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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1849

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1849.” You can view other years here.

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1849:  13 Jan.:  Cowdery account of Priesthood restorations.

“Before taking his departure he [Oliver Cowdery] wrote and left with the writer [Samuel W. Richards] of this the following statement, which we believe to be his last living testimony, though oft repeated, of the wonderful manifestations which brought the authority of God to men on earth:


While darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people; long after the authority to administer in holy things had been taken away, the Lord opened the heavens and sent forth His word for the salvation of Israel.  In fulfillment of the sacred scriptures, the everlasting Gospel was proclaimed by the mighty angel (Moroni) who, clothed with the authority of his mission, gave glory to God in the highest.  This Gospel is the ‘stone taken from the mountains without hands.’  John the Baptist, holding the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood; Peter, James, and John, holding the keys of the Melchisedek Priesthood, have also ministered for those who shall be heirs of salvation, and with these administrations ordained men to the same Priesthoods.  These Priesthoods, with their authority, are now, and must continue to be, in the body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Blessed is the Elder who has received the same, and thrice blessed and holy is he who shall endure to the end.

Accept assurances, dear brother, of the unfeigned prayer of him who, in connection with Joseph the Seer, was blessed with the above ministrations, and who earnestly and devoutly hopes to meet you in the Celestial Glory.

Oliver Cowdery.

‘To Elder Samuel W. Richards, January 13th, 1849.'”

(Samuel W. Richards, “Oliver Cowdery,” IE 2(2):95-96, Dec., 1898; also in IE 17(12):1168, Oct., 1914; and Deseret Evening News 22 Mar., 1884)

4 Feb.:  Ordination of 9 year-old to Priest “w/in home.”

“My ownly Son living was baptized when he was Eight years old.  He is now most nine year of Age.  He is A good youth And seems to be under the influence of the spirit of the Lord.  He obeys his Parents in all things.  I ordained him this day to the office of A Priest to officiate in that office in his Fathers houshold untill He shall Arive At A suitable Age to officiate in the Church.  When I Am abroad away from my family Attending to the Affairs of the Church Phebe W. Woodruff my wife & Mother of my children calls them together And teaches & instructs them to Pray And to understand the principles of faith And the gospel.  And Wilford Woodruff Jr. Now ordained A Priest can bless the bread And wine And Administer it to the family who Are members of the Church from time to time inasmuch As they have not A chance to Attend meeting in Any branch of the church.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 4 Feb., 1849)

12 Feb.:  Reorganization of the 12.

“On the 12th of February, the Presidency and those of the Twelve who were here, met in council, and proceeded to fill the vacancies of that quorum.  Elders P. P. Pratt, John Taylor and A. Lyman were present; and Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow and Franklin D. Richards were ordained to the Apostleship, and numbered among the Twelve, instead of the three who were called to the first Presidency, and Lyman Wight, of Texas, who was disfellowshipped.  This accession increased the members here to a majority, and enabled them to act as a quorum.  They were then instructed to assist in reorganizing the different quorums here, and in establishing righteousness.  They met with the Presidency and others almost daily, and proceeded to organize and ordain the Presidency of the High Priest’s Quorum, viz.:–John Young and his counsellors, also Daniel Spencer as president of this stake, and his two counsellors, David Fulmer and Willard Snow.  They also ordained and set apart a High Council.  After this the city was divided into nineteen wards, consisting generally of nine blocks, or seventy-two lots, over each ward a bishop was ordained.

The settlements in the country are also organized into wards, and a bishop appointed over each.  Large meetings are held on Sundays when the weather will permit, and there is much good preaching, and the spirit of truth and reformation is abroad in the Church.”  (“An Epistle of the Twelve to President Orson Pratt, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles,” 9 Mar., 1849; MS 11(16):246, 15 Aug., 1849)

13 Feb.:  SL City to be divided into wards.

“President [Brigham] Young met with Presidents Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards, the Quorum of the Twelve, and others, at the house of George B. Wallace. . . .

