Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tracing Your Priesthood Line of Authority

A few years ago, soon after my father-in-law passed away, my husband had some questions regarding his priesthood line of authority. In an attempt to find some answers, my husband wrote to Salt Lake and requested that they send him his line of authority. When he received the information, a letter of explanation was included that cleared up some misunderstandings that we had concerning which priesthood line should be considered his line of authority. I thought I would post this letter for those who might have similar questions.

The First Presidency recently directed that efforts begin to officially record priesthood line of authority information for selected offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Priesthood line of authority will be traced for:

  • Melchizedek Priesthood conferral (usually ordination to the office of elder)
  • Ordination to the office of high priest

Though ordinations to the office of seventy may be included in the above priesthood lines of authority, no separate line of authority is maintained for the office of seventy. Ordained bishops and patriarchs trace their priesthood line of authority through their high priest ordination. Priesthood line of authority is not recorded for Aaronic Priesthood offices.

When ordaining others to offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood, priesthood line of authority is determined by the priesthood office you hold at the time you perform the ordination. The following example will help explain.

EXAMPLE: If you were an elder when you ordained your first son an elder, your first son will always trace his elder line of authority through your elder line of authority. If you were a high priest when you ordained your second son an elder, your second son will always trace his elder line of authority through your high priest line of authority.

Once you have your line of authority:

  • Share it with your family
  • Give a copy to those whom you have ordained or will ordain
  • Record it in your personal history

This information cleared up some questions we had concerning which line of authority my husband was to follow. He was ordained an Elder by his father and a High Priest by mine.

Because of the rapid growth of the church, the recording of a priesthood line of authority is no longer part of your church membership records. The responsibility of obtaining and recording a priesthood line of authority now solely rests on the individual. Make sure you have obtained and recorded your priesthood line of authority from the person who was authorized to bestow the priesthood on you. This is an important bit of information for you and your posterity.

Do you know your priesthood line of authority?


Anna said...

Being a convert and female, can you explain why its important to know your priesthood line of authority and how that will effect priesthood holders in their priesthood duties.

Thank you,

Seth and Lacey said...

So skeletalizing is just getting the skeleton from an animal. So, I cut off the skin, muscle, fat, and tissue from the skeleton, and put the remaining skeleton in a bug cage, where flour beetles eat off the rest of the meat. Then after a few weeks, we bleach the bones, and file them in the BYUH museum. Gross huh? And can you believe I only get paid $7.25 an hour for that? lol

In The Doghouse said...

Hi Anna,
I think that understanding a Priesthood holders line of authority stems from several reasons.
After the restoration of the gospel occurred and the Church was established again in this dispensation, missionaries were sent to all parts of the country and to England. They took with them a copy of their line of authority, showing those whom they taught their "credentials", so to speak, which gave them the authorization to administer in the priesthood ordinances.
I think that this "proof" of authority has become less important because it is not required by the majority today to show proof. I think that a Priesthood holder who understands his line of authority is in some way fulfilling the prophecy of the "turning of the hearts of the children to their fathers." It simply "connects" them together in an unbroken line of authorized priesthood users.
I am sure there are many other reasons that tracing your line of authority is useful, but these are just a couple.
Hope this helps.

Anna said...

Thank you In The Doghouse, that did indeed help.

On a side note, I enjoy your blog and the hours I spend pondering the messages within it.