Through the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, Church leaders guide the Church and direct the preaching of the gospel throughout the world. In the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood, "the power of godliness is manifest" (D&C 84:20). This greater priesthood was given to Adam and has been on the earth whenever the Lord has revealed His gospel. It was taken from the earth during the Great Apostasy, but it was restored in 1829, when the Apostles Peter, James, and John conferred it upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.
"There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic" (D&C 107:1). The Melchizedek Priesthood, which is "after the Order of the Son of God" (D&C 107:3), is the greater of these. It "holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church" (D&C 107:8). It also holds "the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church" (D&C 107:18). It is named after a great high priest who lived during the time of the prophet Abraham (see D&C 107:2–4; see also Alma 13:14–19).
The offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood are Apostle, Seventy, patriarch, high priest, and elder. The President of the High Priesthood is the President of the Church (see D&C 107:64–66).
Men in the Church must be worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders in order to receive the temple endowment and be sealed to their families for eternity. They have the authority to administer to the sick and give special blessings to family members and others. With the authorization of presiding priesthood leaders, they can bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost and ordain other worthy men to offices in the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.
When a man receives the Melchizedek Priesthood, he enters into the oath and covenant of the priesthood. He covenants to be faithful, magnify his calling, "give diligent heed to the words of eternal life," and "live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God." Those who keep this covenant will be sanctified by the Spirit and receive "all that [the] Father hath." (See D&C 84:33–44.)
—True to the Faith (2004), 101–2
"The Key of the Knowledge of God"
James E. Faust, Liahona, Nov. 2004, 52–55; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 52–55
The key of the knowledge of God, administered by those who keep the oath and covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood, will enable us to come off as the sons of God.
"The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood"
Carlos E. Asay, Ensign, Nov. 1985, 43–45
We do not become the elect of God instantaneously by receiving the priesthood. Such honor will come only so fast as we remember and perform according to the priesthood covenant.
"The Work of Our Priesthood Quorums"
Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, Aug. 1984, 8–13
The quorum is the main channel for training Melchizedek Priesthood holders and fathers and strengthening them in their priesthood accountability.
"A Call to the Priesthood: 'Feed My Sheep' "
Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1983, 43–45
We want you to watch, to feed, to tend, and to care for the flock, and in the event that some are temporarily lost, we challenge you to find them.
"The Doctrine of the Priesthood"
Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, May 1982, 32–34
It is known only by personal revelation. It comes line upon line and precept upon precept, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
"The Oath and Covenant Which Belongeth to the Priesthood"
Marion G. Romney, Ensign, Nov. 1980, 43–45
The only way a man can make maximum progress toward eternal life . . . is to obtain and magnify the Melchizedek Priesthood.
"Made Like unto the Son of God"
Ray H. Wood, Liahona, July 1999, 48–49; or Ensign, May 1999, 40–41
There should be nothing casual, nonchalant, or indifferent about holding the priesthood. Once accepted, it should not be ignored, neglected, or cast aside. It is a mantle of honor and power.
"The Greater Priesthood: Giving a Lifetime of Service in the Kingdom"
M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, Sept. 1992, 71–73
The priesthood itself cannot be magnified nor diminished. However, one who worthily uses his priesthood in service to others can magnify his calling in the priesthood.
"To Honor the Priesthood"
J. Richard Clarke, Ensign, May 1991, 41–43
We must expand our awareness as quorums, and as individuals, and increase our caring capacity.
Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 1987, 36–39
Be prepared to give priesthood blessings under the influence of the Holy Ghost whenever you are requested in sincerity and faith.
"Preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood"
Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, Lesson 21
"The Melchizedek Priesthood"
Young Women Manual 1, Lesson 15
Guide to the Scriptures
Bible Dictionary, 730–31
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 Elder and the High Priest"
Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Part A, Lesson 9