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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1843

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1843.” You can view other years here.

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1843:  16 Jan.:  Priesthood allows us to become sons of God.

“It was not until our Savior made his appearance among men, that the Jews had ‘power to become the sons of God,’ and it was not till the Lord revealed himself from the heavens, restored the priesthood and the gospel in these last days, that men had power to become his sons; but as the kingdom of heaven is now preached all men may rush into it, and avail themselves of those glorious privileges which have long been forfeited in consequence of the transgression and apostacy of the church.”  (“Sons of God,” unsigned article, TS 4(5):76, 16 Jan., 1843)

19 Jan.:  Rebaptism at Kirtland.

“It is stated, in the Cleveland (O.) Plain Dealer that the Mormon Temple at Kirtland, has lately been dedicated anew, and that three of Joe’s specially commissioned followers, from Nauvoo, on the 30th ult., baptized 206 persons in a branch of the Chagrin river, at two shillings a head!  Old converts were re-baptized, and their sins washed away for the same price as the young ones making no distinction between old sheep and the lambs of the flock.  (Alton Tel.)”  (Davenport [Iowa] Gazette 2(22):3, 19 Jan., 1843)

22 Jan.:  Christ held keys of Melchizedek Priesthood.

“John was a priest after the order of Aaron & had the keys of that priesthood & came forth preaching repentance & Baptism for the remission of sins but at the same time crys out there cometh one after me more mighter than I the latches of whose shoes I am not worthy to unlose, & christ came according to the words of John, & he was greater than John because he held the keys of the Melchisedic Priesthood & the kingdom of God & had before revealed the priesthood to Moses.  Yet christ was baptizd by John to fulfill all righteousness & Jesus in his teaching says upon this rock I will build my Church & the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  What rock?  Revelation.”  (Joseph Smith, 22 Jan., 1843, Wilford Woodruff diary)

22 Jan.:  Necessity of authority for ordinances.

“The endowment was to prepare the desiples for their mission into the world.  Whenever men can find out the will of God & find an Administrator legally authorized from God there is the kingdom of God.  But whare these are not, the kingdom of God is not.  All the ordinances Systems, & Administrations on the earth is of no use to the Children of men unless they are ordained & authorized of God for nothing will save a man but a leger [legal?] Administrator for none others will be acknowledge either by God or Angels.”  (Joseph Smith, 22 Jan., 1843, Wilford Woodruff diary)

23 Feb.:  Plea for financial support of Joseph.

“Elder Brigham Young in behalf of the Twelve Apostles sent the following to Ramus:

The Twelve

To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in and about Ramus:


Beloved Brethren:  As our beloved Pres. Joseph Smith is now relieved from his bondage and his business temporally and his property too, he has but one thing to hinder his devoting his time to the spiritual interest of the Church to the bringing forth of the revelations, translations and history, and what is that?  He has not provision for himself and family and is obliged to spend the time in providing therefore.  His family is large and his company great, and it requires much to furnish his table, and now, brethren, we call on you for immediate relief in this matter, and we invite you to bring our president as many loads of wheat, corn, beef, pork, lard, tallow, eggs, poultry, venison and every thing eatable at your command, not excepting unfrozen potatoes or vegetables, as soon as the frost will admit, flour, etc. and thus give him the privilege of attending to your spiritual interest.  The measure you meet shall be measured to you again; if you give liberally to your president in temporal things, God will return to you liberally in spiritual and temporal things too.  One or two good new milk cows are much needed also.

Brethren, will you do your work and let the president do his for you, before God?  We wish an immediate answer by loaded teams or letter.

Your brother in Christ,

In behalf of the Quorum.

Brigham Young.

Willard Richards, clerk.

Nauvoo, Feb. 23, 1843.

P.S. Brethren.  We are not unmindful of the favors our president has received from you in former days, but a man will not cease to be hungry this year because he ate last year.

B. Y.”

(JH 1 Mar., 1844)

13 Mar.:  Nearly all the Church have been baptized again.

“Nearly All the Church have been Baptised again, for the Remission of their sins, since they joined the Church; I have also, by the hands of Br. Joseph, (as he himself has been.) & I would advise Jane and you Mary, to attend to it as soon as you can have the opportunity of an Elder of Priest of the Church to Administer.”  (Jacob Scott to Mary Warnock, 13 Mar., 1843; LDS Archives; Ouellette)

2 Apr.:  Beast with 7 eyes is the Priesthood.

“Attended meeting.  Joseph read 5th Chapter of John’s Revelation referring particularly to the 6th verse showing from that the actual existence of beasts in heaven.  [It is] probable those were beast which had lived on another planet than ours.  God never made use of the figure of a beast to represent the kingdom of heaven.  Beast [with] 7 eyes [is the] Priesthood.

