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My wife just found a geneological line on that runs all the way back to Adam.  The line went through Aaron, the brother of Moses.  In the Doctrine and Covenants it says that a literal descendant of Aaron has a right to the Aaronic priesthood office of Bishop.  Can you explain how this would work for a worthy priesthood holder?  Don’t worry, I am not looking for a way to get my young sons promoted, I’m just curious what the implications of this lineage might be.

Thanks for all of your time,


Dear Paul,

When the Children of Israel failed to keep the gospel law administered by Moses under the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, they were given:“an additional law of performances and ordinances and confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations…”This was of lesser power and authority than the Melchizedek priesthood and was used to administer the outward ordinances.Although the terms Aaronic and Levitical are used synonymously in referring to this Priesthood, there are differences.The Levitical or lesser Priesthood was conferred only on men of the Tribe of Levi, but only Aaron and his sons could hold the office of Priest.The President of the Priests or what we would refer to as Bishop was restricted to the firstborn of the seed of Aaron.This lineal requirement of the lesser priesthood was lifted with the fulfilling of the Law of Moses as is evident in the New Testament, Book of Mormon and the Church today.

The Bible Dictionary states:“Although the Aaronic Priesthood is conferred in the Church today without restriction to the lineage of Aaron, the keys of this priesthood rightly belong to the firstborn of the seed of Aaron, and in the restoration of all things the office of bishop (president of the priests) will once again be conferred on one of that lineage, as it is designated by revelation to the president of the church.

The calling of the firstborn of Aaron as Bishop is referred to in several sections of the Doctrine and Covenants.In section 68 it states:16”And if they be literal descendants of Aaron they have a legal right to the bishopric, if they are of the firstborn among the sons of Aaron; 17 “For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same.”Further in this section additional requirements are given:20”And a literal descendant of Aaron, also, must be designated by the Presidency, and found worthy, and anointed, and ordained under the hands of this Presidency, otherwise they are not legally authorized to officiate in their priesthood.21 But, by virtue of the decree concerning their right of the priesthood descending from father to son, they may claim their anointing if at any time they can prove their lineage, or do ascertain it by revelation from the Lord under the hands of the above named Presidency.”


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