Elder 

Summary

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary.1 The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church.”2 The “Articles and Covenants” of the church further directed elders to hold conferences to conduct church business; “to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons”; to “teach, expound, and exhort, and to baptize”; to give the gift of the Holy Ghost; and to “take the lead” at all meetings.3 When the church was organized, JS and Oliver Cowdery were designated as the first and second elders of the church, indicative of their roles as the church’s presiding officers.4 In September 1832, a revelation designated the office of elder as an appendage to the high priesthood.5 An 1835 revelation further explained that the “office of an elder comes under the priesthood of Melchizedek.”6 By 1836, elders were organized into quorums.7 All bearers of the Melchizedek priesthood could be referred to as elders, regardless of the specific priesthood office they held.8

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