Newel K. Whitney was appointed chairman, and Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, Amasa Lyman, and Thomas Bullock, members of a committee to lay off the city into wards.”  (JH 13 Feb., 1849)

“President Young met with the committee, and it was decided to divide the city into nineteen wards of nine blocks each.”  (JH 14 Feb., 1849)

“In a meeting of the quorum of the Twelve the following division of G. S. L. valley into wards ws decided upon.  The country lying south of the city and east of the Jordan river was to be organized into four wards, to wit, Canyon creek ward, embracing the five-acre survey and all east of it; Mill Creek ward, embracing the ten-acre survey and all east of it; a third ward, embracing the country between the ten-acre survey and the Cottonwood creek; and a fourth (Mississippi ward) embracing all south of the Cottonwood.  The country lying west of the Jordan was to be organized under the name of Canaan ward.  The settlers north of the city and east of the Jordan and the Lake were to be organized into three wards as follows: The first to embrace the country lying north of the city, so far as to include Sessions’ settlement; the second, to embrace the country between Sessions’ and the settlements on the Weber river; the third, to contain the Brown settlement on the Weber.”  (JH under date of 14 Feb., 1849; note that this and the entry for 14 Feb. are at variance with each other–it appears that the 14 Feb. entry was a later one, describing the final designations of the wards.)

14 Feb.:  19 wards created.

“On the 14th the committee divided the city into nineteen Bishop’s Wards of nine (ten-acre) blocks each.”  (MHBY, 14 Feb., 1849)

16 Feb.:  High Council reorganized.

“On the 16th, the ecclesiastical High Council was organized, or rather re-organized, as follows–Isaac Morley (President), Eleazer Miller, Titus Billings, Levi Jackman, Shadrach Roundy, John Vance, Ira Eldredge, Henry G. Sherwood, Phinehas Richards, Edwin D. Woolley, Wm. W. Jamor, and Elisha H. Groves.”  (MHBY, 16 Feb., 1849)

16 Feb.:  “Young men” to help with visiting.

“As early as 1849 local leaders were instructed to call ‘young men’ to help with the visiting. . . .

In 1849, immediately after dividing Salt Lake City into wards and calling the bishops, President Young formally requested that leading brethren, including ‘the best high priests, the most substantial men,’ act in the lesser priesthood.”  (Hartley, “Ordained and Acting Teachers in the Lesser Priesthood, 1851-1883,” BYU Studies 16(3):388, 390; quoting from Brigham Young Journal, 16 Feb., 1849)

16 Feb.:  HPs to act as teachers; other p’hood duties.

“Under this date Pres. Brigham Young journalizes as follows:

I met with the Twelve and others at the house of George B. Wallace.  The High Council was organized as follows:  Isaac Morley (President), Eleazer Miller, Titus Billings, Levi Jackman, Shadrach Roundy, John Vance, Ira Eldridge, Henry G. Sherwood, Phinehas Richards, Edwin D. Woolley, William W. Major and Elisha H. Groves.  John Nebeker was appointed President of the Elders Quorum.  I instructed Bishop Newel K. Whitney to organize the lesser priesthood.  I advised that the best high priests, the most substantial men, be set apart to act as teachers under their bishops or presidents, so that the Bishops might have their wards perfectly visited and like little children, and that the high priests might take young men with them, that they might also have experience in teaching.  The Bishops counsellors also might act as teachers in their wards.  In relation to the duties of the president of the stake I remarked:

He should take charge of all the affairs of the stake, spiritual and temporal, under the direction of the First Presidency.  It is his privilege to call on the Presidency, the Twelve, the High Priests, the different quorums, or any man in the stake, to assist him, whether in making a suitable place to meet in, or in spiritual matters, and he should see that the Bishops and teachers do their duty.  He should be present when the lesser priesthood are organized and called together, and give directions in temporal matters, and lay before them the necessities of the place, to build up a city to the name of the Lord.  He should see that there are no idlers and no waste, and he should be always on hand.  He should be the first man to walk on the stand at meetings.  It is his right to call on me and whom he pleases to preach, and I submit to the powers that be; and if I choose to preside, I’ll tell him so.  It is his duty to see that the congregation is in order, and that every man is in his place in spiritual things and in temporal things, to see that every man pays his tithing and his taxes, and if any will not pay, bring up such a man to account.  The Twelve are not the ruling authorities here; they are as subject to the authorities, to the president of the stake and the High Council and ought to observe every law and ordinance as much as any other members of the Church, the same as if they had no office.  If the First Presidency are absent and the presidency of the stake or the High Council are in transgression, then, if the Twelve, or any one of them, be there, it is his right and duty to step in and say, ‘I am the man to lead you’; and if the High Council think they are as big as he, let him call the people together, and he can wield the power and the sword of the spirit as he pleases, if he is magnifying his office.  If the people are given up to wickedness, and will not hearken to him he can bid them good by, and leave them in the hands of the devil and God.  The High Priests are a local quorum to fill up the traveling quorum, when needed.

