Melchizedek priesthood (Latter Day Saints)

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The Melchizedek priesthood is the greater of the two (or sometimes three) orders of priesthood recognized in Mormonism. The others are the Aaronic priesthood and the rarely-recognized Patriarchal priesthood.[1] The Melchizedek priesthood is also referred to as the high priesthood of the holy order of God[2] and the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God,[3] or simply as the high priesthood.

In Mormonism, unlike most other Christian denominations, the Melchizedek priesthood is thought to be held by unextraordinary mortals and not solely by either pre-Aaronic priests such as Melchizedek, or Jesus alone, as most Christians interpret the Epistle to the Hebrews. According to Joseph Smith, Jr., the name of this priesthood became Melchizedek "because Melchizedek was such a great high priest" and "to avoid the too frequent repetition" of the "name of the Supreme Being".[4] Smith taught that this priesthood was on the earth since Adam received it and conferred it upon his sons Abel and Seth, and it was conferred successively upon the early biblical patriarchs. Through it Enoch led his people to become so righteous and obedient that they qualified to be translated as the City of Enoch. Noah held this priesthood, as did Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and it remained on earth until the time of Moses, who received it "under the hand of his father-in-law, Jethro"[5] and it would have been given to the Israelites if they had been worthy of it and had not "hardened their hearts".[6]

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