The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Lesson 5

Priesthood and Auxiliaries

The Missionaries Will Teach...

Priesthood is the power and authority to act in the name of God.  The priesthood authority is needed to perform the ordinances that God requires for salvation.  It is also used to give blessings that heal, comfort, or give counsel.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is literally lead by Jesus Christ himself through prophets and apostles.  Prophets and apostles are righteous men that God chose for these leadership roles. In his mortal ministry, God called apostles to lead the church, but the authority was lost when people rejected the gospel and killed them.

In 1829 John the Baptist (the man who baptized Jesus), visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.  He laid his hands upon the heads of Joseph and Oliver and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood.  A short time later, Peter, James, and John (Jesus' apostles) visited Joseph and Oliver and laid their hands upon the heads of Joseph and Oliver and conferred upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Peter, James, and John received the Melchizedek priesthood directly from Jesus Christ.

The only way a man can receive the priesthood authority is by the laying on of hands by another man who has the authority.  Receiving the priesthood is a marvelous blessing and responsibility.  When a man receives the priesthood, he enters into sacred covenants to serve others and help build up the church.  This includes performing sacred ordinances such as baptism.  Righteousness, love, and patience are needed to use the priesthood power, and when it is used worthily, the power of God is manifest.

Priesthood power comes from God.  There are two levels of priesthood authority: the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Aaronic Priesthood.  The Aaronic priesthood is used to perform ordinances such as baptism and confirmation, and worthy males 12 years of age and older receive it soon after they are baptized.

Eventually, worthy adult males receive the higher priesthood, also known as the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Many temporal and spiritual blessings are given to all members of the Church through the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Worthy holders of the Melchizedek priesthood can confirm other people members of the Church and give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  The power of the Melchizedek Priesthood is used to heal the sick with consecrated olive oil, and it can also be used to receive heavenly guidance and give special blessings to family members.  Bishops and Stake Presidents use the priesthood authority to act as judges in the Church and can revoke and restore the blessings of being a member.  They also conduct interviews with people to verify that they are worthy to enter into the temple.

Underneath the direction of the priesthood, their are other organizations that help strengthen the membership of the Church and have regular meetings and classes.  These include the Relief Society for women 18 and over, which reaches out to serve indidviduals, families, and the community.  There are also a Young Women program and a Young Men program for youth 12 to 18, as well as the Primary organization for children three to 11.  There is also a Sunday School organization for all members 12 and over.

Offsite Links...

The Lineage Lesson.  A story about the Church's former teachings regarding the Church's former racist teachings.



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