3 ways to learn more about the Aaronic Priesthood restoration, 192 years ago this month

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 Priesthood Restored: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast" was released on Jan. 14, 2021.
“The Priesthood Restored: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast” was released on Jan. 14, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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. 

Find out more about the podcast  

2. Learn more about the Priesthood Restoration site  

Flowers bloom around the rebuilt home of Joseph and Emma Smith, shown in 2018 at the Priesthood Restoration Site in Oakland Township, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.
Flowers bloom around the rebuilt home of Joseph and Emma Smith, shown in 2018 at the Priesthood Restoration Site in Oakland Township, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. Credit: Kenneth Mays

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. 

See the photos and learn more about the virtual tours or schedule an in-person or virtual one  

3. Women and the priesthood  

President Russell M. Nelson shakes hands with President Jean Bingham, Relief Society general president, after the general women's session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.
President Russell M. Nelson shakes hands with President Jean Bingham, Relief Society general president, after the general women’s session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

In the last few years, President Russell M. Nelson and other leaders have encouraged women to study more about the priesthood, or power of God, and what it means to them.  

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. 

Explore the ‘Women of Covenant’ series