Brother Lorenzo Snow made some remarks on the character of Jesus Christ, and asked for light.  I replied:

While on a mission to England, the following came forceably to my mind–as God was so are we now; as he now is, so we shall be.  Our father was once born of parents, having a father and mother, the same as we have.  He is the very eternal Father, because of the creation of God.  He is the Savior of the world, the root of spirit and the offspring of flesh, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh.  The Father came down and begat him, the same as we do now, and Jesus was the only one.  Moses was as God to the children of Israel, so was Joseph to us, and no man could love God without loving Joseph.  In him centred the revelations of God.  The spirit went right to him and told him.  The spiritual wife doctrine came upon me while abroad, in such a manner that I never forget.  Particular things belong to one blood, but, after all, we are of one blood and one flesh, all the nations of the earth.  Joseph said to me ‘I command you to go and get another wife.’  I felt as if the grave was better for one than anything, but I was filled with the Holy Ghost, so that my wife and brother Kimball’s wife would upbraid me for lightness in those days.  I could jump up and hollo.  My blood was as clear as west India rum, and my flesh was clear.  I said to Joseph ‘Suppose I should apostatize, after taking another wife, would not my family be worse off?’  Joseph answered–‘There are certain bounds set to men, and if a man is faithful and pure to these bounds, God will take him out of the world; if he sees him falter he will take him to himself.  You are past these bounds, Brigham, and you have this consolation.’  But I never had any fears of not being saved.  Then I said to Joseph, I was ready to go ahead.  He passed certain bounds before certain revelations were given.

I instructed The Twelve to bless the Bishops and set them apart for their several wards, although they might have been previously ordained Bishops.”  (JH 16 Feb., 1849)

18 Feb.:  Duty of HP quorum; HP as acting teachers.

“Pres. Brigham Young met with the High Priests’ quorum.  In the course of the meeting, he remarked,

I wish to ask of the president, counsellors and members of this quorum, what is the duty, business and calling of the quorum?  It is a theological school, to teach every member the principles of the priesthood and eternal salvation.  It is a school to teach men how to discharge their duties as high priest, to become men of God, acquainted with God, to know how to be lawgivers, and to learn and know how God reigns and rules, how worlds are created from chaos.  They want to learn how to preach the Gospel and to lift the standard to the powers of the earth.  Their calling is to preside over those who receive the Gospel and to lead them into the celestial gate.  This quorum is now organized and I say to your president, you have a right to receive members, ordain, try, deal with, disfellowship, etc., under the supervision of the First Presidency.

The President also recommended the appointment of elderly and discreet high priests for teachers in the wards.”  (JH 18 Feb., 1849)

19 Feb.:  SL High Council arranged according to age.

“Pres. Young, Heber C. Kimball, and the Twelve, and others met in council in Geo. B. Wallace’s house.  David Fullmer and Willard Snow were set apart as counsellors to Daniel Spencer, President of the stake.  Isaac Morley, Phinehas Richards, William W. Major, Edwin D. Woolley, Henry G. Sherwood, Titus Bilings, Elisha H. Groves, Shadrach Roundy, John Vance, Ira Eldridge and Levi Jackman were set apart as High Councillors for this stake of Zion.  Pres. Brigham Young stated that he should arrange the High Council according to age, with Isaac Morley for President.  John Nebeker was set apart as President of the Elders’ quorum.  Pres. Brigham Young instructed him to collect the books, papers and members of the quorum and organize it.  The president explained why he wanted old men in the High council and young men in the Traveling High council.”  (JH 19 Feb., 1849)

1 Mar.:  Ordination to HP in England.

“Elders William Philips and Abel Evans have been ordained unto the High Priesthood under the hands of Dan Jones and myself.  The former, W. Philips, was appointed at the last conference in Wales to preside over the church throughout that country–the latter was at the same time appointed his counsellor.  We are confident that these choices were good ones, and that the church will greatly prosper in that country by heeding the instructions of these two servants of God in connexion with Elder John Davies, who is also a counsellor to brother Philips.”  (MS 11(5):71, 1 Mar., 1849)

4 Mar.:  Jurisdiction of HP vs. Bishops.

“The High Priests met in the School House in the evening.  They spent the time in discussing the question of the jurisdiction of the quorum and the relation of the High Priests and the Bishop’s quorums.”  (JH 4 Mar., 1849)

