11/29/2006

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?

58 Comments:

At 11/29/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this for the last couple years (I'm 45) - in fact two years ago I got called into a SP interview and was convinced it was to make me a HP (Nope, into the EQ presidency). There doesn't appear to be a set policy in our ward/stake.

I've wondered why the Elders and HP always split up after opening exercises - why not teach us all together?

 
At 11/29/2006, Anonymous connor said...

I think the transition into the HP quorum is based on the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep once the lesson starts. Just keep your eyes open and alert, and I think you'll be safe in the EQ. :)

 
At 11/30/2006, Anonymous Phouchg said...

I think we should ordain children to be High Priests. Then they would sleep during sacrament instead of howling like a bunch of rabid yard apes.

 
At 11/30/2006, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

anonymous:

I think the action our stake took was a one time decision. Perhaps the reason the groups split is to conduct quorum business.

Connor:

Good idea.

Phouchg:

A very good idea.

 
At 11/30/2006, Blogger BrianJ said...

Eric: My understanding (from when I was in a bishopric) is that the Chuch has advised leaders to stop ordaining men high priests based solely on age. If the bishop thinks a 50-yr old elder would be happier meeting with high priests, then he can still meet with them without actually being ordained one.

I would also encourage you to be very active in your elders quorum. Too many of the "older elders" stand in the wings and distance themselves from a group of young elders/young fathers who could really use their insight. At age 40, you're not really that much older than the average elder (assuming you are not in a BYU ward) and your kids are not much older than their kids.

 
At 11/30/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric:

One difference I know is that High Priests are typically better home teachers and in Home Teaching, high priests are supposed to be in charge of Home Teaching the widows and the men who are termed "prospective elders".

Matt W.

And no, I don't personally think RS should be split.

 
At 11/30/2006, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

BrianJ:

Thanks for your comment. I believe you are right about the direction bishops get on this. Your advice is good about staying involved with the EQ. I was the EQP in our ward about three years ago. Right now I'm up to my neck in scouting etc. with the young men.

Matt W.

You may be right about the general trend in HT, although I think we have the opposite in our ward.

Splitting up the women does seem like a bad idea, but I am not sure why.

 
At 11/30/2006, Anonymous J. Stapley said...

I also believe that when one receives the Melchizedek priesthood he receives all of it.

This isn't particularly true.

That said, both the Elders and High Priests are directed from the stake. If it is not a Church-wide policy it is a common area policy to not ordain men to be High Priests unless they have a calling that requires it (unlike the days of yore).

 
At 11/30/2006, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

Thanks J.

So, does a High Priest have more 'priesthood' than an Elder?

 
At 11/30/2006, Anonymous J. Stapley said...

I wasn't think so much of the Elder/HP comparison. Joseph talked a lot about the Fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood or the Fullness of the Priesthood. This is obviously one of the more esoteric ordinations. There is a reasonable case that the Patriarchal office is a different priesthood (not that we have a Presiding Patriarch anymore).

 
At 11/30/2006, Anonymous John Mansfield said...

I've liked it when a father and son are both members of my quorum. I have a few years to go until my boys join me in the elders quorum.

 
At 11/30/2006, Anonymous Dennis West said...

in one of my recent wards, i was the elder's quorum president and I was really dissapointed when they came in and released one of my counselors so they could make him a high priest because he turned 40. They didn't even give him a calling right away that would have mandated his release anyway.

I guess I don't mind it so much, but there does seem to be a division between the elder's and high priests that when someone leaves the EQ, you hardly see them anymore.

I'm not much for automatic advancement to different levels of the priesthood, but then again, if someone's worthy and active, then why not advance them now instead of waiting for a bishipric call or something like that?

 
At 12/01/2006, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

john:

I haven't thought of that. My oldest it nearly 14. In about 5 years we could be in the same quorum!

Dennis:

Thanks for your comment and for stopping by. Yes, there does seem to be a level of division between the two groups.

 
At 12/10/2006, Blogger Mike said...

What Stake are you in? (My parents live in Michigan)

 
At 12/11/2006, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

I am in the Kalamazoo stake.

No, I'm not kidding.

 
At 1/16/2007, Anonymous Tony said...

Since this thread was started a couple of months ago I don't know if anyone will see it but if nothing else it gives me a chance to vent. I came across this blog after a doing a Google search on "becoming an LDS High Priest". I'm a 42-year old convert to the church, my whole family (wife and two children)was baptized in August 2005. I'm a bit perturbed that I'm not a high priest, but am instead lumped in with all of the young guys while my peers and even those younger than me ARE high priests. Nobody in authority (bishopric, stake presidency, etc.)has laid out the "path to high priesthood" to me and the subject is almost treated like a secret. Everything I've learned about the subject I've gleaned from other elders.

