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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – Priesthood Restoration

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood Restoration.” You can view other years here.

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1833:  2 Mar.:  Rev. Richmond Taggart.

“The following Curious occurrence occurred last week in Newburg about 6 miles from this Place [Cleveland, Ohio].  Joe Smith the great Mormonosity was there and held forth, and among other things he told them he had seen Jesus Christ and the Apostles and conversed with them, and that he could perform Miracles.”  (Reverend Richmond Taggart to Reverend Jonathon Goings, Letter, 2 Mar., 1833, Cleaveland, Ohio, p. 2., Jonathon Goings Papters, American Baptist Historical Society, Rochester, New York; Barney)

1834:  12 Feb.:  Kirtland Council Minutes.

“Thursday Evening, February 12, 1834.  This evening the high Priests and Elders of the Church in Kirtland at the house of bro. Joseph Smith Jun. in Council for Church business.  The Council was organized and opened by bro. Joseph Smith Jn in prayer.  Bro. Joseph then rose and said: I shall now endeavor to set forth before this Council, the dignity of the office which has been conferred upon me by the ministering of the Angel of God, by his own voice and by the voice of the Church.”  (Kirtland Council Minutes, 12 Feb., 1834; Barney)

21 Apr.:  Kirtland Council Minutes.

“Norton Medina Co. Ohio April 21, 1834  Joseph Smith Jun . . . then gave a relation of obtaining and translating the Book of Mormon, the revelation of the Priesthood of Aaron, the organization of the Church in the year 1830, the revelation of the high priesthood, and the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church, &c.  Take away the Book of Mormon, and the revelations and where is our religion?  We have none.”  (Kirtland Council Minutes, 21 Apr., 1834; Barney)

5 Dec.:  History of the Church (manuscript).

“The reader may further understand, that the reason why High Counsellor Cowdery was not previously ordained to the Presidency was in consequence of his necessary attendance in Zion, to assist W. W. Phelps in conducting the printing business; but that this promise was made by the angel while in company with President Smith, at the time they received the office of the lesser priesthood.”  (History of the Church, Manuscript, Book A-1, {1838} (back of the book), 5 Dec., 1834, CR 100/102, LDS Archives; Barney)

1835:  21 Feb.:  Kirtland Council Minutes.

“[The occasion is the blessing of several new members of the Twelve Apostles.  Following their blessings Oliver Cowdery gave them a charge] Brethren, you have your duty presented in this Revelation.  You have been ordained to the Holy Priesthood.  You have received it from those who had their power and Authority from an Angel.–You are to preach the gospel to every nation.”  (Kirtland Council Minutes, 21 Feb., 1835; Barney)

Sep.:  Patriarchal Blessing Book.

“The following blessing by the spirit of prophecy was pronounced by Joseph Smith, jr the first elder and first patriarch of the Church: for although his father laid hands upon and blessed the fatherless, thereby securing the blessing of the Lord unto them and their posterity he was not the first elder, because God called upon his son Joseph and ordained him to this power and delivered to him the keys of the kingdom, that is, of authority and spiritual blessings upon the Church and through him the Lord revealed his will to the Church: he was ministered unto by the angel, and by his direction he obtained the Records of the Nephites, and translated by the gift and power of God, he was ordained by the angel, John, unto the lesser or Aaronic priesthood in company with myself, in the town of Harmony, Susquehannah County, Pennsylvania on Friday [?], the 15th day of May, 1829, after which we repaired to the water, even to the Susquehannah River, and were baptized, he first ministering unto me and after I to him.  But before baptism our souls were drawn out in mighty prayer to know we might obtain the blessings of baptism and of the Holy Spirit, according to the order of God, and we diligently sought for the right of the fathers and the authority of the holy priesthood, and the power to admin[ister] in the same; for we desired to be followers of righteousness and the possessors of greater knowledge, and the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God.  Therefore, we repaired to the woods, even as our father Joseph said we should, that is to the bush, and called upon the name of the Lord, and he answered us out of the heavens, and while we were in the heavenly vision the angel came down and bestowed upon us this priesthood; and then, as I have said, we repaired to the water and were baptized.  After this we received the high and holy priesthood but an account of this will be given elsewhere, or in another place.  Let it suffice, that others had authority to bless, but after these blessings were given, of which I am about to write, Joseph Smith, Sen. was ordained a president and patriarch, under the hands of his son Joseph, myself, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, patriarch of the Church.  These blessings were given by vision and the spirit of prophecy, on the 18th of December 1833, and written by my own hand at the time; and I know them to be correct and according to the mind of the Lord.”  (Patriarchal Blessing Book 1; The end of this blessing contains this information about its origin: “Oliver Cowdery, clerk, and Recorder.  Given in Kirtland December 18, 1833, and recorded September 1835.”; Barney)

2 Oct.:  Patriarchal Blessing Book 1.

“These blessings shall come upon him according to the blessings of the prophecy of Joseph in ancient days, which he said should come upon the Seer of the last days, and the Scribe that should sit with him, and that should be ordained with him, by the hand of the angel in the bush, unto the lesser priesthood, and after receive the holy priesthood under the hands of those who had been held in reserve for a long season, even those who received it under the hands of the Messiah, while he should dwell in the flesh, upon the earth, and should receive the blessings with him, even the Seer, of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saith he, even Joseph of old, by his hand, even God.–And he shall inherit a crown of eternal life, at the end, and while in the flesh shall stand up in Zion and assit [sic] to crown the tribes of Jacob, even so Amen.”  (Patriarchal Blessing Book 1; The end of this blessing contains this information about its origin: “Oliver Cowdery, clerk and recorder.  Given December 18, 1833, and recorded in this book October 2, 1835.”  This particular blessing was evidently given for Oliver Cowdery but the name specifying the recipient has been obscured.  This passage comes from the last sixth of the blessing; Barney)

Parley P. Pratt poem.

“Song III.  Longe Metre.

The Opening of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times

. . . A voice commissioned from on high

Hark, hark, it is the angel’s cry,

Descending from the throne of light

His garments shining clear and white.

He comes the gospel to reveal

In fulness, to the sons of men;

Lo! from Cumorah’s lonely hill, 

There comes a record of God’s will!

Translated by the power of God,

His voice bears record to his word;

Again, an angel did appear, 

As witnesses do record bear.

Restored the priesthood, long since lost,

In truth and power, as at the first;

Thus commissioned from on high,

Came forth and did repentance cry . . .”

