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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1848

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1848.” You can view other years here.

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1848:    1 Jan.:  Necessity of a reformation.

“My wife made a New Year’s supper and invited the neighbors to partake of the feast.  About a dozen attended, and old Father Clark from Winter Quarters, on a mission to Saints scattered through the country, happened to arrive just at this time and partook of the feast with us.  In the evening he preached to us at the house of Brother Ricks on the necessity of a reformation among the Saints.”  (C. Edward Jacob, ed., The Record of Norton Jacob, 1949; 1 Jan., 1848)

16 Jan.:  Necessity of Priesthood preaching the Gospel.

“In speaking of the duties of the Priesthood He [Brigham] said if this people holding the Priesthood should settle down & go to cultivating the earth & entirely neglect the preaching of the gospel the earth would open & swallow them up & Hide them from his sight.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 16 Jan., 1848)

23 Jan.:  Account of reorganization of 1st Presidency.

“At this conference [24 Dec., 1847] we suggested to the brethren the propriety of organizing the church with a first presidency and a patriarch, as hinted at in our General Epistle [23 Dec., 1847], and the expediency of such a move at this time was so clearly seen by the brethren, that they hailed it as an action which the state of the work at present demanded, and as a means to liberate the hands of the Quorum of the Twelve, who now feel at liberty to go abroad and herald the truth to the ends of the earth, and build up the kingdom in all the world.  Accordingly Brigham Young was nominated to be the first president of the church, and he nominated Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards to be his two counsellors, which nominations were seconded and carried without a dissentient voice.  Father John Smith was then nominated to be patriarch of the whole church, in the same capacity as Father Joseph Smith was, and also Brother Hyrum–seconded and carried unanimously.  The Spirit of the Lord at this time rested upon the congregation in a powerful manner, insomuch that the Saints’ hearts were filled with joy unspeakable; every power of their mind and nerve of their body waas awakened and absorbed; a dead stillness reigned in the congregation while the President spoke.  He said:–‘This is one of the happiest days of my life; it’s according as Heber prophesied yesterday, our teachings to-day have been good.  I never heard better.  Is not the bliss of heaven and the breezes of Zion wafted here?  Who feels hatred, malice, or evil?  If you come to the door with a bad spirit, it would not come in with you; no, it could not mingle here: but when you enter, your feelings become as calm and gentle as the zephyrs of paradise; and I feel glory, Hallelujah.  Nothing more has been done to-day than what I knew would be done when Joseph died.  We have been driven from Nauvoo here, but the hand of the Lord is in it,–visible as the sun shining this morning; it is visible to my natural eyes; it’s all right: and I expect when we see the result of all we pass through in this probationary state, we will discover the hand of the Lord in it all, and shout Amen–it’s all right!  We shall make the upper courts ring; we have something to do before then.  I don’t calculate to go beyond the bounds of time and space where we will have no opposition,–no devils to contend with; and I have no fault to find with the providences of the Lord, nor much fault to find with the people; and if the devils keep out of my path I will not quarrel with them.  As the Lord’s will is my will all the time, as he dictates so I will perform.  If he don’t guide the ship, we’ll go down in the whirlpool.  Joseph told the Twelve, the year before he died, ‘there is not one key or power to be bestowed on this church to lead the people into the celestial gate but I have given you, showed you, and talked it over to you; the kingdom is set up, and you have the perfect pattern, and you can go and built up the kingdom, and go in at the celestial gate, taking your train with you.'”  (Brigham Young [Winter r Quarters] to Orson Spencer [England], 23 Jan., 1848; MS 10(8):114-115, 15 Apr., 1848)

2 Feb.:  High Priesthood was an error.

“but you will have to show the errors that the church run into which was the caus of their falling into transgression and show the difference betwin transgression & erro[r] in concequence of ero[r]s we find that many false principles were introduced into the church, which brought distraction.  one of its great ev[i]ls was the introduction of the high priesthood into the church of Christ.  

you may be astonished at this idea but I think you cannot be more astonished than I was; but let us look at the official duties of a high priest; if we look in the book of mormon and examin the order of the church of christ as established by the nephites under the 605th and 6th pages we will find no high priests in the church of Christ, the highest officer was an Elder; if we look at the church of christ as it was established at Jerusalem by the apostles we find the highest officer was an Elder or an Apostle which is the same and there was no high priests in the Church.