If I do say so myself, I think that I'm the type of convert that the church would want to engage by moving up and preparing for higher callings. My family is active in our ward, we've been to the temple for our endowments and sealing, and I'm a darn intelligent guy! Have I not been advanced because I'm still so new? Is there a type of "probation" one must serve? I ask all of these things because I really want to know and, petty as it sounds, I feel I belong with the high priests! There are some good guys in the EQ but most are young military guys (our ward is considered a military ward because we take in the nearby Air Force base) in their 20s and early 30s that I don't feel a lot commonality with. My peers go to high priests and I feel ignored.

Like I said, I don't know if anyone will even see this post but it sure feels good to vent!

 
At 1/17/2007, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

Tony:

Thanks for your comment.

In most cases it is the calling (as in being called to a bishopric) that then required ordination to a high priest.

To let you know, I am 40, and have been a member all my life. I went on a mission, was married in the temple, and probably have not missed 10 church meetings in the last 20 years. I am a smart guy and a nice guy. I only say this to let you know your experience is not unusual. I do not believe you are being overlooked in any way. There are many active Elders over 40.

Check out the Bruce R. McConkie talk in my post. Heck of a talk on how important an Elder is.

You might have a nice talk with your bishop about attending high priest group meetings if you feel strongly about it.

Again, thanks for your comment.

 
At 1/31/2007, Blogger TG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2/01/2007, Blogger TG said...

Yesterday I posted my experience in this matter. When I was done it sounded like I was complaining. I've wondered when I would be called as a High Priest as well. I look forward to the day. It is difficult to watch others receive callings or to be called as a High Priest and not be yourself. I am now in my mid forty’s and still waiting.

I fear that this is the work of the adversary trying to create jealousy or perhaps a feeling of being left out or forgotten. Our lives are filled with the fullness of the gospel. We have our testimonies. We will continue to progress regardless of our calling(s). While the Church itself is perfect it is still run by man.

So, I will be a better home teacher. I will not miss my meetings. I will partake of the Sacrament with every opportunity. I will fulfill my calling(s) to the best of my ability and pray for strength that reaches beyond my own capacity. And I will not judge those in authority.

 
At 2/19/2007, Blogger Lizzilu said...

So what really is the difference then between being an Elder or High Priest? I deduced that their must be some thing else in the priesthood because certain callings require that office but beyond that?
Thanks, I'd appreciate any clarification you can offer.

 
At 2/22/2007, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

tg: sounds like you are on the right track.

lizzilu:

I do not think there is as much difference as people think. From what little I have read, the High Priest has a responsibility to preside over spiritual matters. (I think that comes from D&C 107). But that is pretty vague.

 
At 8/26/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric asked, "So, does a High Priest have more 'priesthood' than an Elder?" Elder McConkie's talk "Only an Elder" suggests he dpesn't.

But the Doctrine and Covenants says that the office of elder is only an appendage to the high priesthood, so one might think an elder doesn't hold the fulness of the high priesthood. There has to be some difference between high priests and elders. What does "appendage" mean in this context?

 
At 11/06/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder that myself too. That is why I am here in the blog. Next year, I will be 50. I have been a faithful member since 12. Have not missed any Sunday meetings. Have serve a full-time mission, married in the temple and have 2 sons serving full-time missions. It may happened that my sons may become HP before me. But our entrance into exaltation is not base on the office but on our faith, charity, humility and trust in the Lord.

 
At 1/10/2008, Blogger djbartlett said...

The Higher Priesthood is the Melchisedek PH, not being a HP. I think the biggest difference between being an Elder and a HP is that the Elders focus more on the members worldly needs. HP focus more on spiritual needs. That said they two quorums are very much alike.

At 44, a convert, I was made a HP so that I could serve as the Branch President. It wasn't necessary like being a Bishop, but they felt that I could use the blessings that came from the office of a HP. I would rather have stayed with the younger men, than become part of the old timers.

Once you have the Melchizedek PH you have all that is needed. An Elder, HP, Seventy, Apostle, etc. are offices in that priesthood. None are "above" another, but may be needed to serve in a specific calling. So one becomes an apostle to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve.

Once we get "home", the Lord will judge us by what we did with the callings and PH we received, not how "high" we rose. Most Bishops and Stake Presidents would gladly accept a calling back to teach a class. But they serve where the Lord calls them. Once released, they are just another HP in the Quorum.

 
At 1/10/2008, Blogger djbartlett said...

The Higher Priesthood is the Melchisedek PH, not being a HP. I think the biggest difference between being an Elder and a HP is that the Elders focus more on the members worldly needs. HP focus more on spiritual needs. That said they two quorums are very much alike.

At 44, a convert, I was made a HP so that I could serve as the Branch President. It wasn't necessary like being a Bishop, but they felt that I could use the blessings that came from the office of a HP. I would rather have stayed with the younger men, than become part of the old timers.

