Handbook 2:
Administering the Church


7.6 Prospective Elders

A prospective elder is a male Church member age 19 or older who does not hold the Melchizedek Priesthood. Married brethren who are younger than 19 and do not hold the Melchizedek Priesthood are also prospective elders.


Responsibility for Prospective Elders

Quorum and group leaders have the responsibility to help prospective elders prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. The bishop counsels with quorum and group leaders and each prospective elder to determine whether the prospective elder should meet with the elders quorum or the high priests group for instruction and activities. The bishop considers the relationships the prospective elder may have with the elders or high priests in the ward and the age and needs of the prospective elder.

Quorum and group leaders assign effective home teachers to prospective elders. If prospective elders have been ordained to the office of teacher or priest, leaders may give them assignments to serve as home teachers.

Quorum and group leaders invite prospective elders to attend quorum or group meetings and activities.


Helping Prospective Elders Prepare to Receive the Melchizedek Priesthood

Helping prospective elders prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood should be among leaders’ highest priorities because it strengthens families and prepares couples for temple marriage. Prospective elders should be ordained as soon as they are reasonably prepared, without unnecessary waiting periods.

    The elders quorum president or high priests group leader ensures that prospective elders are taught the following principles in preparation to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood:
  1. 1.

    The restoration of the priesthood and priesthood keys through the Prophet Joseph Smith

  2. 2.

    The oath and covenant of the priesthood (see D&C 84:33–44)

  3. 3.

    The responsibilities of husbands and fathers

  4. 4.

    The duties of an elder and the purposes of priesthood quorums

  5. 5.

    The purposes of priesthood ordinances and blessings and how to perform those ordinances and blessings (see chapter 20 and the Family Guidebook)

Leaders may teach these principles one-on-one, or they may organize a class for prospective elders in the ward, in multiple wards, or in the stake. They may assign capable home teachers to provide this instruction. They may also offer the instruction as part of a temple preparation seminar (see 5.4.5). As needed, the stake president may assign a member of the high council to help quorum and group leaders with this responsibility.

Possible resources for helping prospective elders prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood include Doctrine and Covenants sections 20, 84, 107, and 121; the Family Guidebook; Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood, Part A, lessons 1–4 and 9; and Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood, Part B, lessons 1–6.

The bishop counsels with quorum and group leaders and with the ward council to identify prospective elders who should have the highest priority for receiving this preparation. Eighteen-year-old Aaronic Priesthood holders who have not otherwise been prepared may be included.

In helping a prospective elder prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, the bishop follows the instructions in Handbook 1, 16.7.1.