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How was the priesthood restored?

The priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith by the laying on of hands by those who held it anciently. In May 1829, John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood, and shortly thereafter, Peter, James, and John, three of the Savior’s original Apostles, restored the Melchizedek Priesthood. On April 3, 1836, Moses, Elijah, and Elias restored additional priesthood keys.

Prepare yourself spiritually

As you prepare, prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What are you impressed to share with the young women?

Hebrews 5:4 (A man must be called of God to receive the priesthood)

D&C 2 (Elijah is to reveal the priesthood; promises to the fathers are planted in the hearts of the children)

D&C 13; Joseph Smith—History 1:66–72 (John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood)

D&C 27:12–13 (Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood)

D&C 110:13–16 (Elijah returns and commits the keys of this dispensation as promised by Malachi)

Articles of Faith 1:5 (The priesthood is conferred by the laying on of hands by one who has authority)

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Our Most Distinguishing Feature,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 43–45

Video: “Restoration of the Priesthood”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Show the young women a picture of Moses ordaining Aaron (see Gospel Art Book, 15) and a picture of a young man being ordained to the priesthood (see Gospel Art Book, 106). What similarities do they notice in these pictures? What gospel truths do they illustrate?
  • Invite the young women to share what they know about how the priesthood was restored. How has the priesthood blessed their lives?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the young women learn about the restoration of the priesthood. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best in your class:

  • Write on the board several scripture references about how and why the priesthood was restored (such as D&C 13; 27:12–13; Joseph Smith—History 1:66–72; Articles of Faith 1:5). Invite the young women to read the scriptures, individually or in small groups, and write on the board a summary of each passage. What do these scriptures teach the young women about the restoration of the priesthood? How has the restoration of the priesthood influenced their lives?
  • Divide Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “Our Most Distinguishing Feature” among the young women. Ask the young women to search their sections of the talk, looking for answers to the questions “How is the priesthood conferred?” and “Why is the priesthood given in this way?” As part of this discussion, invite the young women to read Hebrews 5:4 and Articles of Faith 1:5. Why is it important for young women to know about the restoration of the priesthood?
  • Display pictures depicting events of the restoration of the priesthood (see Gospel Art Book, 93–95), or watch the video “Restoration of the Priesthood.” Ask the young women to identify key participants in these events (such as Joseph Smith, John the Baptist, and Elijah) and to read scriptures related to these events (such as those suggested in this outline). Invite the young women to discuss how the restoration of the priesthood can bless their lives now and in the future. How does the priesthood bless women and mothers?
  • With permission from the bishop, invite the father of one of the young women or another priesthood holder to visit the class and share his priesthood line of authority with the young women and explain what a line of authority is. What does the line of authority teach the young women about the restoration of the priesthood? Bear your testimony of the restoration of the priesthood, and invite the young women to bear their testimonies.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand the restoration of the priesthood? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Talk to a friend or family member who holds the priesthood and ask about his experience receiving the priesthood.
  • Offer to teach a family home evening lesson about the restoration of the priesthood.