Once you have the Melchizedek PH you have all that is needed. An Elder, HP, Seventy, Apostle, etc. are offices in that priesthood. None are "above" another, but may be needed to serve in a specific calling. So one becomes an apostle to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve.

Once we get "home", the Lord will judge us by what we did with the callings and PH we received, not how "high" we rose. Most Bishops and Stake Presidents would gladly accept a calling back to teach a class. But they serve where the Lord calls them. Once released, they are just another HP in the Quorum.

 
At 1/18/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand how some people feel. I come into my 50th year at the end of this year. I was a convert at the age of 23, went on a mission a year and a half later. I have served in my ward in varies calling such as EQP, Ward Mission leader. I have always been a faithfull member. Most of the brethern that used to be with me are now in High Priests. Some might say it should not matter what quorem you are in but at a certain age you do start wondering. It's a pity there is not a general rule that as long as you are faithfull, when you reach a certain age you advance to be a high priest.

 
At 1/28/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Eric!
First, a quick question: Are you related to the late Mission President Glenn E. Nielson? Although I understand the need for structure in a religious unit, such as a Ward or Stake, too much emphasis on the “rank and grade” structure of members destroys initiative and ability to contribute to the spiritual and physical welfare of members. How well do I remember the mindless discussions and drifting of ideas in the EQ.? Discussions about absurd things like the cars you own or the wisdom of expensive jewelry. I believe in a free participation in interest groups and all-inclusiveness. Brothers and Sisters of a Ward should work, play and learn together. After all, that is how the world is structured.
With regards to all,
Al-Andre

 
At 2/12/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was asked to attend the High Priest group. I am not a HP just old. I think I am considered not worthy to be a HP, which is probably true. I can count the callings I have had over the years on my fingers. So I got a social promotion I guess. I dont really care to be a HP but it does kind of serve to remind me that I really suck as a Mormon and does not make attending any easier. I think it was meant to help me and I appreciate that. Not sure it did really.

 
At 2/12/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today in the church, it is getting rare that a man gets ordained a HP unless he gets a calling that requires it. Instead, they assign us to the quorum that best fits us. That may be by age, or quorum need. Most HP Groups today will have Elders, Seventies and HP's. I really think they are trying to get away from the promotion by age, and follow the scriptural requirements instead.

 
At 3/16/2008, Blogger Bob B. said...

Hi there brother Elders, recently at age 55 I was invited,told that I would be attending HP Quorum, I asked one of the HP why. His answer, "If you walk like a duck, talk like a duck, act like a duck, you should sit with the ducks. LOL that was for about 3-4 weeks when I was called to be EQ Secretary. So what am I? Like all Elders, you and I are a prospective HP. Take a close look at what a HP is spiritually. They are those who are spiritually motivated to be of special service to their fellow man. They are serving in callings or have served in callings that require a lot of personal sacrifice. Are you ready for that? Again I say LOOK at the man and how he carries himself... remember that not all are perfect including oneself. Usually you will find attached to this man a spiritual woman who is truly his equal. That man is a HP who has taken up his priesthood and manifests love as the Saviour did...then look at yourself and make the changes necessary. It requires a lot of knee time.
May Heavenly Father bless you with an answer to comfort you and yours.

 
At 3/16/2008, Blogger Bob B. said...

Hi there brother Elders, recently at age 55 I was invited,told that I would be attending HP Quorum, I asked one of the HP why. His answer, "If you walk like a duck, talk like a duck, act like a duck, you should sit with the ducks. LOL that was for about 3-4 weeks when I was called to be EQ Secretary. So what am I? Like all Elders, you and I are a prospective HP. Take a close look at what a HP is spiritually. They are those who are spiritually motivated to be of special service to their fellow man. They are serving in callings or have served in callings that require a lot of personal sacrifice. Are you ready for that? Again I say LOOK at the man and how he carries himself... remember that not all are perfect including oneself. Usually you will find attached to this man a spiritual woman who is truly his equal. That man is a HP who has taken up his priesthood and manifests love as the Saviour did...then look at yourself and make the changes necessary. It requires a lot of knee time.
May Heavenly Father bless you with an answer to comfort you and yours.

 
At 7/13/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion -- but I don't think the original post has been addressed, and maybe cannot be.

We have some elders who are more faithful than some high priests, and yet they're not invited to become high priests. We have some faithful elders who seem to be forgotten and passed over -- some are left in elders quorums and some are asked to "affiliate" with a high priests group (but markedly without ordination).

Ordination to the office of high priest is not determined by age or by worthiness, it is solely the discretion and choice (whim?) of the stake president.

Some stake presidents might be generous and invite many good elders to become high priests; some might be less generous. Reasons for being less generous could range from simple lack of paying attention to business with other matters to a desire to keep the high priesthood "pure".