Let us now look for the duties of a high priest, heb. 5:1 & Heb. 7:28 & 2:17 & 8:3-4.  hear we find that the office of a high priest is to offer gifts and sacrifices; what have the high priests sacrificed in these last days; many of them have sacrificed virtue and the most sacred honor; has not the virtuous carictor of hundreds been sacrificed to the hellish design of those wicked men whose harts were full of adultery; their high priests declaring that no woman can be sanctified, but by being united to a high priest either by law or as a spiritual wife so that they twain may be one flesh.  Some of these poor (tho inocent) females have been deluded by them supposing that the high priests had power to shut the gates of heaven against them if they rebelled against their teaching as I have been informed.

we cannot find in the church of Christ that there was ever a high priest in the church of Christ since our great high priest (Jesus Christ) assended into heaven, there to make intercession for those who come to God by him.”  (Hiram Page to Wm. McLellin, 2 Feb., 1848; typescript of original in RLDS archives; xerox)

27 Feb.:  Oliver wanted Phineas Young as an apostle.

“As I may not be with you at the conference and as this is a confidential communication, I may be permitted to say a word in relation to matters long since past, which which is due to brother Phinehas [Young].  At the time the Twelve were chosen in Kirtland, and I may say before, it had been manifested that brother Phinehas was entitled to occupy the station as one of that number; but owing to brother Joseph’s urgent request at the time, Brother David [Whitmer] and myself yielded to his wish, and consented for William [Smith] to be selected, contrary to our feelings and judgment, and to our deep mortifications ever since.  Brother Phinehas occupied that relation to myself, that caused me to feel delicate about urging his name, and besides bro Joseph, about that time was bearing down heavily upon bro Phinehas.  The time has now come when brother Phineas can occupy the place where he ought to have been from the first, and I cannot but hope he may have justice done him as far as possible.  You and others may think that this is a matter about which I have no right to speak; but this shall not prevent my saying the truth, for it is one to a worthy man, though he be my brother[-in-law].”  (Oliver Cowdery to Brigham Young, 27 Feb., 1848; JH 27 Feb., 1848)

4 Mar.:  Peter, James and John ordained Joseph and Oliver.

“in the begining we find the first ordinations were by Peter James and John they ordained Joseph and Oliver; to what priesthood were they ordained; the answer must be to the Holy priesthood on the office of an elder or an apostle which is an aditional grace addid to the office of an elder.  these offices Oliver receved from those holy messengers before the 6th of April 1830.  An elder can ordain a deacon teacher priest or elder but he cannot ordain a high priest but by special commandment and in the begining there was no high priests; then we see that the highest officer in the church is an elder and what is done by the authority the high priest in the church of Christ is not acceptable with God for his servent Wm was to build up the church as at the begining.”  (Hiram Page to Wm. McLellin, 4 Mar., 1848; typescript of holograph at RLDS Archives; xerox)

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

Mar.:  Joseph & Oliver ordained to MP on 6 Apr., 1830.

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

4 Apr.:  Rebaptism.

“I went over the river And Baptized Sister Peck for the remission of sins And also for her daughter who was dead.  I also baptized 8 others who had not before been baptized.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 4 Apr., 1848)

6 Apr.:  Justification for reorganizing 1st Presidency.

“President Young made some remarks Concerning Appointing the first Presidency.  The spirit of the Lord has been with us & we know what is right.  It would have been our right to have appointed the Presidency the first Conference we held after Joseph death but it was not wisdom to do it.  We have now whiped all of our enemies with one hand tied behind us & now it is time to organize the Church.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 6 Apr., 1848)

“Speaking only four months after his elevation to the First Presidency, [Brigham] indicated that it was ‘our right and privilege and was at the first conference after Joseph’s death to reorganize the Church, be we were not obliged to do it.  It was wisdom not to then.'”  (Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846-1852, p. 205; quoting Minutes of the Conferences in the Log Tabernacle, 6 April 1848.)

Apr.:  Lyman Wight on Priesthood.

“But such is the principles of his mighty kingdom, that it brongs down the lofty from the throne, and raises the peasant to honor, even the honors of the Melchisedek Priesthood, which is the honor and the glory of God.  Which Priesthood is the door by which we enter the Kingdom, and upon the glory of God, which door was truly unlocked by the powers of him who sleepeth for a bright and glorious resurrection, to be with him who is the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead.

