Do You Remember Who Ordained You to the Priesthood?

This is a test for fun and plus it might have relevance to a future post:

If you are male, please state who ordained you to the priesthood. No fair peeking at your lineage. Relationships (i.e. Dad, Bishop, Stake President) are fine answers since I don’t really care about the name. If you don’t remember, go ahead and admit you don’t remember.

25 thoughts on “Do You Remember Who Ordained You to the Priesthood?

  1. Without looking, my lineage is dad, granddad, Hugh B. Brown, David O. McKay, Joseph F. Smith, Brigham Young, Three Witness, Joseph Smith, Peter, James and John.

  2. I’m a convert of 7 years, so it’s all pretty fresh. Aaronic Priesthood (and office of Priest) was conferred and ordained by Mitch Brannen, who also baptized me. Received Melchizedek Priesthood and was ordained an Elder by Ron Norton, a counselor in the Young Men’s Presidency, in which I was serving as a counselor. I was ordained a High Priest by my father in law.

  3. My father. My mother created a counted cross-stitch of my lineage and gave it to me as a gift one year. (She had done a similar one for my father.)

    But I’m intrigued by how few people knew in Venezuela when I lived there, or how few of the Filipinos I knew in Taiwan could identify their lineage.

  4. Aaronic – pretty sure it was my Dad, but I don’t remember for certain
    Elder – can’t remember if it was stake pres or dad
    HP – Dad (I’m certain)

  5. Aaronic, don’t remember.
    Melchezidek: Dad.
    High Priest: Stake president in Brazil. I forgot his name, but he gave me his line of authority, and I have it in a safe place.

  6. Looks like SilverRain is the only loser that can’t remember. 😉

  7. I agree! Even I can remember who ordained me to the priesthood! What’s up with your memory, SilverRain?

  8. Funnily enough my line is the same as Michael’s (dad, granddad, Hugh B Brown, etc.). Obviously dad and grandad are different!

  9. Ordained a deacon, teacher, priest and elder by my father, all two years apart (same month, sometime between the 10th and the 26th). I’ve been an elder now the majority of my life, and a clerk of some sort the majority of my time as an elder. My lineage (remember names, but not all the dates) is my father; Robert N. Brady (our stake president at the time); Delbert L. Stapley; George Albert Smith; Joseph F. Smith; Brigham Young; the Three Witnesses (including Oliver Cowdery); Joseph Smith and his counselors; Peter, James, and John (via both Joseph and Oliver).

  10. Gomez’ comment got me thinking a bit. My grandfather was ordained by Elder Brown b/c he was called to be on the high council during a stake conference in which Elder Brown was a the visiting authority. In speaking with my older relations and friends, apparently it was quite common for men to be ordained to be a high priest by a visiting apostle. My great-grandfather was a high priest as well, and lived close enough to have done the ordination. It seems to me that the practice back then was to have a visiting authority do it rather than a family member.

    My grandfather was made a HP in the 50’s, while my dad was ordained a HP in the 80’s. Was there some shift in the intervening years to make the ordination of HP’s more of a father to son thing rather than something flowing from some general or stake authority?

  11. All Aaronic Priesthood offices – bishop (3 different ones)
    Elder – high councilor
    Seventy – ward mission leader
    High Priest – 2nd counselor in stake presidency

  12. BYU ward Bishop. But apparently I have to write more words to have the comment accepted?

  13. AP: Dad
    Elder :
    HP: Father in law

    First GA in lineage: Gordon B. Hinckley (now) from when he was SP

  14. The problem with all these priesthood lineages is we don’t ever seem to be quite clear whether we are talking about a conferral line or an ordination line.

    The conferral line is unambiguous, because someone can only be conferred the Melchizedek priesthood once. But the ordination line is not – most priesthood holders have an arbitrary number of ordination lines, because there is an ambiguity about which ordination to choose (elder or high priest) for most priesthood office ordainers.

