High priest 

Summary

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office.1 Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests.2 The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church.3 However, the Book of Mormon also discussed an order of high priests who were called to teach the commandments of God and serve as leaders in the Church.4 At a church conference on 3 June 1831, twenty-three elders were ordained to the high priesthood.5 Although the Book of Mormon always associated the high priesthood with the office of high priest, no extant church records used that designation until November 1831.6 A November 1831 revelation stated that those ordained as high priests had the responsibility “to proclaim the everlasting Gospel by the spirit of the living God.”7 An 11 November 1831 revelation specified that a president of the high priesthood should be called to preside over both the high priesthood and the church.8 Further revelations stated that high priests had “a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things” and that they could serve as bishops or bishops’ counselors, officiate in all lesser offices, constitute high councils, and serve in the church’s presidency.9 In 1834, JS explained that in areas where high councils did not exist, high priests could meet in councils to settle disputes amongst church members.10 By 1836, high priests were organized into a quorum, with JS’s brother Don Carlos Smith sustained as president of the high priests, an office distinct from JS’s role as president of the high priesthood.11 Others were later ordained presidents of the high priests in their local quorums.12 See also “High priesthood” and “Presidency of the high priesthood.”

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