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Dear Gramps,

Can you tell me what difference there is between the responsibilities of deacons and teachers in the Aaronic Priesthood? What new authority or responsibilities does a boy obtain in the Mormon Church when he is ordained from a deacon to a teacher? I can’t find any difference in the scriptures, and so I wonder why the Lord created the two separate offices.






Dear Bob,

There is significant redundancy in all the various offices of the priesthood in the Mormon Church. However, there are also unique functions belonging to each of the offices. All the offices of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood are organized into quorums, i.e. priesthood organizational units that are presided over by officers selected from among their own numbers. These quorum separations are especially important for the members of the Aaronic Priesthood, who vary in age from 12 to 18 years old. So one difference between the responsibilities of the deacons and teachers relates to their ages. Deacons are normally from 12 to 13 years old and teachers from 14 to 15. Since a 12 to 14 year old would normally feel uncomfortable in a group of 14 to 16 year olds, a separate functional unit for this age group and the other groups or quorums in the Aaronic priesthood is very appropriate.

In the various priesthood quorums there are functions that are normally performed by members each particular quorums. For instance, the deacons normally collect the fast offerings. However, they may be assisted by teachers or priests, as necessary. Teachers are especially called to do home teaching. However, in regularly organized Wards, they would act as junior companions to members of the Melchizedek priesthood, and they may be assisted by deacons or priests. From Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants we read that

The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them;


And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking;


And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.


And he is to take the lead of meetings in the absence of the elder or priest–


And is to be assisted always, in all his duties in the church, by the deacons, if occasion requires. (D&C 20:53-57)

One of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said that

“The deacons in the Church have a sacred obligation to visit the home of every member to collect fast offerings for the poor.” (Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, The Law of the Fast, Ensign (CR), May 2001, p.73)

So I wouldn’t worry over some redundancy in the duties of the various priesthood quorums, that’s the way it should be.






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