Question: In what manner was the Aaronic Priesthood restored?

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Question: In what manner was the Aaronic Priesthood restored?

Joseph Smith: "we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized"

Joseph learned from Moroni in 1823 that “when [the golden plates] are interpreted the Lord will give the holy priesthood to some, and they shall begin to proclaim this gospel and baptize by water, and after that they shall have power to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of their hands.”[1] Two years later the first part of that pronouncement occurred when John the Baptist visited Joseph and Oliver:

He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter...The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us...It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized.[2]

We know that the Melchizedek priesthood therefore had not yet been given and must be given either later that day or sometime following that day.

Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were told to re-ordain each other to the priesthood after being baptized. This was to follow proper rules of being a member before receiving the priesthood, but in their case they couldn't become members until having the priesthood to baptize each other.[3]

Notes

  1. As quoted by Oliver Cowdery in a letter to W. W. Phelps printed in (October 1835) Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 2:199..
  2. JS-H 1:70-72
  3. Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History, 27th ed. (1974), 58.