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?

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79 Responses to “Elder/High Priest Transition”


  1. 1 Anonymous November 29, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    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?

  2. 2 connor November 29, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    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. 🙂

  3. 3 Phouchg November 30, 2006 at 12:48 am

    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.

  4. 4 Eric Nielson November 30, 2006 at 7:02 am

    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.

  5. 5 BrianJ November 30, 2006 at 10:52 am

    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.

  6. 6 Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 10:55 am

    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.

  7. 7 Eric Nielson November 30, 2006 at 11:34 am

    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.

  8. 8 J. Stapley November 30, 2006 at 11:40 am

    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).

  9. 9 Eric Nielson November 30, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks J.

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

  10. 10 J. Stapley November 30, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    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).

  11. 11 John Mansfield November 30, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    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.

  12. 12 Dennis West November 30, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    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?

  13. 13 Eric Nielson December 1, 2006 at 6:52 am

    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.

  14. 14 Mike December 10, 2006 at 1:48 pm

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

  15. 15 Eric Nielson December 11, 2006 at 9:07 am

    I am in the Kalamazoo stake.

    No, I’m not kidding.

  16. 16 Tony January 16, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    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!

  17. 17 Eric Nielson January 17, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    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.

  18. 18 Steve March 18, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Hey guys! I apologize for being a little late to this discussion. I was ordained a High Priest at 35. To this day, I have no idea why. I wasn’t the oldest guy in the Elders’ Quorum. There were a lot of men that were more vocal in their devotion than I was. I didn’t receive a “special” calling (i.e., Bishop, HC, Stake Presidency). I was called to be the secretary in the HP group. I’d imagine there are a lot of elders that would make better secretaries than I do. The first few weeks after I was ordained, I thought I was hot stuff, but now I’m like “eh…” It’s not that big of a deal. We all hold the Melchezedek Priesthood. It isn’t like young men, where you need to be a certain age and hold a certain office to do certain things. About the only thing high priests can do that elders can’t is direct the elders on where to place the folding chairs!

  19. 19 Eric Nielson March 18, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Hey Steve. Thanks for your comment and perspective.

    Where do you want the chairs?

  20. 20 Lydia January 21, 2008 at 4:05 am

    My husband just turned 60, and he is still in the Elders Quorum. This isn’t a huge deal to him, although I think he should be ordained a high priest. The men in the EQ are younger fathers; my husband is a father of five and grandfather to seven. The interests of the two groups are clearly different!
    The Church is so clear on other issues, I don’t see why there isn’t some specific direction on how this should work.

  21. 21 Eric Nielson January 21, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Yes, it is a bit strange that way. Under normal circumstances, Deacon, Teacher, Priest, and Elder ordinations happen at fairly known ages.

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

  22. 22 ji July 14, 2008 at 5:49 am

    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.

  23. 23 Eric Nielson July 14, 2008 at 7:02 am

    Thanks ji. Other offices seem to have an age associated with advancement – why not with hp?

  24. 24 ji July 15, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Eric, I wouldn’t advocate an age to be written into the handbooks — but I do wish stake presidents would give the matter some consideration of their elders on a name by name basis from time to time. I also wish they would talk to elders individually about matters such as this. But I know they won’t — I don’t say this as a fault, just as an observation. It costs a stake president nothing to advance a faithful elder to the office of high priest, and it allows the brother a sense of dignity and self-worth, and gives a sense of comfort to his wife and his children — so without advocating a particular age, I still tend to feel every honorable and faithful elder should be advanced to the office of high priest at an appropriate time, and I wish stake presidents would give some care here.

  25. 25 no name July 22, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I was ordained to be a High Priest just about a year ago (at 45), if you are interested in my advice do not be in a big hurry to change. In fact it took about half a dozen interviews before they finally convinced me to accept being ordained a High Priest. I kept insisting that no real reason existed for me to be ordained to be a High Priest. After all, I did not not need to be a High Priest to be a father, a home teacher, or to function in my current calling (finance clerk).

    As for the subject that High Priests get ‘off tangent on’, the ones in my ward can really get off of what I would consider correct doctrine. One time several of the men where saying that the more valient/rightious spirits in pre-mortality are born to LDS families and those that did not excel in pre-mortality are born outside of the church. When one of the converts objected to the statement about 6 men really came down hard on him. I mentioned it to my bishop and a member of the stake presidency but they do not seem concerned.

    The longer I meet with the High Priests the more I am convinced that it was one of the bigger mistakes I have ever made to agree to the ordaination.

  26. 26 Eric Nielson July 22, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    no name.

