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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1846

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1846.” You can view other years here.

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PRIESTHOOD, 1846 (January-August).

1846:  1 Jan.:  Reference to church reorganization, 6 Apr., 1836.

“I shall at all times endeavour to maintain the organization of the church of God, as organized by Joseph Smith, sen., and Joseph Smith, jun., Sidney Rigdon, and F. G. Williams, in the house of the Lord in Kirtland, state of Ohio, on the 6th day of April, 1836, according to the wisdom and revelations of God, through Joseph Smith our late prophet, and uphold the twelve apostles as his legal successors, according to the order of the holy priesthood, and sustain all the authorities of the church in their respective offices and callings, and study the well-being of all the members.”  (Reuben Hedlock, “To the Saints in Great Britain, Greeting,” MS 7(1):10, 1 Jan., 1846)

15 Jan.:  Kirtland endowment and church reorganization.

“In the organization of the church in Kirtland, Ohio, and in the subsequent endowment of the Twelve, our beloved prophet took care to adopt such measures and plans as should secure the well-being and certainty of the kingdom of God being established.  Hence, the Twelve were ordained prophets, seers, and revelators, that nothing should be wanting for the final perfecting of the great work.”  (Editorial (Thomas Ward, editor), MS 7(2):28, 15 Jan., 1846)

15 Jan.:  Keys of priesthood needed to classify angels.

“Perhaps some may enquire, how the saints can distinguish between angels of authority, and such as have no authority, seeing there are so many different classes?

We answer, that no one can distinguish correctly, without the keys of the priesthood, obtained through the ordinances of endowment.”  (Orson Pratt, “Mormon Philosophy,” MS 7(2):32, 15 Jan., 1846)

25 Jan.:  Seventies and High Priests.

“January 25, 1846.  Sunday morning Parley P. Pratt conversed with some brethren in the Celestial room of the Temple (attic story) on the subject of authority and Priesthood, to the following purport:

He said that in case the quorum of the Twelve shold by any means become disorganized, that the Seventies held the jurisdiction and authority of the Presidency of the Church in all the world wherever it might be found.  That the High Priest’s duty would be the same as it is now; they have to attend to their affairs, but the authority of Presidency over the whole Church belonged to the Seventies; and if all the Seventies were killed off except one Seventy, that Seventy would not only possess the right but would be in duty bound to stand in their place as the First Presidency of the Church.  He said that Joseph Smith the Prophet undertook to establish this idea in the minds of the brethren in Kirtland, but the jealousies that began to arise in the minds of the High Priests prevented him doing so; he, therefore, left the matter undecided.  He further stated that the difference between the authority of the Seventies and the High Priests was this:  The High Priests possessed the High Priesthood, but the Seventies possessed the High Priesthood and the Apostleship which was the highest power on the earth or in the Church.  A man might be a prophet and seer and not be in the Church or even baptized; and Joseph Smith was a prophet, Seer, and Revelator before he was even baptized, or had any Priesthood whatever, but having proved faithful in the thing that was committed to his charge, God sent John the Baptist, to ordain him a priest after the order of Aaron; and having been faithful to this latter trust the Almighty sent Peter, James and John unto him in due time and ordained him an Apostle and first Elder in the Church which was the highest authority of all.

During this conversation there were present Charles Wesley Wandell, Isaac Allred, and some others of the Presidency of the Seventies; David Candland also, and J. M. Bernhisel and another of the High Priests were also present, Heber C. Kimball also preached this same thing to the public congregation the same forenoon.”  (Seventies Record, Book B, page 226; in “Items on Priesthood from the Presidents of the Church and Others,” HDC #Pq M251.3 I88 195-?; xerox)

26 Jan.:  Priesthood sealed upon a woman.

“Monday 26th in the afternoon I went with Father, my wife Emily & Sister Laveredg. [?] & her Son to Father John Smith’s the Patriarch to get our Patriarchal Blessings.  Father was well pleased with his Blessing he said ‘Bro. Smith I know you are a true prophet for you have told me the truth–Emily too was much strengthened in her faith.”  (p. 27)

“City of Joseph Jan 26. 1846

A Blessing by John Smith Patriarch upon the head of Norton Jacob son of Udney & Elizabeth born 11th August 1804 Berkshire Co., Mass.  Brother Norton Beloved of the Lord I lay my hands on thy head by the authority given me of Jesus of Nazereth, place upon thee all the blessings of Abraham, Israel & Jacob. the Priesthood and power which was given to the house of Israel, which shall be sealed upon thy head in fulness in due time no power on earth shall be able to destroy thy faith because thy heart is honest–notwithstanding tis thy duty to watch & pray lest ye enter into temptation because of the weakness of the fl[e]sh–. . . Thousands shall believe thy testimony.  Obey the gospel thou shalt lead them to Zion & no power shall stay thine hand, thou shalt be able to control the elements by the power of the Priesthood vested in thee, no miracle shall be too hard for thee to perform when it shall be for the Salvation of men. . . . Be diligent Brother to follow the council of those who are appointed to lead the church & thou shalt inherit every blessing which your heart desires even eternal life.  I seal this blessing upon thee, & thy posterity in common with thy Companion, Amen–! (a true copy)”  (pp. 27-28)

“City of Joseph  Jan 26th 1846

A Blessing by John Smith Patriarch upon the head of Emily Jacob Daughter of Elias & Mary Heaton born Nov 28th. 1810 Chittenden Co. Vermont–Sister Emily By the authority vested in me to bless the fatherless, I place my my [sic] hands upon thy head in the name of Jesus of Nazareth Seal upon thee the Priesthood with all the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant which was sealed upon the Children of Joseph for this thy lineage the same as thy companion, thou hast a right to all the blessings which is sealed upon his head for a woman can have but little power in the Priesthood without a man.”  (pp. 28-29)  (Record of Norton Jacob, 26 Jan., 1846)

7 Feb.:  The Priesthood is secure on the earth.

“On the 31st of December I received my endowments, and on the 7th of February, 1846, the giving of endowments in the temple ceased.  That day upwards of 600 went through.  At evening, when Brother George A. Smith came home, he said:

‘Now, let the mob work; the Priesthood is secure on the earth.  The temple has answered the end for which it was built.  The mob thought when they killed the head the body would surely die; but they made twelve heads, and if they kill the Twelve they would make seventy more, and they never can kill the body.'”

(William Clayton Journal, in JI 21(6):82, 15 Mar., 1886)

22 Feb.:  Cut off by vote of 70s quorum.

“In the evening I attended a meeting of my quorum when Chauncey Gaylord was cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostasy in joining the Strangites.”  (C. Edward Jacob, ed., The Record of Norton Jacob, 1949; 22 Feb., 1846)

15 Mar.:  Order in the priesthood.

“That the kingdom of God is one of order every person will be prepared to acknowledge, and that the power of God, delegated to the holy priesthood, is the governing authority thereof, will also be freely admitted; but that as occasionally individuals become jealous of their own prerogatives, or at least what they consider are such, we would throw out a few hints for their guidance, and to which we earnestly exhort the Saints to give heed, so that peace and unity may prevail in their midst, and that every one may be upheld in the office to which he is called. 

In the first place we hold every one responsible for the discharge of the duties of the office unto which he is called; a president of a branch for the condition of that branch; a president of a conference for the condition of that conference, and the presidents of a kingdom or country for the general condition of the church at large.

