In the Church today, worthy male members may receive the Aaronic Priesthood beginning at age 12. These young men, typically ages 12–17, receive many opportunities to participate in sacred priesthood ordinances and give service. As they worthily fulfill their duties, they act in the name of the Lord to help others receive the blessings of the gospel.
As the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he found mention of baptism for the remission of sins. On May 15, 1829, he and his scribe Oliver Cowdery went into the woods to inquire of the Lord concerning baptism. As they prayed, "a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light." This messenger was John the Baptist, the prophet who had baptized Jesus Christ centuries earlier. John the Baptist, now a resurrected being, laid his hands on Joseph and on Oliver and conferred upon each of them the Aaronic Priesthood, which had been taken from the earth during the Great Apostasy. With this authority, Joseph and Oliver were able to baptize one another. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:68–72.)
The offices of the Aaronic Priesthood are bishop, priest, teacher, and deacon. With the authorization of the presiding priesthood leader (usually the bishop or branch president), deacons pass the sacrament. They help the bishop or branch president watch over Church members by giving service and assisting with temporal matters such as gathering fast offerings. Teachers may perform all the duties of deacons, and they also receive other opportunities to serve. They prepare the sacramental bread and water and serve as home teachers. Priests may perform all the duties of deacons and teachers. With the authorization of the presiding priesthood leader, they may also bless the sacrament, baptize, and ordain others to the offices of priest, teacher, and deacon.
The Aaronic Priesthood is "an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood" (D&C 107:14). It is often called the preparatory priesthood. As a priesthood holder serves in the Aaronic Priesthood, he prepares to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, to receive the blessings of the temple, to serve a full-time mission, to be a loving husband and father, and to continue in lifelong service to the Lord.
—See True to the Faith (2004), 3–4
"A Worldwide Priesthood"
New Era, May 2004, 44–48
Around the world, members of the Aaronic Priesthood perform their duties for their wards and branches. As they learn their responsibilities, they are being prepared to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
"Honoring the Priesthood"
H. David Burton, Liahona, July 2000, 46–48; or Ensign, May 2000, 38–40
Priesthood isn't something we take off during the week and put on for Sunday. It is a 24-7 privilege and blessing—that is, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
"Your Sacred Duty"
Dallin H. Oaks, New Era, May 1999, 4–7
The ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood are vital to all of us. How well do you understand them?
"Behold the Man"
Keith B. McMullin, Ensign, Nov. 1997, 40–42
Our vision of you and your work looks beyond the outward appearance of a boy and sees instead a bearer of the holy priesthood outfitted with its attendant powers, duties, and blessings.
"What the Aaronic Priesthood Means to You"
Stephen D. Nadauld, New Era, May 1993, 25–27
The Lord sees you as you are inside—full of wonderful potential. The priesthood helps shape and mold you to fulfill His vision for you.
"The Aaronic Priesthood: What's So Great about It"
Robert B. Harbertson, New Era, May 1990, 49–50
You know that administering the sacrament is a sacred privilege. But are you aware of the other marvelous blessings the Aaronic Priesthood offers, such as protection and guidance by heavenly messengers?
"The Aaronic Priesthood—a Gift from God"
Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1988, 44–46
My dear young brethren, make yourselves worthy in every respect, and the Lord will bless you.
Vaughn J. Featherstone, New Era, Mar. 1987, 4–7
As you commemorate the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood this year, make a commitment to become a true "sentinel" of God, a servant of your brethren and a loyal disciple of Christ.
"The Priesthood of Aaron"
Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1982, 44–47
God bless the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, that they may walk in the dignity of the sacred and marvelous calling and authority that has been conferred upon them.
"The Aaronic Priesthood"
Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, Nov. 1981, 30–33
Power in the priesthood comes from doing your duty in ordinary things: attending meetings, accepting assignments, reading the scriptures, keeping the Word of Wisdom.
Thomas S. Monson, New Era, May 2001, 4–7
The Aaronic Priesthood isn't a gift; it's an honor. It is a call to serve others.
"Fulfilling Our Duty to God"
Robert D. Hales, Liahona, Jan. 2002, 43–46; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 38–41
I promise you that your achievement of the Duty to God Award will provide you with a living testimony that will sustain you throughout your life.
"Our Duty to God"
Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., Liahona, Jan. 2002, 47–49; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 41–43
Holding the priesthood and doing your duty to God is not only a very serious responsibility but also a remarkable privilege.
"Duties of the Deacon"
Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood, Part A, Lesson 5
"The Calling of a Deacon"
Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, Lesson 2
"The Priesthood of Aaron"
Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, Lesson 37
"Magnifying the Calling of an Aaronic Priesthood Holder"
Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, Lesson 38
Guide to the Scriptures
"Duties of a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood"
Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, Lesson 18
"Duties of Priests"
Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, Lesson 22
"The Priesthood Can Bless Our Lives (Priesthood Preparation Lesson)"
Primary 7, Lesson 47
Bible Dictionary, 599–600
Encyclopedia of Mormonism
(Please note that the contents of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, a joint product of Brigham Young University and Macmillan Publishing Company, do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)
"Duties of the Priest"
Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood, Part A, Lesson 7
"Duties of the Teacher"
Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood, Part A, Lesson 6