Of the fact that he has ever locked this kingdom, and taken away this Priesthood, and given the keys unto any man, I have no knowledge.  If the keys have been given to any man and the door locked, I should say of my beloved brother Joseph, as he said of Moses, that when Moses was taken from the midst of the children of Israel, the Melchixedec priesthood also was taken with him.  But I can truly say with the Poetess that, ‘The Keys he will ever hold.’

Therefore I feel perfectly indemnified in proclaiming to the world of mankind, the high, the low, the noble and the ignoble, with a loud voice, that the prayer of the Savior is answered, The Kingdom of Christ has come,–the will of God is done on earth as it is heaven,–And the door is open never to be closed again until the Master of the house shall come and close the door against all who have been invited, and have excused themselves in consequence of riches, and the honors of this world.  For I consider that the wedding guests have been invited, and the feast is now preparing.  And the house is the kingdom of the last dispensation–the Priesthood is the door–Joseph Smith is the master of the house–and those who shall enter in, will be such as have done as it was said unto one of old, sell al thou hast and give it unto the poor, and come and follow me, and thou shalt be my disciple.  This is a principle that was taught by all ancient prophets and apostles. . . .

For let all men know most assuredly that the Melchisedec Priesthood existed before the foundation of the world was laid; and has been handed down by lineage throughout all ages, even from the days of Adam.  It is but an easy matter for any man, who has received the truth and light of God, in the last dispensation of God on earth, to discover that God has had seven dispensations on the earth; of which this is the seventh; and to each of these dispensations, there has been an Angel or messenger given, each of whom in their turn, have held the keys of their dispensation, which keys are the Melchisedec Priesthood.  And we have it no where recorded, that after the death of Peter, these keys were given to any man, until given to Joseph Smith, who was to prune the vinyard [sic] for the last time.”  (Lyman Wight, An Address by Way of an Abridged Account and Journal of My Life from February 1844, up to April 1848 . . ..  Austin, Texas?, 1848.  p. 10)

1 May:  Don’t be too liberal in giving blessings.

“Let the Saints keep a cautious eye upon teachers that promulgate marvellous things beyond the first principles of the gospel.  If a preacher cannot find hearers enough in Great Britain that might be profited by the first principles of salvation, he had better take a mission to some other nation, or chant a jubilee of universal redemption.  We would suggest to Elders, whether endued or not, that they do not be too liberal in the use of the ordinance of ‘blessing.’  This ordinance legitimately belongs to an office set apart for the purpose; where others bestow it without the most manifest promptings of wisdom, the tendency is sometimes pernicious.  We have often denied ourselves in this matter, when solicited by some of the best men of our acquaintance.  An undue proneness to be esteemed great sometimes insensibly inflates the minds of very good men.  Again some men, in their cupidity to get a name, or build up a family, may inculcate principles of adoption, (principles which may not be altogether false in the abstract), but being ill-timed and uncalled-for in the present state of the British Churches, defeat the object for which they are used, and actually peril indirectly the salvation of those who are taught thereby.”  (Editorial [Orson Spencer, editor], MS 10(9):138, 1 May, 1848)

8 May:  Cursed him in the name of the Lord.

“President [Brigham] Young dictated a letter to Major Miller and in conversation with the brethren cursed him in the name of the Lord and said his bones should rot and his soul be damned.”  (JH 8 May, 1848)

8 Jun.:  A reformation beginning today.

“Heber C. Kimball’s company traveled 8 miles and formed their encampment early on the banks of the river.  Brother Kimball writes: 

. . . .

Shall we begin from this night to have a reformation, to cease from swearing, profane language, murmuring, angry feelings to our cattle and each others, and begin to attend to family prayers, etc.

It was decided by unanimous vote that we will do so.”  (JH 8 Jun., 1848)

15 Jun.:  A person cut off three times cannot reenter.

“A Brother from L____ Conference puts several questions to us concerning the case of a person who has been baptized three times.  The substance of his enquiries may be resolved as follows:–Can a person in any possible case whatever be restored to the church by baptism, under the rule laid down by Elder Orson Hyde, who has been cut off from the church three times?