This is the first time I have ever taken a text in Revelation.  If the young Elders would let such things alone it would be far better.  [I, Joseph] then corrected Elder Hyde as in private.”  (Willard Richards’ 1843 Joseph Smith Journal, 2 Apr., 1843; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 340)

13 Apr.:  I have power to seal them upon you.

“I shall not address you on doctrine but concerning your temporal welfare.  Inasmuch as you have come up here assaying to keep the Commandments of God I pronounce the blessings of heaven and earth upon you, and inasmuch as [you] will follow counsel and act wisely and do right these blessings shall rest upon you so far as I have power with God to seal them upon you.  I am your servant and it is only through the Holy Ghost that I can do you good.  God is able to do his own work.”  (Joseph Smith 1843 Journal, 13 Apr., 1843; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 361)

26 May:  “Doctrine of Priesthood.”

“Hyrum received the doctrine of priesthood.”  (William Clayton diary, 26 May, 1843)  [i.e., this was the day Hyrum accepted the principle of plural marriage.  See also Brigham Young address of 8 Oct., 1866, LDS Church Archives, quoted in Ehat thesis, pp. 58-59.] 

5 Jun.:  Volunteers for ordination requested.

“Elder Clark then rose and gave a general invitation to all who had a sincere desire to enter into the priesthood in order to glorify God, to come forth and be ordained.  He said it was in accordance with the mind and will of the Father, that they who had a sincere desire to serve God, should be called into the priesthood, that they might go forth and proclaim the pure principles of eternal truth, even the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The following then stood up as candidates, viz., John Williams, Joseph Smith, and Thomas Jackson.

The subjoined nominations were then presented to the meeting, and were carried unanimously:–That R. Cowen be ordained elder; T. Parrit, elder; J. Flint, priest; S. Downes, elder; J. Williams, elder; J. Smith, priest; J. Nightingale, priest; Peter M’Cue, elder; James Lee, priest; Thomas Jackson, priest . . .”  (Minutes of the Manchester [England] General Conference, 5 Jun., 1843; MS 4(3):35, Jul., 1843)

11 Jun.:  Priesthood ordinances instutited in heaven.

“O Jerusalem &c.  Whence are [you] in the curse of Almighty God that was to be poured out upon the heads of the Jews?  That they would not be gathered because they would not let Christ gather them.  It was the design in the Councils of heaven before the world was that the principle and law of that Priesthood was predic[a]ted upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world.

Jesus did every thing possible to gather the people and they would not be gathered and he poured out curses upon them.  Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle.

That is only your opinion Sir, say Sectarians, [and I say] when a man will go to hell it is more than my meat and drink to help them to do as they want to.  Where there is no change of priesthood there is no change of ordinances says Paul.  If God has not changed the ordinances and priesthood, howl ye sectarians.  If he has, where has he revealed it?  Have ye turned revelators?  Then why deny it?”  (Joseph Smith, 11 Jun., 1843, Joseph Smith diary, by Willard Richards.  In Words of JS, p. 210; also Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, pp. 383-384)

“The Order & Ordinances of the Kingdom were instituted by the Priesthood in the council of Heaven before the World was.”  (Joseph Smith, 11 Jun., 1843, Franklin D. Richards “Scriptural Items.”  In Words of JS, p. 215)

23 Jul.:  From Prophet to Priest to King.

“Last Monday Morning certain men came to me.  ‘Bro[ther] Joseph[,] Hyrum is no prophet.  He can’t lead the church’  You must lead the church.  If you resign[, etc.]  I felt curious and said here we learn in [the church about] a priesthood after the order of Melchisedeck–Prophet, Priest and King, and I will advance from Prophet to Priest and then to King not to the kingdoms `of this Earth but of the most High God.”  (Joseph Smith, 23 Jul., 1843, in Willard Richards Journal; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 399)

6 Aug.:  Who has fulness of Melchizedek Priesthood?

“He [Brigham Young] also remarked in Conversation or inquired who had the Melchezedek priesthood.  That if any in the Church had it he did not know it.  For any person to have the fulness of that priesthood must be a king & a Priest.  A person may have a portion of that Priesthood the same as Governors or Judges of England have power from the King to transact business but yet he is not the king of England.  A person may be anointed king & priest before they receive their kingdom &c.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 6 Aug., 1843)

26 Aug.:  Procedural questions, New York conference.

“2.  Is it right for a Priest to be appointed to accompany a Teacher to visit the houses of each member, when his duty is set forth in the covenants?

