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According to Doctrine & Covenants 84:28, John the Baptist was ordained to his calling by an angel at just eight days old. However, he was ordained by an angel, not his father who was a righteous priest. Why? “The reason Zacharias could not ordain John is because of the fact that John received certain keys of authority which his father Zacharias did not possess. Therefore this special authority had to be conferred by this heavenly messenger, who was duly authorized and sent to confer it. John’s ordination was not merely the bestowal of the Aaronic Priesthood, which his father held, but also the conferring of certain essential powers peculiar to the time among which was the authority to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews and ‘to make straight the way of the Lord.’ Moreover, it was to prepare the Jews and other Israelites for the coming of the Son of God. This great authority required a special ordination beyond the delegated power that had been given to Zacharias or any other priest who went before him, so the angel of the Lord was sent to John in his childhood to confer it.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 5, p. 2.)
**Picture courtesy of churchofjesuschrist.org
Though we often think of John the Baptist as strange because of his camel’s hair clothing and his diet of locusts and wild honey, Jesus gave a clue as to why John might have lived this way. Robert J. Matthews pointed out that Jesus contrasted John’s clothing to “the ‘soft raiment’ of ‘those who are gorgeously apparelled and live delicately … in kings courts.’ (Luke 7:25.) He also referred to John’s diet, saying that ‘John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine.’ (Luke 7:33.) These words of Jesus may offer a clue to John’s austerity in food and clothing. Israel was oppressed by tyranny and priestcraft. Perhaps John’s observance of this caused a desire to be as unlike the proud Pharisee, the elaborate Sadducee, and those of kings’ courts as possible and might have influenced his choice of food and clothing.” (Source)
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