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Dear Gramps,

Is there anywhere I can read about the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood? It is my understanding that it occurred 5-30-1829. When Joseph and Oliver were released or escaped from prison, and some mob was chasing after them they were exhausted, and Oliver being weaker, collapsed. Joseph tried to carry him until he couldn’t go any further and fell down carrying Oliver. That is when the devil appeared as an angel of light and tried to destroy them. Then Peter , James and John appeared to dispense the adversary by priesthood power. This is when they ordained them and showed them how to dismiss Satan. Do you know of any material to read?


Rog, California

Dear Rog,

No, I’m afraid that I don’t know of any material to read on what you have written above. But perhaps you have some material that I could read. I have never heard of the details that you bring up relating to the appearance of Peter, James and John. Where did you get that material?

We learn from Joseph Smith-History 1:72 that Joseph and Oliver received the Aaronic Priesthood on May 15, 1829 by John the Baptist, who told them that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James and John, and that they would soon confer the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph and Oliver. That the exact date of this ordination is not known is shown by the words of President Joseph F. Smith–

“This most sacred and important event, above quoted, [the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood] occurred at or near a place called Harmony, in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, while Joseph Smith was living there, engaged in the translation of the Book of Mormon, and Oliver Cowdery was writing for him. We have not, unfortunately, any account so definite, of the reception by Joseph and Oliver, of the Melchizedek Priesthood as we have the confirmation of the Aaronic Priesthood. But we have positive information and knowledge that they did receive this Priesthood at the hands of Peter, James and John, to whom the keys and power thereof were committed by the Lord Jesus Christ, and who were commissioned to restore it to the earth in the dispensation of the fulness of times. We cannot fix the exact date when this Priesthood was restored, but it occurred some time between the 15th of May, 1829, and the 6th of April, 1830. We can approximate to within a few months of the exact time, but no further, from any of the records of the Church. Joseph, the Prophet, designates the place where their ordination took place, in his address to the Saints (Sec. 128:20) written in 1842, as follows:

“Again what do we hear? * * * the voice of Peter, James, and John, in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom of the dispensation of the fulness of times” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p.193-94).


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