    Thanks for the comment. I also feel that if my calling does not require ordination, that I necessarily want it.

    The topic about pre-mortal valience playing a role in mortality placement is an interesting topic. Either mortal placement is random or not. I believe God decides placement, and that his criteria is very complex.

    Anyway, I hope you are being a little hyperbolic about it being one of the bigger mistakes you have made. Perhaps you are just a really, really good decision maker!

  27. 27 Cheshire September 12, 2008 at 7:36 am

    I have just read with a great deal of interest, all of the insights above. However, has anybody considered the destiny of Melchizedek Priesthood holders around the world who do not ever get the chance to live within a stake. In other words come under the jurisdiction of a Mission Presidency or a District Presidency. In these environments it is impossible to be ordained a High Priest, or a Seventy. That my dear friends is Church policy. Did you know that?

    Cheshire
    From the Land Down Under.

  28. 28 Eric Nielson September 12, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Excellent point. Hopefully missionary work and results can increase in these parts of the world.

    But I guess it is not then end of the world if we are never ordained HP.

  29. 29 Brad October 2, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Nice discussion, and I also might be way late on this. In all reality I believe you are essentially called to be a high priest for a calling. I was 32 when I was called to the High Council, therefore made a High Priest, and now at 34 I was just made the High Priest group leader(which to me doesn’t make sense, since I mostly attended the Elders Quorum). I think we go where the Lord calls us even if we don’t understand. There is a definite division in responsibilites of High Priest group and Elders Quorum, but they basically work together for the strengthening of all brethren within the ward boundaries, and even if your not called as a High Priest, if you feel like it would be more comfortable for you to attend the High Priest group meeting, speak with the Bishop and your Quorum leaders, I doubt they will mind where you attend.

  30. 30 Eric Nielson October 2, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Excellent comment Brad, and good advice. Thanks for visiting.

  31. 31 j October 2, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    In our ward they started moving people to high priest based on age because of increasing inactivity in my age bracket and the fact the hp group was so small they couldn’t meet their responsibilties in home teaching and other assignments. There is a lot to consider when moving someone and the needs of the ward do come into play over the guideline that people only be ordained as needed. In my brothers ward they recruited new hp by putting them in the group leadership and changing often.

  32. 32 Eric Nielson October 3, 2008 at 7:02 am

    An interesting recruiting strategy!

  33. 33 Kurt November 9, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks for all the discussion, I have been looking for some answers on this question for a long time. I guess the answer here is that HP advancement is an arbitrary choice by the leadership, or the result of a leadership calling only. I was hoping there might have been more clear policies, particularly for older Elders.

    I am a 50 year old Elder and disabled, so I am not always able to attend. Given the way the church handles disabilities like mine, the possibility of me ever having a Ward or HP Quorum leadership position to advance is close to zero. I have recently moved into a new ward and do not fit in socially at all in my Elder’s quorum. But the ward is huge and there is little possibility of becoming a High Priest due to lack of HPs. I would not be comfortable meeting with the HP quorum as an Elder, hard to explain, just does not feel right. I would need to be a HP.

    I have been an EQ President in a military ward (busy) and am an RM who has always been as active as I could be in the church, I taught early morning seminary before my disability, and have had several assistant ward clerk positions, been gospel doctrine instructor, etc. Even though I am not healthy enough to attend the temple, I always keep a current recommend.

    Most men my age in the ward are High Priests. As a newbie, this means I have little social contact with my peers. And the Elders are nice but will not talk with me, we have some things in common as I have a few younger children, but we just do not relate, they are a different generation. Church is really a boring, empty experience for me socially. This is not just my current ward, my last ward in a different part of the US was a similar experience.

    The division in the MP feels to me like a country club for the HP Quorum that I am not allowed to be part of, and that can’t be what the Lord intends. I wish the brethren would consider standardizing the advancement policy in the MP in a way that would allow us to stay with our peer group.

    And here is the kicker, six months in the new ward my family still does not have a home teacher. Apparently the EQ President has tried to get us a home teacher but I don’t think the younger elders relate to us and it just does not work out. As a disabled brother at my age I really need to be a HP, I believe the HP quorum would be more comfortable home teaching my family.

    The problem with asking my bishop to advance me is that it just would not be natural, I would feel like a trouble-maker. I want to see a policy that feels right and just.

    If I were the decision-maker here, I would plan things so there were good demographics in both quorums, as both must have adequate membership in all wards for the wards to function. Probably that would mean choosing an age of advancement, if a brother is not already a HP, at a certain age they would become eligible, if they desired to advance. Say age 45 or 50, for example, at that age many Elders have sons who are becoming Elders. By 50 many are grandfathers. So they have been through the full cycle of child-rearing in the Elders quorum.