There is absolutely no "priesthood" difference between the work of an elders quorum or a high priests group. There may have been differences in the past, but not anymore.

But it is easy to see how a good man might see himself as "passed-over" and judged as less-than-faithful by being left in an elders quorum (or being instructed to affiliate with a high priests group) while he sees other brothers, sometimes his junior in years and in faithfulness, being called forward to be ordained as high priests. His wife and children can also see this, and they do -- and so do other ward members.

For these reasons, I tend to feel every honorable and faithful elder should be advanced to the office of high priest an an appropriate time, and I hope stake presidents will give some care here.

 
At 10/13/2008, Blogger Dave D said...

As a faithful elder of 46 my thoughts have recently been turned to this very subject as I read Alma 13 (awesome reading for anyone pondering this subject). Likewise, I have always been touched by the opening of the book of Abraham: "I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers."

Since my convert baptism, at 10 years old, I have been faithful and active, serving a mission, married in the Temple, a daughter married in the temple, son on a mission, and my youngest (17) actively preparing for one. I have always accepted every calling asked of me, and done my best to magnify those callings. I haven't been perfect, but I know that every calling I've had was the best one in the church (with the exception of Road Show coordinator--which was probably really my wife's calling, and I was just there to support, 'cause as an engineer, I have absolutely no talent there!)

I live in a strong ward, with a faithful MP in almost every family. Fact is, there simply aren't enough leadership positions to move every elder into who could faithfully serve as a HP. But what a blessing it is to the younger men in the EQ to have a spectrum of experience in there from us "silverbacks". I've had the privilege of attending EQ with my son, before he went on his mission. I'm actually glad that I wasn't in the HP group, then. Hopefully, I'll have that chance, again, when he returns, and then six months to a year later, when my youngest becomes an elder, too.

On becoming a High Priest, I've done a lot of pondering of late. I know that as a youth, I probably didn't appreciate my ordinations to the offices in the Aaronic priesthood as I should have, and wasn't as prepared as I could have been. I was somewhat familiar with the oath and covenant, but probably not as much as I should have been, even when called as an elder, before my mission. I have resolved to prepare much better for when (if?) I am ordained as a high priest.

In considering the point made by an earlier poster, that his sons may be HP before him, the thought came to my mind, that what a privilege it would be for my own son to ordain me to the office of HP! I hope I have had some part in raising them to understand and honor the priesthood much more so than I did at their age. It would probably be suiting for them to ordain me.

Lastly, the most important thing is that we "stand close together and lift where [we] stand", as President Uchtdorf encouraged in the Oct 2007 PH session.

As we know, all the priesthood needed for exaltation is found in ANY office of the Melchizedek Priesthood--as long as we magnify that calling! Let's lift where we stand, and give the most service (and thus be richly blessed) where ever it is that the Lord has called us to serve at this particular time. Then, when the time comes to lead, as a HP, we will be prepared to bless the lives of others through that service. THAT is what the priesthood is about.

 
At 2/10/2009, Anonymous T. Stewart said...

A lot has been said on this already, but I feel I have just a bit to add to the topic.

I did a little study of the topic of "What is the difference between an Elder & a High Priest" in the scriptures, and the words of modern prophets. To be honest, I came up pretty empty handed. But here's some things I've picked up. Is it doctrine? If it were, it would be clearly written somewhere sacred by a modern prophet... not by me. :) So take this with a grain of salt.

Not only is the office of Elder an appendage to the Melch. Priesthood (also known as the High Priesthood), but so is the office of High Priest an appendage to that same Priesthood. There are no levels of Melch. Priesthood. A member of the Quorum of the Twelve has the same "level" of Priesthood as a 19 year old Elder, and both have "enough Priesthood" to enter the celestial kingdom.

This is apparent when we have the Melch. Priesthood "conferred" upon us, and are "ordained" to the office of Elder/High Priest in the Melch. Priesthood. Note the distinction. The priesthood is conferred upon us, just as the Gift of the Holy Ghost, for example (though the wording is different). The office is not conferred upon us, instead we are ordained to it, which I hold similar in a way to being set apart in a calling.

Each calling in the church has different responsibilities, but equal opportunity to receive the blessings of salvation. This is true as well for the callings within the priesthood, ie. the offices. They have distinct responsibilities.

If I could sum up the difference between the responsibilities of a High Priest and those of an Elder, I would say that a High Priest generally has the same responsibilities (both spiritual and temporal--see D&C 107:18) as an Elder, with one addition. That is a greater right of presidency.

Certain callings require that you be a High Priest, and those callings are all callings with broad rights of presidency. I say broad, but what I mean is that their right of presidency is not limited to one specific quorum (EQ or deacons, for example) and the members therein, but instead over the whole Ward or Stake.

So, what in blue blazes am I getting at?

