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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1839

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1839.” You can view other years here.

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1839:    5 Jan.:  70s called to go on missions.

“Agreeable to appointment the quorum of Seventies met, Joseph Young presided . . .

The object of the meeting was stated in short by the chairman and the meeting was addressed by Elder Heber C. Kimball at some length, followed by Elders Brigham Young, Henry Harriman and others. . . .

Much instruction was given by the Apostles present to the Seventies concerning their mission and said that they called on them in the name of the Lord to go on their mission as soon as their circumstances would admit, and were advised to go through the United States first, before they thought of going to foreign countries.”  (Seventies Record, A 57; JH 5 Jan., 1839)

20 Mar.:  Revelation on use of the priesthood.

“No power of influance can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion by long suffering, by gentleness and meakness and by love unfaigned, by kindness by pure knowledge which shall geratly enlarge the soul without highpocracy and without guile reproving betimes with sharpness when moved upon by the holy ghost and then showing forth afterwords an increas of love to ward him whom thou hast reproved lest he esteem the[e] to be his enemy that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death thy bowells also being full of charity to ward all men and to the household of faith and virtue garnish thy thoughts unseasingly then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presants of God and the doctrines of the priesthood destell upon thy soul as the dews from heaven the Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion and thy septer an unchanging septer of ritiousness and truth and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee for eve[r] and ever.”  (Joseph Smith to the Church at Quincy, 20 Mar., 1839.  In Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 402)

26 Apr.:  Priesthood conferred by power of Holy Ghost.

“Plain in his precept faith his constant shield, he feared no power of earth.  By the power of the Holy Ghost oft the Priesthood he confered.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 26 Apr., 1839.  Tribute to slain apostle David Patten)

6 May:  Ordained 70s, sent on missions w/o quorum.

“The council of the Seventies met again on this day . . . The following were also received [into the Seventies]:

. . . .

The Presidents of the Seventies next proceeded to ordain them special messengers to the nations without specifying which quorum they might constitute or belong to.”  (Seventies Record, A 65; JH 6 May, 1839)

12 May:  Prerogative of 70s Presidents to choose mission.

“The Seventies met at Quincy Ill in council again, according to adjournment.  President Joseph Young presided.

1st.  Resolved that if the clerk wishes to travel during the summer that he is at Liberty to do so and in case of his absence that President Joseph Young act as clerk, pro tem.

2nd.  Resolved that it is the prerogative of the Presidents of the Seventies to have the choice and direction of those that are sent out to preach when they are called for by the Twelve or their labors are required in any part of the earth.

3rd.  Resolved that every Elder belonging to this quorum shall at the time of being sent into the vineyard receive a letter of recommendation from the Presidents of the Seventies, certifying that he is in good fellowship in the church and Council.

4th.  Resolved that if any Elder in this quorum shall presume to go forth to preach without receiving a recommend from the Presidents of the Seventies or go contrary to counsel, he shall be disfellowshiped by the quorum.

Heber C. Kimball one of the Twelve apostles presented a resolution of the council of the First Presidency in the following words.

Resolved that it be observed as a general rule that those of the Seventies who have not yet preached shall for the future not be sent on foreign mission.

The following applied for ordination into the Seventies or were brought forward by their friends and being recommended, were received into the quorum by vote of the council:

. . . .

The council was addressed by the Twelve that were present on the duties of the Seventies in preaching the gospel and on several other subjects relative to the upbuilding of the kingdom of God on the earth in these last days.

Elias Smith clerk.”

(JH 12 May, 1839)

12 May:  70’s need recommend before preaching.

“I met in council with the twelve & the quorums of the seventies.  We had an interesting meeting.  Some important things or business was transacted this day.  It was voted this day that none of the seventies go out to preach unless they get a recommend from their presidency & they go out under their direction.  Also a committy was Chosen to see to the families of the Seventies that go out & preach.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 12 May, 1839)

14 May:  Must control own family before serving missions.

“The presidents of the Seventies met in Quincy, Ill. with several of the Twelve and others of the different quorums together with many of the Seventies. . . .

On motion the council then resolved that no Elder in the quorum of Seventies shall be sent out to preach who does not (as much as is possible for him to do) keep his family in subjection according to the laws of the Church and who shall have neglected for the last three months previous to attend regularly to family worship.”  (Seventies Record, A 74; JH 14 May, 1839)

19 May:  Presidents of 70 to be supported by quorum.

“On this day the Seventies met in council according to adjournment at the committee room [Quincy]. . . .