What then, we would inquire, are the relative duties and privileges of each?  We have known it [to] occur, on several occasions, that the president of a branch has supposed that the president of his conference had no right to interfere with his local presidency, and had no control over the measures which he and his council might adopt.  We have also known others to declare that the first presidency of the British Islands had no right to interfere or advise in the affairs of a conference, unless they were manifestly in error.  On those subjects we would make a few remarks; first on presidency merely.  If a council be assembled, connected with a branch, and the president thereof be not present, another can be voted to preside in his absence; but if during the meeting he happens to come it, surely none will deny his right to preside, if he chooses to accept of it.  And we would say still further, that if the president of his conference enter that meeting, he has most assuredly an undoubted right to preside in that meeting if he chooses to accept of it; and further still, if one of the presidency of the land enter, he most undoubtedly has a first claim upon the presidency of that meeting, and one of the quorum of the twelve apostles would have a prior claim still to take the presidency of the same, were he to be introduced there.

And secondly, with regard to the power to alter or direct personal measures that may be brought before such council.  As we have said each person is held responsible for the condition of that over which he presides, so we would make a few remarks upon the exercise of authority for this end.

It is the duty of the president of a branch to call for the combined wisdom of his council to be manifested on various subjects, and it is his duty to come to a decision as he shall be led by the Spirit of God.  And when that decision is not in unrighteousness, it is the duty of his council to support and assist in carrying out the same; and if his decision be plainly unrighteous, his council have the right of appeal to higher authority.

It is also the privilege of a high priest or presiding elder of a conference to reverse the decree of a council of a branch, and this may be absolutely necessary from time to time, and inasmuch as he is held responsible for the condition of his conference, this is his undoubted privilege; but if his decision be an unrighteous one, then that branch has a right of appeal, otherwise it is their duty to look to the high priesthood as the channel through which God will give wisdom and revelation for the guidance of his church.

There is no doctrine which ought to be more impressed upon the minds of all, than the priesthood being the channel through which the Lord will communicate his mind and will.  There is, however, one maxim amongst men which we hold to be true, that ‘they only know how to govern aright who have learned how to obey;‘ and if a president of a branch expects to be honoured in his office as a servant of the Lord, and expects the members of his branch and council to give heed to his teachings, let him also make it manifest unto them that he is equally ready to give heed to the counsel of his president, and set to all an example by so doing.

Let but an individual or a branch of the church of Christ conceive the notion that they are perfectly capable of acting in all things without consulting their superior in office, and the principle of the authority of the priesthood is, with them, at once annihilated, however they may look for obedience from others.  The priesthood is, and ought ever to be, and ever will be, to all that look for it, a continuous channel through which God will communicate his mind and will for the guidance and regulation of his kingdom.

Let us view the principle in another light, and trace it as it would naturally lead us.  One of the lesser priesthood seeks counsel of the priesthood of Melchisedek, he does so legally, and thereby receives the truth and a blessing with it; an elder seeks counsel of his high priest, a high priest seeks counsel of the first presidency of the land he lives in, they seek counsel of the quorum of the twelve apostles of Christ, they of their president, and he of God.  This is the legitimate order of the kingdom of God, and we sincerely exhort all Saints to give heed thereunto.  We have seen, too often, in our experience the results of any section of the body of Christ seeking to destroy this order, by assuming that they themselves were abundantly suficient to come to proper conclusions in reference to various measures; for even if they deemed their decisions to be correct, reason would say ‘get also the sanction of your president, then you will be doubly sure; but if he does not approve of your determinations refrain from executing them at once, until you have further reasoned upon the matter, and obtained a knowledge of the ground upon which the objections are raised.’  And further, if the decisions of a branch and their president be at issue, they will appeal to the president of conference, and if his decisions and those of any branch be at issue, they will conjointly appeal to the first presidency, and abide by their decision.

We are aware that the order of God requires the exercise of humility, but not the servility of slaves; but a humility that can be associated with undoubted courage and unflinching integrity; at the same time there is no room for pride, self-sufficient pride, that rests solely upon its own capabilities, and refuses to look for the support and countenance of others.  Such a feeling may be in other places, but its place is not in the kingdom of God; it is a principle that would raise the standard of rebellion against the throne of God himself, and seek to establish itself upon a foundation of its own.

Let the Saints, and officers in particular, then reflect upon these things, and give heed thereunto, that the blessing of God may be in their midst, to qualify them as agents to do the will of God.

There is another subject to which we would allude here, which is to the calling of men to the priesthood.  Let it be always ascertained whether if a person be ordained, he is so situated as to discharge the duties of his office; if he be not, let him tarry without ordination until opportunity offers for him to labour therein.  Never ordain men to sit merely in a council meeting, without otherwise executing the duties of their individual office, or you may soon find that with them it is much easier to find fault with others than to do their own duty.  Those individuals who are most diligent in the discharge of their own duties, are generally the last to become the accusers of the brethren, because they are better employed.”  (Thomas Ward, editor, MS 7(6):90-91, 15 Mar., 1846)

23 Mar.:  Cowdery account of MP restoration.

“I have cherished a hope, 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,–you would feel what you have never felt, were wicked men conspiring to lessen the effects of your testimony on man, after you should have gone to your long length rest.”  (Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, 23 Mar., 1846; quoted by Alonzo A. Hinckley, 8 Apr., 1934; CR Apr., 1934, p. 129)

“I have cherished a hope, 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)

10 Apr.:  “Acting teacher” for each company.

“Pres. Brigham Young recommended to the captains of companies to select a steady, fatherly man in each tent to act as teacher and see that prayers were offered in their season in all the tents.”  (JH 10 Apr., 1846)

26 Apr.:  The day when serpents can no longer harm us.

“The spirit of the Lord and keys of the Priesthood hold power over all animated beings.  When Father Adam transgressed the law, he did not fall at once from the presence of the Lord, but spake face to face with him a long time afterwards.  Men continued to sin and degenerate from generation to generation until they had got so far from the Lord that a veil of darkness sprang up between them, so that men could no longer speak with the Lord save it were through a Prophet.  During this time the earth and all creation groaned in sin, and enmity increased, and the lives of men and beast decreased.  For this cause the Son of God descended  below all things that he might reach every man and that he might return to the Father and have power over all things.

In this dispensation the keys that were committed to Father Adam will be restored, and we are to return into the favor and presence of the Lord.  If we cease hostility with the serpents and lay aside all enmity and treat all animals kindly, being humble and faithful with long suffering and forbearance, no man need ever have a horse or a cow bitten by a snake.  The serpents would soon become perfectly harmless, so that they could be handled without danger; children could play with them without receiving harm.”  (Brigham Young discourse, 26 Apr., 1846; JH 26 Apr., 1846)

16 Jul.:  E T Benson to take the crown of John E. Page.

“Half past four, the president met with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. and Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Geo. A. Smith, Amasa Lyman, of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Ezra T. Benson, Newel K. Whitney and Jesse C. Little. . . .

Voted unanimously that Ezra Taft Benson be ordained an Apostle.

The Twelve knelt before the Lord and prayed, Pres. Young being mouth, then arose and laid hands on Ezra T Benson, and ordained him an apostle in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints with all the keys and power and blessings pertaining to the apostleship, and to take the crown of him who has fallen from the Quorum of the Twelve (John E. Page).”  (JH 16 Jul., 1846)

17 Jul.:  Appointment of 90 special bishops.

“Another formidable roadblock was concern for the welfare of abandoned families [due to Mormon Battalion].  With so many away, who would be left to guard against Indian and other Missouri-inspired depredations?  Where would their families winter?  Who would build shelters and homes?

