The LDS church claims to possess the true priesthood, and teaches that all other churches lack this power to act in God’s name. If you’re coming out of Mormonism, you’re used to living with the priesthood. So how do things work, and where do you fit now, in your new church?
[Related: Understanding Priesthood After Mormonism]
[Related: Reassessing Priesthood After Mormonism]
- Definition and function of Mormon priesthood. Latter-day Saints see the priesthood as a very powerful entity imparting authority and wisdom. Everything in the church – and the home – needs to be done by priesthood power. The hierarch of priesthood offices is very important. The temple rituals especially emphasize the authority and power of the priesthood.
- Leadership in Christian churches vs. LDS priesthood hierarchy.
- The Bible does not assume the strict hierarchy seen in Mormonism, but presents a greater fluidity of leadership roles. For example, Peter doesn’t require Paul to report to him, and Paul even corrected Peter publicly when needed. (In Mormonism you don’t correct your priesthood superiors.)
- In the New Testament, we don’t see the various churches governed centrally from a top-down group. Rather, they share a more mutual kind of relationship. While the LDS church claims to have the same organizational structure as Jesus’ original church, a careful reading of the Bible shows that this is not correct.
- Where does authority come from in non-LDS churches?
- The authority by which traditional Christian churches operate rests in the authority of the Bible. This can be compared to a constitutional form of government, where certain leaders are appointed to govern, but are ultimately accountable to the rule of law. In New Testament churches, as long as leaders follow the Bible, the people hold them in check and the church thrives.
- Jesus taught: the church should never be one where the leaders are lording it over or having dominion over others, but should be servants.
Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As you transition out of Mormonism into a new church home, you can start to see how leadership works. It’s not a function of priesthood authority, but of the Bible’s authority. By the way, if you are attending a church where the leaders are not accountable to the Bible, you should look for another church.
[Related: What Does It Mean that the Bible is Inspired?]
[Related: Why I Trust the Bible After Mormonism]
[Related: Why Is the Bible Reliable?]