(Parley P. Pratt, The Millenium, a Poem; To Which is Added Hymns and Songs . . .; Boston: Parley P. Pratt, 1835; p. 38; Barney)

Emma Smith hymn.

“An an angel surely, then,

For a blessing unto men,

Brought the priesthood back again,

In its ancient purity.”

(Hymn 26; A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of the Latter Day Saints, selected by Emma Smith; Kirtland: F. G. Williams & Co., 1835; Barney)

1836:  27 Mar.:  Stephen Post.

“[After Joseph Smith delivered the dedicatory prayer to the Kirtland Temple, and after the passing of the ‘bread and wine’,] Joseph Smith Jun. testified of the angel of the Lords appearing unto him to call him to the work of the Lord, & also of being ordained under the hands of the angel of of [sic] the covenant.”  (Stephen Post Papers, Journal, 27 Mar., 1836; Barney)

1838:  Jul.:  David W. Patten.

“[Referring to Rev. 14:6, 7 previously mentioned in the text] The authority connected with the ordinances renders the time very desirable to the man of God, and renders him happy amidst all his trials, and afflictions.  To such an one, through the grace of God, we are indebted for this dispensation, as given by the angel of the Lord. . . . And they who sin against this authority given to him–(the before mentioned man of God,)–sins not against him only, but against Moroni, who holds the keys of bringing to pass the restitution of all things, or the restoration of all things.  And also John, the son of Zacharias which Zacharias Elias visited, and give promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias, which John I have sent unto you, my servants Joseph Smith Jr. and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you to this first priesthood, even as Aaron. . . . And also Peter, and James and John, whom I have sent unto you by whom I have ordained you, and confirmed you to be apostles and especial witnesses of my name; and bear the keys of your ministry, and of the same keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last time, and for the fulness of times.”  (David W. Patten, in Elder’s Journal 1(3):41-42, Jul., 1838; Barney)

History of the Church.

“While we were thus employed, praying, and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, ‘Upon you my fellow servant . . .’ [Text of D&C 13] The messenger who visited us on this occasion, and conferred this priesthood upon us said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist, in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the priesthood of Melchizedek, which priesthood he said should in due time be conferred on us– . . . we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of our having been baptized, and having received the priesthood; owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood.”  (History of the Church, Manuscript, Book A-1 [1838], CR 100/102, LDS Archives; T&S 3(19):855-856, 1 Aug., 1842; also in HC 1:39-41; Barney)

History of the Church.

“We now became anxious to have that promise realized to us, which the angel that conferred upon us the Aaronic Priesthood had given us, viz: that provided we continued faithful we should also have the Melchisidec Priesthood, which holds the authority of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.  We had for some time made this matter a subject of humble prayer, and at length we got together in the chamber of Mr. Whitmer’s house in order more particularly to seek of the Lord what we now so earnestly desired; and here to our unspeakable satisfaction did we realize the truth of the Savior’s promise; ‘Ask, and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you,’ for we had not long been engaged in solemn and fervent prayer, when the word of the Lord came unto us in the chamber, commanding us; that I should ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an elder in the church of Jesus Christ, and that he also should ordain me to the same office, and then to ordain others as it should be made known to us, from time to time: we were however commanded to defer this our ordination until, such times, as it should be practicable to have our brethren, who had been and who should be baptized, assembled together, when we must have their sanction to our thus proceeding to ordain each other, and have them decide by vote whether they were willing to accept us as spiritual teachers, or not, when also we were commanded to bless bread and break it with them . . .

The following commandment will further illustrate the nature of our calling to this Priesthood as well as that of others who were yet to be sought after.”  (History of the Church, Manuscript, Book A-1 [1838], CR 100/102, LDS Archives; T&S 3(22):915, 15 Sep., 1842; also in HC 1:60-61; Barney)

1839:  ca. Aug.:  Joseph Smith.

“How have we come at the priesthood in the last days?  They it came [sic] down, down in regular succession.  Peter James & John had it given to them & they gave it up.”  (Joseph Smith sermon, given sometime before 8 Aug., 1839, recorded in Willard Richards Pocket Companion probably by John Taylor, as reprinted in Ehat and Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 9; Barney)

1840:  11 Feb.:  Joseph Fielding.

“11 [Feb., 1840] Tuesday. . . . Br. Bracshaw said he could tell if a man had the Holy Ghost–yet could not tell how.  He shewd him a Man might have the Gift of Wisdom, etc. and he not see it–told him he did not know what the H[oly] G[host] was.  Mr. M[atthews] asked Bro. [John] Taylor where he got his Authority.  Ans: By prophecy and laying on of hands of those who had Authority, etc.  This came by the Ministration of an holy Angel.  Bro. T[aylor] then asked where he go this.  Ans: from the Bishop of Lincoln, and that was as good as his Angel, ‘and you have no more Power than I have and if you have, let us see it.  I say if you have any Power shew it, either from Heaven or Hell, shew it.’  We said we were sent not to shew Signs but to call on all to repent.”  (Joseph Fielding, Journals, Ms 1567 (and typescript M 270.1/F 459F), Vol. 2, p. 116; LDS Archives; Barney)

Orson Pratt.

“Also, in the year 1829, Mr. Smith and Mr. Cowdery, having learned the correct mode of baptism, from the teachings of the Saviour to the ancient Nephites, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, had a desire to be baptized; but knowing that no one had authority to administer that sacred ordinance in any denomination, they were at a loss to know how the authority was to be restored, and while calling upon the Lord with a desire to be informed on the subject, a holy angel appeared and stood before them and laid his hands upon their heads, and ordained them, and commanded them to baptize each other, which they accordingly did. . . . In the foregoing we have related the most important facts concerning the visions and the ministry of the angel to Mr. Smith; the discovery of the records; their translation into the English language, and the witnesses raised up to bear testimony of the same. . . . We have also given an acount of the restoration of the authority in these days, to administer in the ordinances of the gospel; and of the time of the organization of the church; and of the blessings poured out upon the same while yet in its infancy.”  (Orson Pratt, “Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions . . .,” Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Hughes, 1840, pp. 23-24; Barney)

Parley P. Pratt.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was first organized in the State of New York, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty, on the sixth day of April.  At its first organization, it consisted of six members.  The first instruments of its organization were Joseph Smith, jun., and Oliver Cowdery, who profess to have received their authority and priesthood, or apostleship, by divine revelation from God–by the voice of God–by the ministering of angels–and by the Holy Ghost.”  (Parley P. Pratt, Late Persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints . . ., New York: J. W. Harrison, 1840; p. iii; Barney)

1841:  1 Jan.:  Gospel Reflector.