Little wonder, then, that faced as he was with such opposition Young offered a multitude of safeguards and comforting proposals.  ‘Every man that enlists,’ he said during a massive recruiting meeting at Mosquito Creek on 13 July, ‘will have his name, and the names of his wife and children inserted in a book, and what directions you have to give in relation to them; and if we find that we have more families than we can take forward, we will take them to Grand Island and leaven men to take care of them till we go and return to fetch them.’  He then promised the recruits ‘if God spares my life, that your families shall be taken care of, and shall fare as ours do.’  [Footnote 74: “Journal History, 13 July 1846.”]  A final assurance was the planned appointment of ninety bishops from among trusted men in camp to meet the special needs of the Battalion families.  [Footnote 75: “Journal of Wilford Woodruff, 17 July 1846.]  And to the women, he felt compelled to promise that none of their menfolk would be killed in battle. . . .

Shortly after the departure of the Mormon Battalion, the Pottawattamie High Council had called ninety bishops.  Each was assigned to ‘attend to the necessities’ of two or three families.  [Footnote 41:  “Journal of Wilford Woodruff, 17 July 1846; and Pottawattamie High Council Minutes, 3 August 1846.  Initially, families chose their own bishops.”]  (Most Battalion families lived on the east bank, at Mt. Pisgah, and Garden Grove.)  These ‘Battalion’ bishops functioned in a strictly pastoral role, exercising few other ecclesiastical or administrative functions.”  (Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846-1852, pp. 61, 260; 119, 282)

“I met in Council with the Twelve.  Also called a general meeting of the People to transact business.  Men were called upon to go to work on the road at the ferry.  About 20 volunteered.  Ninety men were Appointed to Act as bishops in taking Charge of the families of those who had volunteered to go to Calafornia via Santife.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 17 Jul., 1846)

1 Aug.:  Priesthood ordinances, including adoption.

“In order that we may more fully understand the meaning of the law of adoption, by which we can call God our father and claim the inheritance, we will suppose that in one town resided a man that was poor, yet blessed with a family of six boys; he is the main stay of the same.  In the town adjacent resides a rich man, and he has no family; popular rumour had given him a good name, which had also been awarded him by this poor man and his six boys, but one evening a stranger calls at the poor man’s house and solicits lodgings for the night.  The poor man, with feelings alove to good deeds, consents–the frugal meal is spread–after partaking of which they encircle the fire, the whole family listening with eager ears to the many enquiries of the stranger about the rich man; and after many insinuations of his austerity and rapacity, he denounces him as totally bad: the recapitulation of such things gains the feelings of the family, and they join also in their denunciation.  There is a change of heart a second time–first as good, now as bad.  In the morning the stranger departs, and some time after the father of the family falls sick and is brought near unto death; the righ man hearing of this, loads his mule with wine and oil, and goes forth to administer to the sick man’s wants, and given unto him money also.  This timely aid raises him to health and strength, and he is soon again among his family.  Now then he exclaims, my heart is changed, I believe this rich man to be a good man, and so replies the six boys do we–here is a change of heart.  In the course of a few days the rich man waits upon them, and desires three of the boys to leave their father’s house and go with him, and become his sons by adoption; he has made no choice of which three it shall be, but leaves the matter to them.  Thus consulted they all believe him to be a good man, but three reply they will stand by the old man, the other three volunteer to leave their father’s house and go with the rich man–he calls in the lawyer, and by the law of the country they are his adopted sons.  After a time the rich man dies, then the other brothers come to claim a share of the patrimony upon the ground of their good feelings towards him, but they could not claim one jot or tittle.  Now you that are believers only in the change of heart, ask why they could not claim a share?  I answer the reason is very obvious, because they had not been adopted into the family, and could not show the seal of their adoption, nor could they call with a clear conscience to the Abba, Father.  Then a change of heart alone will not do, unless we receive that seal which leaves no room for doubt.  Hence, then, it has been wisely ordered that when a person, an alien or stranger to the family, wishes to become a son or a daughter of God, he must abide and conform to the laws established for that adoption, which secures to them the patrimony of those who are willing to leave fathers and mothers, and houses and land for Christ’s sake, and we can alone come in by the laws of adoption.  How then shall we say a change of heart will alone suffice?  Hence then Christ came to set at variance the domestic circle–the father against son–the mother against daughter–and a man’s foes they of his own household.  Had he been content to remain with his change of heart, all would be well, and he would by the world be esteemed as good; but as soon as he leaves his old father and becomes a member of the rich man’s household, his former companions become his enemies, and the adoption will not comprise every individual, for it is the intention of God to take one of a family, and two of a city, that his purposes might be fulfilled.  Hence then when the ordinance of baptism has been administered, to seal that adoption we are called upon to receive the laying on of hands for the purpose of receiving the holy spirit–the seal of our inheritance, and the power which gives us a claim to share the same; and God our father cannot withhold these blessings from us, because we have complied with the requisition; but yet after this there are other duties for us to attend to, in order that we may grow into a man before the Lord.  We have many duties enjoined upon us, and as we are a mixed family from every tribe, nation, kindred, tongue and people; hence as far as little things will arise, and in order that we might amalgamate our feelings, the ordinance of the Lord’s supper was instituted, though not for this alone, yet it forms one of the means by which we not only remember our Saviour and his sufferings, but also realize the blessings promised us in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, section 19.