Answer–Yes.  Any officer, from a High Priest to a Deacon, may visit the Church, or members, and be set apart for this purpose, if the Church will receive it. . . .

I said that if Elders or High Priests are so situated that they cannot get word from the Prophet or the Twelve Apostles, they may get a revelation concerning themselves.  The Twelve may get a revelation in any part of the world concerning the building up of the Kingdom, as they have to establish it in all parts of the world; so any person can ask the Lord for a witness concerning himself, and get an answer; but not to lead the Church–that belongs to the head of the Church.”  (Conference of the Twelve and the Saints in New York City, MHBY 26 Aug., 1843)

“A Hymn was then sung.  Then several questions were asked.  1st Can any officer in any branch of the Church say their word is law & should be obeyed?  (No.)  Is it right for a priest to be joined to a Teacher to go & visit the houses of each member when their duty is set forth in the covenants?  (Yes any members that are officers from High Priest to Deacon may visit the Church or members & be set apart for this purpose if the Church will receive it.)

[2]  Instruction.  If Elders or High Priest are on an Island & cannot get word from the Prophet or the Twelve may [they] get a revelation concerning themselves?  The Twelve may get a revelation in any part of the world Concerning the building up the kingdom as they have to esstablish the kingdom in all parts of the world.  So any person can ask the Lord for a witness concerning himself.  He can get an answer to himself but not to lead the Church.  That Belongs to the head of the church.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 26 Aug., 1843)

27 Aug.:  Joseph Smith’s discourse on 3 priesthoods.

“3 grand orders of priesthood referred to here.

1st.  King of Shiloam–power and authority over that of Abraham holding the key & the power of endless life.–angels desire to look into it, but they have set up to many stakes.  god cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses.–

by the offering of Isaac.–if a man would attain–he must sacrifice all to attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life.

What was the power of Melchisedick twas not P. of Aaron &c. a king & a priest to the most high God.  a perfect law of Theocracy holding keys of power & blessings.  stood as God to give laws to the people.  administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam kingly powers. of anointing.–Abram says Melchisedek.–away I have a priesthood.–

Salvation could not come to the world without the mediation of Jesus Christ.

how shall god come to the rescue of this generation.  he shall send Elijah law revealed to Moses in Horeb–never was revealed to the C. of Israel and he shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers.–anointing & sealing–called elected and made sure without father &c. a priesthood which holds the priesthood by right from the Eternal Gods.–and not be descent from father and mother

2d Priesthood, patriarchal authority finish that temple and god will fill it with power.

3d Priesthood.  Levitical

Priests made without an oath but the Priesthood of Melchisedek is by oath and covenant.  Holy Ghost.”  (Joseph Smith diary, by Willard Richards, 27 Aug., 1843)

“A sermon of Josephs Heb 7 chap Salem is Shiloam

There are 3 grand principles or orders of Priesthood portrayed in this chapter

1st Levitical which was never able to administer a Blessing but only to bind heavy burdens which neither they nor their father able to bear

2 Abrahams Patriarchal power which is the greatest yet experienced in this church

3d That of Melchisedec who had still greater power even power of an endless life of which was our Lord Jesus Christ which also Abraham obtained by the offering of his son Isaac which was not the power of a Prophet nor apostle nor Patriarch only but of King & Priest to God to open the windows of Heaven and pour out the peace & Law of endless Life to man & No man can attain to the Joint heirship with Jesus Christ with out being administered to by one having the same power & Authority of Melchisedec Joseph also said that the Holy Ghost is now in a state of Probation which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has.”  (Franklin D. Richards “Scriptural Items,” 27 Aug., 1843)