“Little more than ten years has passed since the organization of the church of Christ in these last days; since the angel of the Lord said to our much esteemed brother J. Smith, and his faithful companion, O. Cowdery, ‘To you my fellow servants am I sent to confer this priesthood, that through you it may be conferred upon others.’  The morning that heavenly messenger executed this important mission is one long to be remembered by all the saints.”  (Erastus Snow to Benjamin Winchester, Dec., 1840; The Gospel Reflector Vol. 1, #1, 1 Jan., 1841; Barney)

15 Feb.:  Gospel Reflector.

“God does not send his angels to act as priests on earth, but to bear his messages to men; also to make known his covenants to them.  It is not said that this angel in person should preach the gospel to all nations [referring to the angel prophecied of in Rev. 14:6, 7]; but that he should come with it, or have it to preach to all nations.  It is the work of the servants of God, to preach the gospel to all nations.  Indeed, in consequence of apostacy, the Lord has taken the priesthood or authority from the church; therefore, this angel was to be sent to restore this authority, or commission men to preach the gospel to all nations.”  (The Gospel Reflector 1(4):89, 15 Feb., 1841; Barney)

1 Apr.:  Gospel Reflector.

“As soon as the Book of Mormon was translated, the Lord sent his holy angel with the holy priesthood, which was conferred upon men; thus fulfilling the saying of John: ‘I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, &c.’ . . . The Book of Mormon has come forth on this land and the Lord has sent his angel to confer the holy priesthood upon his servants once more, or renewed the gospel dispensation, and organized his kingdom, &c . . . the Lord has sent forth the Book of Mormon, also his angel to confer the holy priesthood and organized his church.”  (The Gospel Reflector 1(7):177, 183, 187, 1 Apr., 1841; Barney)

18 Apr.:  Alfred Cordon.

“Monday 18th [Apr., 1841] . . . as soon as I got home I discovered that Mr Brabazon Ellis, Incumbent of St Pauls Church Burslem, had sent desiring to hold a little conversation with one or more of the Latter Day Saints, immediately I went Elder Wm Lloyd accompanied me we found another Minister with him, and after the usual compliments he said let us pray we kneeled down and he prayed that the Lord would enlighten both our hearts that we might be blessed with wisdom and Intelligence, and I felt in my heart to say–Amen–After Prayer He asked me who ordained me in the Church of Latter Day Saints I told him Wm Clayton.  I then said and Sir, Who ordained you He answered the Bishop.  He then asked me who Ordained Wm Clayton I answered Heber C. Kimbal.  I then asked him who Ordained the Bishop He answered; another Bishop; He then asked me who ordained Heber C. Kimball; I answered Joseph Smith and said I: Joseph Smith was Ordained by Holy Angels that were sent by commandment from the Most High God.”  (Alfred Cordon, 18 Apr., 1841, “Reminiscences and Journals, 1839-1868; LDS Archives, Ms 1831; Barney)

Charles Thompson.

“immediately after it was translated God sent an holy angel from the midst of heaven, with the Priesthood and authority of Jesus Christ, to preach the everlasting Gospel unto them who dwell on the earth, and to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, saying, with a loud voice, fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgement is come; and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water.  And this Priesthood and authority has been conferred upon many men, (and will be conferred upon many more) . . .”  (Charles Thompson, Evidence in Proof of the Book of Mormon Being a Divinely Inspired Record . . ., Batavia, N.Y.: D. D. Waite, 1841, p. 144; Barney)

George J. Adams.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was first organized in the state of New York, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty, on the sixth day of April.  At its first organization, int consisted of six members.  The first instruments of its organization were Joseph Smith, Jun. and Oliver Cowdery, who received their authority and priesthood, or apostleship, by direct revelation from God–by the voice of God–by the ministering of angels–and by the Holy Ghost.”  (George J. Adams, “A Few Plain Facts, Shewing the Folly, Wickedness, and Imposition of the Rev. Timothy R. Matthews; also a Short Sketch of the Rise, Faith and Doctrine fo the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” Bedford, England: C. B. Merry, 1841; p. 12; Barney)

Erastus Snow and Benjamin Winchester.

“We also believe and testify, that the Lord has renewed the gospel dispensation and in fulfillment of numerous predictions of the prophets and apostles, sent his holy angel to commission men to preach the fulness of the everlasting gospel to all nations.”  (Erastus Snow and Benjamin Winchester, “And Address to the Citizens of Salem and Vicinity,” n.p., 1841; Barney)

1842:  Jan.:  Parley P. Pratt.

“Some of those who held the holy priesthood in ancient times, the priesthood which is after the power of an endless life, without beginning of days or ends of years–some of those, I say, being raised from the dead, and others translated, still hld the apostleship and priesthood; and it has pleased God to send them as holy angels to earth to reintroduce the pure gospel, and to commission and ordain the first instruments of the Latter-day Saints.”  (Parley P. Pratt, “Dialogue Between a Latter-day Saint and an Enquirer after Truth . . .,” in MS 2(9):131, Jan., 1842; and Manchester, England: P. P. Pratt, 1842; Barney)

29 Aug.:  Warren Foote.

“29th [Aug., 1842] We returned home satisfied with sectarian nonsense, and feeling thankful to the Lord for the revelation of His gospel through His servant Joseph Smith on whom he betowed [sic] his Holy Priesthood through the laying on of hands of the ancient Apostles Peter James and John thereby opening up the way whereby mankind can be saved and exalted in His Celestial Kingdom, through repentance and baptism and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost by those ordained unto this Holy Priesthood.”  (Warren Foote, Autobiography and Journals, 1837-1903; LDS Archives, Ms 1123, Vol. 1; Barney)  [Note added to typescript by Ron Barney:  “While this collection has the appearance of being a daily journal it is very clear that this is probably a recollection with diary entries interspersed throughout the recollection.  In one case on page 32 which deals with the period of 1838, after telling about the defection of Colonel George Hinkle he said, ‘See the History of Joseph Smith.’  Thus, it is difficult to giv full measure to this journal as representing Foote’s actual thoughts at the time.  This is particularly true when later on he gives an account of Peter, James and John coming to restore the Priesthood.  Another passage that I have just encountered reads, ‘But as all the particulars with regard to driving the Saints from Missouri are recorded in the Church History I will write no more on that subject but continue my own journal.’ p. 43.”]

Moses Martin.