To which we reply.  A person that has been cut off from the church always has the right of appeal, and of a rehearing.  If it can be made to appear that he has been cut off without adequate cause, he can be reinstated without baptism by rescinding the vote that cut him off.

But if it appears that he has been cut off justly three times, he cannot be restored under the rule alluded to, save it is by an appeal to the council in Zion, which has all power in such matters.”  (Orson Spencer, MS 10(12):185, 15 Jun., 1848)

14 Aug.:  1st 70’s in Great Britain?

“The officers present were, of the Twelve, 1; High Priests, 15; Seventies, 7; Elders, 75; Priests, 27; Teachers, 6; and Deacons, 6.”  (Manchester General Conference minutes, 14 Aug., 1848; MS 10(16):252; 15 Aug., 1848) [Seems likely that these 70’s were from America, rather than having been ordained in Britain.]

15 Aug.:  Not yet authorized to marry in England.

“The Saints are constantly making many inquiries in relation to the subject of marriage.  From the recent information which we have received upon this matter, we judge that it would not at present be expedient for the presiding Elders or any other officers of this church to administer in the ceremony of marriage in England or Wales, or in any other part where the laws of the land have made other provisions.  Honor and respect the laws of the country, and do nothing that would subject yourselves to fines or penalties, or bring unnecessary reproach upon the cause of God.  From some remarks made at the general conference, some of the presiding Elders might consider themselves safe in officiating in this sacred ordinance, but we are fully persuaded that it is not wisdom under the existing laws of England; therefore if any of the Saints wish to be united in marriage, let it be done according to the laws of the land, or else wait until it can be done in some other country where the laws are more favourable.”  (President Orson Pratt’s First General Epistle to the Saints Throughout England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Adjacent Countries, Greeting,” 15 Aug., 1848; MS 10(16):246, 15 Aug., 1848)

15 Aug.:  Joseph testified P, J & J ordained him Apostle.

“A revelation and restoration to the earth of the ‘everlasting gospel‘ through the angel Moroni would be of no benefit to the nations, unless some one should be ordained with authority to preach it and administer its ordinances.  Moroni might reveal a book containing a beautiful and glorious system of salvation, but no one could obey even its first principles without a legally authorised administrator, ordained to preach, baptize, lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, &c.  Did Moroni ordain Mr. Smith to the apostleship, and command him to administer ordinances?  No, he did not.  But why not confer authority by ordination, as well as reveal the everlasting gospel?  Because in all probability he had not the right so to do.  All angels have not the same authority–they do not all hold the same keys.  Moroni was a prophet, but we have no account of his holding the office of an Apostle; and if not, he had no right to ordain Mr. Smith to an office which he himself never possessed.  He no doubt went as far as he was authorised, and that was to reveal the ‘stick of Ephraim‘–the record of his fathers, containing the ‘everlasting gospel‘.  How then did Mr. Smith obtain the office of an Apostle, if Moroni had no authority to ordain him to such office?  Mr. Smith testifies that Peter, James, and John came to him in the capacity of ministering angels, and by the laying on of hands ordained him an Apostle, and commanded him to preach, baptize, lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and administer all other ordinances of the gospel as they themselves did in ancient days.  Did Swedenborg–did Irving’s apostles–or did any other impostors during the long age of darkness–profess that the apostleship was conferred upon them by those who held it last–by any angel who held the office himself?  No; and therefore they are not Apostles, but deceivers.  If Mr. Smith had pretended that he received the apostleship by the revelation of the Holy Ghost, without an ordination under the hands of an Apostle, we should at once know that his pretensions were vain, and that he was a deceiver.  If an impostor, how came Mr. Smith to discover all this?  Why did he not, like the Irvingites, assume the apostleship without an Apostle to ordain him?  How came he to possess so much more wisdom than Irving, as to discover that he could not be an Apostle without being ordained under the hands of an Apostle?  If Mr. Smith be a false Apostle, it must be confessed that he has exhibited far more judgment than all the false Apostles who have preceded him, learned and talented as they were.  Is not this another presumptive evidence of Joseph Smith’s divine mission?  Such a correctness upon matters of so great a moment, and upon subjects on which millions have heretofore erred, indicates something more than human–it indicates the inspiration of the Almighty.  The purity of Mr. Smith’s doctrine–the perfect coincidence of his testimony with that of John’s, in relation to the manner of the restoration of the everlasting gospel to the earth, and the consistency of his testimony in relation to the manner of the restoration of the apostleship–are strong presumptive evidences that beautifully harmonize with and strengthen each other; the evidence is therefore accumulative, and increases with every additional condition or circumstance in a multiplied ratio, and seems almost irresistably to force conviction upon the mind.”  (Orson Pratt, “Was Joseph Smith Sent of God?,” MS 10(16):251, 15 Aug., 1848)