“Hebrewew 7 chap.  Paul is here treating of three different preisthoods, namely the preisthood of Aron, Abraham, and Melchizedeck, Abraham’s preisthood was of greater power than Levi’s and Melchizedeck’s was of greater power than that of Abraham.  The preisthood of Levi consisted of cursings and carnal commandments and not of blessings and if the preisthood of this generation has no more power than that of Levi or Aron or of a bishhoprick it administers no blessings but cursings for it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  I ask was there any sealing power attending this preisthood.  that would admit a man into the presence of God.  Oh no, but Abraham’s was a more exalted power or preisthood he could talk and walk with God and yet consider how great this man was when even this patriarch Abraham gave a tenth part of all his spoils and then received a blessing under the hands of Melchesideck even the last law or a fulness of the law or preisthood which constituted him a king and preist after the order of Melchesideck or an endless life  Now if Abraham had been like the sectarian world and would not have received any more revelation, what would have been the consequence it would have damned him.  Book of Covenants.  The levitical preisthood was an appendage to the Melchesideck preisthood or the whole law of God when in full face or power in all its parts and bearings on the earth.  It is understood by many by reading this chapter that Melchesedeck was king of some country or nation on the earth, but it was not so, In the original it reads king of Shaloam which signifies king or peace or righteousness and not of any country or nation.

Malachi says that the sons of Levi shall in the last days offer an offering in righteousness.

Men will set up stakes and say thus far will we go and no farther, did Abraham when called upon to offer his son, did the Saviour, no, view him fulfiling all righteousness again on the banks of jordon, also on the Mount transfigured before Peter and John there receiving the fulness of preisthood or the law of God . . .

The mystery power and glory of the preisthood is so great and glorious that the angels desired to understand it and cannot:  why, because of the tradition of them and their fathers in setting up stakes and not coming up to the mark in their probationary state.”  (James Burgess notebook, 27 Aug., 1843)

“A.M. at the Grove.  Prest. J. preached on Hebrews c 7.  After reading a letter from Thos. Carlin to S. Rigdon and making some remarks about it.  He shewed that the word ‘Salem’ is a wrong translation it should be ‘Shalome’ signifying peace.  He prophecied that ‘ not all the powers of hell or earth combined can ever overthrow this boy’ for he had a promise from the eternal God.  He spoke concerning the priesthood of Melchisedek shewing that the sectarians never propossed to have it consequently never could save any one and would all be damned together.  He showed that the power of the Melchisek P’d was to have the power of an ‘endless lives.’  he showed that the everlasting covenants could not be broken, and by the sacrifice requeired of Abraham the fact that when God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man and he refuses to receive it he will be damned.–mentioning the case of the Israelites praying that God would speak to Moses & not to them–in consequense of which he cursed them with a carnal law.”  (William Clayton diary, 27 Aug., 1843)

“27 Aug attended meeting at Temple Grove–Letter from Governor Ca[r]lin to Sidney Rigdon read by Joseph Smith  remarks on it by J. Smith who afterwards preached from Hebrews 7 upon the priesthood Aaronic, Patriarchal, & Melchisedec.”  (Levi Richards diary, 27 Aug., 1843)     

27 Aug.:  3 Priesthoods:  Aaronic, Melch., Patriarchal.

“Remarks by J. Smith who afterwards preached from Hebrews 7 upon the priesthood Aaronic, Patriarchal & Melchisedec.”  (Levi Richards, 27 Aug, 1843; Levi Richards diary, MS 1284, Bx. 1, fd. 1, v. 1, LDS Archives; Barney)

[See also Ehat Thesis, endnote #404.]

27 Aug.:  Who can accompany a teacher to a home?

“Is it right for a priest to be appointed to accompany a teacher to the house of each member, when his duty is set forth in the Covenants?

Answer:  Yes, any officer from a high priest to a deacon may visit the Church or members, and be set apart for this purpose, if the Church will receive it.”  (Minutes of a Meeting of the Twelve in New York City, 27 Aug., 1843.  HC 5:551)

10 Sep.:  Apostles and prophets foundation of church.

“And as the Lord has done in other ages, so he has done now.  He has raised up a Prophet & is revealing unto him his secrets & through that Prophet He has brought to light the fullness of the everlasting Gospel to the present generation, & is again once more for the last time esstablishing his Church upon the foundation of the Ancient Apostles & Prophets Christ Jesus Being the Chief cornor stone.

In the Church is now found Judeges as at the first & Councillors as at the beginning.  The Church is composed of Apostles & Prophets, Pasters & Teachers, gifts & graces for the perfecting of the Saints the work of the ministry & the edifying of the body of Christ.”  (Wilford Woodruff discourse, in Wilford Woodruff diary, 10 Sep., 1843)

Sep.:  Procedural questions answered.