Some persons may now be found who assert that this ordinances is non-essential; and the scripture, from an ignorance of its true meaning, is perverted to sustain the dogma that Christ shed his blood for the remission of the sins of the whole world, consequently they say there is no need of anything else.  ‘We are made fre from sin by the blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all sins;’ but to this I am opposed, as not being strictly true, because he did not die for our own individual sins, not knowing whether we would commit any, and therefore could not die for sins never committed.  I am willing to allow he died for the sins of the world–that is the original sin of man–to remove which it required the shedding of blood; hence then by so doing, circumcision, nor uncircumcision, availeth anything, but a new creature, and children had no longer any need of circumcision, for of such is now the kingdom of heaven.  Christ removed the original sin and took the curse away, and now makes man responsible for his own sins, and has provided a way for him to obtain a remission of those, namely by baptism; and by this means he is made a new creature, because he is born again–first of the water then of the holy spirit, which, as I before stated, seals his adoption in the due and faithful observance of the sacrament.  We may have a foretaste of those things which shall be hereafter revealed to the faithful, but only in proportion as we appreciate the minor or lesser ordinances can we fully comprehend the higher and more exalted ones.  Experience is the schoolmaster, and he gives us practical lessons, and I am confident that if all who desire to stand in the general assembly of the church of the first born, must observe these first ordinances as much as the child needs the knowledge of A before he should be taught the last letter of the alphabet; and there are in the economy of God fundamental principles for us to learn, and the despising of these will not entitle us to the blessings of greater ones; and it is owing to ourselves whether we arrive at the fulness of the heirships we have believed and obtain the power to become the sons of God–which is the fulness, as we are called to be elders, but we are not yet in the possession of the fulness of the priesthood.  We are called, but are we chosen–we are in possession of the gift of the Holy Ghost, but we have not the fulness of the power of the Holy Ghost itself.  Christ promised to send ‘another comforter’ and he should lead them into all truth, and Christ and his father would make their abode with them.  Then it depends whether we become fully sons, or elders indeed, by the usefulness we put ourselves to, and how we magnify this little power we have now; it is great in proportion to the rest of the world; but what is it in proportion to that to be received?  It has never entered into our hearts to conceive one tithe of the power and blessings laid up in store for those who are faithful.  But I very much question whether the Holy Ghost will come and abide in an impure tabernacle, made impure either through slothfulness, uncleanliness, or abominations of any kind; for if we sully or tarnish our priesthood which is an earnest of better things to come, we cannot come into a fulness, we cannot become kings and priests to God and the Lamb.  Are we arbitrary, unmerciful towards repenting fellow-man?  Are we governed by our passions, by whatever name they are called?  Is lust active in our bosom?  Are we grasping after things we have no right to, which the law of God and man forbids?  Are we handling edge tools?  Mind your fingers.  Let us learn then that God’s eye is upon our ways, and though we move smoothly on for a while, our sins will find us out, and if we have been unfaithful over little things who will entrust us with larger ones?  How can we expect to rule or sway a sceptre, or judge the world unless we first learn to govern ourselves and bring our passions and desires in subjection to the will of heaven?  Paul said they were not all Israel that were called Israel.  We may truly say they are not all Latter-day Saints that are called so.  The day of trial is at hand, and if there ever was need of our searching ourselves and looking at the foundation of our hope it is now.  The Saints in the West have had their share, and it is now near upon us.  Many may fall, and if they have made the arm of man their trust it will fail.  We shall be tried as gold seven times purified.  We shall feel the rod for all sons received; God will chasten.  We have had no troubles compared with our brethren in the West, and we ought not to let them bear the whole.  We shall have a ship in Liverpool shortly, and, I ask, how glad would the Saints in California be to see a vessel coming into port laden with goods and honest men and women, as comforts for them in every form, to make up in part what they left behind; how destitute they will be, few know.  If then, there ever was a time to help, now is the time; how sweet the reflection to know we have been there from the first, and assisted to lay the foundation for another temple and see it reared, as well as to learn that that law is established which shall proceed from Zion and call forth the admiration of thousands, and put a desire in their hearts to come, and say to their neighbours, come ye also and let us to up to Zion.  I say, how sweet to tread her courts, to learn her laws, to consider her municipalities when our hands have helped to do it, when we have toiled with the rest to effect this–much sweeter will the rose smell when we reflect it is our own nursing that has raised it.  Let us then bestir ourselves, and carefully save our money, so that at the first opportunity we may go and see Zion established according to the pattern laid down.  Let us not be idle in the Joint Stock company, but pay up our shares, and inasmuch as our hearts are to do good by this means, so God will order it to bring about what we wish in righteousness before him, for He holds the hearts of all men in his hands, and He will not see his purposes thwarted and brought to nought.  Let then the sound go forth.  Gather together my Saints that make a covenant by sacrifice, and when we gather, clear the way before us and never look back, for it is to such God has promised the blessings.  Let us not be in haste–bear patiently and make your wants known to God through Christ our Great High Priest, and he is easily touched with our infirmities, because he has passed through affliction and drank the bitter cup; so that in whatever way you are found in bondage, or wish you may have to relieve your relative, God has promised your every wish in righteousness before him should be granted.  Hence the variety of ordinances for us to attend to, and their absolute necessity–all have their place and time for proper development, and will be made manifest in proportion to our needs requiring them.  Let no one repine, but be faithful and attend to the things now revealed to us for fulfilling on this side [of?] Zion, and seek not by any means to entangle ourselves with abominations of any kind.  If we desire to be chosen, remember we are probationers now on trial, to see whether we will suit our Master.  We are clay in the hands of the potter; if we lay well on the wheel, and do not dictate or find fault with the shape or vessel we are made into, we shall do; but if we do not, we shall be thrown off the wheel, and put into the mill and re-ground.  Let us hold faithful, though wicked men and apostates howl–persecution may be our portion, yet woe unto those who persecute, whether saint or sinner, better had they never seen the light, than, having seen it, run wilfully into darkness, aye, much better had they never been born.  Our foundation will be tested, and unless we are built upon the rock it will tumble about our heads, and we be buried again in the midst of Babylon.  A day of separation is at hand, let us cleave then to the ordinances of the house of the Lord–those which we do know let us ponder them, and when we understand them as the ground work upon which the superstructure is to be raised, and having laid a good foundation, we can then go to work, and by faith, hope, charity, long suffering, patience, temperance, godliness, virtue, chastity, and brotherly love, raise up an holy temple fit for the abode of the Holy Ghost to dwell in; and know assuredly, as the bell founder when he casts a bell, he does not immediately hoist the same to the steeple, but taps it on every side to see if it is sound, and to regulate its tone.  So God taps us on every side, to prove us before we are fit for the exaltation to which we shall arrive if we are faithful.  We know sweets by the opposite sour–liberty by confinement, and so our course will be a mediocrity; if wealthy, we may forget God, if poor, blaspheme; hence the cup we have to drink is prepared by an excellent cook, and the sweets and sours are so sweetly blended as, I hope, to make it palatable to all who are called to drink.  Let us not wish it removed, but drink it and rejoice we are counted worthy to live, suffer, or die for the privilege of living in the last and greatest of all dispensations, a blessing which holy men of old have coveted and desired much.  Let us then say we will go up to Zion the city of our God, where we can learn more of the ordinances of the Lord’s house, and pray Him to give us hearts to keep them sacred, and apply them for what they were intended–our perfection.”  (David C. Kimball, MS 8(2):22-25, 1 Aug., 1846; NOTE THAT KIMBALL HAD RECEIVED HIS ENDOWMENT IN THE NAUVOO TEMPLE)

4 Aug.:  Joseph received keys from Peter, James and John.

“He [James Strang] knowing the movement of the church, and the persecution, took another position, and said he was ordained by an angel at the time brother Joseph was killed, and he has caught some of the uneasy spirits to follow him, and by their little cunning have deceived some honest ones.  His last position is no better than the first, for he admits Joseph holds the keys of the kingdom in this world, and in the world to come.  Well, how did brother Joseph get the keys conferred uopn him?  By Peter, James and John, because they held them last on the earth.  Well, if Joseph had the keys conferred upon him by Peter, James, and John, and he (Strang) admits that Joseph holds them in the world to come, I ask how can Strang get the keys, or receive them from any other personage?  He cannot, no more than Joseph could from any other than Peter, James, and John, for they held that authority.”  (Crandell Dunn [New York] to Elder Appleby [Philadelphia], 4 Aug., 1846; MS 8(6):93, 15 Oct., 1846)

8 Aug.:  Rebaptism of Wilford Woodruff and others.

“Spent part of the day in council.  In the evening I was baptized for the remission of my sins under the Hands of Elder W. Richards.  I also baptised him And Mrs Phebe W. Woodruff twice once for the remission of sins & once for sickness & she seemed much better After baptism.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 8 Aug., 1846)

12 Aug.:  Nominations for priesthood offices.

[Glasgow Conference minutes]

“They then proceeded to make some changes in the priesthood, to assist in the great work of God, and the president trusted to the good sense of the presidents of the branches to call those that were worthy.  Moved by elder Drummond, and seconded by elder Douglas, that John Taylor, priest, be raised to the office of an elder, and take the presidency of Kelvindock and Knightwood branch; it was put to the house and carried.  Moved by elder Drummond, and seconded by elder Douglas, that Thomas Scott, John Grier, and John Muir, be called to the office of priests; and Jas. Smith, Moses Martin, P. Douglas, John Kier, and John M’Millan, to be teachers for the Glasgow branch.  Those individuals were called upon to state if they were willing to accept of these offices, they accepted them; when it was put to the meeting and unanimously agreed to. . . .”  (Conference Minutes, Glasgow, 12 Aug., 1846; MS 8(5):73, 1 Oct., 1846)

20 Aug.:  Baptism for health/rebaptism: Mormon Battalion.

“At four p.m. the battalion was called together, for the first time, and addressed by Elders Daniel Tyler, Levi W. Hancock, William Hyde and Jefferson Hunt.  They stirred up our minds to a remembrance of our duty to God, the mission we were on, the sacrifice we had made to perform this mission, and the goodness of God manifested towards us.  It was a first rate meeting.  Two persons were baptized for the recovery of their health and one for the remission of sins.”  (JH 20 Aug., 1846)

Sep.:  Joseph received keys from Peter, James & John.

