There has been a discrepancy as to when the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored. Was it in June of 1829, 1830, or 1831? Historian Dan weighs in on the controversy and makes a case for later than the official Church story.
GT: Okay, so it sounds to me like you’re making a pretty strong case for the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood being 1831, which really wasn’t known about until 1835. Is that what you’re saying?
Dan Yeah, 1835. Alma Chapter 13 talks about the high priesthood and associates the high priesthood with Melchizedek. So in June 1831, it’s the high priesthood that is given to elders, and for time it was the elders with more authority. It wasn’t a separate office at first. It takes several months before it becomes the high priest office, but it was elders that had the high priesthood. So, that high priesthood, of course, because Alma is going to be associated with Melchizedek, and that’s why it says for the first time. The eldership wasn’t associated with Melchizedek. So in the church you had, for a while, elders. Elders were the charismatic leaders of the church, and the teachers, priests and deacons. were under elders.
GT: Yeah. So from what I understand, I spoke with Greg Prince about a year and a half ago, one of the things he said was when the church was very first organized, you had elders, priests and teachers. Those are the only three authorized.
Dan: Right, deacon came a little later.
GT: Deacon and Bishop came when Sidney Rigdon was baptized, and he said the Bible has Bishop and Deacon and so those were added later, both to the Aaronic priesthood, but it sounds like..
Dan: There’s no Aaronic, yet.
GT: So it was just the priesthood. Okay. I’m trying to remember because Quinn also delves into this and it sounded like elders were kind of like, “We’re not sure if they’re Aaronic or Melchizedek,” because it was kind of confusing.
Dan: Elders and then the High Priests were separate. Not until the expansion of D & C 107 were elders included in the High Priesthood and formed two layers.