12 June 2016

Becoming an Authorized Priesthood Holder

I have written a few times (here and here) about the duties of priesthood holders and some might be feeling a bit left out.

Some people get hung up about Christian rites they have done in the past that God and his authorized priesthood don't recognize.  "Why do I need to be baptized again?"  It is simple - if you don't fulfill God's prerequisites, you don't get the priesthood. It is like wanting to make a fine wine but getting weird about crushing grapes in a certain way - You want the results? You have to do what is required!

Any man can qualify to be considered for priesthood ordination. I have not heard of any qualified man being rejected, only those not who choose not to meet the qualifications.

Please understand that I don't slight the role of women in God's plan:  they have the higher calling of motherhood that is built into their very bodies. Priesthood is something given to men as one compensation for their basic lack of in-born child-bearing and nurturing ability. I also won't go into it - you can read about the subject here if you like.

The priesthood is the power of God. An ordination gives this power to men to act in God's name and do what God would do. Scripture is replete with instruction on how the priesthood should be used and what sort of man you need to be to exercise priesthood power. It is the pursuit and study of a lifetime (and longer) to develop yourself into a worthy and powerful priesthood holder.  This is neither a casual nor a easy road to travel - God also puts those who accept priesthood responsibilities under covenant to rise to the challenge of it, proscribing great rewards for your efforts and punishments for a man's neglect of it. It is a very serious undertaking.

The whole purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) in relation to men is to imbue them with increasing priesthood responsibility and a greater call to service, leading to the ultimate goal of become like God. All men are welcome to worship with us, but one must understand that we are about the goal: if a man is not interested in taking on priesthood duties and becoming like God ultimately, the LDS Church may be an uncomfortable place for that man. Though every man has the opportunity of taking on himself the priesthood, rejection of it is indicative of a man unwilling to fundamentally better himself, to walk a higher road, and to perform more meaningful and efficacious service to others as a life-long commitment.

Don't get me wrong - I honor all service performed by everyone in any capacity. However, to have the added spiritual ability afforded by having and honoring the priesthood is like having a hammer at a roofing "party": there is plenty of good work to do when putting on a roof if you don't have a hammer with you, but you could perform the central work of roofing better if you had that hammer and were experienced in wielding it! Likewise, having the priesthood and experience in using it effectively makes you so much more useful in God's larger work. Wouldn't you like to be such a man?

So, what are the steps for men to become authorized priesthood holders?
  1. Contact missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - chances are you see the familiar white-shirt-and-tie wearing bicycle riders that are Mormon missionaries.  Flag them down and invite them to your home.  If an on-line "flag-down" is more to your liking, you can click here and chat with someone who will set up a visit for you!
  2. Qualify to be baptized by an LDS priest - you will need to be a part of several lessons regarding Latter-Day Saint doctrine and practice, read parts of the Book of Mormon, and act on spiritual challenges to embrace a handful of good practices and eliminate certain unholy ones.  If you still desire baptism and meet the requirements, the ordinance will be arranged for you by missionaries and local priesthood leaders.
  3. Receive the Aaronic Priesthood and fulfill its duties - Shortly after baptism and the additional ordinance of receiving "the gift of the Holy Ghost", men are typically ordained as priests in the preparatory Priesthood of Aaron and given responsibilities during sacrament meeting (the LDS worship service) and to help with "home teaching" (priesthood visits to families in their homes), among other assignments.
  4. Receive the Melchizedek Priesthood - After some months, your dedication to fulfilling the duties of a priest are reviewed by priesthood leadership and, if satisfactory, you will be offered an ordination to the office of an Elder in the higher Melchizedek Priesthood. Elders fulfill several functions in the LDS Church, conduct meetings where assigned, may be assigned local priesthood leadership roles, and provide priesthood leadership within their families and other assigned families through home teaching.
For those of you who desire to serve God and your fellow man with the enhanced authority and power that the authorized priesthood provides, I hope you use those desires to qualify yourselves for it and join our ranks!