“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)

4 Oct.:  Ecclesiastical organization at Winter Quarters.

“The need to facilitate the payment and distribution of tithes and to better care for the needs of the poor in camp initiated a major change in Mormon ecclesiastical history–the call of local bishops to preside over relatively small numbers of people.  [Footnote 40: “This transaction was very much in accord with the then-current interpretation of the office of bishop.  Church doctrine expressly taught that in an ideal economic order all substance imparted to the poor ‘shall be laid before the bishop of my church and its counsellors . . . to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.’  Doctrine and Covenants, 42:31, 33.  More administrative duties were later assigned bishops.”]  Shortly after the departure of the Mormon Battalion, the Pottawattamie High Council had called ninety bishops.  Each was assigned to ‘attend to the necessities’ of two or three families.  [Footnote 41: “Journal of Wilford Woodruff, 17 July 1846; and Pottawattamie High Council Minutes, 3 August 1846.  Initially, families chose their own bishops.”]  (Most Battalion families lived on the east bank, at Mt. Pisgah, and Garden Grove.)  These ‘Battalion’ bishops functioned in a strictly pastoral role, exercising few other ecclesiastical or administrative functions.

Winter Quarters itself was divided in October into thirteen wards with a bishop appointed over each ward.  [Footnote 42: “Journal History, 4 October, 1846.”]

Seven weeks later, at a meeting of the Winter Quarters High Council, Young proposed increasing the number of wards to twenty-two (one for each city block), since each ward was getting too large for one man to oversee.  [Footnote 43: “Diary of Hosea Stout, November 1846, 1:214.  The Winter Quarters High Council divided the city into twenty-two wards and nominated bishops.  Those not already high priests would be ordained to that office.  See city drawing, Chap. 4.  Bishops appointed were Edward Hunter, William Fossett, David Fairbanks, Daniel Spencer, Levi Riter, George W. Harris, Joseph Matthews, Luman H. Calkins, Dr. Lang, Isaac Davis, Abraham Hogland, Ephraim Badger, David Yearsley, John Benbow, Benjamin Brown, Brother Lutts, John Vance, John Higbee, Joseph B. Noble, A. Everett, and Willard Snow.  A twenty-third ward with Joseph Knight Jr., bishop, comprised clusters of settlements about Miller’s Hollow near the Blockhouse on the Iowa side.  Journal History, 26 November 1846.”]  Unlike their counterparts on the east side, Winter Quarters bishops were allowed two counselors and exercised both pastoral and administrative functions.  [Footnote 44: “Winter Quarters High Council Minutes, 25 November 1846.  For more on bishops, see Chap. 9.”]  The bishops’ primary duty was to provide for the poor in their wards and devise means for the poor to sustain themselves ‘instead of calling on the rich to hand out what they have.’  [Footnote 45: “Journal History, 23 November 1846.”]  They were also expected to keep careful records of the sick and dying, report on housing needs, list the number of animals and other private properties in their wards, and to report on all spiritual and physical needs to the High Council:  ‘Bishops ought to be able to tell what every man is doing in his Ward {and} see that every man, woman and child has something to eat.’  [Footnote 46: “Journal of Thomas Bullock, 13 December 1846.  During the winter the bishops not only acted individually but collectively.  In mid-February a series of feasts and picnics was arranged for the 117 poorest adults and their families at Winter Quarters.  The first eight wards staged the first day’s spread, and the next eight the spread on the following day, and the third eight the spread on the third day.  At the conclusion of the affair, twenty-two bushels of provisions remained ‘untouched’ and twelve baskets of fragments remained.  Journal History, 16 and 27 February 1847.”]  When absolutely necessary, they were expected to care for the poor out of their own pockets.

Finally it devolved upon the bishops and their counselors to collect tithing from their membership and to distribute it equitably among the ‘poor and destitute and sick’ in their own wards, for it was standard practice that tithing wealth remain in the jurisdiction from whic it came, whether at Mt. Pisgah or at Winter Quarters.  [Footnote 47: “Ibid., 15 November 1846.  Some of the collected tithing was used to pay the partial support of members of the Quorum of the Twelve.  See Minutes of a meeting of the Twelve and others, 17 November 1847, Brigham Young Papers.  Compare with Journal of Joseph Fielding, 127.”]  Eventually, because ‘of the whining and dissatisfaction of some people to pay tithing to their own bishops, the High Council ordered that all tithes on both sides of the river be ‘paid in to the presiding Bishop Newel K. Whitney and that he supply the various Bishops under his Presidency.’  [Footnote 48: “Winter Quarters High Council Minutes, 26 September 1847.  Exactly how tithes were collected under this revised method is not given.”]  Theoretically, this approach would generate anonymous, more equitable distribution.

The placement of bishops at the block and ward level did more than encourage a higher percentage of tithe payers.  It also proved successful in creating a much stronger sense of community bonding and economic cooperation than otherwise might have been the case.  Wilford Woodruff, while speaking at one ward in March 1847, said, 

{I} requested the people that had means to carry something to the Bishop to the poor to carry flour meal meat coffee and sugar etc.–I promised I would do the same. . . . I carried {to} the Bishop 30 lb. flour half bushel meal, 4 lb. shugar, 2 lbs. coffee and others took him some things . . . {we} went to visit the sick.  [Footnote 49:  “Journal of Wilford Woodruff, 7 March 1847.  Picnics, dances, and parties for the poor were also arranged by some of the more ambitious bishops.”]”

(Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846-1852, pp. 119-120, 281-282)

17 Oct.:  No one can take Joseph’s place as President.

“When Jesus left the earth, who stepped in between him and the Twelve Apostles to preside over the church?  No one!  But if Strang had lived at that period, he would have attempted it.  If Jesus had fallen through transgression, then another might have been appointed to preside over the church in his place and to inherit his crown; but as he did not fall through transgression, he stands in his own place and wears his own crown, holding the keys of death and of hell; and he was just as much the head and president of the Twelve, and consequently of the whole church, after his death as he was before; for he said unto them, ‘Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’  We also declare and testify that Joseph Smith is just as much the president of the church now as he ever was.  No man can take his place, or step between him and the Twelve Apostles to preside over the church, for he is not fallen through transgression.”  (Orson Hyde, Manchester General Conference minutes, 17 Oct., 1846; MS 8(8):120, 15 Nov., 1846)

“In an October 1846 conference in England, Orson Hyde motioned ‘that the Twelve be acknowledge in their standing, according to the appointment of Joseph, our martyred prophet, as the “counsellor” of the Church and “director of all her affairs.”‘  [Footnote 7: “Manuscript History, 17 October 1846.]”  (Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846-1852, pp. 201, 304)

Oct.:  Rebaptism of Morley settlement.

