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It's standard for boys growing up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to receive certain priesthood offices at defined age milestones.

How does ordination to priesthood offices work for male converts who are already above the "standard" ages for ordination?

  • Do they just not receive the offices that they "missed"? In other words, a 25-year-old convert will never receive any priesthood office but an 18-year-old one will become an Elder since 18 is the age of ordination to Elder. Similarly, a 17-year-old will receive no ordination upon conversion (since he missed the window to become a Priest at 16) but will become an Elder at 18.
  • Do they receive the offices immediately (e.g. a convert over 18 would receive Deacon, Teacher, Priest, and Elder all in one marathon ordination session on the day he converts)?
  • Do they receive the offices gradually over a period of months or years as they mature in the faith, earning promotions? If so, are these promotions based on a standard time-in-grade (e.g. a newly converted adult Deacon will become a Teacher after six weeks of being a good Deacon and staying out of trouble), or is advancement based on personal/individualized spiritual progression (so one convert might blast up the ranks in a few weeks while another might still be working toward Teacher years after he converted).

I'm mostly interested in how it is actually done in practice, either official guidelines or informal "this is how we do it" standards. I can't imagine that a 50-year-old former Catholic would be ordained to the bottom-most office (Deacon) and then spend the next two years hanging out with 12 and 13 year old boys in the Deacons' Quorum (or would he?).

If there are formal rules or commandments on exactly when converts receive each office that are generally followed closely, I will accept that as an answer.

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The Aaronic Priesthood is the preparatory priesthood--boys growing up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will generally progress through the offices of deacon, teacher, and priest in the Aaronic Priesthood over the course of 6-7 years.

For new converts who will be 16 (or older) by the end of the year they join the church, they can be ordained to the office of priest (no requirement to officiate as a deacon or teacher first); there is no set time requirement for how long after baptism & confirmation conferral of the Aaronic Priesthood can occur, but the church handbook recommends the Bishop interview him for ordination within a week.

In the past, it was common to wait until a year after baptism for a new, adult member of the church to be eligible to receive the temple endowment. Since men must hold the Melchizedek Priesthood in order to be endowed in the temple, the 1-year milestone served as the timeline for helping a convert prepare for and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, prepare for the temple, and receive the endowment.

Recent policy changes have established the following guidelines for a new member to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood:

A new member is eligible to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and be ordained an elder when he:

  • Is 18 or older.

  • Has served as a priest (no specified time is required).

  • Has sufficient understanding of the gospel.

  • Has demonstrated worthiness.


Policies taken from General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 38.2.9.1

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