Doctrine and Covenants 107: A Revelation on Priesthood

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 123–125

What do you know about the priesthood? For example: What are the powers and authorities of the Aaronic Priesthood compared with the Melchizedek priesthood? What are the different offices in each priesthood, and how are they organized? Why is the priesthood necessary?You can find answers to many questions about the priesthood inDoctrine and Covenants 107. This revelation was given to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shortly after they were called in 1835. (A list of those first Apostles in this dispensation is found in the “Testimony of the Twelve Apostles to the Truth of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants,” in the front of the Doctrine and Covenants.) These men had gone to the Prophet Joseph Smith king greater understanding concerning their calling to govern the priesthood of the Church and the work of the Lord on earth. This revelation, in ways, is similar to a priesthood handbook of this dispensation.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 107

Order(vv. 3, 9–10, 29, 40–41, 71, 73, 76)The organization of God’s priesthood authority 
Appendages(vv. 5, 14)Attachments, additions 
Administer(vv. 8, 12, 20)Direct and govern 
Officiate(vv. 9–12, 17, 33)Function, act 
Stead(v. 11)Place 
Conferred upon(v. 13)Given to 
Keys(vv. 15–16, 18, 20, 35, 70, 76)The right to preside over and direct 
Commune(v. 19)Communicate, talk with 
Communion(v. 19)Close fellowship 
Mediator(v. 19)A person who attempts to bring together into a peaceful relationship two individuals or groups who have differences 
Especial(v. 25)Standing apart from others in a particular way 
Unanimous(v. 27)Unified, in total agreement 
Validity(v. 27)Authority 
Temperance(v. 30)Self-control 
Abound(v. 31)Are found in large amounts, are plentiful 
Traveling high council(v. 38)Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 
Evangelical ministers(v. 39)Patriarchs 
Residue(v. 53)Remaining number 
Bestowed(vv. 53, 92)Gave a gift, granted 
Archangel(v. 54)Angel of the highest status 
Exempt(vv. 81, 84)Excused, not accountable or responsible 
Solemnity(v. 84)Seriousness, dignity 
Edifying(v. 85)Building up, strengthening 
Slothful(v. 100)Lazy 

Doctrine and Covenants 107:1, 6—Levitical Priesthood

At the time of Moses, the Melchizedek Priesthood was taken from the Israelites and only the lesser (or Aaronic) priesthood continued among them (D&C 84:23–26). That priesthood was conferred only upon men of the tribe of Levi—thus it also became known as the Levitical Priesthood. AsDoctrine and Covenants 107:1indicates, the Levitical Priesthood’s rights and authorities are part of the Aaronic Priesthood.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:2—The Great High Priest Melchizedek


To read about Melchizedek, JST,Genesis 14:25–40(in the appendix “Joseph Smith Translation” before the map section of the LDS edition of the Bible);Alma 13:14–19;Doctrine and Covenants 84:6–14; andBible Dictionary, “Melchizedek,” p. 730.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:5—The Priesthood Is Greater Than Any of Its Offices

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught:

The priesthood is greater than any of its offices. No office adds any power, dignity, or authority to the priesthood. All offices derive their rights, prerogatives, graces, and powers from the priesthood.This principle may be diagramed by dividing a circle into segments. The priesthood is the circle; the segments of the circle are the callings or offices in the priesthood. Anyone who serves in a segment of the circle must possess the power of the whole circle. No one can hold an office in the priesthood without first holding the priesthood.

“Thus it is that priesthood isconferredupon worthy individuals, and they are thenordainedto offices in the priesthood; and thus it is that all offices in the priesthood and in the Church are specifically designated asappendagesto the priesthood; that is, they grow out of the priesthood, they are supplemental to it, they are less than the priesthood in importance. …

“Further, there isno advancementfrom one office to another within the Melchizedek Priesthood. Every elder holds as much priesthood as an apostle or as the President of the Church, though these latter officers hold greater administrative assignments in the kingdom” (Mormon Doctrine,595–96).

