Fifty years ago in April 1967, David Oman McKay (1873-1970), the ninth president of the LDS Church, gave a talk in the priesthood session of General Conference that was unique. It was entitled “Consciousness of God: Supreme Goal of Life.” (He did repurpose some material from an earlier talk he gave in April 1946 on the topic of the sacrament.) At the age of 93, just three years before his passing, President McKay was in deteriorating health, which is why he may have asked his son, Robert R. McKay, to read his talk for him.
I perceive that priesthood was originally an innerexperience of Divine Power and Presence in humans, a deep Realization when they subdued their egoic psychological “natural man” self in consciousness, and perceived their real Being underneath it in Glory, beyond words. I believe humans eventually organized this mystical experience, and the knowledge of it, instituting it into the “ordination” to an “office” of “priesthood,” meant to indicate those who had direct experience of God. Those who had greater or deeper experiences of God were ordained to higher priesthoods.