Joseph and Oliver Are Given the Priesthood

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    (See D&C 13; D&C 20; D&C 27; D&C 84; D&C 121.)

    Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were translating the Book of Mormon when they read about baptism. They wanted to know more about baptism so they decided to ask Heavenly Father. They had faith God would help them learn the truth. On May 15, 1829, they went into the woods and prayed.

    A heavenly visitor came to Joseph and Oliver. He was John the Baptist who baptized Jesus long ago.

    John the Baptist had come to give Joseph and Oliver the priesthood. The priesthood is the power of God. John the Baptist gave Joseph and Oliver the Aaronic Priesthood. Priests in the Aaronic Priesthood have power to baptize people.

    John the Baptist told Joseph and Oliver to baptize each other. They went down under the water when they were baptized. This is called baptism by immersion and is the correct way to be baptized.

    Long ago John the Baptist had baptized Jesus the same way. When Jesus was baptized, he also went down under the water.

    After they were baptized, Joseph and Oliver were filled with the Holy Ghost. They knew the true Church of Jesus Christ would soon be on the earth again.

    A few days later, Peter, James, and John visited Joseph and Oliver. Peter, James, and John lived with Jesus long ago. The were his apostles. They gave Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    The priesthood of God was on the earth again. Now righteous men could have priesthood power. Men who have the Melchizedek Priesthood can be Church leaders. They can bless people. They can give people the gift of the Holy Ghost. They can heal the sick. All of these things help the Saints prepare to see God.

    Jesus told Joseph how men in the Church should use their priesthood. The priesthood can be used only by righteous men. Men should never use the priesthood to be bossy or mean. Men should use the priesthood with love and kindness. They should listen to the Holy Ghost. If they do these things they have the promise of priesthood power forever and ever.

    [photo] Sculpture by Avard Fairbanks

    [illustration] Illustrated by Kenneth Riley