Melchizedek Priesthood 


The greater or higher of two orders of priesthood in the church. Also known as “the holy priesthood, after the order of the Son of God,”1 “the high priesthood,” and “the high and holy priesthood.” This priesthood held the “right of presidency,” the responsibility “to administer in spiritual things,” and the “keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church.”2 The name honors the Old Testament priest Melchizedek, to whom Abraham paid tithes, and was also used to respectfully avoid too frequent repetition of the name of Deity.3 Those holding offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood were to preside over the church and its stakes and branches as well as to officiate in ordinances.4 Those holding the Aaronic Priesthood could also perform some ordinances, but JS’s revelations stipulated that only in the ordinances of the higher priesthood was “the power of godliness . . . manifest.”5 Latter-day Saints believed that both the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods were held anciently but that the higher priesthood was taken away from ancient Israel.6 Peter, James, John, and other members of Christ’s early church were understood to have held the Melchizedek Priesthood, which had again been taken from the earth after the time of Christ and had been later restored to JS after a similar restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.7