It was 192 years ago this month when Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery went and prayed in a sugar maple grove on May 15, 1829, near what was then known as Harmony, Pennsylvania.
Joseph had been working on the translation of the Book of Mormon and had several different scribes. With Oliver’s arrival with Joseph’s brother Samuel, Oliver soon became a full-time scribe.
They had reached the book of 3 Nephi when the resurrected Jesus Christ visits the ancient Americas and taught about baptism. Their prayer on that day in mid-May was about the authority to baptize, Joseph shared in his account in Joseph Smith-History 1:68-75.
“A messenger of light descended in a cloud of light,” Joseph recorded. John the Baptist conferred on them the Aaronic Priesthood, which included the authority to baptize. That same day, Joseph and Oliver baptized each other in the Susquehanna River and ordained each other. (See also see “How the Aaronic Priesthood Was Restored” on ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Here are three resources to learn more about the priesthood.
1. ‘The Priesthood Restored: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast’
The restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood is one of the topics of this six-episode podcast released earlier this year with host Spencer McBride, a historian and documentary editor for the Joseph Smith Papers.
The podcast explores the context and events of the restoration of the priesthood and developments of priesthood organization and structure over time.
2. Learn more about the Priesthood Restoration site
The homes of Joseph and Emma and her parents were reconstructed by the Church and dedicated in 2015. Also part of the Priesthood Restoration Site is a visitors’ center and monuments commemorating the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.
Earlier this year, photographer Kenneth Mays shared about two dozen images he’s taken from past visits to the site.
Also, during the pandemic, missionaries at the Church’s historic sites began offering virtual tours that continue to be available as the sites begin to reopen to in-person tours.
3. Women and the priesthood
The Church News joined with the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary general presidencies and advisory councils, as well as other faithful Latter-day Saint women and men, to create a series of articles sharing personal stories, experiences and thoughts about priesthood power.