Priesthood Line of Authority Origins

When Jesus Christ lived upon the earth in the meridian of time, He chose men to be Apostles and ordained them to lead his Church and perform ordinances in his name. This power to act in the name of God is called the priesthood.

As part of the restoration of Christ’s gospel, the power of the priesthood is available once more on the Earth. Worthy Latter-day Saint priesthood holders confer this authority to other men through the laying on of hands. (Articles of Faith 1:5)

The apostles Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 and ordained them to the Melchizedek Priesthood, creating a bridge between our dispensation and Jesus Christ himself. Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by the same authority that existed in the primitive Church of Christ. Priesthood holders are able to research and/or find their own line of authority and actually trace that authority back to the Savior Jesus Christ.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said “…we in the restored Church of Jesus Christ can trace the priesthood line of authority exercised by the newest deacon in the ward, the bishop who presides over him, and the prophet who presides over all of us. That line goes back in an unbroken chain to angelic ministers who came from the Son of God Himself, bearing this incomparable gift from heaven.” (“Our Most Distinguishing Feature,” Ensign, May 2005, 43)

There is no doubt that documenting a priesthood line of authority is important. It is a witness to the world and to the priesthood holders themselves that they have the authority to act in God’s name in behalf of His children and serves as a reminder that Jesus Christ personally directs his Church today.