    In my experience people tend to choose the most recent one (preferring high priest ordinations), but that really isn’t when or where the ordaining individual received the Melchizedek priesthood at all. For that you need to follow the conferral line, which is less known, and no doubt more colorful than a preferred ordination line that quickly resolves back into general authorities.

  15. Mark D, great comment. I can see your logic. But I asked an acquaintance who became an area authority 70 in the late 1990’s which linage he would use for future ordinations he performed and he said he’d use the latest ordination — his ordination at a Seventy. I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that he had been so instructed. And it made sense to me because he could now organize stakes and perform ordinations in that connection.

  16. If you write to the LDS Church to get your lineage, they give you the most recent ordination line. I am not even sure they track (or care about) the conferral line.

    That being said. This post has nothing to do with lineage or conferral lines. It’s really just about remembering. So for my purposes, I don’t care which you mean.

  17. Both conferrals and all ordinations were performed by my father, but my line of authority has changed even so. When my dad conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon me, he was an elder, having had the MP conferred upon him by his father about 17 years prior. By the time I turned 14, Dad had been ordained to the office of HP by his father.

    I’m not as certain about this (I never have compared my deacon LoA and my HP LoA), but it’s possible that Grandpa was a seventy when he conferred the MP on my father and a HP when he ordained Dad to the same office. So that adds another wrinkle.

  18. I spent some time researching the beginnings of priesthood ordination lineages a couple of years ago while responding to an email as a FAIR volunteer about items on an inherited priesthood lineage chart. This thread reminded me of it and when I went back and checked, I discovered I have since moved into the same ward as the questioner!

    >>I doubt we know which original Apostle ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, but I’ll bet Joseph was ordained by Peter.

    That would be my guess, too. At least that is position that Brian Cannon takes on p. 166 of BYU Studies’ Priesthood Restoration Documents. Cannon appears to base that on document #27 (p. 183-4) where Oliver mentions the roles of John the Baptist and Peter without mentioning James and John. If D. Michael Quinn in The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power p. 283-4 n87 is to be trusted, Orson Pratt speculated that the voice of the ordination prayer was John:

    Heber C. Kimball, a member of the First Presidency, said: “Peter, James and John, came to confer the apostleship upon Joseph. John came in the flesh, and Peter and James in the Spirit.” Apostle Orson Pratt gave his “opinion” that “Peter & James came in the Spirit and placed their hands on the head of Joseph in connexion with John in the flesh, John being mouth.” Heber C. Kimball remarks in Bishops’ Meetings minutes, 30 Jan. 1862, LDS archives; remarks by Pratt in Salt Lake City School of the Prophets minutes, 23 Dec. 1872, LDS archives.

    As far as constructing a Priesthood lineage, besides guessing who was the voice, additional complications arise to assign credit for an ordination when multiple priesthood brethren are in the ordination circle. There may be a theological point to made by stressing a group ordination (multiple witnesses) in the case Peter, James, and John or the Thee Witnesses.

    Another complication in forming a priesthood lineage, the highest ordination of the ordainer up to the time ordination is typically used. So one might wonder where Elijah’s “ordination” fits (as it is the one which bestowed the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood) or the Nauvoo temple ordinations the Twelve received so as to be Joseph’s successors in holding all the apostolic keys (see Esplin’s BYU Studies article for details). This is an important consideration in the succession question, but from what I have seen of priesthood lineage charts, they generally follow the 1835 ordinations.

    >>Were the Three Witnesses ordained Apostles that day?

    The short answer to the question is that by 1835, David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery were already considered apostles, but it is doubtful that Martin Harris was ever considered an apostle either before or after.