1. Don't worry if you haven't been called to be a High Priest as early as you thought or according to some pattern. That pattern really doesn't exist; unlike the Aaronic PH with its progression based on age--perhaps a lesser factor is appropriate given that it is the lesser PH. With the greater PH, there is a greater factor. Here, regardless of age, the Lord makes the call, not our bishop, branch president, or stake president, and certainly not us. If I made my own calling, I'd still be a deacon and taking it easy, and frankly wouldn't be of much use to my fellow man. :)

2. You should not feel that you are somehow unworthy. If you're worthy to hold a Temple recommend, you are personally worthy enough to be a High Priest (the interview questions are identical).

3. You should not feel less righteous than the other guy who got called who's 15 years younger than you. Only Satan deals with comparisons like that. The Lord makes calls at the PRECISE moment when, in his infinite wisdom, He knows it will best impact our lives and those around us.

4. If you're an Elder in the Melch. Priesthood, and keep your covenants, you qualify for the AMAZING blessings given in the oath & convenant of the PH (D&C 84). When you stand before the Lord and give an accounting of your life, you will probably NOT hear the words "Well done thou good and faithful servant... but you know, you never did become a High Priest... looks like you'll have to stay behind." Yea brethren, that's not gonna happen.

I feel strangely like I'm at the podium and the bishop is handing me a note saying that I've taken up too much time and need to wrap it up... Amen to my ramblings. :)

 
At 3/09/2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I appreciate all of the comments on this issue, but I have a specific case I was hoping to get input on. My husband is approaching 40 and has had some leadership positions but has done a lot of work with the primary. Although he is getting older and we've wondered about HP, it honestly hasn't been a major concern for us. My husband's an awesome guy and would make a great HP, but he is also fine working in the Primary. So our bishop came to him, lamenting his upcoming 40th birthday. Then he asked my husband if he would be willing to quit attending EQ, sit in on HP meetings, and team up with a HP to hometeach. All of this WITHOUT being called as a HP! I say no, it isn't right to be asked to do the job and responsibility of a HP without the blessings given to the office. Furthermore, taking him out of EQ keeps him from the commaraderie of that quorum. Do we attend the EQ activities or are we allowed to attend the HP activities? I feel my husband has been put in an unfair position by being asked this. Has anyone else ever heard of this?

 
At 3/10/2009, Blogger Dan B Rambling said...

Having recently passed through this myself, I understand your concerns. In reality, there is little difference between their normal responsibilities. They both act as HT's and watch over the members. HP's tend to have the older families, single sisters and part member families (this varies by Ward).

The normal reason a man get's ordained a HP is to fulfill a calling that requires it (Bishopric, High Council, ...). Sometimes, they will get it because of their age, but I believe that is a less inspired reason. We still have 70's in our ward, because they have not had a calling that required they become HP's, even though stake 70's went away years ago.

All of that being said, we often ask men to attend with the HP's because of their age. So they can associate with men of similar age an interest. Now, wether a man of 45 is old enough to move up to the quorum is a seperate question. I am the HPGL and at 47 feel too young to be here. However, one of the advantages to attending with the "old" guys is the chance to talk real doctrine with men who have a lot of experience.

Your husband needs to decide if this is from the Lord, or if the Bishop is just trying to be nice. Perhaps, the Bishop feels the HP will gain something from their association with your husband. We do bring more vitality to the quorum.

I would not get too worked up, I think they were trying to do a nice thing for him, not penalize him.

 
At 4/25/2009, Anonymous Nathan said...

This is a really interesting topic. I have been a high priest since my mid 20's when I was called to serve on the High Council. I have recently moved wards and stakes and have just been called as the HPGL in my new ward. We have a rather senior group and I am 35 years younger than the next youngest high priest (not counting the bishopric who don't attend group meetings). I guess I don't have any great insight to add to this blog, other than it really doesn't make any difference where you are called to serve or at what age, but rather that wherever you are serving you do it to the best of your ability. I don't consider myself a more righteous or faithful person than other people, rather the Lord has need of my talents for these callings.

 
At 6/22/2009, Blogger Danny said...

I came across this thread, and I really learned a great deal from the posts. I am a 47 year old elder, and I am quite happy in my calling as a ward clerk. I personally know of two high priests who were directly ordained as such upon receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood due to their age. They were both ordained within the last three years in the Salt Lake City area. One guy seems dedicated to the gospel, while the other, an uncle of mine, has proven to be less than valiant thus far, although I pray that he repents.
Anyway, I make this point to show that being made a high priest shouldn't be a great concern for the faithful elder.TG's post is on point. Do your best when about the Lord's work. He will notice, and that is all that matters.