“Question.–Suppose a conference consist of several branches, having no high priest over them, and any difference or difficulty occurs, to whom ought they first to apply for the purpose of getting matters settled; that is, should they appeal to the presiding elder of the conference, or to the presidency at Liverpool?

Answer.–It is always best to circulate evil as little as possible.  They ought by all means to apply to the presiding elder of the conference.  If the affair cannot be settled by the authorities of the conference, then is the time to refer to the presidency.

Question.–How far does the authority of teachers and deacons extend with regard to preaching before the world?  That is, have they a right to go out to new places and labour for themselves, or can they preach after a meeting has been opened by an elder or priest?

Answer.–The official duties of teachers and deacons are exercised in connexion with the church only, for they are standing officers to the church to be always with it, and to watch over it, according to the revelations given.  They have no right to go forth to open fresh places, and in so ding are out of order, and running when they are not sent.

They are not called to preach at all; but in their situation in the church, in the absence of an elder or priest, or by their permission when present, are to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come to Christ.

But there is still one great principle which must not be overlooked or forgotten by any Saint, male or female, which is, that every one warn their neighbour, and bear a faithful testimony to the work of God; by this means many have been led to hear the servants of the Lord, and to render the obedience of faith.”  (Thomas Ward, editor; MS 4(5):70-71, Sep., 1843)

25 Dec.:  Oliver Cowdery letter.

“Tiffin, Seneca county, Ohio

December 25, 1843.

Dear Brethren:  Your kind, friendly, brotherly letter of the 19th of April last, bearing the Nauvoo post mark, Dec. 10th, came to hand on the 20th inst.  My business and health have been such as to prevent my answering till now.  Though your epistle has been long delayed since its date, I am to presume from its being recently mailed, that the feelings of friendship and kindness therein expressed are the same now as then.

A friendly letter requires a like answer: and you are to understand in the out-set, that I entertain no unkindly feelings toward you, or either of you.  All that you have imagined with regard to my ‘lonely, solitary situation–a stranger in a strange land’–is true, strictly true.  It has been a long time, nearly six years–the winds and waves, floods and storms have been arrayed to oppose me; and I need hardly say to you, that the Lord above has upheld me, till I have fought up, labored up, and struggled up, to a fair reputation and a fair business in my present profession.  In all of this I neither feel proud nor envious.  I only speak of it here to express the gratitude of my own heart to the Lord, our common Father, who has thus enabled me to provide support for a destitute family.

The circumstances under which I left Far West, in June, 1838, and immediately following are familiarly known to you all, no doubt.  Those circumstances, connected with myself and family, are always painful to reflect on; but you will be reminded again that I do not charge or believe that either of you constituted anything to render my situation or circumstances, then or afterwards, in the least afflicting; and for this reason I speak more freely.  I could not, nor will I concede, that men, who once took me by the hand under the sanction of the Holy Spirit when they received a high and holy calling, would be included under any consideration, to even wish me harm.  This is another reason why I read and look upon your epistle in the light I do–this is one reason why I feel like answering it promptly and fairly, in fact, why I answer it at all.

There is another circumstance to which I must now refer in which you as members and principals in a great and increasing society, are interested: and in which also, whether in or out of that society, I feel and must continue to feel sensebly and keenly.  It is a certain publication, appended to which are many names who are, or were at the time members of the Church of Latter-day Saints, charging myself with being connected with out-laws.  I cannot speak definitely of this instrument, as I know nothing of it except what has been related by those who say they have seen it.

Now, what I have to say concerning all the difficulty between myself and your church, together with those charges last referred to, is simply this: I believed at the time, and still believe, that ambitious and wicked men, envying the harmony existing between myself and the first Elders of the Church, and hoping to get into some other men’s birthright, by falsehoods the most foul and wicked, caused all this difficulty from beginning to end.  They succeeded in getting myself out of the Church; but since they themselves have gone to perdition, ought not old friends–long tried in the furnace of affliction, to be friends still, even laying out of view any and all religious considerations?

Accept assurance of my esteem, with all the kindness, friendship and fellowship, expressed in yours to me.

Oliver Cowdery.

P.S.  This letter is designed as, and will be held by you, strictly private–under no consideration is it to be exhibited to the public eye.

