Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Individual Aaronic Priesthood Award, 1963

Individual Aaronic Priesthood Award, 1963

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 14, 2009

A “beautifully engraved award” – I’m still looking for a picture – was long available to Aaronic Priesthood holders who were active in the program and met certain requirements during the calendar year. Here, guys, is what you would have had to do to earn the award if you had been a teacher in 1963:

1.*Attend priesthood meetings equaling 75% or more of the number of such weekly meetings held in his ward of membership during the calendar year.

2. *Attend sacrament meetings equaling 75% or more of the number of such weekly meetings held in his ward of membership during the calendar year.

[*Each bearer of the Aaronic Priesthood should be encouraged to attend these meetings in his ward of membership whenever possible. However, where for one reason or another, he attends either of these meetings in other than his own ward, he is to receive full credit for his attendance provided the same kind of meeting (or meetings) was held in his home ward during that same week. If he attended priesthood meeting in another ward during a week when there was no priesthood meeting held in his home ward, he would receive no credit; this same rule holds for Sacrament meeting.


3. A priest or teacher must fill a minimum of thirty-six priesthood assignments.

4. Observance of the Word of Wisdom during the entire year. This requirement is complied with when a boy abstains from the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, or coffee, in any form. Compliance with this requirement is to be ascertained through personal interview with each boy by the bishop at the close of the year.

Temporary indiscretions concerning the Word of Wisdom during the year should be given special attention by the bishop, personally. If the violation was followed with a deep sorrow and complete repentance, as evidenced over a sufficient length of time (months) to prove their genuineness, beyond all doubt, the boy may receive the award.

5. Full payment of tithing. Anything short of a full tithing does not meet this requirement.

It is assumed that all boys, with a possible few exceptions, earn money in some amount during the year. Only those without any income whatever are exempt from the payment of tithing.

6. Attend annual tithing settlement. In meeting this requirement the young man is taught that it is his obligation, as it is the obligation of all members of the Church, to attend tithing settlement at the end of each year. If he has paid tithing during the year he should take his tithing receipts with him. The bishop will examine the records to see that the young an has been given his full credit on the tithing records of the Church.

Each boy attending tithing settlement should declare to his bishop whether he has paid a full tithing or not. If he had no income whatever he is exempt fro the payment of tithing, but he is obligated, nevertheless, to attend tithing settlement and inform his bishop accordingly.

Failure to attend tithing settlement personally, whether the boy has paid a full tithing or is exempt fro the payment of tithing because of no income, will automatically disqualify him for the award.

7. A teacher will deliver at least one public address in a Church meeting during the year. “Church meeting” is defined to include quarterly stake conference; priesthood meeting (not quorum meeting); sacrament meeting; Sunday School (not classes); M.I.A. conjoint meeting (not classes); or other church meeting where all members of the Church are invited to attend. Small wards will be able to provide any such opportunities, whereas wards with large enrollments will be more limited in the number of such opportunities available to each boy.

It is strongly recommended that each boy filling this assignment be counseled to be original in his address and to avoid reading it. The use of notes is not objectionable, but the reading of addresses defeats, in a very real measure, the development desired through the filling of this requirement: Plagiarism – “to use without due credit the ideas, expressions … of another” – should be avoided.

The bearing of testimonies; scriptural readings; teaching a class or taking part in class discussions; participation in drama; reading of poetry; participation in instrumental, vocal, or choral renditions, are not to be considered as public addresses or as taking the place of public addresses under this requirement.

8. Participation in a Church welfare project or a quorum service project. This requirement calls for participation in either a Church welfare project or in a quorum service project by each member of the Aaronic Priesthood without exception. There are always opportunities for a young man to perform some service in connection with a ward or stake welfare project or a quorum service project at some time during the year.

9. A priest or a teacher must serve as a ward teacher and visit in the homes of the Saints at least 75 percent of the months he is a priest or teacher during the year.

10. Bishop to interview each young man to determine worthiness to receive individual award.

it is required that the bishop personally interview each Aaronic priesthood bearer 12 to 21 who has met the above minimum requirements of the individual Aaronic Priesthood award during the year to determine whether he is otherwise worthy to receive this recognition.

To be “otherwise worthy” requires a young man to be morally clean, honest, and of good report.

Those who may have been indiscreet during the year but who have seriously repented will be considered as “otherwise worthy.” The bishop will be the sole judge as to whether alleged or promised repentance is sufficiently honest and sincere to justify the young man’s being considered “otherwise worthy.” If, following the interview, the bishop feels a young man is not “otherwise worthy” to receive the award, he will not include his name on the application notwithstanding he may have met all the printed requirements.

Special Seal for Attendance at Priesthood Meeting and Sacrament Meeting

A special seal (90%-100%) will be affixed to the award for each young man with a minimum of 90% attendance at the weekly priesthood meeting and Sacrament meeting during the calendar year.

Special attention is directed to the rule that 90% or more is not an average attendance but a minimum required attendance at each of these meetings where the special attendance seal is to be awarded.

