“Questions and Answers about the Priesthood,” Friend, May 2008, 24–25
Priesthood is the power and authority of God. Worthy male members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints receive the priesthood to do God’s work on earth. The Melchizedek Priesthood, or the “high priesthood,” was named after a righteous high priest who was a king. The Aaronic Priesthood, or the “lesser priesthood,” is part of the high priesthood. It prepares boys and men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
After Jesus Christ and His Apostles were killed, the priesthood was taken from the earth. In 1829, John the Baptist returned as a resurrected being to restore the Aaronic Priesthood. He conferred it upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Later, Peter, James, and John, who were Apostles of Jesus Christ when He lived on the earth, conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood on Joseph and Oliver.