Church News

Women of Covenant: Teaching and Speaking with Power and Authority from God

All men and women who keep their sacred temple covenants have access to God's direct priesthood power

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Liz Darger speaks alongside other members of the NCAA Common Ground Leadership Team as part of Common Ground IV, an NCAA Inclusion Event that BYU hosted in 2018. As Senior Associate Athletic Director at BYU, Darger serves on the NCAA Common Ground Leadership Team. Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo, courtesy of Church News. © All rights reserved.
                           

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By Liz Darger, Young Women general board

Editor’s note: This narrative is part of a Church News series titled “Women of Covenant” in which women of the Church discuss their personal experiences with priesthood power and share what they have learned through following President Russell M. Nelson’s counsel to “labor with the Spirit to understand God’s power — priesthood power” (“Spiritual Treasures,” general conference, October 2019).

In President Russell M. Nelson’s October 2019 general conference address “Spiritual Treasures” he taught, “As a righteous, endowed Latter-day Saint woman, you speak and teach with power and authority from God.” We learn in The Book of Mormon about Abinadi, who testified boldly of Jesus Christ. He spoke before King Noah and his priests with power and authority from God. Emma Smith is another example. In Doctrine and Covenants 25, she was instructed “to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit.” And later the Lord proclaimed, “And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all.”

In accepting President Nelson’s invitation to prayerfully study Doctrine and Covenants sections 25, 84 and 107, I began a joyful journey of discovery. With the Holy Ghost as my tutor, I have come to a better understanding of my endowment of God’s priesthood power and how I access it through keeping my covenants.

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Elizabeth Jane Darger, Young Women general board.2018 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
                                   

In my profession, and in my Church service, I have many opportunities to teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ and to bear testimony of Him. When conversing with those not of our faith, I am often asked to explain my beliefs as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes these experiences are in private, one-on-one settings with trusted colleagues. I have found great joy in these settings, where sharing and listening are balanced, and a mutual feeling of respect is present.

Other times, I am asked to explain and defend my beliefs in front of a large, public audience. The environment can be intimidating as I find myself surrounded by leaders in my profession, many of whom have different beliefs and do not know me.

Entering an environment like that, the professional world might give the advice to “fake it till you make it,” and earlier in my life I certainly did my share of “faking it.” However, as I have come to better understand my identity as a daughter of Heavenly Parents, and my purpose as a disciple of Jesus Christ who has been endowed with the right to priesthood power, I have felt remarkable confidence in teaching and testifying of truth. I have felt God’s power flowing through me in a very real sense. There is no need to fake anything when the real thing is available. The confidence I feel is real, because God is real, and His power is real.

On a particular occasion I felt I was being unfairly criticized in front of a large group. I felt pointed out, misunderstood, alone, and nervous in how to respond. In that moment, I said a silent prayer. I had worshiped in the temple that morning and had faith I could call down the powers of heaven to aid me.

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Liz Darger with her 13 nieces and nephews in Provo Canyon. Photo by Liz Darger, courtesy of Church News. © All rights reserved.
                                     

As I responded to the criticism, I felt a powerful spirit and knew the words were not my own. The tension dissipated and a door was opened allowing important future dialogue. Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught, “It is the Holy Ghost that bears witness of your words when you teach and testify. It is the Holy Ghost that, as you speak in hostile venues, puts into your heart what you should say and fulfills the Lord’s promise that ‘you shall not be confounded before men’” (“The Power of Covenants,” April 2009 general conference).

In expressing the source of my confidence, I am mindful of how arrogant it may sound. “Really?” I can hear a critic saying. “She thinks she speaks with power from God? Who does she think she is?”

I had some similar thoughts earlier in my life, not believing that God would work through someone as ordinary as I am. But as I have continued on the covenant path, praying to understand God’s will for me, and following through on the promptings of the Holy Ghost, I have humbly embraced and I willingly witness of this magnificent truth — that all women and men who make and keep sacred covenants with God in His holy temple have direct access to His priesthood power.

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Liz Darger, center, with Coach Ed Eyestone (Men’s Cross-Country) and Coach Diljeet Taylor (Women’s Cross-Country) after the Men’s Cross-Country Team won the 2019 NCAA National Championship and the Women’s Cross-Country Team were NCAA National Runners-Up. BYU Photo, courtesy of Church News. © All rights reserved.
                               

There is nothing exceptional about me; it is the source of my confidence that is exceptional, for the source and author of my confidence is God. As Elder Christofferson explained, “What is the source of such moral and spiritual power, and how do we obtain it? The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him.”

Our dear prophet is pleading with us to do our part. “Whether by exhortation or conversation, we need your voice teaching the doctrine of Christ.” Let us follow his counsel. Let us teach and speak with power and authority from God.

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