Priesthood Line of Authority
Since ancient times, holders of the priesthood of God have recorded their priesthood line of authority (see Doctrine and Covenants 84). For those ordained to the priesthood today, tracing back a personal priesthood line of authority to the Savior is unique to the restored gospel.
Priesthood line of authority is a sequential pattern of ordinations that can be followed back to the early beginnings of the Church. It is performed in the manner outlined by the Lord in the scriptures. Part of the Restoration of the gospel included the restoration of the priesthood on the earth by those in authority. Peter, James and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood on Joseph Smith, thereby giving him the same authority given them by Jesus Christ.
A Melchizedek priesthood line of authority is determined by the priesthood office held by the officiator at the time the ordination took place. For example, if a father who is an elder ordains his son to the office of elder, the son’s line of authority is traced through the father’s elder ordination. If the father is a high priest at the time he ordains his son, the son’s line of authority is traced through the father’s high priest ordination.
The First Presidency authorized the gathering of information to record Melchizedek priesthood lines of authority. Therefore, the Church can provide priesthood line of authority information to members of the Church upon request.
A priesthood line of authority is not recorded for Aaronic Priesthood offices by Church headquarters, although individuals and families are welcome to record it on their own.