O. Cowdery.

To Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, William Smith, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and George A. Smith.”

(JH 25 Dec., 1843)

Definition of Priesthood.

“To a certain extent it is the principle by which the Lord works among men, and is the channel through which all the spiritual gifts, such as miracles, revelations, visions, &c., flow or are obtained; and is also, the authority by which individuals are legally inducted into the kingdom of God.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. iii)

Priesthood works on both sides of the veil.

“. . . in other words, the Lord does a part of His work by proxy, or employs righteous men as His agents, and the priesthood is the commission or power given to them; however, the reader is not to understand from this, that this priesthood is wholly restricted to this world; but to the contrary, it is a principle congenial with the works of God, and binds the hosts of heaven together, and authorizes the angels to act in the name of God throughout the boundless realms of light.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 7)

Adam was given the Priesthood.

“But the point now at issue is, how the human family were to come in possession of this kingdom: they certainly could not usurp it, neither could they form this allegiance with God without a permit from heaven authorizing them so to do.

Again, there was no way for God to establish his kingdom among foreigners, unless he appeared in person and done it, or sent an embassy for that purpose. . . .

Therefore, the thing lacking, which was absolutely necessary, was the permit from heaven; or in other words, the priesthood–which was given to Adam.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 10-11)

Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood.

“Moses and the prophet Malachi, connect the priesthood and a covenant together; speaking of the priesthood conferred upon Aaron and his Sons, they call it a ‘covenant of priesthood.’ (See Nu. xxv, 13, Mal. ii, 4-7)  Paul says, the priesthood after the order of Melchisedec was made or given with an oath.  This oath alludes to the covenant made at the time this authority is transferred to the people of God; therefore, when men transgress and fail on their part to perform what the stipulations of the covenant binds them to, they break it; and thus, forfeit all the privileges of the priesthood.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 12)

Evidence for Adam’s priesthood only circumstantial.

“Now when we consider that God is the same unchangeable being in all ages of the world, and that He has but one mode of saving men, we cannot dispute that His kingdom was established on earth in as early an age of the world, as that in which Adam lived.  Yet I admit, there is no positive evidence that Adam had this priesthood; but there is an abundance of circumstantial, as will be seen from the following.

The first evidence, that the priesthood was given to men in this age, I shall examine, is the circumstance of Cain and Abel, offering a sacrifice as a type, no doubt, alluding to, and conveying an idea of the great sacrifice of the Son of God.  Moses gives the following account of this offering:

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof.  And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had no respect.  (Ge. iv 3-5)

This not only shows, that Adam and his sons had a knowledge of the promised Saviour and of the atonement; but that some one was in possession of the priesthood at this period.  But it is very evident, that it was given to Adam, and he conferred it upon his sons; and even if Cain and Abel did not have it, I am certain the person who administered at the alter did; for it is an established principle in the economy of God, that no one has a legal right to administer the ordinances of his kingdom, except he be qualified with the priesthood; not even a sacrifice-offring excepted. . . .

I will again introduce as positive evidence, to sustain the idea of the existence of the priesthood on earth at this period, the following logical conclusions.  First, the Lord is the same in all ages of the world, and indeed from and to all eternity.  Secondly, his law, or the gospel, is the same invariable rule or plan of salvation; therefore, it requires in all ages, the same principle of authority to administer it.  Thirdly, by the gospel life and immortality were brought to light; and I am certain, if the bible is true, the Antideluvian [sic] patriarchs understood these important principles.  Fourthly, the precious blessings, such as communing with God, as Enoch and others did, revelations, administration of angels, faith, &c., &c., are enjoyed by those, who by virtue of the priesthood are adopted into the family of God.  Fifthly, there is but one general order of priesthood, and that has existed from all eternity; for the idea is held forth by the sacred writers, that Christ has been in possession of it from before the foundation of the world, and as the kingdom of God could not have been organized on earth without it; therefore, as the Lord’s people of the age of which I now write, were in possession of the kingdom and of the above mentioned blessings, it is established beyond successful contradiction, that the Lord consecrated men to the office of the priesthood soon after the fall.  Being assured, in my own mind, that the foregoing is sufficient to establish the position I have taken, I now continue my history. . . .

