Simply put, the priesthood is the power of God. More specifically, the priesthood is the right and authority to act in the name of God, to perform certain rites and ordinances.
For example, baptism is a common practice in many Christian churches. Mormons believe that in order to properly baptize an individual, one must be sanctioned by God. This “sanctioning” is the priesthood.
What Does the Priesthood Do?
The priesthood’s main purpose is to serve others and has three main functions:
- Blesses—through the priesthood, blessings of health, safety, and comfort can be pronounced upon those in need.
- Governs—the priesthood gives God’s children on earth, particular the leaders of His church, authority to act in His name.
- Performs Ordinances—an ordinance is a special, sacred act, such as baptism. The priesthood is used to perform ordinances such as baptism.
Priesthood Authority Today
Mormons believe that the priesthood, or authority, has always existed, since Adam. It’s what prophets like Abraham, Noah, and Moses held in order to do God’s work. Peter, the great Apostle, had priesthood authority.
Today, Mormons believe that priesthood authority resides in the Mormon church, and gives the Church the privilege and right to act in God’s name. Mormons believe that, after the death of Christ’s apostles (like Peter) in ancient times that the priesthood was taken from the earth. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that God again called a prophet, like Moses or Noah, to lead His church. This prophet’s name was Joseph Smith. The priesthood of God was restored to the earth through him.