Resolved That in the opinion of this council those of the Presidents of the Seventies whose time shall be occupied in future in the discharge of the duties of their calling which will necessarily prevent their laboring with their hands for their own support ought to be assisted by the quorum in the support of themselves and families.”  (Seventies Record, A 77; JH 19 May, 1839)

1 Jun.:  Bishop, not 70’s, to take care of poor 70’s.

“ON the first of June there was a Conference held in Quincy principly for the benefit of the Seventies.  Joseph was president of the meeting, & the Seventies learned that it was not the will of God that they should appoint or have a Committy or Committies to take care of their poor &c. but that Bishops were the authorities that God had appointed for that purpose & that they Should procede according to that order & they did so & gave up the Committy which they had appointed.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 1 Jun., 1839)

“A conference was held in Quincy, Pres. Joseph Smith presided.  He informed the Seventies it was not the will of God that they should appoint, or have committees to take care of their poor, but that Bishops were the authorities that God had specially appointed for that purpose; which counsel was immediately responded to.

The following is from the Seventies record:

A council of the quorum of Seventies was held according to adjournment in Quincy.  Met at the committee room and the council called to order and opened by prayer by President Joseph Young.  President of the counsellors Joseph Young, Josiah Butterfield, Zerah Pulsipher and Henry Harriman.  Pres. Joseph Smith jr, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith were also present and most of the Twelve.

After the council was opened the room being crowded to over flowing it was adjourned to a grove.

President Joseph Smith jun. gave the Seventies much instruction about what things they should teach and the manner of communicating the gospel to the children of men and on many other subjects especially enjoining it upon the Elders to keep and render a just account of all monies put into their hands for any purpose whatever which account should be rendered to the Bishop of the Church, and spoke at great length on the subject of every steward being just who has anything entrusted to his charge and be able at all times to give an account of his stewardship.  President Hyrum Smith addressed the council much to the same effect, both of them enjoining it upon the Elders to remember the Bishops of the Church in their travels and on all proper occasions when it could with propriety be done to solicit aid for the poor and send that which they might receive to the Bishop or Bishops to be by them appropriated according to the laws of the church. . . . {Seventies Record, A 78}”

(JH 1 Jun., 1839)

2 Jul.:  Joseph Smith on Priesthood.

“When the Twelve or any other witness of Jesus Christ stands befor the Congregations of the earth & they preach in the power & demonstration of the Holy Ghost & the people are asstonished & confounded at the doctrin & say that that man has preached a powerful discours a great sermon then let that man or those men take care that they do not asscribe the glory unto themselves but be careful that they are humble & asscribe the praise & glory to God & the Lamb for it is by the power of the Holy Priesthood & the Holy Ghost that they have power thus to speak.”  (Joseph Smith, 2 Jul., 1839, Wilford Woodruff diary)  

“The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation.  He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. i:26, 27, 28.  He had dominion given him over every living creature.  He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures.  Then to Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion.  These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven.

The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years.  The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent.  When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority.

Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael, he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man.  He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council.  This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action.  The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion.  Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.

The spirit of man is not a created being; it existed from eternity, and will exist to eternity.  Anything created cannot be eternal; and earth, water, etc., had their existence in an elementary state, from eternity.  Our Savior speaks of children and says, Their angels always stand before my Father.  The Father called all spirits before Him at the creation of man, and organized them.  He (Adam) is the head, and was told to multiply.  The keys were first given to him, and by him to others.  He will have to give an account of his stewardship, and they to him.

The Priesthood is everlasting.  The Savior, Moses, and Elias, gave the keys to Peter, James, and John, on the mount, when they were transfigured before him.  The Priesthood is everlasting–without beginning of days or end of years; without father, mother, etc.  If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of Priesthood.  Wherever the ordinances of the Gospel are administered, there is the Priesthood.

