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097: Men to Boys: Development of the Priesthood

menTOBoysThis episode borrows heavily from Author – William G. Hartley who wrote the paper – “From Men To Boys: LDS Aaronic Priesthood Offices 1829 – 1996” and all credit should be given to him as his paper is quoted extensively. This paper was published in JOURNAL OF MORMON HISTORY VOLUME 22, No. 1 SPRING 1996

When you click the link above go to page 92 to start which is actually page 82 of the document

This episode tries to counter our assumptions of how Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood where developed and actually explains what really happened showing us once again that things are more complex then we thought.



8 thoughts on “097: Men to Boys: Development of the Priesthood”

  1. I’ve often lamented that we throw too much responsibility on children who are not equipped to lead. It doesn’t work well according to my observations. The program relies heavily on shadow leadership, which leads to frustration, as the youth tend to not live up to expectations. It’s farsical to quote DC 20 and then to realise it doesn’t apply to our youth. For example, do we really expect a 16 year old to take the lead in meetings when there are no Elders available?

  2. I hear you Terry. When we don’t understand the historical complexity we fail to realize the Lord was not necessarily speaking to youth ages 12-18 in section 20.

  3. OK…that was an EXTREMLY informative pod-cast bill. I found myself starting to jot down notes. Some of the things that jumped out:
    1. boys were NOT moved up the priesthood stages based on age, and at one time, more dignity seemed to be associated with Aaronic PH offices.
    2. non-ordained boys COULD pass the sacrament at one time, and it didn’t invalidate the ordinance.
    3. In 1933, earlier and later, women use to prepare the sacrament, including filling the water cups. THIS ABOUT BLOWS MY MIND!
    4. Young women in one ward took care of washing and cleaning the sacrament sets, but when paper cups came about, they were — it seems — overtly precluded from this duty.
    5. IN 1950, women went back to taking care of the linnens and so forth.
    6. Boys as young as 10 years of age were ordained elders and given their endowments.
    7. There didn’t seem to be a giant push for everyone to get the priesthood and be endowed.


    Bill, your point about some of these policies, how they apparently didnt’ invalidate the ordinances involved, and how women were precluded from activities, is VERY thought provoking. I’ve never made connections in this area because I am completely unfamiliar with this historical perspective, and the involvement of YW and Women in general.

    If you ever get a chance, tieing this pod-cast into another one that address this women and the priesthood issue that is so hot right now would be quite interesting.

  4. I heard excerpts from Hartley’s book a year ago when Jeff Bradshaw mentioned it during one of the Scripture Roundtable podcasts over at Mormon Interpreter. I immediately contacted Jeff and we exchanged e-mails on the topic. Are we forcing responsibilities onto youth that were never meant to be? Is this inspiration, or desperation? My experience after working with youth for over 40-years in the Church is that most are not interested in doing the things described in D&C 20. They are just boys after all. I even had a member of the Stake Presidency correct me after teaching in a Sunday school lesson, that the AP can take the lead of meeting when no Elders are present. He told me that “it doesn’t apply anymore”. So why don’t we just rip up section 20? It’s anachronistic!

  5. Pingback: MD Podcast: Men to Boys | Wheat and Tares

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