In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), the Aaronic Priesthood authority includes the keys for the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel, which means the gospel of repentance, baptism, and the remission of sins, and the administering of outward or temporal ordinances.
The office of a deacon in the Mormon Church is the first office of the Aaronic Priesthood. It is followed by the offices of teacher, priest, and bishop.
A worthy male can be ordained to the office of deacon when at least twelve years old. Like all priesthood ordinations, the candidate must be interviewed, typically by the bishop, and found worthy. The candidate is then ordained by the laying on of hands by a worthy holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
The duties of a deacon relate to the temporal or outward ordinances of the Church. Some of the responsibilities and duties of deacons are to:
* Follow counsel
* Set a good example
* Pass the sacrament
* Collect fast offerings
* Care for the poor and needy
* Assist the bishopric
* Serve as a messenger
* Participate in quorum instruction
* Serve in quorum leadership positions
* Fellowship quorum members and other young men
* Be baptized and confirmed for the dead in the temple
* Speak in meetings
* Share the gospel
* Bear testimony
* Care for the meetinghouse and grounds
When passing the sacrament, deacons should dress appropriately, wearing a white shirt and a tie. Ties should not divert people’s attention away from the purpose of the sacrament.
Worthy young men may be ordained as teachers when they are at least 14 years old. Teachers have all the responsibilities of deacons but have other responsibilities as well. They may help in preparing the sacrament. Teachers my also serve as home teachers, usually with a companion who is an elder or someone with a higher priesthood office. They may also serve as ushers for ward meetings and stake conferences, assist the bishopric, and participate in seminary where available. Teachers do not have the authority to baptize or bless the sacrament.
A worthy young man may be ordained to the office of priest when he is at least 16 years old. A priest has all the responsibilities of a deacon and a teacher. Some of their additional responsibilities, according to Doctrine and Covenants 20:46-47, are to “preach, teach, expound, exhort, . . . and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties.”
Priests are in charge of blessing and administering the sacrament (known in other Christian denominations as the Eucharist). When authorized, priests are allowed to baptize, though they cannot confer the gift of the Holy Ghost. They can also ordain deacons, teachers, and other priests when authorized by the bishop.
The Priests’ quorum is presided over by the bishop of a ward.
While the office of bishop is an office of the Aaronic Priesthood, those holding this office are ordained as High Priests in the Melchizedek Priesthood. For more about the duties of bishops see Mormon Bishops.