“I now, as a living witness of God, feel it my indispensable duty to declare to all men, who may chance to peruse this little work, that the Angel of God has committed the everlasting gospel, with the Holyi priesthood, unto man, in fulfillment of John’s prediction: that God has now a church on earth, organized after the apostolic order, with all the gifts and graces which belong to it.”  (Moses Martin, A Treatise on the Fulness of the Everlasting Gospel . . ., New York: J. W. Harrison, 1842; p. 54; Barney)

Orson Hyde.

“While calling upon the Lord with a desire to be informed on the subject a holy angel appeared, stood before them, and laid his hands upon their heads and ordained them.  Then he commanded these two men to baptise each other, which they did accordingly.  [He then gives Oliver Cowdery’s 1834 M&A account of the Aaronic Priesthood restoration.]”  (Orson Hyde, “Ein Ruf aus der Wuste, eine Stimme aus dem Schoose der Erde [A Cry from the Wilderness, A Voice from the Dust of the Earth],” Frankfurt: by the author, 1842; This English version was translated from the German by Justus Ernst.  Barney)

1843:  Benjamin Winchester.

“Soon after this Book was discovered, the Lord sent His angel with the Holy priesthood, which was conferred upon Mr. Smith and O. Cowdery who as a scribe assisted in the work of translation: they immediately baptized each other, and also others that believed the work.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, 1843; p. 147; Barney)

1844:  10 Mar.:  Joseph Smith.

“Showing the difference between the Spirit of Elias, Elijah and the messiah.

J Smith P[rophet]

of the spirit of Elias I must go back to the time at Susquehannah river when I retired in the woods pouring out my soul in prayer to Almighty God.  An Angel came down from heaven and laid his hands upon me and ordained me to the power of Elias and that authorized me to baptise with water unto repentance.”  (Joseph Smith, 10 Mar., 1844; recorded by James Burgess in his notebook, cited in Ehat and Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 332; Barney)

“On Sunday March 10 Joseph the Priest delivered the following concerning the Spirits & Powers of Elias Elijah & of Messiah.  The power of Elias is not the power of Elijah related the vision of his ordination to the priesthood of Aaron on the Susquehannah river to preach the preparatory gospel.  This said the Angel is the Spirit of Elias.”  (Joseph Smith, 10 Mar., 1844; recorded by Franklin D. Richards in his “Scriptural Items,” cited in Ehat and Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 334; Barney)

Lorenzo Snow.

“I now bear testimony, having the highest assurance, by revelation from God, that this prophecy [Rev. 14:6, 7] has already been fulfilled, that an Angel from God has visited man in these last days, and restored that which has long been lost, even the priesthood,—the keys of the kingdom,—the fulness of the everlasting Gospel.”  (Lorenzo Snow, “The Only Way to be Saved,” London: F. Shephard, 1844; pp. 11-12; Barney)

William I. Appleby.

“In the year 1830, after the Book was translated and published, the Angel of God according to promise conferred the Holy priesthood upon Mr. Smith, and gave unto him commandments to Baptize with water in the name of Jesus, and build up the Church of Christ; which accordingly was organized April 6th, A.D. 1830, with six members.”  (William I. Appleby, “A Dissertation on Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream . . . together with a Synopsis of the Origin and Faith of the Church of ‘Latter-day Saints’ . . .,” Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, 1844; p. 23; Barney)

Jedediah M. Grant.

“After he had obtained and translated the ancient American Records, commonly called the Book of Mormon, and had received authority from Legates of Heaven, delegated and sent unto him by the Lord to ordain him to the Holy Priesthood, giving him the right to ordain others, that the Gospel might be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.”  (Jedediah M. Grant, “A Collection of Facts Relative to the Course taken by Elder Sidney Rigdon . . .,” Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilbert, 1844; p. 1; Barney)

1845:  6 Apr.:  The Twelve Apostles.

“Greeting, . . . The great Elohim, Jehovah, has been pleased once more to speak from the heavens, and also to commune with man upon the earth, by means of open visions, and by the ministration of HOLY MESSENGERS.

By this means the great and eternal High Priesthood, after the order of his Son (even the Apostleship) has been restored or returned to the earth.

This High Priesthood or Apostleship, holds the keys of the kingdom of God, with power to bind on earth that which shall be bound in heaven, and to loose on earth that which shall be loosed in heaven; and, in fine, to do and to administer in all things pertaining to the ordinances, organization, government, and direction of the kingdom of God.”  (“Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  To all the Kings of the World, to the President of the United States of America . . .,” Liverpool: Wilford Woodruff, 6 Apr., 1845 [Written from New York], p. 1; Barney)

1846:  23 Mar.:  Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young.

“I have cherished ahope, and that one of my fondest, that I might leave such a character as those who might believe in my testimony, after I shall be called hence, might do so, not only for the sake of the truth, but might not blush for the private character of the man who bore that testimony.  I have been sensitive on this subject, I admit; but I ought to be so–you would be, under the circumstances, had you stood in the presence of John, with our departed Joseph, to receive the Lesser Priesthood–and in the presence of Peter, to receive the Greater, and look down through time, and witness the effects these two must produce.”  (Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, Letter, 23 Mar., 1846; Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio; LDS Archives, Ms 3408, fd 3; Barney)

Sep.:  Reuben Miller.

“Who was Joseph Smith?  A man appointed of God to lay the foundation of this, ‘The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.’  He was ordained in the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist, and received the keys of the kingdom and the keys of the ‘Dispensation of the fulness of Times’ from Peter, James and John: and the restoring power of the Melchisedek Priesthood from Elias, and the sealing and binding powers of the same from Elijah.”  (Reuben Miller, “James J. Strang, Weighed in the Balance of Truth, and Found Wanting.  His Claims as First President of the Melchisedek Priesthood Refuted.”  Burlington, Wis.: n.p., Sep., 1846, pp. 12-13; Barney)

1847:  Apr.:  William McLellin.

“Joseph was first called by an holy angel, Strange was first called by Joseph–not alike here.  Again, when the holy angel visited and ordained Joseph, Oliver was with him, that it might be as the Lord had said: ‘In the mouth of TWO or three witnesses shall every word be established.’  2 Cor. 13:1.  Who was with Strang, when he was ordained?  No person.  Not alike here.  ‘And also with Peter and James and John, whom I have sent unto you [Joseph and Oliver] by whom I have ordained you, and confirmed you to be Apostles, and especial witnesses of my name.'”  (William E. McLellin, The Ensign of Liberty of the Church of Christ, 1(2):31, Apr., 1847; Barney)

Reuben Miller.