    This is probably an issue that causes inactivity for some older Elders, so I believe it is a priority topic. And a policy like what I suggested would allow more handling of older-person issues in the HP group, which makes a lot of sense. In fact, I think it would also make sense to have younger High Priests attend with the Elders, if they were no longer in Bishoprics or HP group presidencies, up to the age of advancement anyway.

  34. 34 Eric Nielson November 10, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Thanks Kurt. Good thoughts here.

    Good luck in the new ward, hopefully things will get better.

  35. 35 Barney October 12, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Just released from YM after a few years there. Along with my release, the bishopric member informed me that the stake president felt I was too old (46) to go back to meeting with the elders any more, and suggested I meet with the high priests.

    I thanked him for the invitation, expressed my admiration for the high priests in our ward (they really are a fantastic group, many of whom I have known and been friends with since they were in the elders quorum), and then began to tell him that I was an elder, not a high priest, and that I belonged in my quorum along with my fellow elders. He interrupted me to let me know that the stake president was not *inviting* me to go to the high priest group, he was *requesting* that I go.

    In other words, this was a matter of direction from the stake president, not a choice offered to me.

    I confess I’m really, really upset about this, much moreso than I can explain. I’ve been a member all my life, grew up in an active LDS home, have never in my life failed to pay my tithing, have always had a temple recommend (not counting short lapses in between when I neglected to get it renewed after it expired), always served actively in my quorum, always accepted every calling I was given and tried, however poorly, to magnify it…

    …and now I’m told that I am not fit to meet with MY OWN QUORUM.

    And apparently, not fit to be made a member of another quorum.

    Instead, I’m supposed to go meet with a group of men of whom I am manifestly NOT a member, presumably to keep me away from the young fathers and fathers of the young (my youngest is three) so they don’t get infected by any of my badness.

    I have never in my life felt this way about any Church calling, activity, or decision. I’m angry and…empty.

    I will comply with my stake president’s request, of course. He is my leader, and it is his right and privilege to tell me where to meet and with whom. And I have no intention whatsoever of talking with him; he has given me his request, and I’m not going to whine at him about it. I will do as asked, as if it came from the lips of Jesus Christ (because, ultimately, it did).

    But I’m literally sick to my stomach about it.

  36. 36 Eric Nielson October 12, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    You sound like ….. me in many ways.

    This is odd. If the SP wants you to meet with the HP, and there are no worthiness issues, then I think he should make you a HP. It seems silly.

    I feel you have a pretty good attitude in spite of the situation. You are probably making to much of the situation (like I would).

    I would disagree that his instructions are ultimately coming from the lips of Chirst himself. That may be the case, but it may not be. Some people in the church exercise an unrighteous dominion. We have learned that from sad experience.

    Hopefully your sick feelings will go away soon, and you can go with the flow.

  37. 37 Barney October 12, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks, Eric. Fwiw, I know my stake president slightly — my wife knows him better, since she taught seminary while he was the director — and from what I can tell and what my wife has said, he is among the very best of men. Not one to exercise unrighteous dominion to any degree.

    I have no problem meeting with my fellow elders, even if they are younger (often much younger) than I am. If anything, I tend to talk too much in quorum meeting — which, in all seriousness, might be part of the problem. I don’t know, just guessing here.

    Now I’m going to go sit in the high council room, find a quiet corner, and listen to other men discuss things for an hour every Sunday for…the rest of my life, maybe. But as it’s not my group, I certainly won’t be belaboring the good high priests of my ward with my own silly ramblings. In my own quorum, I feel okay doing that; after all, we’re a brotherhood, and who better than my quorum brothers to put up with my brain drool? But I have no intention of taking such liberties with a group of men with whom I meet by instruction instead of by quorum right.

    Thanks again for you kind words. I’m sure I will eventually get used to it. But I will say this…if I am an elder when our stake presidency is released ten years from now, I will immediately begin attending my own quorum again. I don’t care if I don’t know anyone man in that quorum — it’s MY quorum. I will do as my Priesthood leader instructs me, but when his instruction no longer applies, I will return to the place where I have membership and brotherhood by rights.

  38. 38 Eric Nielson October 12, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Sounds good Barney. The church is true.

  39. 39 George December 13, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    I’m in this exact situation right now. I’m in my mid 40’s and about 3-4 years ago, the HPGL at the time invited me to join HP whenever I wanted. About 4 months ago, I started going once in a while and I actually taught a lesson there a few weeks ago.