17 Sep.:  Letters of recommendation for those moving.

“The President [William Gibson] directed, that for the future no letters of recommendation be given to brethren and sisters removing, without having a previous vote of their fellowship and standing in their respective branches.”  (Edinburgh conference minutes, 17 Sep., 1848; MS 10(20):312, 15 Oct., 1848)

30 Sep.:  Peter, James & John ordained him an apostle.

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

Oct.:  President over the Patriarchal priesthood.

“October at the conference I was relieved from my presidency & apointed Patriarch over the church & president over the Patriarchial priesthood.”  (John Smith [Uncle of Joseph Smith], Oct., 1848[?]; John Smith diary, MS d 1326, fd 4, v 4, LDS Archives; Barney)

8 Oct.:  HC shouldn’t meet more than 6 mos. for courts.

“President [Brigham] Young then spoke for sometime upon the subject of oppression, and on the necessity of doing away with it.  He said he wanted to see a community who were without a sheriff, constable officer, or any man to attend to any such small business, as commonly came before them; and to see a community where a High Council or Bishop’s court do not need to sit more than once in six months to settle that, which every man ought to know how to settle between man and man; and to see every man and woman do right.”  (General Conference Minutes, 8 Oct., 1848; JH 8 Oct., 1848)

17 Oct.:  Cowdery’s account of Aaronic Priesthood.

“Mill Creek Ward, January 5th, 1868

Editor Juvenile Instructor:

At an adjourned conference of the church, held at Musquito Creek, Council Bluffs, October 17th, 1848, present Orson Hyde, George A. Smith and E. T. Benson, Oliver Cowdery . . . appeared and was called upon by Brother Hyde to speak.

He arose and made the following remarks: 

. . .

‘I was present with Joseph when the Aaronic priesthood was restored to earth again, by an holy angel sent down from God, who said at the same time that it should remain upon the earth until the last remnant of time.

I was also present with Joseph when the higher or Melchizedek priesthood was restored by the holy angels of God; this priesthood is also to remain upon the earth while the earth stands.

This priesthood we then confirmed upon each other by the will and commandment of God.

This holy authority we then conferred upon many others.  And it is just as good and valid as if God had done it in person.

I laid my hands upon this man; yes, I laid my right hand upon his head (pointing to Brother Hyde) and I conferred upon him this priesthood.  And he holds that priesthood now.  He was also called through me, by the prayer of faith, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.’

These remarks were taken down by myself at the time and their correctness may be relied upon.”  (Reuben Miller, JI 3(2):15-16, 15 Jan., 1868; also in MS 21(34):544, 20 Aug., 1859)

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

“Brother Hyde has just said that it was all important that we keep in the true channel in order to avoid the sand bars.  This is true, the channel is here, the Priesthood is here.  I was present with Joseph when an holy angel from God came down from heaven and conferred or restored, the Aaronic Priesthood, and said at the same time that it should remain upon the earth while the earth stands.  I was also present with Joseph when the Melchisedek Priesthood was conferred by the holy angels of God from on high.  This priesthood we then conferred on each other, by the will and commandment of God.  This Priesthood is also to remain upon the earth until the last remnant of time.  This holy Priesthood, we then conferred upon many, and is just as good and valid as if God had done it in person.  I laid my hands upon that man–yes, I laid my right hand upon his head–(pointing to brother Hyde) and I conferred uon him this Priesthood, and he holds that Priesthood now.  He was also called through me, by the prayer of faith, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Reuben Miller diary, 21 October, 1848; quoted in Collier, Fred C., Unpublished Revelations, pp. 110-111.  Collier also cites Deseret News, 13 Apr., 1859)

