Lesson 21: Preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 74–77


Each young man will understand how the Aaronic Priesthood can help him prepare for the Melchizedek Priesthood.


  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Two sheets of paper and two pencils.

  2. 2.

    Write on the chalkboard or on a poster the lists of what bearers of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods can do (see lesson).

  3. 3.

    You may wish to assign one or more of the young men to talk with their fathers or other Melchizedek Priesthood holders about the importance of the Melchizedek Priesthood and have them share their discussions.


Receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood will be a great future event for the Aaronic Priesthood holders. This lesson clarifies the distinctions between the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. Each young man must be convinced of the great opportunity that lies ahead of him as he receives and uses the Melchizedek Priesthood righteously. Prayerfully prepare for this lesson to help create a spiritual tone that will make the lesson meaningful. This lesson could be divided and used for two priesthood meetings.

Suggested Lesson Development



Divide the young men into two teams, and have the teams move to opposite corners of the room. Select a team leader and give each team leader a piece of paper and a pencil. Have them divide the paper into two sections and label the sections Power of the Aaronic Priesthood and Power of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Tell the young men to list in the appropriate columns what bearers of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods can do. Allow about four minutes for them to complete their lists. Display the following master list on the chalkboard or on a poster. Have each team put their team number next to the items they have on their lists. Acknowledge the team that included the most items on the master list. Review and discuss each item.

Power of the Aaronic Priesthood

  1. 1.

    Prepare, administer, and pass the sacrament.

  2. 2.

    Baptize (priests only).

  3. 3.

    Receive the ministering of angels.

  4. 4.

    Go home teaching.

  5. 5.

    Look after the physical needs of the Saints.

  6. 6.

    Collect fast offerings.

  7. 7.

    Ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons (priests only).

  8. 8.

    Take charge of meetings in the absence of elders.

Power of the Melchizedek Priesthood

  1. 1.

    Confer the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  2. 2.

    Name and bless infants.

  3. 3.

    Administer to the sick.

  4. 4.

    Consecrate oil for anointing.

  5. 5.

    Dedicate graves.

  6. 6.

    Confer the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods and ordain to offices in those priesthoods.

  7. 7.

    Look after the spiritual needs of the Saints.

  8. 8.

    Preside at meetings.

  9. 9.

    Enter the temple and receive all temple ordinances.

  10. 10.

    With the proper keys, officiate in all temple ordinances.

  11. 11.

    Have power and authority over all the offices in the Church (see D&C 107:8).

  12. 12.

    Do all things an Aaronic Priesthood bearer can do.

  • What are the main differences between the ordinances bearers of the Aaronic Priesthood and Melchizedek Priesthood can perform?

The Melchizedek Priesthood Is the Power to Administer in Spiritual Things

Scripture and discussion

Explain that the Apostle Paul once referred to Jesus as having been “called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 5:10). Jesus was the Great High Priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood. He is the true example of what it means to have and use the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Have the young men read Matthew 8:16 and Mark 1:30–31. Discuss how Jesus cast out devils and healed the sick through his word.

  • How did Jesus use his priesthood power to heal?

Read together Luke 6:17–19.

  • What went out of the Savior when he healed the people?

  • What does this mean?

Explain that virtue in this case means power. Jesus had power in himself to be able to heal others.

  • How have you been blessed by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood?

Quotation and discussion

Explain that when a young man becomes an elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood, he will have the power to act for and on behalf of Christ in spiritual things. Elder Bruce R. McConkie spoke about elders in the following way: “Elders are ministers of Christ; they are called to administer in spiritual things (D&C 107:12). … [They] perform any duty that can be done by a holder of the lesser priesthood (D&C 20:38–67)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 215; italics added).

Elder McConkie also said that “Elders are to perfect the Saints, to feed the flock of God, to work in the organizations of the Church, to lead people to eternal life in our Father’s kingdom” (in Conference Report, Lima Peru Area Conference 1977, p. 18).

Explain that in a few years each of the young men will have the opportunity to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. They will be ministers in spiritual things.

  • What kind of Aaronic Priesthood bearers will receive the Melchizedek Priesthood? (Those who are prepared and worthy.)

Role play

Have the young men imagine that they are now twenty-eight years old, are married, and have three children.

Have one team be a group of men who are twenty-eight, married, with three children, and faithful holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Have the other team be a group of men who are twenty-eight, married, with three children, but still priests in the Aaronic Priesthood. Have members of each team respond to the question:

  • What kinds of spiritual things could you do for your family now and in the years to come?

List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard under “Aaronic Priesthood” and “Melchizedek Priesthood.”

Both fathers could have family prayers and home evenings, baptize their children, and teach them proper principles. However, the Melchizedek Priesthood fathers could also name and bless their own children, administer to their wives when sick or before giving birth to a child, give the gift of the Holy Ghost when their children are confirmed, administer to their sick children, confer the Melchizedek Priesthood, attend the temple with their families, witness their children’s being sealed in the temple, and have their own children sealed to them.