 
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At 12/22/2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am a ward clerk. 46 years old and an elder; full tithe payer, married in the temple, baptized 30 years ago, attend all meetings, and work hard to serve as I am able. It has been my experience that others within the church will make comments about priesthood which wound deep. "Not a HP yet? Hmm, that's strange". For me it is less a gospel matter and one of pride that I watch younger men advance in the priesthood and I remain an elder. It shouldn't be so but at times I consider myself so pathetic and unworthy as a priesthood holder and a man that I consider moving, and/or not going to church anymore. At least in my own ward, priesthood advancement has more to do with your last name than your worthiness.

 
At 12/24/2009, Anonymous Robert said...

My position is that they steal HP from the EQ to make sure there are enough ducks. If you have been Ward Clerk for some time my reply would be something like "Have you ever been called to be Ward Clerk?"

The reason that you are probably still an elder is that you are needed in your position. HP are sometimes great in their callings, and sometimes it is a place to put them on Hold. The ones that make a remark like that about you not being a HP are probably those, but don't feel bad. I just got called from the HP quorum to be Young Mens President. Now if my 57 y/o chemoed body will just cooperate.

How did I get to be a HP... regular temple attendance with my wife, giving service without being called to it and most of all learning to walk like a DUCK, Talk like a Duck and Look like a Duck. Service to Our Lord and Saviour without desire for reward is the final qualification.

Kindest regards
I'm Ducky. LOL

 
At 12/24/2009, Anonymous Ducky said...

Just one more thing in a ward that is near a temple; as a prospective HP you could get to teach the lessons the most often to the "Temple President", The temple workers, just try that a couple of times and you would ask to be back in EQ. Being a HP requires more work for some. Be happy and thankful for your callings. You will eventually find being a HP means that you will have to do more for less recognition or you will be a HP who is a DUD and on Hold.
Also some day find out who is the president of the HP Quorum. HPGL is not.

 
At 1/22/2010, Blogger Neil said...

I have just been released as the Ward Clerk after 5 years in the Bishopric organization. I'm a 46 year old Elder...I think. I did such a good job that they kept me around...I didn't mind...I actually grew to enjoy the calling as an Elder.

Well, after the Stake released me, my Bishop pulled me in his office and said that he has put me in for High Priest. I thought"oh,that's nice". Then I remembered that our Ward does not ordain Elders to HP unless you have a calling which requires you be ordained. Part of me thinks that our new Bishop of about 1 year may have forgotten about the calling and the ordination going in hand.

I have been told by the Stake and by the Bishop that I have a new calling...but they will not tell me what it is right now. Why won't I be advised as to what is next for me. They said it was on the Ward level and I'm confused a bit. I'll find out soon enough I guess.

 
At 9/28/2010, Blogger Unathi said...

OH WOW... i never realised being a HP had anything to do with age... i guess all those HP jokes make sense now... my home in somewhere in the SACTM. and my friend, i think he was 25 at that time was ordained a HP owing to a calling he had. we have a lot of young people [less that 30] who hold that office. i've never thought of it as anything more than just an office you needed to serve in certain capacities. as a lady, i'm surprised that there is so much confusion with the men about this issue. that being said, thanks Erik for putting this matter forth for discussion.

 
At 3/27/2011, Blogger pw said...

It is unfortunate that in the church important things happen with age:
Baptism at 8, deacon at 12, teacher at 14, priest at 16, and elder at 18 (usually).
The scriptures teach that power in the melchizedek priesthood is not based on whether you are a high priest or elder. D&C 121:41 says:
"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness and meekness and by love unfeigned." Power comes from righteous living and increases as our ability to love increases. It is true that people are made high priests because of their availability to serve in a calling. However, many such individuals lack power. They have authority by virtue of their calling, but power only comes from obedience to commandments and by an increased ability to love and be kind and patient with others.

 
At 7/06/2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite pathetic that this kind of thing goes in in a church. This kind of mess in not of the Lord...divisions and such. I am sorry that any church group makes another person feel inferior to anyone else. What a mess.

 
At 10/12/2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This subject has crossed my mind enough to search out this thread. If you get this far...

Another Elder tried to make me feel bad about not being a HP, because it bothers him. He's a 51yr old Elder.

I'm a 52yr old Elder and I thought I was the oldest in the quorum. Then I learned a guy in our Quorum is 59 yrs.

All three of us have been active our whole lives, missions, temple marriages, etc. Currently, I have a Stake level calling.

It is nice to offer advice to the younger Elders during lessons, as they are a little clueless. :-)

But I do wonder about how they decide who is "moving up".

The Church is true, but I'm not one to believe that everything local leaders do is inspired.

 
At 10/18/2011, Blogger Sean said...