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

18 Nov.:  Which is higher, HP or 70?

“An on-going debate during these years was whether a ‘high priest’ held greater authority than a ‘seventy.’  If so, members of a High Council such as at Winter Quarters and across the river should have more say in the shaping of church policy than seventies.  Joseph Young, president of the First Council of Seventies, even believed that if the Twelve were ever annihilated ‘some of the High Council would be for leading the Church.’  Such a philosophy may have motivated Alpheus Cutler, one-time senior president of the Winter Quarters High Council, later to quit the church and organize his own in western Iowa.  See Pottawattamie High Council Minutes, 18 November 1848; and ‘History of the Cutlerite Faction of the Latter-day Saints,’ Journal of History 13 (October 1920):454-57.”  (Richard E. Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846-1852, pp. 307-308)

18 Nov.:  Procedural questions about church courts.

“Scotstown, London Road, Glasgow, Nov. 18, 1848.

President O. Pratt,–Beloved brother,–I wish to ask you a question or two concerning the duties and obligations resting on a man who holds the priesthood, and of the power vested in the presidency and counsel of a branch of the church to bring to trial, suspend, silence, or cut off a member of that counsel for neglect of duty, disobedience to counsel, immoral conduct, &c.

1.  What is to be done with a man holding the priesthood, who lives in the wilfull neglect of all the duties of his office?

2.  Can the presidency and counsel of a branch of the church bring to trial, suspend, or cutt off an elder, priest, teacher, or deacon for disobedience to counsel or immoral conduct.

Your answer to the above, through the columns of the Star, will gratify some and instruct others.

The work of the Lord is going on in Glasgow Conference.  150 have been baptized since last quarterly conference–70 of them in Glasgow alone–and a fair prospect of a still greater increase the remaining part of the quarter.

I remain your affectionate brother in the bonds of the everlasting covenant,

Eli B. Kelsey.


Answer to question first.–‘Wherefore now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office to which he is appointed, in all diligence.  He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty, and shows himself not approved, shall not be accounted worthy to stand.  Even so.  Amen.  (See Book of Doctrine and Covenants, section 3, paragraph 44.)

Answer to question second.–‘And if any man or woman shall commit adulter, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better.  But he or shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses, and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God. . . . And thus ye shall do in all cases which shall come before you.’  (See Doctrine and Covenants, section 13, paragraph 22.)

The presidency and council of a branch, that is, the officers of a branch, when convened ‘in a meeting, not before the world,’ have a right to bring to trial, suspend, silence, or cut off any one or more of their own number, or any other person belonging to the branch.  They should, as soon as convenient after having passed their own decision, lay the case before the branch, that the church may also decide.  This will be calculated to preserve a union of action and of feeling among both officers and members.  Let the officers be careful in plucking up the tares, that they do not injure the wheat.  The spirit giveth wisdom, and wisdom is profitable to direct in all things.  Blessed is that servant who followeth the wisdom of the spirit, and is not deceived; for he shall rule in righteousness, and be honoured among the children of God.”  (MS 10(23):363-364, 1 Dec., 1848)

15 Dec.:  Ordinations not to be done in Conferences.

“We suggest to the presiding elders over the large conferences, the propriety of having the quarterly representations of the numerous branches composing their respective conferences, presented in writing to the clerk of the quarterly conference, instead of giving in a verbal representation as has ben practised heretofore.  This will give the officers time to give much good and important instruction.  When most of the day is taken up in representation, the audience become wearied.  We also propose, that, where the appointments for ordination are numerous, instead of occupying the time in the quarterly conferences, the candidates who have been called through the conference, receive their ordinations in the respective branches to which they belong.”  (Orson Pratt, editor; MS 10(24):374, 15 Dec., 1848)

15 Dec.:  Sabbath meeting format at discretion of leaders.

“We trust that the officers will not feel themselves bound to follow the same routine of form on every sabbath or in every meeting.  We know of no law that binds the Saints or servants of God to sing three times, pray twice, and preach once in every meeting the year round.  If important business or instructions are necessary to be laid before a meeting, and the time is short, we know of no reason why general rules may not be suspended, and that which appears to be the most necessary be attended to.  ‘There is a time to all things;‘ and the Spirit of God will teach both the time and the order in which things should be done to accomplish the most good.  Be careful not to limit the operations of the spirit of truth by being too formal.”  (Orson Pratt, editor; MS 10(24):374, 15 Dec., 1848)