When Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon, he and his scribe Oliver Cowdery had a question. They went into the woods to pray about it. While they were praying, “a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light.” This messenger was John the Baptist. He laid his hands on Joseph’s and Oliver’s heads and gave them the Aaronic Priesthood. John the Baptist then commanded Joseph and Oliver to baptize each other. A short time later, the Apostles Peter, James, and John came to earth and ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Melchizedek Priesthood. God’s priesthood was on the earth again. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:68–72.)
Through the priesthood we can receive wonderful blessings and ordinances. Such blessings include those given to newborn babies, to the sick, and to children by their fathers or other worthy priesthood holders. We must also receive certain priesthood ordinances to return to Heavenly Father. Some of these ordinances include baptism by immersion, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and sacred temple ordinances that can seal families together forever. Also in the temple, ordinances can be performed for people who have passed away without the blessings of the gospel. Blessings of the priesthood are available to all!