“[Miller gives a brief retelling of Joseph Smith’s account of the Aaronic Priesthood restoration as given in the Times and Seasons, then . . .] Now when I speak of the Melchisedek priesthood, I wish to be understood.  And when I speak of the Aaronic, I do not wish the reader to understand that I hold its jurisdiction or authority as being over that of the greater, or Melchisedek.  They are two priesthoods and when restored to earth through Joseph, by different angels, and at different times.”  (Reuben Miller, “Truth Shall Prevail:  A Short Reply to an Article Published in the Voree Herale (Reveille) by J. C. Bennett; . . .,” Burlington, Wis.: n.p., 1847; p. 7; Barney)

1848:  4 Mar.:  Hiram Page.

“in the beginning we find the first ordinations were by Peter, James and John they ordained Joseph and Oliver; to what priesthood were they ordained; the answer must be to the Holy Priesthood on the office of an elder or an apostle which is an additional grace added to the office of an elder . . . these offices Oliver received from those holy messengers before the 6th of April 1830.”  (Hiram Page to William [Smith?], Letter, 4 Mar., 1848, Fishing River; LDS Archives, typescript; Barney)

Mar.:  William McLellin.

“We hold that JOSEPH SMITH and OLIVER COWDERY, in May 1829, received the authority of the lesser priesthood; and the keys of it, by the visitation and the administration of the angel John, the Baptist: and that on the 6th day of April, 1830, the day on which the church was organized they by a revelation from Jesus Christ by the unanimous consent and vote of those whom they had baptised and by the laying on of hands Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith were ordained to the office of Elder in the high priesthood: And that on the same day JOSEPH SMITH was ordained under the hands of O. COWDERY to the offices in the Melchisedec priesthood.”  (The Ensign of Liberty of the Church of Christ, edited by William E. McLellin, 1(5):67, Mar., 1848; Barney)

30 Sep.:  Orson Pratt.

“A revelation and restoration to the earth of the everlasting gospel through the angel Moroni would be of no benefit to the nations, unless some one should be ordained with authority to preach it and administer its ordinances. . . . But why not confer authority by ordination, as well as reveal the everlasting gospel [referring to Moroni]?  Because in all probability he had not the right to do so. . . . How then did Mr. Smith obtain the office of an apostle, if Moroni had no authority to ordain him to such office?  Mr. Smith testifies that Peter, James, and John came to him in the capacity of ministering angels, and by the laying on of hands ordained him an apostle, and commanded him to preach all other ordinances of the gospel as they themselves did in ancient days. . . . If Mr. Smith had pretended that he received the apostleship by the revelation of the Holy Ghost, without an ordination under the hands of an apostle, we should at once know that his pretensions were vain, and that he was a deceiver.”  (Orson Pratt, “Divine Authority, or the Question Was Joseph Smith Sent of God?” Liverpool: R. James, 30 Sep., 1848, p. 16; Barney)

20 Oct.:  George A. Smith to Orson Pratt.

“Oliver Cowdery, who had just arrived from Wisconsin with his family on being invited, addressed the meeting.  He bore testimony in the most positive terms of the truth of the Book of Mormon–the restoration of the priesthood to the earth, and the mission of Joseph Smith as the prophet of the last days; and told the people if they wanted to follow the right path, to keep the main channel of the stream–where the body of the Church goes, there is the authority; and all these lo here’s and lo there’s, have no authority, but this people have the true and holy priesthood; ‘for the angel said unto Joseph Smith Jr., in my hearing, that this priesthood shall remain on earth unto the end.’  His testimony produced quite a sensation among the gentlemen present who did not belong to the Church, and it was gratefully received by all the saints.”  (George A. Smith to Orson Pratt, Letter, 20 Oct., 1848, Carbonca, Council Bluffs, Iowa; LDS Archives, typescript; Barney)

21 Oct.:  Reuben Miller.

“Conference held on Misqueto Creek Council Bluffs October 21st [the 21 was apparently added later] 1848 . . . [quoting Oliver Cowdery who spoke to the assembled Saints] The priesthood is here.  I was present with Joseph when an noly angle [sic] from god came down from heaven and confered, or restored the Aronic priesthood.  And said at the same time that it should remain upon the earth while the earth stands.  I was present with Joseph when the Melchisideck priesthood was confered by the holy angles of god.”  (Reuben Miller, Journal, 21 Oct., 1848; LDS Archives, Ms 1392; Barney)

1849:  George J. Adams.

“and while calling upon the Lord with a desire to be informed upon the subject, a holy angel appeared–stood before them–laid his hands upon their heads–ordained them–commanded them to baptize each other, which they accordingly did.”  (George J. Adams, “A True History of the Rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints–of the restoration of the holy priesthood.  And of the late discovery of ancient American records . . .,” Baltimore: Hoffman, 1849; p. 26; Barney)

1874:    20 Jun.:  Form of confirmation/RESTORATION OF MP.

“You enquire as to the proper form of confirmation:

In the name of Jesus Christ, we lay our hands upon your head and confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and We say unto you in his name: receive ye the Holy Ghost, Amen.

The Elder may pronounce such blessings as the Spirit dictates.  A variation in this form of words communicating the same meaning might give rise to query and dispute.  The more simple and definite the administration the better.

Your question in regard to the time when the Melchisedec Priesthood was given: I always understood that the conference of the 6th of June, 1831, was the time that Joseph ordained some of the Elders to the higher priesthood of Melchisedic and the office of President of the High Priesthood was revealed, but did not refer to the time when he received the Apostleship, which was before the organization of the Church.  See ‘Millennial Star,’ Vol. 19, pp. 257-8-9 and 260 for further particulars.”  (George A. Smith to John A. West, 20 Jun., 1874; JH 20 Jun., 1874)

11 Mar.:  Identity of Moroni/Date of restoration of MP.

“The following answers to questions regarding the identity of the angel who visited the Prophet Joseph, the date of the restoration of the Melchisedec Priesthood and the names of the first six members of the Church were answered by Elder Orson Pratt, Church Historian, under this date as follows:

Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City,

March 11, 1876.

To John Christenson.