    About a month ago, the Bishop came up and asked me to start attending HP on a full time basis. I know the real reason is that they want me to help with Hometeaching. I told the Bishop that I was not ready to make a decision and that floating between the two for a while was the best course for me.

    It has reached a head now since my son has turned 14 and they need to assign him to a route and have me as his companion. I’m ok with doing a route that has us in service routes but I’m not going to go in and teach from the Ensign nor do I want my son to be doing that.

    I’m going to agree with Barney when he says that he’s not going to attend a group where he is not a member. I’m staying in the EQ no matter where they want me to attend. Its either that, or I’ll just sit in the hallway like I do for the 2nd hour.

  40. 40 Eric Nielson December 14, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Yeah, I don’t get it. If they want you working with the HP, then make you a HP.

  41. 41 DaveB December 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I must admit that much of my own progress has been stifled by simply being a convert to the gospel in the wrong way; by the missionary program through pure tracting. Without friends or family in the church I was left very much alone, integrated only in a very cordial sense. I did not have any mentor to guide me through getting simple things done on my own behalf; like getting a Patriarchal blessing, or a temple recommend. As a result I have been a member of the church now since I was 16 and am now 46. I was the dumbest kid in seminary, and never quite accepted by the other young members who were raised in the gospel. It took me 5 attempts and 25 years to even get an interview for a Temple recommend; and I pay my tithing, attend ALL of my meetings, have never said no to any opportunity to serve. I went over 20 years without a home teacher, despite asking repeatedly for one. I have watched younger elders pass me by again and again to the high priesthood, leadership, and waited knowing I’m not a member of the right family and don’t know the ‘right’ people. I served as a counselor in an EQ presidency and did EVERYTHING the president should have…when I asked the bishop why that ‘guy’ was the Pres., he laughed and said you have to be married to be the EQ pres. regardless of how inept you are. So now I’m married int the temple with 3 lovely children and still an elder. If you are the son of someone important in the Stake you’ll get the high priesthood by 35. As Ward Clerk I have access to the stats; Average age to receive the HP is 39. At 46 I now feel very strongly that if I am ever offered the HP I will flatly refuse it. I have never refused a calling before but to offer something as sacred as the high priesthood as a ‘sympathy card’ simply because they’re the oldest elder in their quorum (which I am) is obscene and I won’t participate in it. I know, bad attitude but it’s a miserable and disturbing system.

  42. 42 Eric Nielson December 22, 2009 at 9:58 am

    DaveB:

    Sounds a bit like you may be in the wrong ward. But the system is odd, and can lead to the very feelings you are experiencing.

  43. 43 Larry January 2, 2010 at 10:28 am

    As a convert I have seen the same issue as DaveB, they really pressured me into becoming a High Priest and I wish I had refused. It took 6 months of asking and finally a direct call from the stake president to the high priest group leader and bishop to be as a home teacher in the high priests after I was ordained a high priest. As a ward clerk I knew that they reorganized the home teaching in the group 3 times during that period.

    Of course most of the high priests in my ward are of the opinion that anyone born in the covenent is more righteous than those that are not. After all if you had been righteous in the pre-mortality you would have been born in the covenent instead of to a non-member family. So I am ignored if I have a comment to offer during the lessons.

  44. 44 Eric Nielson January 2, 2010 at 10:59 am

    YIKES. I might recommend moving.

  45. 45 Larry January 2, 2010 at 11:18 am

    While I have considered moving, it is not my problem. I will continue to perform my callings to the best of my abilities and if they want to ignore me that is their business. I have just stopped raising my hand when I want to make a comment, I just wish that my suggestions that my children make would not be automatically rejected when they are in the youth meetings. Of course if they suggested more of the same ‘fun’ activities instead of wanting to perform meaningful service or have more spiritual activities then they would get along better with their peers.

  46. 46 Eric Nielson January 4, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Your experience is much different from mine.