Hi! Interesting how when you reach a point of transition in life, you suddenly become "self aware" of certain things. For me, the epiphany hit this very last Sunday. I am a 51 year old elder with two teenage kids, both in high school, and I have gone happily along in Elder's quorum for, well, 21 years and never given it a second thought. My wife and I's adoption of our kids in our mid 30's has "staved off" older age in a way, a few people have expressed surprise when I talk about our ages, because I guess with "younger children" we seem younger too.
So I was sitting in Elder's quorum, enjoying the lesson as usual, and suddenly, as I'm looking around the room, it hits me. I am the oldest guy there. No older guys WHATSOEVER. There are younger guy than me in High Priests. It's not the first time I've thought, I should be ambling along, but though I really like the younger guys in my quorum, I KNEW-right the-it's time for me to move on. So next Sunday, there I go. A little wistfully, but, frankly, most of the guys that are my friends in the ward are all older, I'm not a young married anymore with young children...it's a bit of mixed emotion, but I accept it happily! Another chapter...

 
At 2/03/2012, Anonymous Bruce said...

A very good insight into becoming a High Priest is found in the June 2005 Ensign "The High Priest Quarum" by Elder David E. Sorensen of the Presidency of the Seventy. He puts it in black and white. If you are color blind, you may need to focus a little more.
I am 54 and was just interviewed to be a High Priest.[I didn't really want to go in with the "OLD GUYS". The question I asked during the interview was something like "What is expected or promised [from the Lord] from a High Priest that is not expected or promised from an Elder?" My question was not answered. Next, I talked to our just released Elders Quarum President [now a High Priest] and 24 years younger than me but very wise. He gave me some more insight but like me, could not answer the question.
This has caused me to research the question some more and am slowly coming up with answers I need before I am ordained to be a High Priest. WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS EXPECTED. Whether you are a Priest, an Elder, or a High Priest, you need to do all you can [and then some] to fulfill your calling in this world.
"I have prayed that if I didn't come by chance, that the Lord would help me to accomplish what he sent me to do, so that when my mission here on earth was completed, he wouldn't have to say to me 'This is what we sent you to do, but YOU FAILED and we had to raise up someone else to do your work for you'. True success for me is to accomplish the purpose for which the Lord sent me upon the earth" --LeGrand Richards
It is not what office you are ordained to, but WHAT you do to magnify the position you presently have.
== "KAIZEN"== This word means "Continual and neverending improvement".... The Church is True.... Tell people about it!!!!!

 
At 2/10/2012, Anonymous Brian said...

Hi all. I came upon this blog and after reading it, I wanted to give a different point of view. Shortly after my 30th birthday, I was ordained a High Priest based on a calling. To date, it's been two years and I'm still the youngest High Priest in my Stake. While I am both humbled and appreciative of the role, it does become tough. My group is significantly older than I am. Sunday lessons can be tough because, on the one hand, there are people who want to only discuss obscure points of the gospel they feel are great hidden mysteries while on the other hand we have older recent converts who are still trying to wrap their heads around what the priesthood is. Because I'm not in EQ, I miss out on a lot of the activities they do. Prior to my ordination, I was my ward's EQP and we had 70+ active elders. Translated: we had a lot of fun. I miss that. Recently, my HP Group Leadership wanted to start babysitting group members kids so they could go to the temple with their spouse. After reviewing the roles, they realized one other apart from myself had children at home still that required a sitter.

In conclusion, I guess I'd say the grass is not always greenest on the other side... For me, it's a lot less about HP vs Elder and more about being brothers in the priesthood that counts.

 
At 2/20/2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a convert who joined the church at the age of 47 (which meant that I cannot ever serve a full-time mission - they are for young men, single sisters, or senior couples only). Unfortunately, my wife died of heart disease soon after I joined and I have been unable to find a new wife. I am now 64 years old and the oldest active EQ member in my ward.

Frankly, I feel that I have three strikes against me so far as being ordained as a high priest. No mission, converted later in life, a single male.

I have heard the saying that "the only men that are over sixty and still are elders are those that are either inactive or single.

It is highly unlikely that I will ever be given a calling which would justify my being advanced to high priest. I do get the feeling that I am being overlooked by my ward and quorum leadership.

Yes, I do know that I will be eligible to enter the highest level or glory. So that is something to look forward to.

 
At 6/06/2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bishop felt inspired to recommend me to become a high priest when I was 49 and that was all that was necessary. I have always been a faithful member and have always paid my tithing and attended the temple regularly. I am a respected member of my community and my leadership skills have not been questioned. I was actively involved in my EQ till I was 49, though I might have wondered what others thought of me for being so much older than the others. I had no desire to attend the HP Group as an 'honorary member' 'because of my age' and might have stayed there till I was 80 if that was what the Lord required, but he didn't. To me it was sometimes a test of patience and long suffering and I made friends with many of the young families of our ward because of being their home teacher. Since becoming a high priest I have served in many senior leadership positions and am well regarded in my stake. Why should a man not be advanced to the office of High Priest if the Bishop feels inclined and where do we find anything specific in the manual that says a man should not be advanced in the priesthood because he has not got the required calling. In my experience some of the most dishonest individuals I have met in the church have been high priests. Some have been immoral and some have gone to jail because of their immoral conduct. Who are we to even discuss why a man should not be advanced to the office of high priest if his bishop is inspired otherwise?

