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Dear Gramps,

My wife’s father practices polygamy, He has two wives and several children, I have seen him give blessings to his children and even baptize some of them. my question is about line of authority, he can trace his “line of authority” back to Joseph Smith, but he himself has never been a member of the church, but rather a break off of the church. I am concerned because my wife, who has recently been baptized, asked him to give her a blessing, and wanted me to participate. what should I do? Where is the line between stewardship of a father with priesthood authority and a father without priesthood authority?


Dear Sean,

Only male members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have the opportunity of holding the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood.  Only members of the Church in good standing who have been ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood are able to trace their “line of authority” back to Jesus Christ, through Peter, James and John. All others who claim to hold any authority from God are mere pretenders.None of the ordinances that they perform are binding or valid.

Anyone can pray and ask the Lord to bless themselves or others, but only those holding the Melchizedek Priesthood can give a blessing in Christ’s name and through the Priesthood he holds.It would be inappropriate for one holding the Priesthood to participate in giving a blessing with someone who did not hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, especially when they are acting as voice.

In years past it was common practice to allow a father who did not hold the Melchizedek Priesthood to stand in the circle when his child was given a name and a blessing though he was not able to act as voice.The First Presidency has indicated that this is no longer acceptable and only those who are worthy and hold the Melchizedek Priesthood are to be involved in performing an ordinance or in giving a blessing through the Priesthood.


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