  47. 47 DaveB January 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Larry,
    I’ve taken a slightly different approach to things. It’s my belief that our savior was not one to sit idly and wait for things to happen but made the change happen.
    I’ve written a polite and concise letter to my stake president about my situation. He’s written back and has committed to meet with my bishop personally this week and assigned me to the HP group. The gospel is not nor should it ever be a competition for status, and I feel a measure of guilt for feeling competitive within it. It is my hope your situation can be resolved also.
    Dave

    • 48 Neil February 9, 2010 at 8:15 pm

      Wow you guy’s,

      You sure do worry about HP status a lot. Just be content. You are where you are for a reason. HP is not a right of passage for an Elder…even a faithful Elder. I am 46 and an Elder too. In my opinion I might be getting old, but at the same time, I think there are enough if not too many HP’s already…because some not all HP’s were ordained because they have aged. Is there anything in your life you do based upon your age other than your physical abilities? What if everyone was ordained a HP? What are your needs within your perspective ward?…That should be the only factor for a called worthy male Elder to HP ordination. I think people should avoid using the loose term “Advancement to High Priest” It’s not for you, It’s for the people in your ward who need your service through the authority of the Priesthood via certain keys you hold pertaining to your calling. Don’t think of being a HP like a the final step up on a corporate ladder.

  48. 49 Thomas February 13, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Neil,
    It is valid to wonder why brethren are concerned with their priesthood. It is equally understandable, therefore, that we give heed to these serious concerns. Please pardon me for my considerable disagreement with you that the high priesthood is indeed an advancement and an obligation you hold as elder to strive to become. President Joseph F. Smith said that “it is the duty of the High Priests’ quorum to teach the principles of government, of union, of advancement and of growth in the kingdom of God. They are indeed the fathers of the people at large. In our High Priests’ quorums are numbered the Presidents of Stakes and their Counselors, Bishops and Counselors, Patriarchs, and all that have been ordained to the office of High Priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood. … They should be united with the quorum in such a way that they give it all the force that they can impart for good.” To fail to strive toward these things is to fail your Father in heaven. In the course of the fullness of time all worthy men will hold the high priesthood. While age is certainly not a factor in the consideration of ordination it does provide us a guidepost to monitor. The numerous posts not only here but other similar sites reflect an issue of concern. We can not afford to suffer even one of our precious brethren to feelings of unworthiness or personal fault. I would not so lightly dismiss these fine men.

  49. 50 Russ August 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate these posts. I was made a HP when I was 29. At that time I was called to be the HP group leader. It was of course a calling I didnt expect. It had nothing to do with age, it had nothing to do with who I knew or who I am related to. I just moved into the ward 2 years prior to the call.

    Being called at a young age, I never experienced the feelings of being left behind or forgotten in the Elders Quorum- I had the reverse of being in a new quorum, full of men that are old enough to be my Dad, and making it worse, I was the group leader! I still feel like I don’t totally fit in (I’m now 31). But it has been a growing experience. I miss the Elders Quorum, but in this church “we go where the Lord wants us to go”.

    I think that an age guideline would be a bad idea. It kind of defeats the nature of the call. The other offices of the priesthood- decon, teacher, priest and elder- you in a way aspire to these offices, in that you try to live worthily so that at 12,14,16, and 18 you are ready for advancement. The calling of HP is different because it is something you are called to do, not just an automatic advancement.

    An advancement in this life to the office of high priest is not necessary for salvation. My grandfather was an Elder until he was in his 80’s. He was always active, grew up in the church. His grandfather was Elder BH Roberts. He grew up with president Hinkley, Elder Faust was a close family friend as well- so any way, he was worthy and well connected, but the call did not come until he was an old man. I guess what I am trying to say is that the call to be a High Priest does not mean that you are better, more worthy, or more talented than anyone else. It is a personal calling and should be accepted as a call from our Father in Heaven- not a pitty call. If you are called accept it.

  50. 52 Jim Nearing May 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I don’t know that anyone is following here any more but I just got here doing a google search. I will leave my two cents worth. I was just ordained and set apart as the High Priest Group Leader last Sunday. There are of course many more qualified men in the ward. I was flabbergasted. As a point of reference I am turning 58 later this year. In my experience, men at the age of 45 are invited to attend the High Priest Group. Your mileage may vary. I first went when I felt more comfortable there than in the Elder’s Quorum. A short time later I was called into the Elder’s Quorum Presidency. A couple years later I was called to be the Ward Clerk. I spent most of every Sunday in the Clerk’s Office. When I did get a break I found I felt more comfortable with the older men, but I was assigned a home teaching route from the Elder’s Quorum. I only recall seeing one brother ordained as a High Priest without being called to the High Council, Bishopric or High Priest Group Leadership. I suggest you prayerfully consider which group you would like to meet with, talk with your Bishop and your quorum leaders and faithfully serve where you are called.

  51. 53 Eric Nielson May 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Good advice Jim, thanks.

