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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1850

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1850.” You can view other years here.

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1850:  15 Jan.:  Angel Moroni restored Priesthood?

“In order to prove my statements made at Northampton in December 1849, and to clear myself, I have taken the following list of lies from Mr. Bowes’s Book. . . .

6th Lie.–Smith’s Angel only addressed Smith.

6th Refutation.–The Angel spoke to Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris.

7th Lie.–No one heard Smith’s Angel but himself.

7th Refutation.–This is entirely false.

8th Lie.–Smith’s Angel only revealed the plates.

8th Refutation.–The Angel laid his hands upon the heads of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and told them who sent him, and that they were to baptize each other.”

(Thomas Smith, Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Northampton; “Who is the Liar?,” MS 12(2):29, 15 Jan., 1850)

1 Feb.:  Licenses and ordinations in England.

“BEWARE OF FORGED LICENCES AND CERTIFICATES.–The great variety of the forms of licences and certificates among the Saints of Great Britain, has been a fruitful source of imposition.  Many imposters have forged licences and certificates, and have travelled from branch to branch, and from conference to conference on the strength of the same, living on the hard-earned labours of the Saints, and imposing themselves upon them as members of our church.

To remedy in some measure this evil, and introduce greater regularity and order in regard to these matters, we have been induced to adopt one particular form for both licences and certificates.  This form we wish to become universal among the Saints in this country.  Let all old forms be immediately abolished, and done away with, and let the blanks for all licences and certificates for the supply of the present officers, and for all who shall hereafter be ordained, be procured from our office, through the book agents of the respective conferences.  All other forms will be considered illegal and invalid from and after the first day of March, 1850.

If strangers pass through the branches with written forms, or with printed forms which have not the words ‘Printed by R. James, Liverpool,’ in fine type at the bottom, or which may lack any other characteristic,–beware of them–they are imposters.

All licences should be signed by the President and Secretary of the Conference in which the person receiving the licence resides.

All certificates should be signed by the President and Secretary of the branch in which the person receiving the certificate resides.  All persons emigrating to America should take with them these certificates, duly signed as herein specified.  And any person neglecting this counsel will not be received as members of our church in that country.

That the officers may be properly instructed in relation to filling up the blanks, we here insert the forms of both licences and certificates, with the blanks filled up by words printed in italics.

Form of Licence to be Used in the British Isles.


We hereby certify that (A.B.) has been ordained a(n) (Elder, Priest, Teacher, or Deacon, as the case may be) in the (Bolton) Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of the (Manchester) Conference, under the hands of (C.D., Elder or Priest, as the case may be) with the sanction of said Branch, on the (Eleventh) day of (March) 1843.

Given under our hands at (Manchester) this (fourth) day of (January) 1850.

(E.F.) President.

(G.H.) Secretary.

(Printed by R. James, Liverpool)

Form of Certificate to be Used in the British Isles.


We hereby certify that (A.B.) is a(n) (Elder, Priest, Teacher, Deacon, or Member, as the case may be) of the (Bolton) Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of the (Manchester) Conference, in good standing; and, as such, we recommend (him or her, as the case may be) to any Branch with which (he or she) may desire to unite.

Date __________ 185

(C.D.) President.

(G.H.) Secretary.

This certificate is not intended to be shown to the private members of a branch; but it should be presented to, and retained by, the presiding officer of the branch of which you desire to become a member.

(Printed by R. James, Liverpool)

ORDINATIONS.–‘Lay hands suddenly on no man,’ says the Apostle Paul, and so say we.  The neglect of the above caution, by those holding responsible stations in the Church in the British Isles, has been the source of much evil, to avoid which, we have determined to give some general directions relative to ordinations in the future.

