.Despite the belief of many who think the priesthood is a neighborhood where all the local priests live, that is not even close! It is even better. Some might even say that it is the best thing ever! At least I sure think so.
The priesthood is the power and authority to act in God’s name. There are two types of priesthoods on the earth today – the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood was restored on the earth in 1829 by John the Baptist when he appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and gave them the Aaronic Priesthood.
In the Church today, worthy male members may receive the Aaronic Priesthood beginning at age 12. These young men, typically ages 12 to 17, receive many opportunities to participate in sacred priesthood ordinances and give service. As they worthily fulfill their duties, they act in the name of the Lord to help others receive the blessings of the gospel.
There are three offices in the Aaronic Priesthood. They are deacon, teacher, and priest, and each office has their own duties. When you first receive the Aaronic Priesthood, typically at the age of 12, you become a deacon. The deacons pass the sacrament, collect fast offerings, and are a messenger for the bishop, among other things. The teachers have all the responsibilities of a deacon along with being a home teacher and preparing the sacrament. Priests still have the responsibilities of a deacon and teacher but also have the power to bless the sacrament and baptize.
One thing that is required of all three offices in the Aaronic Priesthood is to invite all come unto Christ. I think that it is so cool that all three offices are expected to invite all to come unto Christ. The fact that it is expected of all three offices emphasizes how important this is, and it is something that as a priest right now I want to work harder on.
The Aaronic Priesthood is often called the preparatory priesthood. As I serve in the Aaronic Priesthood, it helps me to prepare for important things in the future, including the Melchizedek Priesthood. The purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood are to help me:
- Become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and live by its teachings.
- Serve faithfully in priesthood callings and fulfill the responsibilities of my priesthood office.
- Give meaningful service.
- Prepare and live worthily to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and temple ordinances.
- Prepare to serve an honorable full-time mission.
- Obtain as much education as possible.
- Prepare to become a worthy husband and father.
- Give proper respect to women, girls, and children.
The second priesthood is the Melchizedek Priesthood, and it has been on the earth whenever the Lord has revealed His gospel. It was taken from the earth during apostasy, but it was restored in 1829 when the Apostles Peter, James, and John conferred it upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Whenever the kingdom of God has been restored in its fullness to the earth, the Melchizedek has been present and functional.
Melchizedek Priesthood holders can give special priesthood blessings to their family and others for healing, comfort, or even encouragement. Priesthood blessings are the greatest thing ever! The spirit that is with you during and after a priesthood blessing is incomparable to anything else.
I am so grateful for worthy priesthood holders in my life who are examples and role models to me. I get so excited thinking about the day that it will be me giving my daughter a blessing, or blessing my son with the gift of the Holy Ghost. Because the priesthood is on the earth today, I know that I can do these things, and that it truly is the power of God. I am so grateful for this blessing in my life and will strive every day to stay worthy to hold these two priesthoods.