The Everlasting Priesthood
May 2008

“The Everlasting Priesthood,” New Era, May 2008, 13

What Joseph Taught

The Everlasting Priesthood

Joseph Smith taught us about the nature and purpose of the priesthood.

In 1829 the Prophet Joseph Smith received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist and the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James, and John. Throughout his life, the Prophet’s understanding of the power and authority of the priesthood grew. Here are some of his teachings about the priesthood.*

Chain of Authority

“There has been a chain of authority and power from Adam down to the present time. …

“How have we come at the Priesthood in the last days? It came down, down, in regular succession. Peter, James, and John had it given to them and they gave it to others. Christ is the Great High Priest; Adam next.”

The Melchizedek Priesthood

“There are two Priesthoods spoken of in the Scriptures, [namely], the Melchizedek and the Aaronic or Levitical. Although there are two Priesthoods, yet the Melchizedek Priesthood comprehends the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood, and is the grand head, and holds the highest authority which pertains to the Priesthood, and the keys of the Kingdom of God in all ages of the world to the latest posterity on the earth, and is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation, and every important matter is revealed from heaven. …

“… The Melchizedek Priesthood … is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.”

Revelation through the Priesthood

“One great privilege of the [Melchizedek] Priesthood is to obtain revelations of the mind and will of God. …

“… A man can do nothing for himself unless God direct him in the right way; and the priesthood is for that purpose.”

  • From Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 104–5, 108–9.

The Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, by Kenneth Riley