Elder/High Priest Transition
If you must know, I turned 40 this month. Among the many things I have thought about as I crossed this milestone is the odd transition from being an Elder to being a High Priest. For now I am only an Elder. As far as I know I am the second oldest active Elder in our ward.
It was not many years ago when our little ward here in Michigan had no High Priest's group. The bishopric consisted of all the active High Priests in the ward. The stake presidency decided it was high time we had a High Priests group, and decided that every temple recommend holding Elder over 40 should be ordained a High Priest. Thus the group began.
For many the ordination to High Priest is accompanied by a calling to a bishopric, High Council or similar call. For others it appears to be simply a public acknowledgment of advancing years. Is there any advantage to being a High Priest?
Section 107 states that High Priests administer over spiritual things. That sounds nice. Certain callings require the one serving to be a High Priest. High Priests seem to be allowed to sleep during meetings without harsh penalties. I understand that High Priest group meetings can take off on all kinds of interesting tangents. I also believe that when one receives the Melchizedek priesthood he receives all of it. Is there that much difference between the two offices?
A few decades ago there were High Priests, Seventies and Elders all serving at the ward level. My impression of things at that time is that there was a division of responsibilities between these groups (possibly unwritten). The High Priests often took the role of redeeming the dead, the Seventies were the proclaim the gospel group, and the Elders tried to perfect the saints. Now with no Seventies, there is more of a sense that each group should be involved in every mission of the church.
Perhaps this is vanity speaking, but I think I would prefer that if I am to someday become a High Priest, that it is a necessity of some calling, other than somebody noticing that I am getting rather old. I would also prefer if it after my father returns from his mission (so he can do the honors), and before he ... can't. Fortunately, he is in good health and should live a long, long time - more.
Is being a High Priest all it's cracked up to be? Should there be a division in Relief Society with old sisters over there and young sisters over here?