How have we come at the Priesthood in the last days?  It came down, down, in regular succession.  Peter, James, and John had it given to them and they gave it to others.  Christ is the Great High Priest; Adam next.  Paul speaks of the Church coming to an innumerable company of angels–to God the Judge of all–the spirits of just men made perfect; to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.–Heb. xii:23.”  (HC 3:385-388; See also JD 6:237-238)

3 Jul.:  Ordination to elder two hours after baptism.

“I baptized Dr. Isaac Galland, and confirmed him at the water’s edge; and about two hours afterwards I ordained him to the office of an Elder.”  (Joseph Smith, HC 3:393)

12 Jul.:  Joseph Senior to live another 15 years.

“Several received a blessings & while administering in spiritual things Joseph Called upon the Twelve to call & visit father Smith / is 68 years of age this day/ & lay hands upon him that he might be healed for he was sick & nigh unto death.  We lade hands upon him & he received/ [6 sick?]/ a blessing.  The thought struck me that the Lord would add unto his life fifteen years.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 12 Jul., 1839)   

ca. Jul.:  Priesthood from Peter, James & John.

“The Priesthood was. first given to Adam: he obtained the first Presidency & held the Keys of it, from generation to Generation; he obtained it in the creation before the world was formed as in Gen. 1,26:28,–he had dominion given him over every living Creature.  He is Michael, the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures,–Then to Noah who is Gabriel, he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to his office & was the Father of all living in his day, & To him was given the Dominion.  These men held keys, first on earth, & then in Heaven.–The Priesthood is an everlasting principle & Existed with God from Eternity & will to Eternity, without beginning of days or end of years.  the Keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent.–When they are revealed from Heaven it is by Adams Authority. . . .

The Priesthood is everlasting.  The Savior, Moses, & Elias–gave the Keys to Peter, James & John on the Mount when they were transfigured before him.  The Priesthood is everlasting, without beginning of days or end of years, without Father, Mother &c,–

If there is no change of ordinances there is no change of Priesthood.  Wherever the ordinances of the Gospel are administered there is the priesthood.  How have we come at the priesthood in the last days?  They it came down, down in regular succession.  Peter James & John had it given to them & they gave it up.  Christ is the Great High priest; Adam next.–Paul speaks of the Church coming to an innumerable company of Angels, to God the Judge of all, the Spirits of Just men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant, &c. Heb XII, 23.  I saw Adam in the valley of Ah-dam-ondi-Ahman–he called together his children & blessed them with a Patriarchal blessing.  The Lord appeared in their midst, & he (Adam) blessed them all, & foretold what should befall them to the latest generation–See D.C. Sec III 28,29 par–This is why Abraham blessed his posterity: He wanted to bring them into the presence of God.  they looked for a city, &c. –Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not.  In the first ages of the world they tried to establish the same thing–& there were Elias’s raised up who tried to restore these very glories but did not obtain them.  But (Enoch did for himself & those that were with Him, but not for the world. J.T.) they prophesied of a day when this Glory would be revealed.–Paul spoke of the Dispensation of the fulness of times, when God would gather together all things in one &c &.  Those men to whom these Keys have been given will have to be there.  (I.E. when Adam shall again assemble his children of the Priesthood, & Christ be in their midst) the Ancient of Days come &c &c J.T.) . . .

Paul told about Moses’s proceedings.  Spoke of the Children of Israel being baptized, &c he knew this & that all the ordinances, & blessings were in the Church.”  (Joseph Smith, ca. 8 Aug., 1839, Willard Richards Pocket Companion.  In Words of JS, pp. 8, 9, 10)  [See also HC 3:385-391]

5 Oct.:  Bishops of Middle, Upper and Lower wards.

“On the fifth of October, 1839, at a general conference of the Church held in Commerce, Newel K. Whitney was appointed Bishop of the Middle Ward, Edward Partridge Bishop of the Upper Ward, and Vinson Knight Bishop of the Lower Ward.  At the same time it was voted to establish a branch of the Church on the Iowa side of the river (Mississippi), over which Alanson Ripley was made Bishop.”  (Orson F. Whitney, “The Aaronic Priesthood,” Contributor 6(11):404, Aug., 1885)

27 Nov.:  No female priesthood.

“The piece further states that ‘a woman preacher appointed a meeting at New Salem, Ohio, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the Book of Mormon.[‘]  Now it is a fact well known, that we have not had a female preacher in our connection, for we do not believe in a female priesthood.”  (Parley P. Pratt to the Editor of the New Era, in T&S 1(3):46, Jan., 1840)