The priesthood is the power God gives to man to organize His church on the earth, perform baptisms and to act in His name.
The priesthood was taught about in the Bible, go to our Bible quiz and test your knowledge of the Bible.
Many claim to have the priesthood of God today. However, the simple fact of claiming to have the priesthood does not mean that one has the priesthood of God. There is a proper process that is followed to receive the priesthood—a pattern set forth by Jesus in New Testament times. Jesus called and ordained his apostles (John 15:16), and through the laying on of hands, gave them the priesthood of God. (Read more below about the priesthood of God restored today.)
After Jesus died, the apostles, holding the priesthood of God, acted in His name and continued to direct His church. As apostles died, others were then ordained in their place (See Acts 1:26, Acts 14:14).
Eventually, all of the Apostles were killed or died and new apostles were not called. The priesthood of God was taken from the earth and the words of Amos (of the Old Testament) were fulfilled, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." (2 Thessalonians 2:3.)
After years without the priesthood of God on the earth, as explained above, the priesthood has been brought back to the earth by the presiding apostles at the time of Jesus' ministry. In 1830, Peter, James and John visited earth and gave the priesthood, by the laying on of hands, to a man named Joseph Smith who was called as a prophet. Since that time, there has been an unbroken chain of the priesthood, apostles and prophets as the Church of Jesus Christ was again restored to the earth.