Priestly authority that is believed by Mormons to automatically descend by lineage from Aaron to his descendants, but which can also be conferred by the laying on of hands upon gentiles who would otherwise not possess such authority. It has the right to perform outward ordinances, including baptism. This priesthood was conferred on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on May 15, 1829 by the resurrected John the Baptist.1 The Aaronic or Levitical priesthood is an association with angels.2 This lesser priesthood holds some connection with Heaven, with an opportunity to associate with the Powers of Heaven.3 “The law was given under Aaron for the purposes of pouring out judgments and destructions.”4 T&C 54:2 is a description of the authority of this lower priesthood. It has the authority to seal up unto destruction. These who go forth with this power condemn and are, in a word, Aaronic. Notwithstanding the condemnatory role, the Aaronic priesthood is not without hope, having the power to baptize, which is an ordinance of hope.5 The Aaronic priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels. Angels were the source from which priesthood was restored. Angels can lead people to the Son of God. The Son of God can take a person to the throne of the Father. Every bit of what is to be accomplished through priesthood is possible to achieve so long as one gets Aaronic priesthood into the hands of someone. Looking at the lay of the land today, there are not many who can say that they have been in fellowship with angels or realized the blessings of Aaronic priesthood. There are fewer still who can say that they have been in fellowship with Christ, and there are only a small handful who have been in fellowship with the Father. Everything that is necessary to start down the pathway comes as a consequence of receiving some portion of priesthood.6 The elected offices associated with Aaronic priesthood in the church organized by Joseph Smith were Priest, Teacher, Deacon, as well as Bishop, and were no different than any other office in that church. These offices still continue in many of the various religious groups claiming Joseph Smith as their founder. See also ELDER.
1 A Man Without Doubt (Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2016), 165.
2 Preserving the Restoration (Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2015), 180.
3 Preserving the Restoration (Salt Lake City: Mill Creek Press, 2015), 179.
4 Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 322, herein cited as TPJS; The Words of Joseph Smith, comp. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), 244, herein cited as WJS; Joseph Smith Papers (Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press, 2008–ongoing), Journals Vol. 3:86, herein cited as JSP.
5 Preserving the Restoration, 181.
6 “Cursed: Denied Priesthood,” Jan. 07, 2018, Sandy, UT, 11, transcript of Q&A.