Let no man be ordained to any office in the priesthood, without the knowledge and consent of the President of the conference, as well as that of the branch to which the individual belongs.  And it is of the utmost importance that the Presidents of branches should use great caution in recommending persons for ordination at conferences, or elsewhere, otherwise they will (to a certain extent) be responsible for the evils that may arise from their carelessness and inconsideration.  If a man be slothful in the discharge of the duties devolving upon him as a member, he should in nowise be called to an office.  If he be guilty of drinking ardent spirits, instead of being ordained to the priesthood, he should be admonished; and if he should in any case, carry it to drunkenness, he should be strictly dealt with; and if he repent not, he should be excommunicated.  Be careful to call men of ‘good report’–men whose ruling desire is to bring their passions and appetites in perfect subjection to their will, and their will in perfect subjection to the laws and commandments of God.  One such will do infinitely more good than a score of a contrary character.  It should be a necessary qualification for ordination, that the individuals should be well acquainted with the laws and commandments of God, as given through our martyred prophet, as well as those given through the prophets of the ancient church, that they may be well instructed in points of doctrine, and in the principles of government.  They should be men who rule their houses in righteousness, bringing up their children in the way they should go, by themselves walking in the way they desire their children to walk in.

As a general rule, it will be far better to ordain men to the lesser priesthood first, and let them win their way to the higher by faithfulness; and in no case raise a man in authority, unless he has proven himself worthy, as far as circumstances will permit, by faithfully fulfilling all the duties of the office previously held.  The faithful man is worthy of every encouragement; and, on the contrary, the unfaithful man shall not stand.–See Doctrine and Covenants, section iii. paragraph 44.  ‘Wherefore now let every man learn his duty, and 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.’

The Presidents of conferences are requested to see that these directions are attended to in their respective fields of labour, and inasmuch as they are called to the office of chief shepherd, they should be careful to set an example in every good work, and to see that the assistant shepherds go and do likewise; and that the keepers of the flocks are men whose example and precepts will be calculated to exert a beneficial influence in society.

There is nothing in the above that is intended to prohibit the travelling elders from calling men to office, and ordaining them (with the consent of the President of the conference) in cases where they have raised up a branch.  See Doctrine and Covenants, section ii., paragraph 16.  ‘No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church; but the presiding elders, travelling bishops, high counsellors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called.'”  (Editorial [Orson Pratt, editor], MS 12(3):41-43, 1 Feb., 1850)

15 Feb.:  General instructions to priesthood officers.

“We will also embrace the present opportunity of giving some general instructions to the Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, in the duties of their several offices: First–Let each presiding Elder see that every officer under his charge magnifies his office as far as circumstances will permit.  Let there be no idleness, ‘for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.’  And we would suggest to the presidents of conferences, the propriety of dividing the cities, towns, and country that lay in the immediate vicinity of the various branches into districts, and place two Elders, or an Elder and Priest, in charge with instructions to open places of preaching as far as in their power; and in all cases where there are not sufficient openings to occupy the time of the Elders in preaching, let them act in the office of Priests in visiting from house to house, and teaching the Saints.  It is the duty of the Priests to visit all the Saints in the district to which they are appointed at least once in each month, and oftener if possible, and to teach them to avoid all backbiting, evil speaking, and the drinking of ardent spirits, and of the use of every other thing that is calculated to defile or demoralise them in the least; and also impress upon their minds as much as possible the commandment, which says, ‘And again inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of the stakes that are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ, the Son of the living God, and of baptisms–the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents, for this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or any of her stakes that are organized.  And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands; and they shall also teach their children to pray and walk uprightly before the Lord.  And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  And the inhabitants of Zion, also, shall remember their labours, inasmuch as they are appointed to labour, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.  Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion; for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.  These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them; wherefore, let my servant Oliver Cowdery carry these sayings to the land of Zion.  And a commandment I give unto them, that he that observeth not his prayers before the Lord in the season thereof, let him be had in remembrance before the judge of my people.  These sayings are true and faithful; wherefore, transgress them not, neither take therefrom.  Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, and I come quickly.  Amen.’

It is the duty of the Teachers to visit all the Saints in the districts to which they are appointed, at least once in each fortnight, and let them reiterate all the foregoing teachings, and given them what further instruction the circumstances of the case call for.  It is the duty of the Deacons to assist the Teachers when necessity requires it,–inasmuch as the deacons have heretofore acted in the capacity of treasurers, and administered in the temporal affairs of the branches; it would be well to let them do so still, unless circumstances should render it wisdom to do otherwise, when an Elder, Priest, or Teacher can act in that capacity.  We strongly recommend all the officers to supply themselves with the Book of Mormon, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and all other standard works, inasmuch as they have not already done, it; and strive to acquaint themselves with the doctrines and laws of the church; and we can safely say, that no officer is capable of fulfilling his duties without the knowledge contained in these books.”  (Editorial [Orson Pratt, Editor], MS 12(4):58-59, 15 Feb., 1850)

6 Apr.:  Church court of all High Priests and Elders.

“President Young requested all the High Priests and Elders to meet in the Bowery at five o’clock, P.M., to transact some business with Samuel Russell and Moses Martin.