Dear Brother,–Yours of the 9th inst, is received.  You inquire whether it was the Angel Nephi or Moroni who visited the Prophet on the night of the 21st and 22nd of Sept. 1823?  As Moroni holds the keys of the Stick or Record of Ephraim, (See B. of Cov. pp. 201, 322) we have reason to believe that Moroni was that angel.  The discrepancy in the history to which you refer may have occurred through the ignorance or carelessness of the historian or transcriber.  It is true that the history reads as though the Prophet himself was writing, but the Prophet was a slow and awkward writer, and many events recorded were written by his scribes who undoubtedly trusted too much to their memories and the items were probably not sufficiently scanned by the Prophet before they got into print.  The Prophet often received visits from Nephi, Moroni, Peter, James and John (the Beloved) John (the Baptist) Elijah, Moses, the three Nephites, etc.  In giving the instructions which these angels imparted to him in a verbal manner, it would not be surprising that some of the hearers should innocently confound and intermix the names of the Angels.

You also inquire, when the Melchisedec Priesthood was restored?  I answer that the office of Apostles was restored by Peter, James and John, before the rise of the Church; this office includes all the powers of the Melchisedec Priesthood; but when first restored, the Lord did not see proper to reveal it under the name of the Melchisedec Priesthood.  If the Compendium had stated that on the 6th of June 1831, the name of the Priesthood together with a more full description of its powers, were first given in the Conference assembled, it would have conveyed a more correct idea of the event.

You also inquire who were the first six members of the Church organized on the 6th of April, 1830?  I answer that there is some uncertainty in regard to their names.  I find on page 247, vol. 18, Deseret News, a Historical Discourse by Geo. A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, June 20th, 1869, wherein he gives the six names as follows:

Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer, Jr., Samuel H. Smith, and David Whitmer.

Whether the former historian obtained these names from any document or letter, or from verbal information, is unknown to me.”

(Orson Pratt to John Christenson, 11 Mar., 1876; JH 11 Mar., 1876)

8 Jan.:  MP restored in 1829, not 1831.

“Elder Joseph F. Smith lectured on early Church history.  The following report of the same was published in the ‘Salt Lake Herald’ of Jan. 9th as follows:


A large audience attended the lecture of Elder Joseph F. Smith last evening and were highly interested by an agreeable narration of the principal incidents in the early history of the ‘Mormon’ church.  The lecture occupied nearly two hours in delivery, and was listened to throughout with the greatest attention.  The following is a brief synopsis of the lecture as it would be impossible to do justice to it without giving a full and verbatim report: 

. . . .

The Melchisedeck Priesthood was bestowed sometime in 1829 and not in 1831 as had crept into some works through an error.”  (JH 8 Jan., 1879)

1887:    7 Apr.:  MP restoration announced 6 Apr., 1830.

“When the Church was organized on the 6th of April, 1830, it was announced that two men had been ordained to the Melchesedec Priesthood by Peter, James and John.  These were Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.  Oliver ordained Joseph to be the first Apostle of the last dispensation, and Joseph in turn ordained Oliver to be the second.”  (Franklin D. Richards, General Conference Minutes, 7 Apr., 1887; DN 36(13):197, 13 Apr., 1887)

1889:  3 Mar.:  PJ&J restored the Apostleship.

“Our Father in heaven sent His servant John the Baptist from the realms of glory to lay his hands on two chosen vessels–Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery.  They were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood.  He afterwards sent three heavenly messengers–Peter, James and John–who held the keys of the former dispensation, under the Son of God, and they bestowed the Apostleship and the keys of this dispensation upon Joseph Smith, Jun., and, in conjunction with him, upon Oliver Cowdery.  The fulness of the Priesthood was then bestowed.  [DOES THIS MEAN THE HIGH PRIESTHOOD IN 1831?] Subsequently other heavenly messengers, who had acted in various dispensations, came and ministered unto the Prophet Joseph and revealed unto and bestowed upon him the keys which they held.  Moses, Elias, Elijah and others came in their various times and seasons and restored to the earth these keys and this authority.”  (George Q. Cannon, address at a Priesthood Meeting, Provo, 3 Mar., 1889; DW 38(13):386, 23 Mar., 1889)

1898:  10 Feb.:  Reminiscence of Cowdery, B of M and priesthood.

“Salt Lake City, Utah, Febr. 10, 1898.

Apostle Heber J. Grant.

Dear Brother:–I hasten to improve the present opportunity to comply with your request.

In the spring of 1893, I was called to go to the Northern States Mission, and having been appointed Elder in Minn. I started to perform my duties, and on account of the scarcity of Elders in that state at the time, I traveled principally alone.  While thus traveling from house to house one day, I tried a great many places to obtain permission to stop over night, telling the people that I was sent as a servant of God to preach the Gospel without purse or scrip, and having no money to pay my way.  One day, the date I do not now remember, I had tried about half a dozen places without being able to obtain permission to stop, because as soon as they found out that I was a Mormon Elder, they ordered me to leave their premises forthwith.  While thus attempting in vain to find a stopping place, I noticed a team standing outside a store, if I remember correctly, and started towards it.  As I approached the wagon, an elderly gentleman came out, and while preparing his team to start home, I hailed him and asked him how far he was going to travel, which he told me.  I then asked him if I could ride with him, and before answering whether I could or not, he asked me who I was and where I was going and where I came from etc.  I answered all these questions at once by saying that I was a servant of God sent to preach the Gospel.  He said ‘Itt is not very often that I se one of God’s servants traveling the way that you seem to be traveling, but by the way where do you live?  I told him that I was  a Mormon Elder sent from Utah; as soon as I had told him this, he grabbed me by the hand and gave me a squeeze that I have scarcely forgotten yet saying ‘You are the man I have been anxious to see for many many years.  Get into my wagon as soon as you can and I will take you to my home and when we get there, I will inform you why I have been waiting so long to see an Elder from Utah.’  When we came to his house, he introduced me to his wife and children, and told them that here was a servant of God that they had so long been waiting to see.  ‘Now,’ said he to his wife, ‘Fix up some supper for him, as I understand that he is quite hungry, and you Mr. Nielsen can start in and eat, and I will talk and tell you a portion of my past history.’