It is said that Noah was a preacher of righteousness, not of the ceremonial law of Moses, for it was not then in existence; but the righteousness which is of faith, or in other words, the gospel of Christ; and any evidence that the gospel was preached in this early age, is proof that the priesthood existed on earth at the same time.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 13, 16-17)

Abraham administered the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

“‘And Melchisedec king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him and said, blessed by Abraham of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.’  (Ge. xiv, 18.)  The administration of bread and wine as a sacrament, is one of the institutions of the gospel, and was practiced by Christ and his apostles; and no doubt, Melchisedec administered them with the same views, and for the same purpose, that the disciples of Christ did.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 21)

“I suppose Abraham was ordained by Melchisedec.”

“I have before mentioned that Abraham, had the priesthood; and in all probability, he was ordained by Melchisedec: for it is said, that when he returned from the slaughter of the kings, Melchisedec met, and blessed him.–I suppose Abraham was ordained during this interview.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 22)

Explanation for “without father, without mother . . .”

“I answer that he [the author of Hebrews] did not allude either to the person of Christ or Melchisedec; for each had a father and mother; but to the principle of authority or the holy priesthood, which has existed from all eternity, and has neither father, mother, or descent; and is without beginning in days, or end of life.  The apparent contradiction in the apostles phraseology, in all probability, has appeared in consequence of the ignorance of the translator, or some careless transcriber.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 23)

Melchisedec presided over a church.

“Melchisedec presided over a church, or branch of the kingdom of this kind, which was at Salem; and in all probability, Abimeleck of Gerar, was a king of this description.  All the shepherds kings, and those of Canaan, originally presided by virtue of this priesthood; but as these kingdoms degenerated into apostacy, they incorporated with their religion, many mythological institutions; and into their government many political, and despotic, forms and rules, and each king in time assumed the title of absolute monarch.  I infer all this, from some few hints dropped by the sacred historians.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 24)

Presumptive evidence, at least.

“If the foregoing quotations are not positive, I regard them at any rate, as the strongest kind of presumptive evidence, to sustain the before mentioned idea of the priesthood. . . .

The probability is, that this priesthood was conferred by the father upon the son, from Abraham to Joseph; moreover it is quite probable, that the twelve sons of Jacob were all priests, for they are regarded as patriarchs.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 26)

Moses received it from Jethro–in all probability.

“The Midianites are supposed by some to have been the descendants of Abraham, from the fact, he had a son by his wife Keturah, whom he called Midian.  This perhaps will account for the continuation of the priesthood down to Jethro.

This association with this priest of Midian, afforded Moses a good opportunity to become acquainted with all the blessings and privileges of the holy priesthood: and in all probability Jethro consecrated him to the office of it.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 28)

Israelites were baptized in the Red Sea by Moses.

“Again, it is abundantly evident, that the gospel was preached to them, and the kingdom of God organized among them.  The apostle Paul says: ‘For unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them, (children of Israel in the wilderness;) but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.’  (He. iv, 2.)  Again the apostle says: ‘Moreover brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud, and in the sea.’  (1. Co. x, 1,2)  With all the ingenuity I have, I cannot interpret this in any way, other than that the house of Israel were baptized in the Red Sea, by Moses and others whom he had commissioned for that purpose; and were overshadowed or baptized with the Spirit of God which appeared, and rested down upon them like a cloud.  But says one, were they not baptized in the sea, when they crossed it?  I answer that it is said, they passed through the sea dry-shod, or as on dry ground; and the idea of baptizing people in the sea on dry ground, would be a novel thing in the bible indeed.  The idea is, they were baptized unto Moses, the same as the Jews were baptized unto John the Baptist in Jordan.  Moses like John, set forth or proclaimed the doctrine of baptism, and baptized those who believed, or authorized some other one to do it.  Some of the most approved historians, admit the ordinance of baptism was practiced long before the commencement of the Christian era, which I have no reason to dispute; but I contend that it was an ordinance of the gospel then, as well as now.

I regard the foregoing passages of scripture, as positive evidence, that the gospel was preached, and the ordinance of baptism administered, to the children of Israel in the wilderness.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 30-31)

Aaron and his sons were bishops and priests.