If, for instance, a young an’s attendance record for the year is less than 90% at Sacrament meeting or at priesthood meeting he would not be eligible for the seal regardless of the excellence of his attendance at the other.



  1. That sounds similar to the Duty to God program currently in use. It’s a lot of work, and in addition to all the scouting requirements and with our small ward, I’ve been wondering where my husband and I will find the time and energy to get our new deacon through both programs simultaneously. So I just googled Duty to God and found this site which has some really helpful worksheets which include information on the requirements that also fulfill scouting requirements and I guess we will get right to work over the summer vacation. Thanks for this post, Ardis!

    Comment by Researcher — July 14, 2009 @ 8:26 am

  2. I was intrigued at all the strict comments (“THERE ARE NO AUTHORIZED EXCUSES FOR ABSENCE FROM EITHER OF THESE MEETINGS”). Wow – they were pretty serious!

    What intrigued me more, though, was the inclusion of the tithing and the Word of Wisdom requirements for earning the award. To be frank, I kind of found that distasteful.

    But then, I had to ask myself, “What’s the difference between those requirements and any of the current behavioral/achievement/moral requirements of the Duty to God award?”

    Comment by Hunter — July 14, 2009 @ 10:00 am

  3. I just ran across the requirements for the Duty to God program in 1967-68. The requirements then were to achieve the following for FOUR (not necessarily consecutive) years:

    1. Receive the Aaronic priesthood certificate of achievement (the requirements of which changed from time to time).

    2. Attend Sunday School at least 75% of the time.

    3. Attend YMMIA weekly meetings at least 75% of the time.

    4. Be an officially registered Boy Scout or Explorer in the US; or if outside the US, enroll in the MIA age group appropriate to the country in which he lives.

    That sounds like a handful for a parent.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 14, 2009 @ 10:03 am

  4. Re#1, as a scoutmaster and deacon’s quorum advisor, I would be thrilled to have a boy’s parents actively working with him on the Duty to God Award. I would talk to the decon’s quorum advisor and ask him which requirements were going to be done as a quorum and which ones needed to be done at home. The program certainly is challenging.

    But I believe that’s the point. (And was back in 1963, as well) If everyone receives the award, it ceases to be special. The award, then and now, is for those young men who do their very best to magnify their calling and priesthood office. Allowances for repentance and slip-ups are made, but the young men were held to high expectations. I see nothing wrong with that.

    Comment by Clark — July 14, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

  5. Clark, I see nothing wrong with having high expectations. To the contrary, I really think it’s a good thing.

    The only thing I wondered about as to the 1963 program was the granting of an award based, in part, upon the keeping of certain commandments (namely tithing and the Word of Wisdom). For some reason, that strikes me as wrong. To me, the current Duty to God, I think, avoids those types of requirements; perhaps the focus is a bit more on personal spiritual progression and experiential learning.

    Comment by Hunter — July 14, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

  6. Ardis, I may actually have my “beautifully engraved award” for 1964, my first year as a deacon, somewhere in stuff my mother saved for me. Part of the difficulty in getting four years worth to earn your Duty to God award was that in my ward, it was interpreted that all the records be marked contemporaneously. In other words, I couldn’t go back in 1966 and get my bishop to sign off for 1964 on the Duty to God achievement record, so even though I had four annual awards, I didn’t get my Duty to God award.

    If I can find it tonight, I’ll try to scan a copy for you. It was 11×14 landscape mode, in today’s vocabulary, of heavy cream card stock, prepunched to fit in the old genealogy/personal history binders. Each year had a different color embossed foil seal of red, blue, or gold according to your priesthood office, and had some nice engraved lettering across the top. It was very impressive for a young man.

    Comment by kevinf — July 14, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

  7. That would make a nice illustration, kevinf, I hope you can find it. I know that these certificates (and similar ones for the girls) were held very closely. They didn’t send a stack of blanks out to the wards — your ward leaders had to submit a list, and the certificates were made out with the names of the awardees in the auxiliary general offices and sent to the bishops for countersignature. Another mark of the much smaller church then, eh?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 14, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  8. I love the detail in what counts as attendance–attending a meeting at another ward doesn’t count unless a similar meeting was held at your ward. So no getting extra credit by going to other wards’ sacrament meetings and such while your ward is having stake conference!

    Also, quarterly stake conference–wow! Was it ever more frequent than that? I’ve only ever known twice a year, and with half of those now being broadcasts, it feels like we only have one “real” stake conference a year. Not that I’m complaining; I actually prefer regular Sunday meetings.

    Comment by Ziff — July 15, 2009 @ 1:20 am

  9. Ziff–worse than that. Not only were there 4 stake conferences a year, but each conference had 2 general meetings on Sunday of two hours each. In addition the auxillaries rotated with a “special” meeting on Sunday night. My memory says that at least in some years there was also a Saturday meeting for the adults.

    Another point of interest about these meeting was that we felt “gyped” if we didn’t get a GA visitor and sometimes it was two! How times and the Church have changed–and grown.

    Comment by Marjorie Conder — July 18, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

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