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I am an Elder.  My son become a High Priest.  Why can’t I ordain him just as I did all the others? I just had to sit there and suffer.





Dear John,

Your precious son was being ordained to a Priesthood office! What a magnificent day for him and for you! There was no need for you to feel bad that you were not personally the one performing the ordinance, any more than you might feel bad that you were not presiding at his temple endowment ceremony or working at the veil with him at that occasion.

The Church Handbook states:



Who Performs the Ordinance


The stake president or a Melchizedek Priesthood holder under his direction may ordain a man to the office of elder. Only Melchizedek Priesthood holders may stand in the circle.


The stake president or a high priest under his direction may ordain a man to the office of high priest. Only high priests may stand in the circle.

  • You can’t ordain someone as a high priest because you’re not a Stake President or a high priest under his direction.
  • You can’t stand in the circle because you’re not a high priest.

When you said, “Just as I did all the others” I’m not sure of your meaning. If you mean ordain your son to the office of high priest just as you ordained other sons to the office of elder, then I’d say look at the instruction above.  If you’re saying you ordained other sons to the office of high priest when you were not a high priest, then you messed up, the bishop messed up, the stake president messed up.  It shouldn’t have happened.  This is because the office of high priest is that of presiding over units like the ward and stake.  The elder is not.

An elder, when authorized, can confer the Melchizedek Priesthood upon a worthy man, as you did with your son.  And he can ordain other elders.  But the elder cannot ordain a high priest because he does not have such authority.  In a parallel manner, a priest can ordain teachers, deacons, & priests (D&C 20:48) while teachers and deacons cannot ordain at all.

This is not to bring honor to the men involved, but to ensure the Church of Jesus Christ is a Church of Order.  Whether elder or high priest has nothing to do with worthiness.  It has nothing to do with our eternal destiny.  While we dwell here below, the various Priesthood offices are important for the administration of the Kingdom of God on this earth. They are a part of the division of assignment in the Church, not a division of the Priesthood itself.

I do, however, find it disturbing that you said you somehow “suffered” because of witnessing your son be ordained a high priest.  I’d like you to consider a lesson from another man who did not stand in the circle for his sons.

I know of a man who was a Seventy by the time his eldest son was ordained an elder.  (Until 1986, the office of Seventy was a stake-level office that ranked below that of High Priest. The seventies in a stake were members of their own stake-level quorum, just as the high priests were.) Years went by and he remained a seventy.

One of his sons was ordained a high priest.  He did not stand in the circle.  Two of his sons-in-law were ordained high priests.  In fact, one of the sons ordained the other one.  One of these sons was later ordained a bishop. All the younger men who were high priests stood in the circle for the ordination.  Later, another son was ordained a high priest.  Still, throughout all these ordinations this father could not stand in the circle.

Eventually his daughter wondered (and asked) how he felt about not being in the circle for all these sons.  His answer surprised her.  He was actually tickled at the notion that he most likely was the only remaining “unquorumed” seventy in the entire world.  And he was very pleased to see his posterity being raised by such examples of leadership and men of God.

Can you take a lesson from this man?  It was a wonderful occasion to behold.  YOUR SON!!! was being ordained and given a calling of leadership in the Church.  But you chose to focus on what YOU were missing out on.

Remember that it is not YOUR priesthood.  It is the priesthood after the Order of the Son of God.  It is run for the benefit of His plan and His glory, not yours, nor mine, nor your sons’.

It was your divine privilege to have a son and to bring him up in the ways of God, including ordaining him to Aaronic Priesthood offices and being the means of bestowing upon him the Melchizedek Priesthood. Your duties as a father will never end, not now and not in the next life. I encourage you not to take offense or feel disappointment because you were not directly involved in some specific ordinance with your son. He will always and forever be your son, but he is also a man who, as you, assume a man’s responsibility when called to do so. That is what has happened here. This is not any kind of slight on you. Please choose not to view it as such.

By the way, this other father I spoke of, some time later he was in a meeting with the Stake President.  They knew each other well.  But it was the first time the President had noticed the records of this father.  “What are you doing still a seventy?!” He asked.  (Coincidentally, this was just a few years ago, and the man was actually about 70 years old by this time).

The father responded, “What do you mean?  I haven’t been ordained a high priest.  So, I’m a seventy.”  He had no desire for anything but what the Lord offered him.  The stake president said he’d put an end to the streak of tenure as an unquorumed seventy.  He was ordained a high priest soon thereafter by his son with a son-in-law also in the circle.  And he felt warmed by the love from his sons.

Perhaps one day you’ll be ordained a high priest.  What do you think it might be like to be ordained by your own son?  I think it might be a special bonding moment.






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