Is a priesthood line of authority a necessity? My best friend doesn’t have his line of authority because his father said that they are too often used as a status symbol (people bragging about which general authorities are in their line). So his dad didn’t ever get his line of authority and my friend recieved his priesthood from his dad. I thought that one of the significant differences between this church and others was that we can trace our authority back to Jesus Christ. My friend is sure his priesthood comes from Christ, but he doesn’t want to offend his father by going past him to find his line. So does he need it in writing, or is the information he has good enough? Have the Bretheren said anything on the subject? Thanks,
A priesthood line of authority is not required for any priesthood function. The verification of the priesthood that you hold is its appearance on your membership record and the certificate that you may receive of your ordination. It should also be recorded in the minutes of the Ward in which you were ordained.
However, the priesthood line of authority is a valuable thing to have. I have mine printed up in pads (supplied by the Church many years ago) so that I may give a copy to each person that I ordain. Apparently Elder Hartman Rector was impressed with such a “line-of-authority card” when he was investigating the Church:
I still had many topics and issues to explore before I formed any judgment about the Book of Mormon. One issue was priesthood authority, a serious point in both the Roman Catholic and the LDS churches. I was now being taught that the priesthood (formerly lost from the earth) was restored in 1829 to Joseph Smith and his scribe, Oliver Cowdery. Hence Elder Du Bose was able to show me his “line of authority card,” which traced his priesthood authority back through Church authorities to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and thence to Peter, James, and John and to Jesus Christ. When found worthy, he said, I too would be given this priesthood authority to guide and bless my family (Hartman and Connie Rector, No More Strangers, Vol. 4, p.27).
Following are related statements by President Harold B. Lee and Elder Delbert Stapely:
All elders of the Church, meaning all who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, have all the priesthood necessary to preside in any calling in the Church, if they are called by those in authority, sustained by a vote of the people, and then ordained to the office and given the keys of that office by those in authority. The Lord very clearly set this forth in a revelation in the early history of the Church:. . . it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by someone who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority, and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church. (D&C 42:11.)
One of the most significant things about your priesthood is that by tracing the line of your authority through the one who ordained you back through the various steps, your priesthood authority can be traced back to the Savior himself (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, p.252)
Those who receive a bestowal of this divine authority should honor it and be worthy of the gifts, powers, and obligations it confers upon them. Every man who receives the endowment of the Holy Priesthood of God can trace his line of authority in an unbroken chain back to the Savior (Delbert L. Stapley, Conference Report April 1957, p.75).