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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1851

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1851.” You can view other years here.

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1851:  18 Jan.:  Special conference of the Seventies; REFORMATION

“About 10 1/2 A.M., a large congregation of the Seventies had assembled in the Bowery, when President Joseph Young gave an introductory address, stating that the object of the conference, was to examine into the standing and situation of the Seventies; ascertain what vacancies exist in the quorums, and fill the same so far as it shall be wisdom; attend to ordinations–and to devise ways and means for prosecuting the building of the Seventies’ Hall of Science.  There were present of the first presidents of the Seventies, Joseph Young, Zera Pulsipher, A. P. Rockwood, B. L. Clapp; also of the Twelve, W. Woodruff, E. T. Benson, and W. Richards.  After prayer by E. T. Benson, and singing, one hundred and four elders, priests and members were called upon, and ordained into the quorums of Seventies, under the direction of Presidents Rockwood and Clapp.  The ordinations were attended to in the State House.

After an intermission of thirty minutes, and partaking of refreshments by the congregation, and arrival of President B. Young, the assembly were severally addressed by President Zera Pulsipher, W. Woodruff, J. M. Grant, and Joseph Young, on the importance of the Seventies attending to their several duties; of there being a reformation among the Saints; and their living so as to have a fulness of the Holy Spirit at all times.  The record of the names of the presidents of the several quorums of Seventies was read, when about eighty were found to be in the Valley.  Offerings were made for the Seventies’ Hall of Science, and conference adjourned to early candlelight, when the Bowery was filled.”  (18 Jan., 1851; in MS 13(15):227-228, 1 Aug., 1851)

“Saturday, January 18, 1851.  About 10 1/2 a.m. a large congregation of the Seventies had assembled in the Bowery, when President Joseph Young gave an introductory address, stating that the object of the conference, was to examine into the standing and situation of the Seventies; ascertain what vacancies exist in the quorums, and fill the same, so far as it shall be wisdom; attend to ordinations; and to devise ways and means for prosecuting the building of the Seventies’ Hall of Science.–There were present of the first presidents of the Seventies, Joseph Young, Zera Pulsipher, A. P. Rockwood, B. L. Clapp,–also of the Twelve, W. Woodruff, E. T. Benson; and W. Richards.  After prayer, by E. T. Benson, and singing, one hundred and four elders, priests and members were called upon, and ordained into the quorums of Seventies, under the direction of Presidents Rockwood and Clapp.  The ordinations were attended to in the State House.

After an intermission of thirty minutes and partaking of refreshments by the congregation, and arrival of President B. Young, the assembly were severally addressed by Pres’t. Zera Pulsipher, W. Woodruff, J. M. Grant, and Joseph Young, on the importance of the Seventies attending to their several duties; of there being a reformation among the Saints; and of their living so as to have a fullness of the Holy Spirit at all times.  The record of the names of the presidents of the several quorums of Seventies was read, when about 80 were found to be in the valley.  Offerings were made for the Seventies’ Hall of Science, and conference adjourned to early candlelight, when the Bowery was filled. . . .

Sunday, Jan. 19, 1851.–The conference was opened at 10 a.m., with prayer by Elder J. M. Grant, and singing by the choir.

Twenty-four elders came forward to receive ordination into the quorum of Seventies, who being approved, went to the State House and were lectured by Elders Herriman, Pulsipher, and Bullock, upon the responsibilities that devolved upon them, and the requirements of the Holy Priesthood; and ordained into the quorum under the hands of Elders Pulsipher and Herriman.

At the same time the Saints in the Bowery were receiving instruction and wisdom from Pres’t. B. Young, Heber C. Kimball, and P. P. Pratt, on the prospects of commencing a temple in this valley for the endowment of all who were faithful in the work of the ministry, at the same time emphatically declaring that the man who did not settle up his tithing dues, will not have the privilege of receiving his blessings therein.

The Saints were full of joy at the glorious prospect that was laid before them; and the work of reformation among many who have heretofore been lukewarm, has already manifestly commenced.

