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Aaronic priesthood


The lower, or lesser, of two divisions of the priesthood. Sometimes called the Levitical priesthood. It was named for Aaron, the brother of Moses, “because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed” in antiquity. JS and other church leaders taught that the Aaronic priesthood was passed down hereditarily to John the Baptist. JS and Oliver Cowdery reported that on 15 May 1829, John the Baptist conferred upon them the priesthood of Aaron and authorized them to baptize one another. Instructions given in 1835 indicated that the Aaronic priesthood holds the keys of baptism, the ministering of angels, and the gospel of repentance. Those who held the Aaronic priesthood were directed to administer in outward and temporal affairs of the church. A bishop was to preside over the Aaronic priesthood. In September 1832, the offices of deacon and teacher were identified as appendages to the lesser priesthood, responsible for ministering to local congregations, while the priests were to travel. By 1836, men were appointed as presidents of Aaronic priesthood quorums in Kirtland.