    A call was extended to David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery to be apostles in section 18 in June 1829 and they were also given the assignment to seek out the Twelve. It is unclear exactly when those two were ordained to that position, but by late 1830 – early 1831, evidence (from Gregory Prince’s Power from on High) suggests that Joseph, Oliver, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson were considered apostles (though not forming a quorum and also being considered elders. A number of hypothesis have been advanced (that go beyond what can be definitively be deduced) about pre-1835 apostles. 1) Everybody ordained as an “elder” was also considered as an apostle. (Works for the list above, but there were early elders we have no record of being called apostles. It does not work for Martin Harris who only held the Aaronic priesthood in 1830) 2) no ordination was required, but a charismatic experience like a vision made one a “special witness” or an apostle — (works for the Three Witnesses including Martin, perhaps for John Whitmer as one of the Eight, but there is no evidence that the other 7 were considered apostles, much less other visionaries like Mary Whitmer or Solomon Chamberlin). 3) Martin Harris would have been called to be an apostle in section 18 and given to share the task of seeking out the 12 had he not been in the doghouse at the time. He had to repent to become one of the Three Witnesses later that month.

    I do not think the blessing the three men were given before selecting the Twelve changed any of their status. All three men held the highest office in the Church at that time (High Priest). Oliver Cowdery was a member of the First Presidency (assistant President, ranking higher than counselors Rigdon and Williams) by virtue of a December 1834 ordination. David Whitmer was President of Zion, a member of the council of Presidency (that included the First Presidency (doubling at the time as the Kirtland Stake Presidency) and the Missouri Presidency) and in mid-1834 was designated as Joseph’s successor. He outranked the members of the Quorum of the Twelve until his apostasy (as deference given to him in 1836 Kirtland temple endowment shows). The Twelve only gradually rose as the second leading quorum, initially they were considered more or less equal to stake high councils. (Their original turf was outside organized stakes.)

    We do not have any evidence that I am aware of that Martin Harris ever acted as the voice in any ordination, but it is possible. If so, I would suggest that time the office of high priest was considered as having the authority to ordain “traveling high councilors” under the direction of the Presiding High Priest. Martin had been ordained to High Priest on June 3, 1831.

    >>The document says the Three Witnesses ordained Brigham Young an Apostle.

    That is my understanding. I attached some excerpts from John Tvedtnes’ Organize My Kingdom . Brigham was one of those ordained on the first day (Feb. 14, 1835).

    >>Do we know which of the Three Witnesses acted as voice in the ordination?

    I don’t know!

    >>Next it says the Three Witnesses chose the Twelve Apostles

    They chose 11 of the 12. It is interesting to note that Joseph overruled one of the Three Witnesses’ selections for the Twelve. William Smith was chosen over Phineas Young. Clearly all stages of the selection and ordination process occurred under his direction.

    >>The Three Witnesses were “blessed” by the First Presidency.


    >>Do we know which member of the First Presidency acted as voice for each ordination?”

    The other ordinations do not necessarily follow the pattern of being ordained the Three Witnesses and confirmed by the First Presidency as a group. Most of the time Oliver was the voice in the ordaining (sometimes with Joseph and David instead of David and Martin) and a couple of times David did the sealing.

    >>Then it says the First Presidency ordained the Twelve Apostles, but the date is the same as the date Brigham Young was ordained an Apostle by the Three Witnesses.

    Sealing or confirming an ordination was much more common (Prince’s book has a good chapter) in the early Church. Since the confirmation or sealing provided additional words of blessings or empowerment, it could be considered a superior “ordination” to the first. Loosely speaking there are possibly parallels between baptism by fire after baptism by water, sealing after an anointing, or what the temple endowment does for an already ordained elder and the earlier sealing practice for ordinations. It is also a way of looking at Joseph and Oliver’s re-ordination (or confirmation) to the office of Elder on April 6, 1830 when the Church was legally organized.

    >>Did the Three Witnesses or the First Presidency ordain Brigham Young?

    I would argue both did. See Tvedtnes’ take on this as well. I think I could harmonize our two presentations, especially if the sealing ordination was considered an ordination.

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