“When hostilities commenced in October by the mob burning houses in Morley Settlement, Isaac Morley, the president of the branch, with his family, took flight under cover of night, and in a by-way for fear of molestation by their neighbors.  The presidency of the branch, resting on Solomon Hancock, with Horace S. Rawson and Moses Clawson as councilors.  They knowing of the bitter feeling that existed between the two parties, used every endeavor to conciliate for peace.  This was accomplished for a time, but the fleeing party returning for their crops and goods, went beyond their just bounds and again aroused the mob spirit of property burning and the torch was again applied more severe.  Our immediate neighbors, what was called the White Oak or Hancock settlement, having taken counsel from the presidency of the church of Nauvoo, resolved that they would live in peace with all mankind, and never give an offence to any one unlawfully, where there could be any excuse or pretext for retaliation.  This was done in our ward in a public meeting, and confirmed by repairing to the waters brink, there making covenants before their friends and the Lord that they would not take, touch nor use in any way that which they had not faithfully earned or merited.  Then they were immersed in the waters as rebaptised and a renewal of covenant and reconfirmed.  While here on the waters edge the question arose, who shall officiate in administering the Ordinance of Baptism, as the president Solomon Hancock, was the first to be baptised, it was decided that Charles B. Hancock should do the work of which I did not decline because I was called.”  (Charles B. Hancock, “A Short Sketch of the Hancock & Adams Families,” LC Collection)

8 Nov.:  70s to care for the poor of their quorums.

“At 3:30 the Presidents of the Seventies met with Pres. Young in his new house with doors but no windows, and chimneys built of brick obtained from the ruins of an old fort at Council Bluffs, but no floor.

Pres. B. Young spoke to the presidents and related a dream which he had concerning the Rocky Mountains.  Brother Joseph Young proposed to the Seventies to dig the mill race on Saturday, and also to give one tenth, if need be, to sustain the poor in their respective Quorums and that each quorum provide for their own poor.”  (JH 8 Nov., 1846)

20 Nov.:  Rebaptism.

“Baptism by immersion in water is ordained of heaven for the remission of sins.  The repentant, broken-hearted sinner is the fair and acceptable candidate to pass through this door into the church or kingdom of God; and ‘except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’

When members of our church have become cold and indifferent by the neglect of duty, and have fallen into a lukeward state, but afterwards cherish a desire to be re-baptized, and covenant anew to keep the commandments of God, it is their right and privilege to confess their sins, humble themselves before God, and do their first work by being immersed in water, and thus their second baptism is no less for the remission or forgiveness of sins than their first; yet to break a solemn covenant by becoming cold, indifferent, or lukewarm, so as to render re-baptism often necessary, is certainly dangerous, for repeated neglect of duty, and the frequent breaking of your covenant, will render you unworthy of the protection of God’s spirit, and you will find yourselves caught in the snare of the devil in some unexpected moment.

Those who are re-baptized should be again confirmed, but not again ordained, unless they have been cut off from the church, for their priesthood is not taken away by the act of re-baptism.  Such persons as have been cut off from the church for transgression, and admitted again by baptism three times, can no more be admitted to the fellowship and communion of the church, if expelled a third time; such members, therefore, as have been expelled from the body three times for transgression, can no more be baptized or admitted into the church.  We have done our duty towards them–our garments are clear of their blood–and let their names not only be erased from all the records of the Saints, but completely obliterated or blotted out, so that no one can read them.  Ye Saints and Elders see that this is done, lest their sins and iniquities cleave unto you.  But if they return and repent, before they are thus cut off thou shalt forgive them until seventy times seven.

The form of re-baptising is very similar to that of the first.  Calling the candidate by his or her given name, saying (James or Mary Ann) having authority given men of Jesus Christ, or being commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize thee for the remission of thy sins in the name of, &c., &c., after the usual mode.  Let proper solemnity and decorum be strictly observed in all your administrations, and let not the multitude of the Saints rush thoughtlessly to the waters of re-baptism, but let them be well taught and faithfully instructed by the presiding Elders of the conferences before the work is begun; and let every Saint fully understand, that every time he may renew his covenant by baptism or otherwise, that he is held under stronger obligations to do his duty, and also exposed to greater snares, temptations, and evils, if he does not do it.  Be wise and humble, and indulge not in sin, thinking you can be baptized for remission, for the bow that is too often bent loses its elasticity.–The Elders and friends are requested to be particularly careful in selecting safe and proper places for baptizing; and to avoid any accident, the person officiating should first go into the water alone with a stick, and ascertain if he can baptize with safety and convenience.  People in this country have not much spare time, and therefore they frequently have to avail themselves of the night season to get baptized in.  This fact renders it very necessary for the Elders to be very cautious and particular in the selection of a safe and proper place, even if they have to go a little further, that this ordinance may be safely attended to, even in the night season, as in the case of the Jailer and his household.”  (Editorial [Orson Hyde, editor], MS 8(9):136-137, 20 Nov., 1846)

20 Nov.:  Concerning men being ordained by angels.


Joseph Smith’s Testimony Concerning Men Being Ordained by Angels, Delivered in the School of the Prophets, in Kirtland, Ohio, in the Winter of 1832-3.

The occasion which called forth his testimony upon this matter was as follows:–One Francis G. Bishop, an Elder in our church, was very anxious to be ordained a High Priest, but he was not considered a proper candidate to fill the office at that time; and his urgent solicitations to be promoted to the High Priesthood, confirmed the Saints in the opinion that he wanted a high station without meriting it, or without being called by the Spirit of God to that work.  He was sent forth into the world to preach in the capacity and calling of an Elder; but he was not long out before he declared himself to be a High Priest–and that he was ordained by an angel from heaven.  This made much stir in the branches of the church and also in the world.  But when the news of his proceedings reached the prophet Joseph, he called Bishop home forthwith.  He was introduced into the school of the prophets, and there closely questioned upon his course.  He said he was ordained by an angel to the High Priesthood; yet, on a more close examination, he crossed his own testimony and statements–became confused, and blushed with shame and guilt–he fell down upon his knees and confessed that he had lied in the name of the Lord–begged to be forgiven and cried aloud for mercy.  We all forgave him, but we could not give him our confidence, for he had destroyed it.  Elder Sidney Rigdon was present at that meeting, and though he has since fallen, still he knows that my statements are correct.  Zebedee Coultrin was also present, and many others that I might name.

Brother Joseph observed to Bishop that he knew he had lied before he confessed it; that his declarations were not only false in themselves, but they involved a false principle.  An angel, said Joseph, may administer the word of the Lord unto men, and bring intelligence to them from heaven upon various subjects; but no true angel from God will ever come to ordain any man, because they have once been sent to establish toe priesthood by ordaining me thereunto; and the priesthood being once established on earth, with power to ordain others, no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more.  He referred to the angel that came to Cornelius and told Cornelius to send for Peter; but if there had been no Peter with keys and power to administer, the angel might have done it himself; but as there was, the angel would not interfere.  Saul was directed to go to Ananias for instruction and to be administered to by him; but if there had been no Ananias with power and authority on the earth to administer in the name of Christ, the Lord might have done it himself.  You may therefore know, from this time forward, that if any man comes to you professing to be ordained by an angel, he is either a liar or has been imposed upon in consequence of transgression by an angel of the devil, for this priesthood shall never be taken away from this church.

This testimony was delivered in an upper room, in the south-west corner of the White Store and dwelling-house, formerly occupied by Whitney and Gilbert, situate on Kirtland Flats.

