This topic has been floating around in my head for a while and brings me to a number of questions. The priesthood is defined as the power to act in God’s name. That seems pretty powerful to me. In fact, to get more powerful than that, you must become a God yourself. However, as I read the scriptures I find that faith seems to have that much power too.
All of the healings that Christ did was based on either a forgiveness of sins or "thy faith hath made thee whole". (I’m not sure whether those can really be disconnected). Even in James where we are told to call upon the Elders to bless the sick, it says the faith of the person is what will heal them, and if they are healed their sins will be forgiven them. It doesn’t say the Elder’s priesthood or authority does the healing. Woman hav given many blessings which healed the sick, and they did it without the Priesthood. Even Christ doesn’t claim it’s by His authority that He healed people.
We are told that if we have enough faith we can move mountains. Enoch’s mountain moving, and river course changes were by faith. All things are possible by faith.
So if we can heal, move mountains and have miracles happen because of faith (even the effects of the atonement come to us by faith) then what’s the deal with the Priesthood being the power to act in God’s name? Maybe faith doesn’t allow us to act in God’s name, but it allows us to perform the acts God would do if He were here to do them. I don’t see that there is a big deal in the difference.
I would agree that the Priesthood is necessary as the governmental structure of the church. It does keep things in order. Since God is a god of order then having the Priesthood to keep that order is certainly important.
Am I missing something here?