The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments. – Doctrine and Covenants 107: 20, LDS edition.
Just as the lesser order of the sisterhood is associated with Moses’ sister Miriam (and thus called the Benevolent Order of the Relief Society/Benevolent Society, or Sisterhood of Miriam), in the Order of the Priesthood the lesser offices are associated with Moses’ brother Aaron and the Levites; thus it is called the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood.
“And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” – Exodus 40: 13
The Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood is also called the lesser priesthood, or Junior Offices, for a few reasons. For one, it is a place for young men to enter the ministry to be taught how to help run the Fellowship. In addition, it uses the lesser priesthood both in its endowments and its responsibility. Thus it is an appendage to the greater or Senior branch of the Offices of the Priesthood, the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances such as preparing, blessing, and passing the sacrament of Communion; and assisting the Fellowship in administrative duties. The local bishopric, lead by the congregation’s bishop, is the presidency of this priesthood or brotherhood, and holds the keys or authority of the same.
There are minimum age requirements for each level in this Society, however one must be called of God to enter or advance in the Offices, regardless of age.
A man under the age of 18, heeding the call from the Lord, would start in the Offices as a deacon, regardless of age. He would only advance as prompted by the Spirit. If he is over 18, he would heed the call to be a deacon or a priest. He would require one year’s training in the Offices before joining the Melchizedek offices of the priesthood.
As a high priest of the Offices, the local bishop has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, ordaining as directed by the Holy Spirit. The power and authority of the lesser priesthood used in the Levitical Priesthood is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, agreeable to the covenants and commandments (See D&C 107: 13-20, LDS edition)
While much of the work of the Offices is to administer to the care for the local congregation of the Church of Christ, the full extent of the roles of the Aaronic Priesthood mimic those of the Benevolent Society. These include witnessing of Christ, administer to the poor and needy, teaching the Gospel, and performing ordinances; including the Sacraments of baptism and communion.
If you have a question, or feel the call of the Holy Spirit to join the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood, please contact us:
Learn more about the Aaronic/Levitical Priesthood using the links below: