The Priesthood is the power and authority of God. God created and governs the heavens and the earth through the priesthood. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly misnamed the Mormon Church) believe that the Priesthood is an essential part of God’s kingdom. It is the power and authority given to men to act in God’s name for the blessing of His children and to be able to perform the necessary ordinances for the salvation of men, and preach His gospel.
This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things – Now they were ordained after this manner – being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end. (Book of Mormon, Alma 13:7-8).
The full blessings of the priesthood are available to all who receive or have accepted the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) believe in the power of the priesthood and have high regard or respect for its sacred nature. Latter-day Saints also believe that the fullness of the priesthood was restored in our modern time after centuries of being lost because of the widespread turning away from the truth of the gospel (Great Apostasy).
In the Mormon Church, all male members from ages 12 and onwards are given the responsibility to hold the priesthood of God. These male members do all they can to prepare themselves to be worthy to receive the priesthood and they strive to obey the commandments of God everyday of their lives. Those male members who qualify to receive the priesthood are interviewed to prove their worthiness and loyalty to the Lord and His gospel.
And this is the manner after which they were ordained – being called and prepared from the foundations of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such… And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest. (Book of Mormon, Alma 13:3,6).
God is no respecter of persons. “But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (New Testament, Acts 10:35) All people of all races or nationality are entitled for the blessings of the priesthood as long as they are worthy to receive those blessings. The priesthood is essential in bringing people unto Jesus Christ. Through the power and authority of the priesthood and through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, all mankind may be saved.
The priesthood is divided into two functions namely: The Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Aaronic priesthood is a preparatory and lesser priesthood. It was named after Aaron, the brother of Moses, which God has conferred to him and his seed to perform the necessary ordinances in the Church like performing baptism and administering the Lord’s Supper or the Sacrament.
“And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; Which is the gospel of repentance and baptism, and the remission of sins” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:26-27).
The Aaronic priesthood has different offices according to age group namely: Deacon (ages 12-13), Teacher (ages 14-15), and Priest (ages 16-17).Each of the offices has different functions according to the needs of the person. The Aaronic priesthood and the Melchizedek priesthood were restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith on May 1829 as part of the commandments of God and His works in the latter days.
The Melchizedek Priesthood is the higher priesthood which covers all the functions of the Aaronic priesthood. The power and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to hold the keys of all spiritual blessings of the church. All male members of the Mormon Church which is 18 years old and above who are who live righteously are given the responsibility to hold this priesthood. It was named after Melchizedek, the great high priest of the Old Testament, because of his exceeding faith in God and his righteousness. (See Old Testament, Genesis 14:18). The offices of Melchizedek priesthood are elder, high priest, patriarchs, Seventy, and Apostle. Each has some important role in blessing God’s children and in building the kingdom of God on earth.
The restoration of the priesthood on earth is one of the most important things in the history of man. Through the restoration of the priesthood to Prophet Joseph Smith, all nations of the earth are blessed.