Half-past five o’Clock p.m.–The Elders met, and were called to order by Elder Pratt.  After singing a hymn, and prayer by Elder Carter, President Young called for Samuel Russell to come to the stand and explain some remarks he had made in regard to his faith in the gospel of salvation, when 

Russell said, ‘There may be some points of Mormonism I believe; but as for believing in the principle of Revelation, as the Latter-day Saints do, I do not.  I believe that Joseph Smith was as great a prophet as ever was on the earth, but I have no confidence in the Bible, or the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Revelations as being revelations from the Almighty.  I may have made light of the Holy Ghost.  Have I asked what was the Holy Ghost? and said that the only time the Holy Ghost was ever seen, was in the form of a pigeon, and it might be that I did ask if that was good to eat?  Gentlemen, I have spoken my sentiments.  The brethren have all used me like gentlemen; I might have withdrawn, but did not think it would do any good.’

Levi W. Hancock arose and said, I do know that Russell once enjoyed the spirit of God, and he has felt that this was the Church of God.  I believe that the man has not prayed, but had been negligent, or he would know that Joseph was a prophet of God, and that Brigham Young is a prophet now.  I move that Samuel Russell be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Seconded by A. P. Rockwood, and carried unanimously.

President B. Young, after some preliminaries said, Mr. Russell has tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, and now to forsake that God who has sustained him, and offered him eternal life, and now to turn away from God and make light of those things, is detestable to my feelings.  (Turning to him, he said,) inasmuch as we have severed this branch from the tree, I say unto you, Samuel Russell, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, you shall feel the heavy hand of God; I deliver you over into the hands of Satan.  You have covenanted to serve your God; as you now forsake him, you shall feel the wrath of God, and shall know there is revelation, and if it does not burn you up, you will wish it would.

I now call up the case of Moses Martin–when he came into the Valley a year ago last fall, he had not the spirit of the Lord with him that I could perceive; nothing was said to him, or about him, till last summer, when the presidents of the seventies called him in question; they examined his feelings, and I know that he lied in the name of the Lord: I said he was a wicked man: he is.  I can prove he is guilty of adultery, and the Doctrine and Covenants says, a man who commits adultery, and does not speedily repent, will lose the spirit of the Lord, and will deny the faith; I would not sustain him were he my own father or brother.  A year ago I asked him in council, brother Moses, I ask you in the name of the Lord, did you keep yourself virtuous and pure, until you returned to your family?  After about five minutes hesitation and conversation he said, yes.  He lied and that too in the name of the Lord.  He is a liar, and I know it; he has always been like a wild bull in the net.  I am on hand to prove him guilty of adultery.

President H. C. Kimball moved that Moses Martin be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for his wickedness; carried unanimously.”  (6 Apr., 1850; Minutes of the General Conference, Held at Great Salt Lake City, Deseret, April 6th, 1850; MS 12(17):259-260, 1 Sep., 1850)

1 Jun.:  Priesthood roster of British Isles.

Number of Branches:  536

High Priests:  13

Seventies:  14

Elders:  1600

Priests:  1610

Teachers:  1059

Deacons:  622

(MS 12(13):207, 1 Jul., 1850)

29 Jun.:  Bishops to act as agents for Deseret News.

“Bishop Holladay, and all the acting Bishops in the city, are requested to act as agents for the [Deseret] News in their respective wards.”  (DN 1(3):20, 29 Jun., 1850)

30 Jun.:  Sacrament administered by Bishops.

“The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered by the Bishops, interspersed with remarks by W. W. Phelps on simplicity, the operations of the United States in going to California after gold, &c.”  (DN 1(4):28, 6 Jul., 1850)

26 Oct.:  Seventies Hall of Science.

“An adjourned meeting of the Seventies, held in the Bowery, at early candle light; was opened by singing and prayer.

