Mormon Prophets and the Priesthood

Modern day prophet

Mormons believe that, just as in the bible, the Lord speaks to the church through his prophets. Prophets of old include Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and others. There were also New Testament prophets, such as Peter, John, and Paul. Mormons teach that the true church should also have a prophet.

Mormons consider Joseph Smith to be the first prophet in this dispensation. Following his death in 1844, Brigham Young was selected as the next prophet. John Taylor succeeded Young, and the list of prophets continues to today, with Thomas S. Monson as the current prophet.

The prophet is the head of the church and as such carries many titles, such as President of the Church, Presiding High Priest, Seer, Revelator, as well as others. Although the prophet works in Salt Lake City, he travels the world taking care of church business, such as dedicating temples. He addresses the church twice a year at the General Conference. His teachings are also found in the Church’s magazine, The Ensign.

Following the death of a prophet, the mantle of leadership is historically passed to the highest-ranking Apostle. (see Priesthood) The new prophet then chooses two assistants, his counselors, from among the remaining apostles. Together the leading trio is called The First Presidency. The prophets serve for the rest of their life.

Although the church has other leaders, the prophet is the highest ranking, and the only one who can receive revelations for the entire church. Some of the more famous modern revelations include the 1890 revelation to end polygamy, and the 1978 revelation to allow blacks to receive the priesthood.



Mormons recognize the priesthood as the authority to act in the name of God, and it is only found in the LDS church. One of the key components of the restoration of the church in the latter days was the re-introduction of the priesthood to the world.  Belief in the priesthood is one of the tenants that separate Mormons from other churches. All worthy male members of the LDS church that are at least 12 years old may hold the priesthood. Priesthood holders perform all ordinances and blessings.

The LDS Church identifies two levels of priesthood:

The Aaronic Priesthood- This is the lesser of the priesthoods and is conferred upon members as young as 12 years old. It includes the power to bless and pass the sacrament, and baptize. This priesthood was given to Joseph Smith directly from John the Baptist. Current priesthood holders can trace their priesthood lineage back to Joseph Smith.

The Melchizedek Priesthood- This is the greater priesthood, and is given to men who are at least 18 years old. Holders of this priesthood may perform blessings upon the sick and conduct marriages and other ordinances. They may also perform any duties or responsibilities.


Other Subjects:

‘Magic’ Underwear (Garments)
Ordinance Work for the Dead
Joseph Smith
Missionary Work
Heaven and the Afterlife
Nature of God and the Godhead
Modern Day Prophets
Local Church Leadership
Other Beliefs