Over a month ago, our ward had a fathers and sons camp out. This is an annual event which brings the men of the Church together to celebrate the restoration of the priesthood.
I was excited – it was my first time taking my boys camping. I would be bringing my 7 year old and 5 year old with me. Not knowing what to expect and wanting to be prepared, I had a shopping spree at Wal-Mart! I purchased a huge tent, some sleeping bags, camping lights, flashlights, backpack, first aid kit and other miscellaneous items. Provisions included: pringles chips, trail bars, beef jerky and water.
We drove out to an area 1.5 hours from the city on a Friday afternoon and found the camp almost on blind faith since the directions were vague. The tent was setup with the help of our Bishop and we were ready well before Sun down.
For the fireside, I was asked to say the invocation prayer and then our Bishop began to speak about why we were out there.
He called for young volunteers and then began to hand out signs which had names on it and it turned out to be his line of authority. He spoke of how his line of authority can be traced back to the even on earth that restored the priesthood in these latter days.
Here’s how the story goes:
Joseph Smith, while translating the Book of Mormon from the Gold Plates read about the need for baptism by water and felt he should pray to God about the necessary authority to baptize. And in response to their prayer appeared John the Baptist who laid his resurrected hands on the head of Joseph and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood that has the authority to baptize by water, to administer the sacrament, and the blessing of the ministering of angels. Joseph and Oliver baptized each other members of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Last Days, in the Susquehanna River. When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist, they were promised they would later receive the Melchizedek Priesthood
At a later date, they were visited by a resurrected Peter, James, and John and conferred the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood by laying their hands on Joseph and Oliver’s head. The Melchizedek Priesthood has the authority to baptize with fire or, in other words, give the gift of the Holy Ghost; to give blessings to the sick; and to administer in the ordinances and covenants of the Temple.
We learned that the priesthood authority restored to Earth after the keys were lost with the death of Jesus Christ’s Apostles and after long years of a spiritual and temporal dark age; Joseph was commanded to reorganize and restore the Church of Jesus Christ. The priesthood gives us an opportunity to serve others
It was a fun day. I had a lot of fun with my boys as did they with me. The food was terrific, especially the peach and apple cobbler! Of course with all the camping equipment we now have, I hope to take the family camping every few months! The tent I bought should last us a very long time. It was very empty even with myself and my two sons. Mom and our youngest would fit with no problem at all.
The week after father and son’s camp out, my friend at work was talking about how he received his line of authority a few days earlier by requesting it online. To request your line of authority at no charge, simply email LineofAuthority@ldschurch.org and you will receive instructions on how to continue. Some of the questions you will need to answer are:
- Full name of the priesthood holder (You)
- Date of birth
- Current ward and stake
- Elder ordination date
- Who performed the Elder ordination
- High Priest ordination date if applicable
- Who performed the High Priest ordination
- Address and ZIP Code
Another interesting note that I learned: The line of authority for the Aaronic Priesthood gets replaced when receiving the higher priesthood – the Melchizedek Priesthood.