In 2 Nephi 6, Nephi’s brother, Jacob, shares some prophecy regarding the role of the Gentiles in restoring the House of Israel. In order to provide some credibility for his words, Jacob begins with this introduction: “I, Jacob, having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy order, and having been consecrated by my brother Nephi…” (2 Nephi 6:2).
Even as Jacob was ordained into the priesthood at that time, we have people today who occupy ordained offices in The Church of Jesus Christ. These ordained offices are Apostle, Evangelist, Elder, Teacher, Deacon and Deaconess. How is a member of the Church placed in one of these offices? The steps are outlined in Jacob’s statement above.
Called of God
A very important distinction between an ordained office and any other position in the Church is that a person must be called of God into the ordained office. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God” (Hebrews 5:4). A person can’t volunteer or apply for such a position nor can he be elected — a calling from God is the only way. Spiritual experiences and/or the discernment of the ministry are the primary instruments used to identify that the calling of God is upon a person for an ordained office.
To be consecrated is to be set apart or dedicated to the service of God. To be dedicated is to be exclusively allocated to or intended for a particular service or purpose. These definitions illustrate the seriousness of accepting an ordained office because the person is thereafter expected to be exclusively allocated for the function of that ordained office. When a person is being ordained, he first has his feet washed, and the purpose of this action is to “set apart” (dedicate, consecrate) the person for the ordained office.
Ordained after the manner of His holy order
The final step of the process is to have the ministry lay hands upon the person and pronounce the office upon that person. By using the priesthood (or the Evangelists or Apostles if those offices are involved) for this purpose, the continuity is maintained back to those who were first called by God into those offices. The priesthood authority is thereby passed on from one generation to the next.
If you are one who has been called into an ordained office, then recognize the significance, honor, and responsibility that comes with the position. It means God has selected you for a specific purpose, so He expects that you will do your best to fulfill that purpose. If He has called you, then He will help you to succeed, so have confidence in performing the duties of the office. Allow God to work through you such that it will be evident to all that you are called and ordained of God.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.