  52. 54 David May 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    No member of God’s church on earth should feel neglected and sadly this is one area of the church that has been sadly ignored by many leaders. I’m in a bishopric now and regularly bring up names of individuals I feel are ready for the high priesthood – and while there is consideration made, there is also objection on capricious standards imposed by men; like ‘oh, yeah but he’s not married’, or ‘gosh, he doesn’t currently have a job and receiving church assistance’… as if these are reasons to hold back an otherwise worthy brother from the priesthood of God. I honestly feel this is a subject worthy of discussion at General Conference, don’t you?

  53. 55 Eric Nielson May 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Yes I do. This post is one of the most frequently found on my blog. People search for it quite a bit.

  54. 56 Jacob Shillig February 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I was called to serve in a Bishopric last year and was ordained a HIgh Priest by my Father who had just turned 60. It was an amazing experience that I fasted and prayed to prepare for. I never sought after the opportunity to become a High Priest but when it was offered I accepted. I think the evil one wants us to compare ourselves to others and we should not. I am a firm believer in working with all your heart in the part of the vineyard where you have been assigned. Remember we will all be crowned Kings and Priests unto the most High God if we are faithful.

  55. 58 ji March 22, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Eric,

    Re: Your May 19 comment.

    When I do a Google search for “elder high priest”, this page is the first answer shown. I understand one’s own browsing habits are considered by Google, so that might shape the outcome, but I thought you might want to know…

  56. 59 Doctrine May 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    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

  57. 62 Ned June 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I stumbled accross this on google also and have found it really interesting. In my stake – I have only known brothers to be made HP due to callings – never for any other reason. This appears to take away the competativeness of advancement if that is the appropriate term.
    Our current EQP is in his 80s and does a great job. There seems very little difference in our Ward between EQ and HP. Both groups have a mix of age, experience and talent. It appears they work together in many things including hometeaching where companions and families to visit seem to be selected on the needs of the people rather than which office of priesthood they hold.
    I also know though what it feels like to be in the “wrong” place so to speak but from the other perspective – I was ordained a HP at the age of 22 (I wasn’t married either at the time out of interest to those who touched on that point) when called on to the HC. It was very daunting and I felt like a duck out of water. I was the youngest HP in the stake it seemed for about 10 years!
    With all my ups and downs in church life – I have often felt frustruted about decisions and actions of others (and myself for that matter!) but I have always tried to cling on to my testimony that Jesus is the Christ.

  58. 63 Eric Nielson June 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    That’s great Ned, thanks for the comment.

  59. 64 Old Man January 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    The pain many experience often lies in there being no attribute, length of service or any sign whatsoever connected with worthiness or readiness for being called/ordained a high priest. It is based solely upon the needs of the ward or the desires of leaders. It is completely outside the control of an individual priesthood holder. To ask for ordination would be viewed as inappropriate in some quarters.

    My advice to those suffering from being overlooked or neglected (I’ve been there) is to quite simply take it for what high priest ordination generally is, a product of temporary need or circumstance. High priests are not ordained for any great loyalty, spiritual gift or great faith. While the office is necessary, there is no need to seek after it. Elders have as great an opportunity for exaltation as any high priest. Elders generally have a much better time in quorum meetings. My ward’s HP group would best be described as a chapter of the John Birch Society! It is my view that it is what you do with what you are offered that matters. And many high priests fail at this. Don’t worry about which priesthood office you hold. Worry about failing as a priesthood holder.

  60. 65 Eric Nielson January 19, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Seems like a good perspective old man.

  61. 66 Joe February 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Great blog and comments. I was ordained a HP at 34 for a calling. At times I miss EQ but after the last 2 years I feel a little more at home with the HP’s but you do miss associating with those your age.

    One thing I have noticed is that the sometimes and if not always EQ’s need some extra wisdom and experience and I like to see older men there as they do a great job of bringing in that needed seasoning and spirit. I would look at staying with the EQ as one of opportunity to mentor and teach the often young EQ members.