9 Mar.:  12 and 70s to have greater responsibilities.

“We hope, ere long, to see the Twelve at liberty, and many of the Seventies in the discharge of their duties abroad, in a capacity, and with a power far exceeding the limits of their former labors, but at present stern necessity binds them here to the saw, the hammer, the anvil and the plough; and this because none step forward to do these things for them.”  (Epistle of the 12 to the Church in the British Isles, 9 Mar., 1849; JH 9 Mar., 1849)

12 Mar.:  Bishops elected magistrates of wards.

“A general election was held in the Bowery, for the election of the requisite officers for a Provisional State Government.  Six hundred and seventy-four votes were polled in favor of the following ticket:

. . . .


For 1st ward, David Fairbanks

2nd John Lowry

3rd Christopher Williams

4th Benjamin Brown

6th William Hickenlooper

7th William G. Perkins

8th Addison Everett

9th Seth Taft

10th David Pettigrew

11th Daniel Garn

12th Benjamin Covey

13th Edward Hunter

14th John Murdock

15th Abraham O. Smoot

16th Isaac Higbee

17th Joseph L. Heywood

19th James Hendrix”

(JH 12 Mar., 1849)

20 Mar.:  Threats of priesthood vs. lure of gold rush.

“And at this remote distance this ‘yellow’ fever rages to such a degree that nothing but the power of the Priesthood strengthened by the faith of the New & everlasting covenant & the sanctions of Eternity can control the People & prevent their running off into the mountains where Bread does not grow & a Beef will cost them a hundred dollars & Flour forty & fifty dollars per Barrel.”  (Norton Jacob to Udney Jacob; Great Salt Lake City to Hancock County, Ill., 20 Mar., 1849) (Record of Norton Jacob, pp. 118-119)

25 Mar.:  Bishops to provide assistance for poor.

“The first public meeting on the Temple Block was held on the 25th.

On the same day at a meeting of the bishops, the subject of providing for the poor was considered, as there were many calls for assistance.  It was resolved to support the poor, as last year, by donations given into the hands of the bishops, for them to deal out, holding the receivers responsible for the pay when they were able.”  (MHBY, 25 Mar., 1849)

5 Apr.:  Bishops’ responsibilities for water projects.

“Voted that each Bishop in the city be required to run furrows and cut ditches round their wards, to keep the water from flooding the streets, and, in all cases when it is necessary to convey the water across the streets or public roads, the Bishop should build, or cause to be built, a sufficient bridge over the ditch, and in case of neglect, a fine of 25 dollars should be assessed upon said ward, for every instance of water running across the public roads, and not having a bridge over it.”  (JH 5 Apr., 1849)

7 Apr.:  Rebaptisms in Iowa.

“Pres. Orson Hyde nominated, Hiram Clark, to baptize such as wish to be baptized for the remission of sins during the Conference.”  (Pottawattamie County Conference minutes, 7 Apr., 1849; JH 7 Apr., 1849)

7 Apr.:  Traveling elders to act as Bishops.

“Pres. Orson Hyde moved that a committee be appointed to council and assist the emigrants in selecting locations.  (Carried.)

Albert P. Rockwood, George Coulson, Harlow Redfield and Charles Bird were chosen said committee.

Pres. Orson Hyde moved, that the six traveling Elders act as counsellors to the above committee.  (Carried.)  Also moved that these traveling Elders have jurisdiction as Bishops to settle all ordinary difficulties among the brethren.  (Carried.)  (Pottawattamie County Conference minutes, 7 Apr., 1849; JH 7 Apr., 1849)

22 Apr.:  Did Elijah, David, Solomon have High Priesthood?

“In the evening Pres. Young met with the Twelve. . . . President Young writes:

Elder John Taylor asked if Elijah, David, Solomon and the prophets had the High Priesthood, how it was, if the Lord took it away with Moses.  This was discussed, but I said I did not know, I wished I did.  Elder Taylor said he had asked the Prophet Joseph the question, but he waived it.  Brother Taylor thought that perhaps the Lordhad conferred it himself upon some at times, whome he had considered worthy, but not with permission for them to continue it down upon others.”

