D&C 27:1213; D&C 107:8; D&C 128:20; Joseph Smith—History 1:72
Peter, and James, and John … I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them. D&C 27:12
When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist, they were promised they would later receive the Melchizedek Priesthood (see Joseph Smith—History 1:72). “The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church” (D&C 107:8).
In June 1829 Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon, and Oliver was writing for him. During this time Joseph and Oliver went into the wilderness area near the Susquehanna River between the towns of Harmony and Colesville, Pennsylvania. Peter, James, and John appeared and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Peter, James, and John said they held the keys of the kingdom, and they were to bring the Melchizedek Priesthood to the earth in the dispensation of “the fulness of times,” or the latter days. (See D&C 27:1213; see also D&C 128:20.) Because of this great event, we have the Melchizedek Priesthood on the earth today. (See John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government, rev. ed. , 11011.)
Sometime after John the Baptist gave them the Aaronic Priesthood, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visited by the Apostles Peter, James, and John near the Susquehanna River in the state of Pennsylvania. The Apostles conferred upon Joseph and Oliver the Melchizedek Priesthood, which had been taken from the earth anciently. With this power and authority, Joseph could organize the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth again.
Artist, Kenneth Riley
© 2002 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Used by permission.