  62. 68 Hal W. July 6, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    I have found the comments above to be quite interesting. I read only about half of them before I felt a need to give some input and perhaps what I am about to say was said in posts I did not read but here goes: First, it might be said that the Melchizedek Priesthood is an horizontal line, By this I mean that a High Priest has no more “Priesthood” than does an Elder. In other words, it is not a “promotion”. Also, I person should not feel he is being “overlooked” if he reaches a certain age level and is not ordained a high priest. If a man feels uncomfortable meeting with the elders because they are all so much younger, then he is free to meet with the High Priest Group, home teach with that group, be perhaps more strongly encouraged to perform family history work, attend the temple, etc. etc. Finally, after serving in a number of “leadership” positions, I have found, unfortunately, that some high priests are not as or no more dedicated that many elders. That said, even before I was ordained a high priest I felt that if a man was a high priest more was expected of him and indeed he should be more committed and dedicated to “magnifying” his assignments within the Melchizedek Priesthood. I felt that way then and after over 40 years as a high priest I feel that way now; however, as stated, I have found that to not always be the case. I remember the day I was ordained a high priest. that evening was a Stake Priesthood Meeting. As I was walking into the stake center, I met an elder in our ward and his greeting was, “Well, that is another dead elder”. I determined then and there that I would not be found to be “dead”. Finally, my advice is to cease to worry about what office one holds in the Melchizedek Priesthood but to do all one does to magnify whatever calling/assignment that comes because one is so very blessed to be a bearer of that Priesthood. Gaining Eternal Life is not contingent on what office is held in that Priesthood or what callings one may have had or has but what one has done with those callings.

    Nough said.

    Hal

  63. 69 Glen February 19, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I’ll share my personal experience. It may or may not help others. There is certainly a cultural stigma of being an older Elder. I’m currently 42, not terribly old but on the older side. I honorably served a mission and have served in a number of leadership positions – Elders Quorum President twice, Counselor twice, YM leadership, Ward Executive Secretary, Stake Finance Clerk and Stake Clerk. I’ve done my best to faithfully magnify these callings. I get along very well with my Stake Presidents and I don’t ask for callings. I also don’t turn them down or ask for release.

    I try not to let the fact that I’m not a High Priest bother me, but I admit that sometimes it does. All of my old Elders Quorum Counselors are now High Priests. I have a teenage son and he notices. We sit together in opening exercises of priesthood. Then when that is over, he goes to his quorum meeting and the Elders leave to let the High Priests have the room. It’s a humbling thing, but you swallow your pride. I hope that my son sees that a man can be a man of integrity no matter the title. I don’t say anything to anyone about it, except my wife on occasion. President McKay said that the Lord will not ask you what callings you held on this earth but rather how you fulfilled those callings. i know that’s true.

    I understand the policy reasons as to why a man is called to be a High Priest. I also understand the social issues of it as I live it weekly. I don’t think my younger friends that are High Priests flaunt their office in any way. But there can be an awkwardness at times that is unsaid. It’s one of those things that I think people are aware of but that there hasn’t been a good solution for in my opinion.

    G

    • 70 Hal W. February 19, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Another perspective. Being ordained a high priest does not give a man any more priesthood or authority and in my opinion age should have nothing to do with it. A man can meet with the high priests without being ordained a high priest. We have men in our group who do that because they feel more comfortable there; however, at the same time we have some relatively young high priests. I have always felt, and heard others state, that besides being a high priest because of a specific calling a man ought to be more dedicated and more committed than the average run of the mill male member. In other words, high priests ought to be individuals who conduct themselves in such a way that they can be looked up to by others. Having said that and after serving in a number of bishoprics, three times as high priest group leader, and other similar positions I, unfortunately, have to say that much too often that is not the case. Some not willing to accept callings and even worse if accepted do not fulfill the requirements of the calling or assignment. A man does not have to be a high priest to be worthy of hearing the words, “well done my good and faithful servant” and no one, famlily members or otherwise, should ever think less of a man because he is not a high priest. He has all the priesthood he needs to achieve exaltation.
      Hal.

      • 71 Atticus May 19, 2016 at 9:28 pm

        Hal,

        Encouraging words, but they do not match the reality on the ground. Families DO judge their male members by their callings and priesthood office. How many times have you heard a youth or even adult child mention that his/her father or grandfather is a bishop or stake president? A social/political hierarchy exists in the church. No, it is not ideal. It is not what the Lord would want. But it is the reality of many men in this Church. They are viewed as less-capable because they are “just elders” and assigned to carry the boxes and furniture at the next move-in. In some cases, younger high priests avoid any physical labor. Some worthy older Elders stand by while their nephews and sons are set apart in bishoprics. They cannot participate because they are not high priests. Some worthy older Elders are invited into HP groups and remain there for years before being ordained high priests. Some of these elders drift off into inactivity. We wish they would not do so. But it is completely understandable why they do so. A policy should be set. Local leaders have proven incapable of dealing with this issue.

