9-10 that we are that royal priesthood who need none but Christ to stand between us and the Father. Martin Luther pointed out in his Babylonian Captivity of the Church that “all we who are Christians are priests,” and no believer has greater access to the Creator than any other. Pastors and elders are appointed to teach the church the will of God from His Word (1 Tim. 3:1-7), but they do not represent us before the heavenly throne like the Levitical priests did under the administration of the old covenant.
In Christ, there is a true priesthood of all believers. All of us who trust in Jesus alone for salvation have free access into His presence, and all of our lawful vocations are set apart for true God-honoring service. The janitor who does his work to the Lord is in no worse position spiritually than the most gifted preacher on the planet, for all Christians have been declared righteous servants of the creator God. (Devotional entry for May 12, 2010)
The biblical teaching regarding priests and priesthood is not about power and authority to act in God’s name, but rather it is about mediation, redemption, and admission into the very presence of God.
Nevertheless, Christians are not lacking divine power and authority. As the New Testament explains, through God’s New Covenant He has given His people the outpouring of His Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that anointed Jesus Christ has also anointed the people of God (See Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4). Jesus offered the final physical sacrifice for sin, thereby fulfilling the Aaronic priesthood (Hebrews 9:11-15). God’s people, being filled with the Holy Spirit, have the authority and obligation to offer spiritual sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5, 9). Furthermore, this Holy Spirit, designated as “the Spirit of truth,” is promised to “abide with [them] forever” (John 14:16-17. See also 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 5:5). Christ, as the head of the body (the church), works through His people, using them to spread the Good News of the Gospel and thereby build His church (Colossians 1:18).
By God’s grace He has made His people a royal priesthood and endowed each one with power and authority. But, unlike the LDS Prophet who maintained that without the Priesthood Mormons would have nothing, Christians understand that without the priesthood we would still have Jesus — and He is all we need.