Joseph and Oliver Receive the Priesthood

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“Joseph and Oliver Receive the Priesthood,” Friend, July 1984, 27

Joseph and Oliver Receive the Priesthood

Adapted from Doctrine and Covenants Stories (PBIC037A)


1 One day in May 1829, while Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were translating the Book of Mormon, they read something about baptism. Desiring to know more about this ordinance, they went into the woods and prayed about it. (See JS—H 1:68, 72.)

John the Baptist

2 In answer to Joseph and Oliver’s prayer, an angel from heaven appeared to them. It was John the Baptist, who had baptized Jesus long ago. John gave Joseph and Oliver the Aaronic Priesthood. Priests in the Aaronic Priesthood have power and authority from God to baptize people. (See JS—H 1:68–69.)

Joseph and Oliver baptize each other

3 John the Baptist told Joseph and Oliver to baptize each other. After Joseph baptized Oliver, covering him completely with water, Oliver baptized Joseph in the same way, just as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. (See JS—H 1:70–71, 73; Matt. 3:16.)

They are filled with the Holy Ghost

4 Joseph and Oliver were filled with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost after they were baptized. They knew for a certainty that the Church of Jesus Christ would soon be reestablished on the earth. (See JS—H 1:73.)

They tell others

5 Although a spirit of wickedness in the area made it unwise for the two men to tell many people about their wonderful experience, Joseph and Oliver told their friends that they had been given the Aaronic Priesthood with the authority to baptize. They told them that they had baptized each other. Then Joseph and Oliver returned to their work on the translation of the Book of Mormon. (See JS—H 1:74–75.)

Peter, James and John appear

6 Some days later three other angels visited Joseph and Oliver. Peter, James, and John, Apostles of Jesus long ago, gave Joseph and Oliver the Melchizedek Priesthood. (See D&C 27:12.)

Priesthood is restored

7 The priesthood of God was on the earth again. Men who receive the Melchizedek Priesthood can bless people and give people the gift of the Holy Ghost. (See D&C 20:41–44.)