If men would regard the testimony of the servants of God who have laid down their lives for the cause, they would have little to fear of being misled; but when the spirit of apostacy takes possession of a man’s heart, he becomes completely blind to every true principle, and is filled with strife, debate, deceit, false accusation, and treachery.  He cherishes no desire to convert and save the world, but is content to confine his operations to the church, which he slanders, defames, and, like a ravening wolf, tries to tear in pieces and destroy; and having no merit of his own to bring him into notice, he seeks to obtain notoriety by contention and debate, which the Lord declares are not of him but of the devil.  Their hearts being a fountain of evil, they can speak nothing but evil; they, being disciples of the ‘accuser of our brethren,‘ can do nothing but accuse the brethren like their master whom they serve; they, having a beam in their own eye, can see nothing but the mote in their brother’s eye; and well did the Saviour ask such characters, ‘How can ye, being evil, speak good things?’  They are like the filthy and indelicate bird that has no relish for sweet and wholesome meat, but likes to feast on tainted flesh and putrid carcasses.  Mr. Strang, like Bishop, claims that an angel ordained him.”  (Unsigned article; Orson Hyde, editor; MS 8(9):138-139, 20 Nov., 1846)

21 Nov.:  Duty of Bishops.

“I am told that some of the women whoes husbands are in the army, are suffering for the want of food, raymond [raiment] and fuel.  What the bishops are doeing I know not.  I want Bishop Whitney to call a meeting of the bishops in each ward, that they may learn their duty.  I expect him here today to make an appointment, but inasmuch as he is not I shall not make one.  It is not to be expected that the bishops will supply the cases of all that are made out of his own means, but it is their duty to see that they are attended to out of the means that are in their ward, and were I a bishop I would go to those waggons that are loaded down with flour, por, and that have been bought with the money of those very individuals that are now destitute and would have provision if I had to take an ax and burst their waggons and barrels oppen if they would not hand it out.  The time has now come when we must help each other, and those that do not will regret it in sorrow and deep lamentation.”  (Brigham Young, in John D. Lee diary, 21 Nov., 1846)

23 Nov.:  Duty of Bishops.

“He [Brigham Young] also taught the council to call the Bishops to an account and see that they also done their duty & for the council to lay plans to take care of the poor & see that the Bishops also did the same.  and cause the poor to be put in a way to sustain themselves and not to make the rich hand out all they have.”  (Hosea Stout diary, 23 Nov., 1846)

23 Nov.:  Duties of High Council.

“Pres. B. Young met several of the Twelve Apostles and the High council; explained to the High Council their duties to attend to temporal as well as spiritual things, and help to bear off the burthens of the church–to take care of the poor and appoint bishops to do the same, and also to call Bishops to an account from time to time and devise ways and means for the poor to sustain themselves by their own labor instead of calling on the rich to hand out what they have.”  (JH 23 Nov., 1846)

25 Nov.:  Wards divided.

“In the evening after regulating the guard I went to a council at Horace S. Eldridge house.  This evening the Bishops was present having been previously notified to attend  It appeared that most of their wards were too big as it would take all their time if they did their duty whereupon President Young proposed to have the wards divided and the Bishops were appointed to do it and also to nominate other Bishops to be ordained for the additional Wards and make report to the next council.

When the city was first divided into Wards and Bishops put over them some were ordained who were of the Seventies & as the Bishopric belonged to the High Priest unless the person was a litteral decendant of Aaron President Young stated that those who had bee appointed Bishops of the Seventies were not under any obligations to serve & if they retained their Bishopric they must go out of the Seventies & be in the High Priest’s Quorum  This was laid over to the next council meeting.”  (Hosea Stout diary, 25 Nov., 1846)

29 Nov.:  Duty of Bishops.

“Bishops were ordained in each ward.  Pres. Young instructed the bishops to see that houses were built for the widows immediately, that the sisters stop paying out what money they have for buildings.  Let their means be laid out for provisions which can not be had without money, but houses can be built by the wards.”  (John D. Lee diary, 29 Nov., 1846)

30 Nov.:  Ordained a 70 at age 15.

“I was ordained a Seventy in Nov. 30 1846.  [Born 1 Apr., 1831]”  (George W. Bean autobiography, LC Collection)

Nov.:  Brigham calls for a Reformation.

“About this time [November, 1846] President Young called the people together at the stand on the council lot and gave them a severe chastisement for their sins and transgressions of the law of God, telling them that they must repent immediately and bring forth works of righteousness or they would all be swept from the face of the earth; that the thieves need not undertake [to] go with the Saints from this Camp, for when we should leave here for the West the law of God in every particular would take full effect and that would cut the matter short, even as short as the man who went to cut a dog’s tail off and by mistake he cut it close behind his ears!  He did not want to go any f[a]rther into the wilderness without an entire and thorough reformation, for we should all be destroyed by the Lamanites as were the Nephites of old, and [he] finally concluded by saying that, notwithstanding what he had said, he still knew this to be the best people there was on the earth.

I should conclude from all this that the inhabitants of the earth are nigh unto that period of destruction spoken of by Israel’s prophets.”  (C. Edward Jacob, ed., The Record of Norton Jacob, 1949; Nov., 1846)

2 Dec.:  Powers by which miracles are wrought.

“There are different powers on the earth whereby miracles are wrought, and some of them perhaps according to the science of heaven, yet not acknowledged of God, because they are illegal, unauthorized, and in some instances, sought to be exercised against the sons of God.  As Balaam, whom Balak sought to divine against Israel sending the gift of divination; but Balaam could not curse whom the Lord had blessed.  Twice did he seek for enchantments, as at other times, to divine, after Balak had as often built him seven altars, and offered seven oxen and seven rams on them; but on the third occasion, feeling that his usual enchantments failed to procure Balak’s desire–a curse on Israel–Balaam lifted up his eyes and the spirit of God came upon him, and he again blessed Israel.  Had Balaam’s prophecies and divinations been legitimate, he would not have met with the opposition of the greater powers, as he did in the way while riding on the ass.

Again, there were witches and wizards, who, having this power, were not allowed to live in the days of Israel, when the law of God prevailed; yet one was spared, and Saul sought a manifestation of her power and of the familiar spirit and divination by which the witch of Endor called Samuel forth from the dead, illegally, to answer Saul, when the Lord would no longer answer him by dreams, Urim, or prophets.

There is no legitimate power but the priesthood, or the authority of God conferred upon man: it holds the keys in heaven and on earth; has power to bind, loose, remit, retain; sees into the future, has visions and prophecyings.  Any information obtained by an illegitimate power, is revealed unlawfully by the spirit of Satan, through the knowledge he has of spiritual things and subjects, which he possessed aforetime, ere yet he was hurled from heaven, drawing the third part of the hosts thereof with him.  The persons employing knowledge so obtained, to the power and influence of that spirit whose they are, or may become; for his servants ye are to whom ye yield yourselves to obey, have like some sold themselves, according to scripture, to work wickedness, and that too, perhaps unwittingly.  I have met with some who were Saints that had been magnetized by unbelievers, and they partook of their spirit and have fallen from the simplicity of the gospel.  Again, I have met with Saints who have magnetized others, not knowing that they were doing wrong, and the persons have received no material injury, because the magnetizer himself had not a bad spirit; but let him continue to do it and he would loose the spirit of God, and so would those who were operated upon.  God does not require the aid of the Devil to support his work; if it cannot stand by his own power, let it fall.  We do not need the power of the Devil unless we have become corrupt, and then we are of course his subjects.  We shall not ourselves go to magnetizers, nor suffer ours to go to them, to be benumbed for amputation, excision, or healing; if anything is the matter with us, we shall call for the Elders of the church, and let them pray for us, and anoint us with oil in the name of the Lord, and lay on hands, that we may be healed and strengthened to endure, as good soldiers and faithful sons; and then if we have not faith to be healed, we shall die in the Lord; and it is better to die in the Lord than live by the power of the Devil, if indeed, we could thus be kept alive; but if God does not heal us, the Devil cannot.”  (John Taylor, “Mesmerism,” 2 Dec., 1846; MS 9(4):52, 15 Feb., 1847)

