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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The restoration of the Priesthood

The priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name. It is necessary to direct Christ's Church. It was restored to Joseph Smith by Peter, James, and John—three of the Savior’s original Apostles.

Throughout time, God has given His servants, the prophets, the authority to act in His name. This authority is called the priesthood. Jesus Christ gave the priesthood to His original Twelve Apostles, and they directed the work of His Church after Jesus ascended to heaven. After the Apostles were killed, the priesthood gradually disappeared from the earth.

In 1829, Joseph Smith received the restored priesthood authority to organize Christ’s Church. John the Baptist appeared and conferred upon Joseph Smith and his associate Oliver Cowdery the Aaronic Priesthood, which includes the authority to perform the ordinance of baptism. Later, Peter, James, and John (three of Christ’s original Apostles) appeared and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, restoring the same authority given to Christ’s Apostles anciently. In 1830, with this priesthood authority, the same Church of Jesus Christ that existed centuries ago was organized and restored to the earth by Joseph Smith.

A living prophet—the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the present Apostles trace their authority to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations through Joseph Smith.

All male members of the Church who are worthy and prepared may receive the priesthood to help lead the Church and serve Heavenly Father’s children. A man with the priesthood might serve by leading congregations of the Church, performing the ordinances of the Church (such as baptism), and blessing those who are sick. God expects those who hold this sacred priesthood authority to follow the example of Jesus Christ and serve with love, gentleness, and kindness.

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