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Aaronic Priesthood

  On May 15, 1829 when the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon, he found that it mentioned baptism for the remission of sins. With concern on his mind, he and his scribe, Oliver Cowdery prayed to God concerning baptism. As they prayed, a messenger from heaven appeared before them. This messenger was John the Baptist, the prophet who had baptized Jesus Christ centuries before. In an answer to prayer, the Aaronic Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.1 With the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood given to each of them, they now had the authority to baptize one another, which was done at that time.

      This priesthood had been taken from the earth during the Great Apostasy and now it had been restored to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

      The Bible recites numerous scriptures relating to the Levitical Priesthood or Aaronic Priesthood [the two names are one in the same]. In Exodus 40:15 it reads, "And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." And in Hebrews 7:11-12 "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made a necessity a change also of the law." This lesser priesthood or the Aaronic Priesthood was conferred upon Aaron and his sons, 'as an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.' This priesthood, in those days, were conferred solely upon worthy members of the lineage chosen to receive it which was the people of Levi. This priesthood was conferred upon the whole house of Levi who were between the ages of 30 and 50 years of age. John the Baptist was a descendant of Aaron and thus held the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood. 

1 "The Book of Mormon", Doctrine and Covenants 13:1-2

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