Hello there Gramps,
I’m a member. I have a question nobody seems to be able to answer.
In scripture, we read specific priesthood duties for the Aaronic priesthood, which were clearly written for and carried out by able-bodied adult men.
In today’s practice, the Aaronic priesthood has been handed down to pre-pubescent boys who largely accomplish little else beyond passing sacrament. It is my view that this comes close to mocking the lesser priesthood as it was originally designed, practiced and intended to be perpetuated.
My question: Why and when did this become church doctrine/practice?
I would be most interested in the scripture that you refer to which tells us that the duties of the Aaronic priesthood were clearly written for and carried out by able-bodied adult men. The scriptures that I am familiar with tell us that the priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament. The priest’s duties also includes visiting the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret and to attend to all family duties (D&C 20:46-52).
The teacher’s duties are similar. They are 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 (D&C 20:53-55).
Nowhere in the above cited scriptures do I see where the Aaronic Priesthood duties would require able-bodied adult men to carry them out.
As I’m sure that you are aware, the minimum age for ordination to the Aaronic Priesthood is 12 years, and as far as I understand, it always has been. In the early days of the church, and in many of the units in the church today older men are ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood, but that is normally done as a preliminary priesthood obligation soon after they are baptized. As they mature in the gospel they are normally advanced rather quickly into the Melchizedek Priesthood. This advancement of adult converts from the Aaronic to the Melchizedek Priesthood usually occurs within the first year of membership in the church.
I am also surprised by your statement that having young boys passing the sacrament comes close to mocking the lesser priesthood. Is it your opinion that the priesthood is mocked because the 12-year-old boys have not the ability to adequately perform that sacred service? Joseph Smith was only 14 when the Father and the Son appeared to him and called him to restore the gospel to the earth.
Joseph F. Smith was only fifteen years old when he was called as a missionary to the Hawaiian Islands, and traveled alone from Salt Lake City to his assignment.
Frankly, I just don’t know where you’re coming from.