‘My first acquaintance with the Mormon people was in the state of Illinois.  I do not now remember the year, but it is many years ago, because I was then unmarried and quite a young man.  One day I left my home to go up to the town which was the county seat of the county in which I lived, and after having tied my horses, preparatory to transacting some business in the city, I noticed a great many people going up towards the court house; being inquisitive and thinking that something more than usual was going on at the court house, I concluded to follow suit.  I went up to the court house, and on entering the same, I learned that a man was being tried for murder.  The witnesses had all been examined, and the prosecuting attorney had just begun an earnest argument to the juryt a few minutes before I entered, and after he had concluded, the attorney for the prisoner arose, and after having addressed himself to the court and the jury, he turned towards the prosecuting attorney, whom he called Oliver Cowdery, saying in a loud and very sarcastic voice:

Mr. Cowdery, you have told the jury all that you know or ever pretended to know about the prisoner’s bad character, the horrible crime he has committed, and the necessity for the public good to have him punished to the full extent of the law.  Now I trust, and by the way I challenge you, Mr. Cowdery, that when you shall reply to me in your closing argument to this jury, you will tell them about your connection with Joe Smith the great Mormon impostor, and I trust that you will make plain to this jury, if your conscience will allow you, and state how many thousands of dollars you have obtained from the American people by fraud and misrepresentation, in connection with the gold bible that you and Joe Smith dug out of Cumorah Hill.  And when you get through with that, tell them about the appearance of John the Baptist and the other angels, as they appeared to you and Joe Smith.

‘After having finished this little speech to Oliver Cowdery, he turned to the jury and abused Oliver Cowdery and did all in his power to rehearse all the lies and slanders that had so frequently been circulated about the Mormon people, in his attempt to prejudice the jury against the prosecution.  After he had finished kOliver Cowdery arose in a calm and determined manner, and after having addressed the court and the jury, he said:

My brother attorney who defends this unfortunate man, has found it necessary to drag past history into this case, but allow me, gentlemen of the jury, to say to you that it is not because of my good deeds that I am here to-day standing before you to prosecute this prisoner; but it is because I have broken the covenants that I made with my Heavenly Father, and because of that I have been cast out of His Church.  As to my connection with Joseph Smith and the Golden Bible so called, I will say that as I stand here in the presence of you and my Maker, I testify (pointing to his eyes and ears) that these eyes saw the angel of God and these ears heard the words, declaring to me that the Book of Mormon which had been translated from the Golden Plates, was true.  Again I testify to you that while I was alone with Joseph the Prophet, in the attitude of prayer, a light descended from the heaven, the glory of which far exceeded the noon-day sun, and in the midst of which a personage appeared who told us that his name was John, formerly called John the Baptist.  He ordained first Joseph by laying his hands upon his head, and then he ordained me in the same manner to the Aaronic Priesthood.  Later, after having baptised each other according to his instructions, we ordained each other, but as none of us had received the Holy Ghost, or had received authority to confer the same upon us, we concluded to go into the forest, and cleared a space in the center of which was a stump, and where we kneeled down and took turns in calling upon the Lord, until a glorious light encircled us, and as we arose on account of the light, three persons stood before us dressed in white, their faces beaming with glory.  The person in the center addressing Joseph and me, said ‘My name is Peter and (pointing to the others) these are James and John.  We have come here according to command from the Almighty, to confer upon you the Apostleship to which we have been ordained.’  After having made these few remarks they proceeded to ordain us.

You gentlemen of the jury, this is God’s truth and I dare not deny it; if I did there would be no forgiveness for me in this world or in the world to come.  It is no imagination on my part, because I saw these personages as plain as I see any of you here in the jury box, and I am not ashamed to make this statement to you, although the attorney on the other side has attempted to hold me up to ridicule.  This is all that I now consider proper to say, and I think it will be sufficient answer to the false charges and accusations made against me here in open court.

‘Now, Mr. Nielsen, after having heard these remarks from Mr. Cowdery, who at that time according to this own statement, was outside the Mormon Church, I think you will not be surprised at my great joy at meeting you.  And later on, since I moved into this state of Minn. I had a conversation with a farmer who lived close to the first home that I owned in this state, and he told me another remarkable incident.  He said to me one day, after I had told him the same that I have now told you, that he also knew something remarkable about the Mormon people, whom he had never seen in his life, as his neighbor had told him the following story:  “One day while in the war between the North and the South, when evening came, after we had been fighting all day, and we were preparing supper in the camp, one of the new soldiers who had just come into camp, came with a paper in his hand over to the camp-fire, and said:  ‘Boys, listen while I read a remarkable document to you.’  He then read what appeared to be a revelation purported to have been given to Joseph Smith, predicting the breaking out of the war between the North and the South, and where the first gun should be fired, and so forth.’

‘Now this last statement added more fuel to the flame which was kindled in my heart, and I have had a burning desire ever since to meet a Mormon Elder, that could give me more light, and tell me what to do in order that I and my whole family could become associated with that church, which we have thoroughly believed ever since, to be the church of God.  Now Mr. Nielsen, I and my whole family are ready to receive and obey, whatever command the Lord has sent you to proclaim to us.’

The whole family embraced the Gospel and emigrated to Utah.

Your brother in the Gospel,

C. M. Nielsen.”

(Iver C. M. Nielsen to Heber J. Grant, 10 Feb., 1898; LDS Archives, Ms 3780)

1900:    15 Dec.:  Jos. F. Smith on the restoration of the Priesthood.


President Joseph F. Smith intended to write for the Deseret News an article appropriate to this occasion, namely the closing of the Nineteenth Century.  But being called to visit the Stakes of Zion in Mexico and Arizona, he was prevented from favoring us as anticipated.  We therefore reprodice part of an article from his pen on the restoration of the Holy Priesthood, which he regards as among the most important events of the century now approaching its termination.  As this article clears up some points on which there has been a little dubiety, it will be found valuable and appropriate as the present time.  We quote as follows:

John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood with all its keys and power.  The ordination was in the following words:  ‘Upon you my fellow servants in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.’

This most sacred and important event occurred at or near a place called Harmony in Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania, while Joseph Smith was living there, engaged in the translation of the Book of Mormon, and Oliver Cowdery was writing for him.  We have not, unfortunately, any account so definite, of the reception by Joseph and Oliver, of the Melchisedec Priesthood as we have of the confirmation of the Aaronic Priesthood.  But we have positive information and knowledge that they did receive this Priesthood at the hands of Peter, James and John, to whom the keys and power thereof were committed by the Lord Jesus Christ, and who were commissioned to restore it to the earth in the dispensation of the fulness of times.  We cannot fix the exact date when this Priesthood was restored, but it occurred sometime between the 15th of May, 1829, and the 6th of April, 1830.  We can approximate to within a few months of the exact time, but no further, from any of the records of the Church.  Joseph, the Prophet, designates the place where their ordination took place, in his address to the Saints, written September 6, 1842, as follows: ‘Again what do we hear? * * * the voice of Peter, James and John, in the wilderness, between Harmony, Susquehanna County, and Colesville, Broome County, on the Susquehanna River, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the Kingdom and of the dispensation of the fulness of times.’  And in a revelation given September, 1830, referring to Joseph and Oliver, the Lord said in reference to partaking again of the Sacrament on the earth, that ‘the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, * * * and also with Elias, * * * and also with John, the son of Zacharias, * * * which John I have sent unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jr., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto this first Priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron; and also with Elijah, * * * and also with Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, byi whom the promises remain, and also with Michael, or Adam the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days.  And also with Peter, and James, and John whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry, and of the same things which I revealed unto them: unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom and a dispensation of the Gospel for the last times, and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth.’  In a revelation given April, 1830, verses 2 and 3 say: ‘Which commandments were given to Joseph Smith Jr., who was called of God and ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first Elder of this Church; and to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second Elder of this Church, and ordained under his hands.’  After the Melchisedec Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph and Oliver, by the ancient Apostles, they were commanded to ordain each other, as we see by the above quotation, and the 10th and 11th verses of section 21, Doctrine and Covenants.