3 Dec.:  Bishops and care of the poor.

“The subject of taking care of our own poor as before spoken of was taken up and as so many Bishops had been appointed lately the poor was left to them & we were to refere to our poor to them & only see that they were looked to.”  (Hosea Stout diary, 3 Dec., 1846)

13 Dec.:  Duties of Bishops.

“At six o’clock in the evening I met the council at W. Richards house President Brigham Young gave the council instructions and in fact reproved them & the Bishops quite sharply for their negligence in not attending to the duty of their office and for working on the Sabath &c, and ordered the following items of business to be attended to forthwith

That a map of the city be procured by the next session for the clerk of this council

That the Clerk keep a regular list of the Bishops of the different wards & the wards over which they act.

That the Bishops meet with the Council once a week to recieve instruction

That the Council watch over the Bishops with a fatherly care and see that they organize and watch over their respective Wards and see that none suffer

That the Council instruct the Bishops to have meetings in their several Wards for the men women & children once a week also to instruct them to have schools in their Wards.

He stated that he wanted the Twelve, the Council, & Bishops to search this place as with a lighted candle in their hands and put down all iniquity &c

He had an uncommon portion of the Holy spirit resting down upon him.  & was filled with the sublime views of rolling forth this great and mighty work and if the council and Bishops will abide his advice a great and good work will soon be done here”  (Hosea Stout diary, 13 Dec., 1846)

13 Dec.:  Duties of Bishops; 1st call for weekly meetings?

“Pres. B. Young exhorted the High Council to faithfulness in their duties, told them to have a list of the Bishops read over and see that they attend meeting and if they did not magnify their calling, drop them, for it would not do for this people to go into the wilderness and forget their God.  Remarked, that if he had been intent on getting riches, he never should have had the knowledge God has bestowed upon him, some one else would have stood in his place.  The Bishops should know what every man in camp does, when the Bishops or High Councillors do not do their duty, they should be reported and dealt with.

The Bishops were requested to meet once a week with the High Council, and Pres. Young instructed the council to watch over the Bishops with a fatherly care and see that they organize and watch over their wards, have weekly meetings therein; also see that those under their charge have work and that none suffer through want, also instruct their wards to establish schools.”  (JH 13 Dec., 1846)

“The smaller, more intimate ward worship services were held every Sunday morning and evening and directed by each bishop and his two counselors, who were trained to supervise spiritual as well as temporal needs of their flocks.  [Footnote 24: “Winter Quarters High Council Minutes, 13 December 1846.  On the east side ‘presidents’ supervised ‘branches’ and were also instructed to hold weekly meetings.”]  These regular, localized services (each ward corresponded to a city block) were new in church history, the result of the city’s layout, the need to satisfy the immediate needs of the people, the impossibility of congregating so many in a sufficiently commodious facility, and, most important, Young’s organizational style of operating at the local levels.  Sunday ward services included conducting ward business, sacrament (communion), preaching, and the performance of various ordinances, including the blessing of children.  [Footnote 25: “See Journal History, 25 October 1846; and Minutes of the Blockhouse Branch, 10 June 1849.  The Blockhouse Branch minute book lists over 100 names of children blessed.”]

Most of the preaching was done by some local or visiting priesthood authority.  Women seldom, if ever, spoke at any of the Sunday services.  Topics ranged from the gathering of Israel and the impending trek to spiritual gifts and temple ordinances.  On very rare occasions, various spiritual gifts were reportedly made manifest, as, for example, when Young and Heber Kimball spoke in tongues at a 29 December 1846 meeting.  [Footnote 26: “Journal of Wilford Woodruff, 29 December 1846.”]”  (Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846-1852, pp. 173, 298)

14 Dec.:  Wards to meet every week.

“Pres. B. Y. said that in as much as there is no one occupying the stand I will do my errand and retire, on account of the inclemency of the atmosphere.  It will be advisable to meet here often, therefore the bishops will have to prepare a large room in each ward and meet once a week and the instructions necessary be delivered in this way.”  (John D. Lee diary, 14 Dec., 1846)

15 Dec.:  Bishops’ reports.

“at six o’clock went to a council at W. Richards house  This council was especialy called for the benefit of the Bishops who were to make a report of their wards and show the situation that they were in but their reports were not accepted for want of form so they were returned & they instructed how to proceed  It appears from President Young’s teaching & the way he is bringing them to their duty that he is determined to have them do business right & not neglect their duty as has been the case too much in days gone by.”  (Hosea Stout diary, 15 Dec., 1846)

15 Dec.:  “I want us to get up a reformation.”

“They [Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball] both seemed to be well aware of the murmurings of some & the disposition of some to spread the Spirit of insubordination among the people & was also aware that there was danger of them some day trying to overthrow the present organization of the church and drive off the Twelve for said he ‘I want us to get up a reformation and have the Holy Ghost in our midst & not have the Twelve drove from our midst for if they were it would be the greatest curse that possibly can befall us’  President Young said that all that had been said was true but all that will do as he says will be safe and all that will do their duty will be saved in the celestial kingdom.  He said he did not care any thing about this people going over the Mountains for it matters not any thing about it  But to do the thing that God requires at this moment even to night is what he is ready to do and trust in God for the event.”  (Hosea Stout diary, 15 Dec., 1846)

15 Dec.:  Need for reformation/duties of bishops.

“H. C. Kimball counseled the Bishops to get up a reformation, and teach the people to cease their complaining and seek diligently after the Holy Ghost, that the Twelve might not be driven from their midst.

Pres. B. Young desired the bishops to report the organizations of their wards, their business, number of men, women and children, how many sick, tithing paid etc, with the totals, that their reports can be seen at a glance.  There are twenty-two Bishops here, their reports should all be read in forty-four minutes.  If men who have been in the church thirteen years cannot do business with dispatch and correctly, the council must learn them.”  (JH 15 Dec., 1846)

20 Dec.:  Instructions to Bishops/need for reformation.

“Pres. B. Young instructed the Bishops to hold meetings where the Saints might assemble, confess their sins, pray with and forgive each other, humble themselves before the Lord and commence a reformation, that all might exercise themselves in the principles of righteousness; and if those who had received the Holy Priesthood did not abide their covenants and walk uprightly before the Lord and their brethren, that those who did would be taken away from their midst, and the wicked would be smitten with famine, pestilence and the sword, and would be scattered and perish on the prairies.”  (JH 20 Dec., 1846)

28 Dec.:  Rebaptism of 17 members.

“In consequence of Elder [Lucius N.] Scovil having to go and baptize at one o’clock, our conference came to a close.  At the same time Elder Scovil re-baptize seventeen, and confirmed them, after which we enjoyed ourselves at a soiree got up for our own pleasure.”  (Sheffield Conference minutes, 28 Dec., 1846; MS 9(2):19, 15 Jan., 1847)