“I have now arrived at the place, where I can introduce the Aaronic, or lower order of priesthood, which I have before said, was only an appendage; or in other words, only a part of this grand principle of authority.  Why I call it the lower order, is because, that it is not the fulness of the priesthood, or authority to perform the works of God.  I mean by this, that those who are made priests after the order of Melchisedec, enjoy all the rights, and privileges of this authority; but those who are made priests after the order of Aaron, only possess a part; yet all that their grade of office guarantees to them: hence, the Aaronic, or Levitical priesthood, is only a branch of the Melchisedec; and is called the Aaronic, because it was conferred upon Aaron, and his sons, to continue hereditary throughout their generations; and it was their place as bishops or priests, to preside over all the different grades of officers, that came under their jurisdiction: and it was called the Levitical, because the men of the tribe of Levi, were chosen to administer in all the various offices of this priesthood, instead of all the first-born of the tribes of Israel.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 31-32)

Moses held the Melchisedec Priesthood.

“The following is satisfactory evidence, that Moses was a great high-priest after the order of Melchisedec: 

I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee {Moses}.

Peter said the prophet alluded to here, is Christ; and the apostle Paul says, He is a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec: hence, as He was to be like Moses; Moses must have been like Him in possession of the same priesthood.  This is corroborated by David, who says, Moses was a priest of God.

Moses by the authority of this priesthood presided over the house of Israel, and was their law-giver; and was blessed with the privilege of conversing with God face to face, and even to see him; but Aaron, and his sons, received an inferior office; therefore, they did not see God as Moses did; neither did they converse with him face to face; but received information from Him by means of the Urim and Thummim, through the agency of angels, by visions, and by the Spirit of God.  But it appears, in consequence of the wickedness of the children of Israel, Moses was taken from them, and no one was ordained to succeed him and hold the same office.  Joshua succeeded him as a leader, and judge in Israel; but did not hold so high an office in the kingdom of God.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 34-35)

Priesthood organization among the Israelites.

“The form of government instituted for Israel, was ecclesiastical, and as far as their authority extended, it was patriarchal: the sons of Aaron as bishops, (or high-priests of this inferior order of priesthood,) presided over the spiritual affairs, and all the Levitical priests officiated under their direction; they also had judges to oversee their temporal, or political affairs, and to legislate for them; but more or less under the direction of the presiding priest, who obtained the word of the Lord by means of the Urim and Thummim.  Josephus says, this instrument was a transparent or shining stone, which was consecrated to the Lord and placed in Aaron’s breastplate, and that somehow by its shining, or reflections, he obtained the word of the Lord; but he says, it ceased to shine about one hundred and fifty years before Christ.  (See Josephus, Book III, chap viii.)  

It is quite probable; that several of the Jewish prophets, by their faith received the Melchisedec priesthood from God, or an angel sent to confer it upon them.  It is evident, that Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah and others, received it, for some of them offered sacrifices; but they having received the highest order of priesthood, had a right to officiate in all the lower offices of it.  This accounts for these men officiating at the altar, who were not of the tribe of Levi.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 36-37)

Peter, James and John constituted the First Presidency.

“In short, the offices of the church, were as follows: First, Christ, who is the head of all things pertaining to the kingdom of earth; Secondly, these three apostles above mentioned, who governed the church under the immediate supervision of Christ; Thirdly, all the apostles; then the elders, bishops, priests or pastors, teachers, and deacons.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 58)

When did the early Church lose the Priesthood?

“. . . there is no way of finding out the exact time when the priesthood was taken from the church; however, it is evident, it took place about the time the popish hierarchy supplanted the primitive order of it.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 79)

God has sent His ANGEL with the priesthood.

“The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, contend that God has sent His angel with the priesthood, which has been conferred upon some of the leading men of the society, and by this means the kingdom of God has been legally organized.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 113)

Only one priesthood restoration mentioned.

“Soon after this Book [of Mormon] 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.  On the sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty, the church, which then consisted of but six members, was organized.  Some of these were ordained to the ministry, who immediately commenced proclaiming the fulness of the everlasting gospel, baptizing, and organizing branches of the church.  Indeed, the work commenced to spread rapidly, and has continued to do so ever since, and thousands have been gathered into the fold of Christ, not only in the United States; but in the Canadas, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and elsewhere.

As soon as the church was organized as above, the Lord began to bestow His Holy Spirit upon the faithful; and some were blessed with the ministry of angels, others had heavenly visions, the sick were healed, and evil spirits cast out by faith in the name of Christ.  Indeed, the Lord has not only restored the priesthood; but the gifts of the Spirit, and blessings of the gospel of peace.”  (Benjamin Winchester, A History of the Priesthood . . ., 1843; p. 147)