It would appear from the instructions given in the revelation, dated June, 1829, that the apostleship had been then conferred on Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer.  If this supposition is correct, it reduces the period of uncertainty when this glorious event actually took place, to a few weeks, or from the middle of May to the end of June.  It is also asserted that David Whitmer supposed the event to have taken place about this time.  It is evident, however, that David received the apostleship under the hands of Joseph and Oliver, and was not present when they received it under the ministration of the ancient Apostles.

In the first edition of the Compendium, under the heading of, ‘Chronology of the most important events which have transpired in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from A.D. 1820 to 1856,’ we find the following brief statement: ‘June 6, 1831, the Melchisedec Priesthood was first given.’  This detached sentence conveys the idea that the Melchisedec Priesthood was not given unto fourteen months after the Church was established.  Many have been misled and others greatly puzzled over this statement, knowing that ‘Elders were ordained’ on the 6th day of April, 1830, a year and two months before, and that ‘the office of an Elder comes under the Priesthood of Melchisedec.’

It is a pity that greater attention is not paid to matters of history, for then such mistakes would not occur.  Several errors of this character have crept into history through neglect or want of proper attention to the subjects.  The passage of history from which this brief and misleading extract was taken reads as follows: ‘On the sixth of June, (1831) the Elders from the various parts of the country where they were laboring came in; and the conference before appointed, convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power in a manner that could not be mistaken.  The man of sin was revealed, and the authority of the Melchisedec Priesthood was manifested, and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders.’  Now if this does not mean that on this occasion several Elders received their first ordination, then it must mean that these several Elders who had previously been ordained, then, for the first time, received the power or authority of their ordinations.  The words ‘conferred for the first time upon several Elders,’ would seem at first glance to mean that several were then ordained Elders, but taking the complete sentence together, namely, ‘The man of sin was revealed, and the authority of the Melchisedec Priesthood was manifested, and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders,’ we naturally conclude that several who had previously been ordained Elders, had not yet received the spirit or power, or authority of their ordinations, but that now for the first time, the authority of the Priesthood having been manifested, it fell upon them.  It is evident from the context that the word authority as used in this quotation means power.  It reads as follows: ‘It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race before us, and grace and help as our needs required.’  That several persons were ordained on that occasion is directly stated, as follows:  ‘Great harmony prevailed; several were ordained; faith was strengthened; and humility, so necessary for the blessing of God to follow prayer, characterized the Saints.’  One thing is perfectly clear, and that is, no reference whatever is here made to the restoration of the Melchisedec Priesthood by Peter, James and John, which great event occurred, without doubt, between May and July, 1829.  However, until about the time this conference was held, the term ‘Melchisedec Priesthood’ was seldom or never used.  The High Priesthood, or the Holy Priesthood, were the terms generally applied until then.

Thus this glorious Priesthood, which ‘is after the holiest order of God,’ has been restored to man in its plenitude and power in the present age for the ‘last time,’ and no part of it will be ‘taken from the earth again until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness,’ or ‘until God shall gather together in one all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth.’  In conclusion I will call the attention of the readers of this to sections 5, 13, 27, 84, 107, 110 and 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants for further reflection on the subject.


(Deseret News, 15 Dec., 1900, in JH 15 Dec., 1900)

1901:  15 Sep.:  Reminiscence of Cowdery and priesthood.

“Pleasant Grove, Sept. 15th, 1901.

John E. Booth,

Dear Brother;–

To-day I thought I would try and fulfill my promise to you, Though I cannot make the words tell with you as they fell with burning force upon my ears.  I was then a young man, shared with the Saints in their Exodus from Nauvoo, had heard many testimonies borne, but never did they should as did Oliver Cowdery’s at a conference held at Kanesville Iowa 1848, Elder Hyde presiding, I was directly opposite the speakers stand so as to see and hear distinctly all that was said.  Elder Hyde took Oliver by the hand and led him to the front and said, ‘Brethren I take Pleasure in introducing you to Bro. Oliver Cowdery.’  this produced quite a sensation.  Brother Cowdery looked upon the people for a short time without speaking, his manner caused deep attention, then in a distinct and very impressive voice, said ‘My name is Cowdery, Oliver Cowdery, in an early day I was identified with this Church in her councils, I wrote the Book of Mormon, Spaulding did not write it, Sidney Rigdon did not write it, I wrote it, (with the exception of a few pages), with this right hand, (extending his hand) as the inspired words fell from the lips of Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and his mission will prove a savior of life unto life or death unto death unto this generation!  I received the Priesthood in connection with Joseph Smith from the hands of the Angel, I conversed with the Angel as one man converses with another.  He laid his hand on my head, and later with Joseph received the Melchisedeck Priesthood, I confered the Apostleship on that man, pointing to Elder Hyde, Some have said I Apostatized, I never did Apostatize I simply stoped, the man that was in my way is now gone.  I wish to bear my testimony to Joseph’s mission and of the Latter day work.  This Gospel is true and will prove a savior of life unto us if we are faithful, I do not ask for any position only wish to be identified with this People.  Many other things were said I do not remember, but what I have penned made a lasting impression on my mind, the man Oliver referred to as ‘gone’ was Sidney Rigdon, Please excuse my tardiness and accept my kind regards,

Your Brother in the Gospel,

William M. Frampton.

This certifies that the foregoing is a full true and correct copy of the original letter which letter is now in my possession.

[Signed] J. E. Booth.”

(William M. Frampton to John E. Booth, 15 Sep., 1901; LDS Archives, Ms 5641)