President Joseph Young laid before the congregation the object of the meeting; stating, that at a previous meeting, they had voted unanimously to build a Hall; gave his views respecting the same, and presented tickets, representing shares of five dollars each, to be taken by individuals, making them stockholders.

President Brigham Young suggested that the title of the Hell be altered from the Seventies Intelligence Hall, to ‘the Seventies Hall of Science,’ and the shares be increased from five to twenty-five dollars each; he then spoke of the manner of construction–churches and halls in various countries–and of the best manner of constructing this, so as to seat the greatest number of persons and not obstruct the voice of the speaker–when

It was moved that the name of the Hall be called, ‘The Seventies Hall of Science,’ carried.”  (DN 1(19):149, 2 Nov., 1850)

29 Dec.:  Brigham chastises the MP.

“I will now refer to the Seventies as a body–suppose I should appoint a meeting for tonight, about a dozen would come, without any candles–but if I were to say–level this stand for the band that we may have a dance, they would bring the stoves from their wives’ bedsides, and would dance all night, and the house would be filled to overflowing.  O foolish elders! you are like the foolish child, you want the fork to put out your eyes.  I make the same application to the High Priests and Elders.  I feel sometimes that I could cuff every elders ears–at other times I could cry over their follies. I have good reason for these remarks.”  (“Quotations from President B. Young’s Sermon at the Bowery, Sunday, December 29, 1850,” DN 1(24):187, 11 Jan., 1851)

30 Dec.:  Questions on adoption, other topics.

“School House, Big Cottonwood

December 30, 1850.

Bro. Parley P. Pratt,

Dear Sir:–I hardly know how to address you, but I have set myself to work to learn something in relation to this kingdom.

The first question:–Is it the duty of a man who comes into this church (and who has no parents or relatives in the church,) to be adopted into the family of any other man? or is it my duty to be adopted into the family of any brother who is in this church; and if so, have I the privilege to be adopted into the family of any brother that I may choose?  If yea is the answer, please to explain the matter fully.

2nd.  Can a man who has all the natural parts of a man, and lives as he should in this church, ever reach the celestial kingdom of God if he have no wife, and raise no family in this world?  Please explain.

3rd.  Is it the duty of parents to bless their children, or is it their duty to take them to the patriarch of the church to be blessed?

4th.  What caused the banishment of Satan from the presence of God?  Please explain fully.

5th.  Please to explain the resurrection of the dead in the first, second, and all other resurrections.

6th.  From what place are the forces of Gog and Magog, as spoken of by John the Revelator, to come?

By giving me an answer to the foregoing questions, you will not only enlighten my understanding upon these points, but will remove several serious ‘stumbling blocks’ that constantly lie in my path.  My object is to learn all that I can in regard to Mormonism, not only for my own good, but that I may benefit a father and mother, who are many thousand miles from this place, and who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed in the last days.

A letter addressed to me, to the care of bro. Saml Snider, and left at bro. F. D. Richards’ will find me.

Feeling a deep and abiding interest in this work, as renewed in these the last days, I have the pleasure of saying that I remain your brother in the bonds of the everlasting covenant, 

Andrew Siler.

G.S.L. City, Jan. 6, 1851.

Mr. Andrew Siler,

Dear Brother:–I received your favor of the 30th ult., and proceed to answer the same.

Answer to question first.  I do not know.

2nd.  Every man in this church, who lives as he should, will be saved in the celestial kingdom.

3rd.  Parents may bless their children–so may the patriarch.

4th.  I either was not present at the banishment of Satan, or have forgotten the particulars.  The probability is, that he wished to go to a warmer climate for his health.

{Quite possible he searched so deeply after the ‘mysteries’ of the kingdom, that he neglected his duties, as many do at the present day.  Ed.}

5th.  I have not the keys of the resurrection, having never experienced it.

6th.  Do not know, unless it is from the four quarters of the earth, or from the gold mines.

In reply to the other observations contained in yours, I would advise you to instruct your parents to seek out the elders of the church of the saints, and forsake their sins, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of the same, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost, and be saved, if they endure to the end.

As to stumbling blocks, if all are as busy as I am, they will never have time to stumble over them, let alone removing them.

Please excuse brevity, and believe me your brother in the gospel, 

P. P. Pratt.”  (DN 1(24):187, 11 Jan., 1851)