Story and discussion

Read or relate the following story:

“Two missionaries who were aflame spiritually had spent an active day establishing a branch of the Church in a remote village. At 5:30 that morning, they had taught a family before the husband left for the fields. Later they had struggled to plaster their adobe walls to keep out bloodsucking insects. During the week they had laid a small cement floor and had hung a five-gallon can with a shower head to keep clean. They had begun a sanitation facility and put new gravel and sand in their water filter. For part of the day they had worked beside men in the fields to later teach them. They were exhausted and ready for welcome rest.

“There came an anxious knock at the crude wooden door. A small girl was crying. She had been running and was gasping for air. They struggled to piece together her message, delivered amid sobs in a torrent of words. Her father had suffered a severe head injury while riding his donkey in the darkness. She knew he would die unless the elders saved his life. Men of the village were at that moment carrying him to the missionaries. She pled for her father’s life, then ran to help him.

“The seriousness of their desperate situation began to engulf them. They were in a village with no doctors or medical facilities. There were no telephones. The only means of communication was a rough road up a river bed, and they had no vehicle.

“The people of the valley trusted them. The missionaries were not trained in medicine. They did not know how to care for a serious head wound, but they knew someone who did. They knelt in prayer and explained their problem to an understanding Father in Heaven. They pled for guidance, realizing that they could not save a life without His help.

“They felt impressed that the wound should be cleansed, closed, and the man given a blessing. One companion asked, ‘How will he stand the pain? How can we cleanse the wound and bless him while he is in such suffering?’

“They knelt again and explained to their Father, ‘We have no medicine. We have no anesthetic. Please help us to know what to do. Please bless him, Father.’

“As they arose, friends arrived with the injured man. Even in the subdued candlelight, they could see he had been severely hurt. He was suffering greatly. As they began to cleanse the wound, a very unusual thing occurred. He fell asleep. Carefully, anxiously, they finished the cleansing, closed the wound, and provided a makeshift bandage. As they laid their hands on his head to bless him, he awoke peacefully. Their prayer had been answered, and his life saved. The trust of the people increased, and a branch of the Church flourished” (Richard G. Scott, in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, p. 46; or Ensign, May 1989, p. 35).

  • How were these missionaries prepared in this situation? (They were obedient, faithful priesthood holders.)

  • How has fulfilling your priesthood calling blessed you?

Certainly wonderful blessings will result for any man who is worthy and prepared to exercise the Melchizedek Priesthood. Each Aaronic Priesthood holder should prepare for and look forward to becoming worthy to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.


If you have previously assigned them, have the young men who talked to their fathers or other Melchizedek Priesthood holders about the Melchizedek Priesthood report their findings.

Preparing to Receive the Melchizedek Priesthood

Scripture and discussion

Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–40 contains what is known as the oath and covenant of the priesthood. Read this passage together. If necessary, discuss each verse separately as you read. In the discussion, emphasize that—

  1. 1.

    The young men have already obtained one of the two priesthoods and are preparing to obtain the second.

  2. 2.

    The young men must magnify their priesthood callings.

  • What does a magnifying glass do?

  • How can we magnify our callings in the priesthood?

Explain that “to magnify as here used means to enlarge or increase, to improve upon, … to make the calling noble and respectable in the eyes of all men by performing the mission which appertains to the calling in an admirable and successful manner” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 481–82).


Fulfilling the responsibilities of the Aaronic Priesthood is a key step in preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and use its great power to serve others. President Spencer W. Kimball stated this principle clearly when he said, “Today, the holy Melchizedek Priesthood is given to men who have been brought up as righteous Aaronic Priesthood boys—for the Aaronic Priesthood is to prepare men to become elders and higher authorities in the Melchizedek Priesthood” (in Conference Report, Tahiti Area Conference 1976, p. 21).

  • If the Aaronic Priesthood is to prepare you for the Melchizedek Priesthood, what are you doing as a holder of the Aaronic Priesthood that will help you prepare?

Discuss how the Aaronic Priesthood can help the young men prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. You may wish to discuss the following ideas:

  1. 1.

    I am learning to use correctly some of God’s power.

  2. 2.

    I am learning to be accountable for the power I’ve been given.

  3. 3.

    I am learning to serve others with the Aaronic Priesthood by administering the sacrament, going home teaching, and carrying out welfare assignments.

  4. 4.

    I am learning to stay worthy to receive additional ordinations in the priesthood.

Explain that being an active, worthy holder of the Aaronic Priesthood will prepare a young man to act honorably and usefully with the Melchizedek Priesthood.



Challenge the young men to talk with their fathers or another worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder about the blessings that come to bearers of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Ask them to seek for specific examples in the lives of those they speak with that demonstrate those blessings.