- Elder (Latter Day Saints)
Elder is a priesthood office in the
Melchizedek Priesthoodof denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, male members who are at least 18 years old may be ordained to be Elders. In order to be ordained, the member must be determined to be worthy by his local Bishop and Stake President. The consent of the priesthood holders of the stake is also required before the ordination is performed, and this is usually done at a general stake priesthood meeting that is held semiannually.
Latter Day Saint scripture, the duty of an Elder is to "teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church." [Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 20|verse=42] Elders have the authority to administer to and bless the sick and afflicted, to "confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost", [Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 20|verse=41] to baptize and give others the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthoodas directed by priesthood leaders, and to take the lead in all meetings as guided by the Holy Spirit. [Doctrine and Covenants, sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 46|verse=2] An Elder may ordain others to the priesthood offices of deacon, teacher, priest, or Elder.
In practice, Elders are responsible for many of the day-to-day operations of a ward. They are called to serve in a variety of positions throughout the ward, such as
Aaronic Priesthoodquorum advisors, scout leaders, ward mission leader, and the Sunday School presidency. Elders and High Priests (assisted by Teachers and Priests) are also responsible for home teachingin the ward.
Elders are organized into quorums that may contain no more than 96 Elders. A quorum president, along with two counselors, is called and set apart under the direction of the stake presidency, and generally serves for one to three years, although there is no official policy on the length of service. A secretary is also called to assist the president and his counselors.
All adult men in the ward, whether they are faithful or not, are assigned to either the Elders Quorum or the High Priests Group as directed by the Bishop.
The title "Elder" is not normally used as a personal title (e.g., Elder Evans, Elder Johnson), except by the Church's General Authorities, Area Seventies and full-time male missionaries. Often, full-time missionaries serving within a ward are referred to by the members as "the elders."
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