Questions and Answers
October 2003

“Questions and Answers,” Liahona, Oct. 2003, 22

Questions and Answers

Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

How can I best prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood?


  • Learning to fulfill your Aaronic Priesthood duties will prepare you for the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  • Aaronic Priesthood holders should keep themselves worthy in every way as they prepare for the higher priesthood.

  • Learn to be responsible. A lot of responsibility comes with the Melchizedek Priesthood.

  • Acting in the priesthood is acting in the name of Jesus Christ. Draw nearer to Him by praying, fasting, studying the scriptures, keeping the commandments, and serving others.

The Aaronic Priesthood is the lesser priesthood and holds “the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins” (D&C 84:26–27). The greater priesthood is named after Melchizedek, an Old Testament high priest, and holds “the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God” (D&C 84:19). Because the Melchizedek Priesthood includes the right to officiate in the higher ordinances and to administer spiritual blessings, your experiences after you receive the higher priesthood will expand upon what you have experienced as a deacon, teacher, and priest.

Among other things, deacons are able to pass the sacrament and collect fast offerings; teachers can prepare the sacrament and home teach; and priests may baptize, bless the sacrament, and ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons. Although these Aaronic Priesthood responsibilities are all spiritual activities, the ordinances and duties of the Melchizedek Priesthood are even more spiritual in nature. Therefore, as you prepare to receive the higher priesthood, you should prepare yourself spiritually for greater responsibilities, such as conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost and giving priesthood blessings.

A large part of your preparation should be to fulfill all your Aaronic Priesthood duties with diligence and to magnify any callings you receive. Your preparation should include any activity that will draw you closer to the Savior, since it is His priesthood you are preparing to receive and His authority you will use to bless others. These activities include praying, fasting, studying the scriptures, keeping the commandments, remaining free from the harmful influences of the world, and serving others.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

We look to you, my young brethren of the Aaronic Priesthood. We need you. Like Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors, you also are the spirit sons of God, and you too can be endowed with power to build up and defend His kingdom. We need you to make sacred covenants, just as they did. We need you to be meticulously obedient and faithful, just as they were.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Greatest Generation of Missionaries,” Liahona, Nov. 2002, 47.


Because you have received the Aaronic Priesthood, you have already begun to prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. You need to fulfill the responsibilities in the Aaronic Priesthood that you now have, because you will have more responsibilities later.
Oyunsuren Bandi, 20,
Old Darkhan Branch, Ulaanbaatar Mongolia North District

Consistent with both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods is the idea of service. Priesthood is service. The Aaronic Priesthood prepares those who worthily hold it for even greater service as holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood. To prepare, study Doctrine and Covenants 84. Be obedient to the commandments, and you will bring joy to others by your faithfulness.
Elder Jeffrey Jardine, 21,
Argentina Salta Mission

The responsibility and experience we can have with the Aaronic Priesthood are remarkable and so is the Spirit we feel. But through the Melchizedek Priesthood we become more mature and responsible and feel more love, joy, and goodness. To prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, we need to study and pray.
John Louie Ambrosio, 18,
Catania First Branch, Catania Italy District

Attending seminary and other Church classes helped me understand the nature of the higher priesthood. I especially studied Doctrine and Covenants 13, 20, 84, and 107. These scriptures offer a broad knowledge of the two priesthoods. The more I try to honor the priesthood, the more of a difference it makes in my life.
Humberto Martins de Araújo Júnior, 22,
Caetés First Ward, Olinda Brazil Paulista Stake

If we study, pray, and keep the commandments, we will be ready to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Lord said, “I will give unto the children of men line upon line” (2 Ne. 28:30). This means we should work diligently but have patience in order to grow in the gospel.
Grigoryan Babken, 18,
Komitas Branch, Yerevan Armenia District

If you exercise your priesthood in charitable service and try to magnify your calling as a priest, you will naturally prepare yourself for the blessings of officiating in the Melchizedek Priesthood and serving as a missionary.
Elder Benny C. Smith, 20,
Chile Santiago East Mission

When I think of the priesthood, I can feel how much our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us. It is a great privilege to perform ordinances that are necessary for salvation, so it is important to be worthy. I like very much the words of the Savior: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27).
Nick Chemezov, 18,
Kharkivs’ka Branch, Kyiv Ukraine District

The Aaronic Priesthood is a preparatory priesthood. This suggests that some experiences will be different in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Ordinances such as celestial marriage are performed by those holding the higher priesthood. Meeting your responsibilities in the Aaronic Priesthood will help you prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Ebers Raúl Alvarez Comesaña, 23,
Montevideo 10th Ward, Montevideo Uruguay West Stake

There is nothing more sacred in the life of a young man than receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. The responsibilities are greater but so are the blessings if we magnify our responsibilities. The best way to prepare is to live worthily each day.
Moisés Nefi Morales Gonzáles, 17,
Naval Ward, Ventanilla Perú Stake

Photograph by Steve Bunderson, posed by models