Another significant anniversary in the history of Mormonism approaches—that of the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood. On May 28th, 1829, the apostles Peter, James, and John visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and conferred it upon them, bringing the Great Apostasy to a firm close.

Melchizedek Priesthood Restoration (The Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood) © Kenneth Riley, Courtesy of LDS Media Library

It would have been impossible to bring to pass the fullness of the gospel without this event. While the Aaronic priesthood provides a foundation for faith by using special rituals to explain gospel principles and form covenants, the Melchizedek priesthood adds new portals of divine access as well as layers of responsibility by authorizing teachers and administrators.

Taking Things to the Next Level

With this priesthood, the sick can be healed, people can receive blessings of guidance and comfort and hold general leadership positions, graves can be dedicated, and many other ordinances are possible as well. Perhaps the most important one, however, is the bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Although anyone can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost at any given time, the Melchizedek priesthood has the ability to grant it to someone as a constant companion, provided baptismal covenants have been made and the recipient is living worthily.

Additionally, the Melchizedek priesthood allows men and women to receive temple endowments, act as stand-ins for deceased persons who must receive their endowments as well, and prepare for missions. Basically, this priesthood gives all members of the Church an opportunity to bring the blessings of the gospel to both the dead and the living, and it brings us beyond salvation to achieve exaltation, the highest state of being to which we could possibly aspire.

London, England Temple. Courtesy of the LDS Media Library.

The Priesthood of the Spirit

If the Aaronic priesthood specializes in outward, physical demonstrations of gospel principles and commitment, the Melchizedek priesthood focuses more on internal matters of faith. It corresponds to the higher law as taught by Christ, who made it clear that rituals and going through the motions will matter little if our hearts are not pure. Teaching, administering, giving blessings, following promptings—these are all things of the spirit, and their promotion is the purpose of the Melchizedek priesthood.

Body and spirit are both necessary to live. Similarly, the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods make our salvation and exaltation possible. The fact that God entrusted us with them after losing them two thousand years ago is a great testament to our divine potential.

About Ashley Morales
Frequently whimsical and overly optimistic about how much time it will take to do things, Ashley Morales is deeply passionate about the gospel and all kinds of creativity. Her hobbies include philosophically analyzing nearly every book, play, video game, and movie that she consumes, writing music and short stories, promising herself that she will finish writing her novels, going to sleep too late, eating foods she's never tried, putting off cleaning her house, browsing Zillow, spending as much quality time as possible with her wonderful husband, trying to be a good mother to her fantastic children, and never finding the balance between saying too much and too little. One day, she hopes to leave a positive mark on the world and visit every continent (except Antarctica) with her family.

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