 
At 6/12/2012, Blogger Unknown said...

Iam 29 years of age I joind the church at 18 and served a mission, and everything. then when I was 24 my bishop called me in to his office and told me that he felt inspired to have me join with the high priest i thought he was joking but no he was not, so i have been there for 7 years and still an elder, i home teach and iam home taught by high priest, should i be ordained as one?just a question

 
At 7/12/2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 52 and the EQP of two years. The last EQP is also 52, in fact, we have several Elders who are over 50 and quite a few in the early 40's. One Elder is very young and just does not relate to the others.

Our HPG probly runs a norm for outside Utah, I think. One former bishop who rarely comes and never does his HT. Several HP (and Elders for that matter) who are spiritually asleep. One HP who should go to sleep. The HPGL is the "in your face" kinda guy and I wouldn't see a reason why I'd like to go there. One HP is on the HC and wants to attend with the Elders,... ???

The EQ went from 5 attending quorum meetings to now, about 15. HT has gone from 11% to 85% which tends to indicate a more spiritually healthy quorum, but I wonder sometimes.

My first year I took issue that some of the Elders seemed to just disappear to the HPG without a whisper. It irritated me and I was a bit vocal about it given our HT stats. How this happens has been a man-made-mystery guarded by a "deer in the headlights" response.

I had one Elder who I was told had been ordained a HP (without the normal public sustaining vote) so I took him off my HT routes. That was like a year ago. This was so hastily done that last night the HPGL still didn't know about it. I told the HPGL because the records still indicate Elder, not HP and still unassigned a HT.

I also had one of my counselors who is in his late 40's asked to join with the HPG. What???. The HPGL didn't know about it so I had to ask how something like that can even happen. Does every HP think he holds the keys to make those decisions? I did learn that in our HPG that when "someone" is being fellowshipped "that someone" is whisked away into the HGP. I'm going to suggest to the "custodians of spiritual affairs" that the HP fellowship in the EQ meetings instead,... so the Elders can connect with the fellowshipee.

There is difference enough between Elders and HP's to warrent the seperation, for no other reason that it is devinely set up this way. It is interesting that SP's are given the keys to direct this no matter how it is perceived. It hasn't been always easy for me to accept this tough. I do think I still harbor some resentment due, in part, to the perceived social status HP's seem to be afforded, but I've made tremendous progress in letting it go.

I've come a long way as EQP and have more to go. My fear is that the HPGL will have me replace him as he has stated that it is his desire.

 
At 7/12/2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction:

My counselor was asked by another HP to join with the HPG.

 
At 11/05/2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To leave this decision solely to your bishop it is a mistake in my opinion. Unfortunately what I see in my ward is what should not happen in ou religion. My bishop pick and chose the ones who is his buddies to become HP. If a member is active and is worthy of a temple recommend and reached a certain age, why not put this member in a quorum of his peers? My bishop told me that could attend the HP quorum without being one. I see no good reason for that if I am not worthy to become a HP why should I meet with them every week? Or in other words if I can meet with them why I cannot become one, since I am a worthy member? Like we konw the church is true but is run by man, why give so much power to one man in your ward?????

 
At 11/13/2012, Blogger yahoo web hosting said...

Doesn't matter to me when I get in to Be a HP.. Im 36 love My calling and do it to the best I can.. Long as I do 100%.. I fell the lord will bless me and has. In sacrament I always pray for others and thank him for what he has given me. Proud to be a member of this wonderful church... even if i'm 70 and in with the elders it wont matter.. we need to be kinder instead of thinking of ourselves and wondering why were not in HP.. Do things he would have us do and not worry about the little thing such as HP ...that will come in the lords time when we are ready in his eyes..

 
At 8/06/2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for asking this question and creating this thread.  As I read through the entries I sense the same frustration that I have felt and I feel that I am not alone.

For me, I consider myself an active member of the Pittsburgh North Stake and have faithfully held callings in every organization of the church except the HPG and Bishopric.  

My issue of becoming a HP is with the Priesthood Lineage.  As I ordained my son to the office of Elder, a Bishopric counselor (in his 30s) made a comment to my son of how honorable it was to have a Priesthood Lineage through me and my father.  Instead of being proud, I confess, I was slighted.  My father is in his 80s; my brother in his 50s and I am in my 40s.  Unless I am ordained a HP in the next 2-3 years, I fear that I will no longer have a Priesthood Lineage to pass to my son when he becomes a HP.  Judging from our ward, he will probably be ordained in 10 years when he is in his 30s.

I feel disenfranchised.  I guess when the Lord said that many are called an few chosen, I am one of the many and not the few.

 

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