(JH 22 Apr., 1849)

29 Apr.:  Church court involving entire congregation.

“Sunday  I met with the saints in New York And preached to them in the morning.  Newell, Rogers, & others who had been cut off from the Church were present.  I preached in the Afternoon to all who were present.  I then dismissed the meeting, retained the Church, And held A Church meeting & from testimony we cut off four persons for Adultery, whose names were as follows: David Day Wm Evens Emma Day Ann Hart.  The testimony was of such A nature that there was not A dessenting vote.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 29 Apr., 1849)

28 May:  Description of Salt Lake Wards.

“The valley is settled for 20 miles south and 40 miles north of the city.  The city is divided into 19 wards, the country south into three wards, and north three wards, and over each is ordained a Bishop with his Counsellors, with Newall K. Whitney, President of the Bishop’s Quorum, presiding, who have been instructed to set in order all the lesser officers.”  (The Davenport [Iowa] Gazette 8(40):404, 14 Jun., 1849; quoting from Frontier Guardian [Kanesville, Iowa] of 28 May, 1849; Snider Collection)

1 Jul.:  Too many blessings being given by Elders.

“A Few Words of Advice to the Elders.–When I arrived in this country I was very frequently called upon by the Saints to lay hands upon them and bless them.  This practice I found on inquiry had prevailed in this country to some considerable extent.  It is a practice, however, which should be done away only on important occasions; such, for instance, as the setting apart of officers to some new fields of labor, or other important business.  And there may be some other instances where it may be wisdom to bless by the laying on of hands.  It is the duty of the patriarch to bless the Church, for unto this power he is ordained.  But it is not expedient that the elders should introduce such a custom among the Saints.  If they, by so doing, are not acting out of the authority of their calling, they are acting very unwisely, and if continued, they will grieve the Spirit.”  (Orson Pratt, MS 11(13):200, 1 Jul., 1849)

15 Sep.:  Roster of British priesthood officers.

Number of Branches: 393

High Priests: 10

[No Seventies]

Elders: 1177

Priests: 1312

Teachers: 805

Deacons: 466

(MS 11(18):287, 15 Sep., 1849)

7 Oct.:  Teachers to watch over all saints, even HP.

“Presidents Young and Kimball made some remarks on the duties of Teachers, showing their right and duty to teach, and watch over all Saints, in their several wards, High Priests not excepted.”  (7 Oct., 1849; Salt Lake General Conference Minutes; MS 12(9):134, 1 May, 1850)

30 Sep.:  Bishops’ meeting for blessing children.

“At night a Bishops’ meeting was held at Dr. Richardson’s, in the 11th Ward, for the purpose of blessing children.”  (JH 30 Sep., 1849)

6 Oct.:  The 12 have authority in all the world.

“Pres. Brigham Young then remarked, that, when the Twelve are abroad in any nation, they dictate the affairs of the Church there, the same as I do here.  The enquiry may be made, can Lorenzo Snow dictate any where but in Italy?  Yes–The Twelve dictate in all the world and send Elders where they please, and as they deem wisdom.  We have appointed Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, to certain missions have they any right to go anywhere else, Yes; I wish they would open the door to every nation on the earth, and if an Apostle sees anyone professing to be an Elder in the Church and bringing disgrace on the priesthood, he has authority to silence him, demand his license and cut him off from the Church.”  (General Conference Minutes, 6 Oct., 1849; JH 6 Oct., 1849)

7 Oct.:  Oldest HC to be president of High Council.

“Pres. Young then said that as Isaac Morley is appointed to go and preside over the settlement in Sandpitch valley, it will be necessary to appoint another President in his stead; and as Elder Sherwood is the oldest member of the High Council, he is now nominated to fill that office.

On motion Henry G. Sherwood was appointed President of the High Council; carried.”  (General Conference Minutes, 7 Oct., 1849; JH 7 Oct., 1849)

7 Oct.:  Duty of teachers.

“Pres. Young and Kimball made some remarks on the duties of teachers, showing their right and duty to teach and watch over all Saints, in their several wards, High Priests not excepted.”  (General Conference Minutes, 7 Oct., 1849; JH 7 Oct., 1849)

7 Oct.:  When Joseph first gave the Melchizedek Priesthood

“Elder Parley P. Pratt related his experience at the commencement of the work, and the time when the Prophet Joseph Smith stood up in the midst of the congregation, and by revelation, pointed out each individual to be ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood.”  (General Conference Minutes, 7 Oct., 1849; JH 7 Oct., 1849)

A holy angel laid his hands upon their heads.

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