Doctrine and Covenants 107:15–17, 68–73—“A Literal Descendant of Aaron”

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “There are some men in the Church who have been blessed by patriarchs and pronounced descendants of Levi, but they have not made any claim to the office of bishop, for the revelation governing this situation says literal descendant of Aaron, not of Levi. There is evidently a great host of men who are descendants of Levi but not of Aaron” (Doctrines of Salvation,3:92).

Doctrine and Covenants 107:23–38—Quorums “Equal in Authority”

InDoctrine and Covenants 107:24, the Lord taught that at the death of the Church President, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is “equal in authority and power” to the First Presidency. This is because they are prophets, rs, and revelators and hold the keys of the kingdom of God on earth. As taught in verse 33, however, the Twelve Apostles work “under the direction” of the First Presidency.

The Seventy are “equal in authority to the Twelve” (D&C 107:26). Notice that the scripture does not teach that they are equal inpowerto the Twelve Apostles, because the Seventy do not hold the keys of the kingdom of God on earth. They are, however, General Authorities of the Church like the Twelve and the First Presidency. As such, when they work “under the direction of the Twelve” (v. 34), they are equal in authority in the Church (thus the title “General Authority”). In this capacity they can help in “building up the church and regulating all the affairs” of the Church throughout the world (v. 34).

Studying the Scriptures

Do five of the following activities (A–H) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 107.

Activity A iconGain Additional Understanding

  1. 1.

    According toDoctrine and Covenants 107:1–4, why is the higher priesthood called the Melchizedek Priesthood?

  2. 2.

    Read the references given for Melchizedek in the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forDoctrine and Covenants 107:2. In your notebook, write what you learn about Melchizedek that shows it to be an honor to hold the priesthood named after him.

Activity B iconWrite a Quiz

Using what you learn inDoctrine and Covenants 107:1–20, write an eight-question quiz testing knowledge of the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood. After each question, write the answer and the verse where it can be found.

Activity C iconMake a Chart

Organize what you learn about priesthood offices and quorums fromDoctrine and Covenants 107. Draw a chart like the following in your notebook and write in what you learn from the verses noted:

President of the Church ( D&C 107:8–9, 65–67, 82, 91–92 )

First Presidency ( vv. 21–22, 27, 33, 78–79 )


Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ( vv. 23–24, 27–28, 30–31, 33, 35, 38–39, 58 )

Seventy ( vv. 25–28, 30–31, 34, 38, 93–98 )


High Priests ( vv. 10, 12, 17 )

Elders ( vv. 10–12, 60, 89–90 )


Bishops ( vv. 13–17, 68–76, 87–88 )

Priests ( vv. 10, 61, 87–88 )


Teachers ( vv. 10, 62–63, 86 )

Deacons ( vv. 10, 62–63, 85 )


Activity D iconExplain the Importance

According toDoctrine and Covenants 107:27, how are decisions made in the governing quorums of the Church? Why do you think it is important for us to understand that principle?

Activity E iconIf You Were There

InDoctrine and Covenants 107:41–57, the Lord told about Adam and his family. Answer the following questions:

  1. 1.

    What was Adam’s role as patriarch?

  2. 2.

    How does this compare with the role of a patriarch today?

Activity F iconGive Examples

Doctrine and Covenants 107:85gives responsibilities of a deacon’s quorum president. For each of the four main areas of responsibility noted in that verse—preside over, sit in council, teach, and edify—give an example of what a deacon’s quorum president might do to accomplish that responsibility.

Activity G iconYour Experience

Doctrine and Covenants 107:91–92describes the role of the President of the Church. Write about an experience you have had when you recognized the truths of one of the ideas in these verses.

Activity H iconThe Responsibility of “Every Man”

In your notebook, summarizeDoctrine and Covenants 107:99–100, emphasizing what the Lord said is the responsibility of every man and His warning.