Priesthood of Jesus Christ
Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) believe in the importance of being “called of God, as was Aaron” before one can ‘hold’ or ‘bear’ the priesthood of God.
The “Mormon” priesthood, a casual designation for the appropriate name, the priesthood of God, or the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, restored in our day is the ability or right to act in God’s name. Performing the ordinances (or, sacraments) of salvation must be done by those who have the priesthood. Unlike most of our Creedal Christian brothers & sisters, we have a lay ministry, and are not paid for performance of these ordinances.Mormon Bishops are men within their (usually) geographic congregational boundaries (called a ‘ward’) who are asked or “called” by their Stake President to serve as Bishops. These men serve as volunteer pastors of the congregation in the Church for from 5 to 7 years, usually, in addition to their normal work or careers.
Mormon priesthood originates from Jesus Christ, who conferred it on Peter, James and John in the Primitive Church during Christ’s earthly ministry. When Joseph Smith Jr. restored that Church in 1830, it was done after first receiving that same priesthood by the laying on of hands of the resurrected Apostles Peter, James and John.
Oliver Cowdrey, who was with Joseph during the time of the priesthood restoration said this:
…what joy filled our hearts, and with what surprise we must have bowed, (for who would not have bowed the knee for such a blessing?) when we received under his hand the Holy Priesthood as he said, ‘Upon you my fellow-servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer this Priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon earth, that the Sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!
I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit!— Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.
Almost every male member of the Mormon church is ordained to the priesthood depending upon worthiness and desire to serve. When a young man reaches 12 years he is often asked by his Bishop to accept the “Aaronic” priesthood, and after he reaches 18 years he may be approved by the Stake President to receive the “Melchizedek” priesthood and confirmed in that position by a vote of the Stake membership.
The specific duties and privileges of the priesthood are chiefly set out in the Doctrine and Covenants, one of the four Latter-day Saint books of scripture.
Learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon Church”) by watching a movie, “Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration.”