      • 72 Hal W. May 20, 2016 at 12:04 am

        Very interesting comments, Atticus, and I have seen, at one time or another, all you described, Much of what you describe comes about because someone feels offended. One General Authority stated that a “person cannot be offended unless he/she wants to be offended”. I believe that. Also, I have to admit that years ago I used to get a bit bent out of shape due to some things that were done or said but then I decided to ask myself where my testimony rests – on someone, on what someone says or does or does it rest on my Savior. I concluded that my testimony is on Jesus Christ and that I was not going to allow myself to dwell on someone receiving a “higher calling” than I have or “higher office in the Priesthood”. I am not going to be judged on what office in the Priesthood I held here on earth or what callings I have had. From the time we left our home in heaven and especially from the time we were baptized our goal should have been to do all we can to return to Him who sent us into mortality and anyone bearing the Melchizedek Priesthood can take all the steps necessary to accomplish that regardless of what office or calling that comes to him in mortality.
        Finally, I have observed that even if a man is ordained a high priest he is not always any more dedicated or committed to doing what he should do even though, in my opinion, he ought to be.

        HSW

  64. 73 Tom Stuart March 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    63, Elder, endowed, single, active, Scout master, communication specialist. They just keep bringing up 30-40 year old Elders and ordaining them jumping over older qualified Elders. Im tired of seeing older more qualified Elders in the high priest group get passed up for younger less qualified, less active men. The last calling I had was the HPG Secretary. The HPG leader and counselors never showed up most of the time. I also ended up giving all the lessons each Sunday. 11 months I did this. After begging if not pleading for new leadership they finally installed a new leadership. I wasn’t one of them. Just young guys some concerts some recent TR holders.
    Quit going to quorum meetings.

  65. 74 Eric Nielson March 15, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Your experience is unfortunate. Not sure what is going on. It is a bit of a weird separation between EQ and HP. I would be at your best, and try not to give people a reason to say ‘maybe this is why he isn’t a HP’. I wish you well.

  66. 75 AJ March 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Very interesting discussion for 10+ years! I just came across this after seeing your recent blog on the distinction between HP and Elder. This is obviously speaking to a specific population of men in the church and providing a venue for discussion and that is a good thing.

    I am currently a stake president and the comments here give me much to consider. It seems clear that some older elders are able to make peace with their situation and for others it is a real source of pain.

    I have recommended some men for ordination to HP without it being required by a specific calling, because I knew their particular situation and felt it would be helpful to their spiritual progression. Others that were suggested to me to be ordained high priests simply because of age I have declined to recommend at that time. Other times I have worked behind the scenes to suggest a HP group leader recommend an older elder, including single men, to serve as an assistant because I have seen what they have to offer, and recognize that ordination to HP might be helpful.

    My advice to those frustrated by their situation is to stay engaged. If you can get to know the style of your bishop or stake president you might approach them for an honest conversation about your feelings. I think there are many leaders out there who will be sympathetic. Unfortunately, there are probably some who won’t understand.

    I get to know as many members as I can but in a large stake that can be hard and I don’t always know the personal struggles of my members. If someone could articulate for me how being ordained a HP would help their spiritual growth I would be open to that. If that person was still actively serving and doing their best I think that would be in their favor. If they were starting to withdraw or focusing exclusively on this I think I would be less inclined to support an ordination and try to help them focus on the core principles of the gospel.

  67. 76 Old Man March 21, 2017 at 11:41 am

    AJ,
    You are essentially asking older elders to apply or ask to be ordained high priests. And what if the stake president refuses? You have then placed them in a situation in which they have been rejected for a priesthood office by their presiding officer. Some of them have been carrying this burden or sense of rejection for years. Do we really want to add to their burden?

    The problem I see is that other than to qualify men for certain callings, the standard for ordination is arbitrary. I which the Church would remove the arbitrary nature of this ordination.

  68. 77 AJ March 22, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Old Man,

    I guess more than asking older elders to apply I am encouraging those who carry this pain or rejection to try to reach out and have a conversation about it. I hope a conversation would open the door to some sort of peace or healing, one way or the other. I would have them explain their feelings and how they feel their priesthood status affects them, rather than requesting ordination or assuming that will fix things. Perhaps the priesthood leader could simply express love and appreciation, or in getting to know this member could find a meaningful way for them to serve. Perhaps an ordination to high priest would be appropriate.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to have further rejection add to their burden. That is why I tried to caveat my initial remarks with trying to get to know the style of their priesthood leader beforehand. If they are likely to be met with rejection I wouldn’t go forward.

    I agree the process is somewhat arbitrary, but since fixing that is beyond our reach at this time I was just trying to offer some practical thoughts for this forum.


  1. 1 2010 in review « Small and Simple Trackback on January 12, 2011 at 8:13 am
  2. 2 What is the Distinction Between the Elder and High Priest Office? | Small and Simple Trackback on March 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm

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