After an intermission of one hour,

The assembly were adressed by elders Joseph Young, Lorenzo Young, E. T. Benson, A. Lyman, W. Woodruff, and A. P. Rockwood, on the efficacy of prayer, the Seventies’ hall of science, &c., when T. O. Angel, architect to the public works, presented a perspective view of the intended rotunda, and diagrams of the building; afterwards the subject of those men who had come into our midst and become as the President observed ‘winter saints’ was taken up, and on motion, George Love, Washington Loomis, Philip George, Heary Schuck, O. H. Speed, Joseph Alvord, widow Jane M’Carthy, widow Cook, Cynthia Bevry, Charles Montrose and Mrs. Emma Day were cut off from the church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S., for conduct unbecoming the character of saints.  {We understand ‘winter saints’ to mean those who have been baptized just to have the privilege of serving the devil more perfectly, while they winter with the saints, or thieve their way to the mines.  Ed.}

After a discourse on the Seventies’ hall, by elder J. M. Grant, the conference was adjourned till Saturday, Feb. 8, at 10 a.m., and were dismissed with benediction by Prest. Young.”  (DN 1(25):197-198, 25 Jan., 1851)

26 Jan.:  Reorganization of Seventies’ Quorums.

“In the evening attended a meeting of the Presidents of the Quorums of Seventies at the State house for the purpose of reorganizing and filling vacancies in the Quorums which has not been done since we left Nauvoo.  There was I think fifty nine vacances in the presidents of Quorums by death and apostacy.”  (Hosea Stout diary, 26 Jan., 1851)

8 Feb.:  84 young men ordained 70s.

“The seventies conference convened in the Bowery, when 84 young men were ordained to the ministry.”  (“Valley Journal,” DN 1(27):213, 22 Feb., 1851)

9 Feb.:  Quorum of Elders formed from all priesthood.

“The Pres. [George A. Smith] further said that he should like to have the members of the different quorums organize themselves into a quorum of Elders & that Elder H Groves preside over them.  Carried without a dissenting vote & that Henry Lunt be clerk of said quorum carried.  At about 1/2 past 12 meeting adjourned to 2 p.m. when the Elders quorum were to meet.  during the intermission the Pres Bishops & J. D. Lee met in council & deliberated upon the policy of making or rather fensing in a place to keep the milch cows in of nights & other matters of convenience for the mutual interest & benefit of the camp.  At 2 P.M. the quorum met meeting opened by singing from the American choir and prayre by Elder E. H. Groves.  Pres. G. A. Smith then said that he arrose to claim membership in the quorum of Elders.  Said that he believed his former course of conduct since a member of this Church entitled him to a seat among them. . . .

Adjourned by prayre at 4 P.M. evening fine, after the close of the meeting the name of each man & their standing was taken as they became members of the Elders Quorum. . . .

[Sun. 23 Feb.]  At 3 P.M. the Elders Quorum met.  After singing & prayre Bishop Anson Call was chosen to be the first counsellor to the Pres of the (Elders) Quorum & Bishop Jos. L Robbinson 2nd counsellor.  Pres. G. A. Smith then delivered a short address upon the object & design of getting up the Elders Quorum & advised any or all persons should there be any that had difficulties between each other to settle them immediately for in that body of men he wanted union & good feelings as it would likely be the law making department for this city & its surrounding inhabitants as was the City Council of Nauvoo to that place & that items of law upon state & governmental affairs should be debated in this Quorum as a Legislative Body that every Elder by applying his mind to this subject may acquire the nessary information of legislation and governmental affairs etc.”  (Journal of the Iron County Mission, 9 & 23 Feb., 1851; UHQ 20(4):377-378, 381; Oct., 1952)

22 Feb.:  Seventies to work within wards.

“The Seventies received a mission from their president to preach, teach, and exhort, in their several wards, that the spirit of God may have free access, and that it may flow like the pure streams from the fountain, uncontaminated by any thing which is not of truth.

This is as great a mission as ever the Seventies received since the church began; and let them reuse themselves, and put on the garments of righteousness, magnify their calling, show by their conversation, walk, and actions, that they areclothed with the Priesthood, and that they will fulfil this mission; by so doing they will bring honor on themselves, and the peace and blessing of God will dwell with them, and upon all those who hear their words, and upon all their habitations.”  (Editorial, DN 1(27):212, 22 Feb., 1851)

22 Feb.:  Going to law.

“We are credibly informed that a recently appointed magistrate, in one of our northern counties, was applied to by a brother, to issue process for the commencement of a suit at law, against a brother.  The magistrate enquired of the applicant, if he had a letter from his bishop stating the fact that he had taken the gospel steps, towards his brother, in relation to the case in question, and that the brother had refused all satisfaction; and, consequently, had been severed from the church?  The applicant said he had taken no such course, and had no such letter.  Then, said the magistrate, I can issue no such process in your behalf: go and deal with your brother as a brother, according to the gospel, and if he refuses satisfaction, and the bishop shall certify to me that he is no longer a brother, it will be time enough for me to let loose the law upon him.

A truly commendable decision, and worthy of all acceptance and action, by all magistrates in Deseret; for a professed Saint, who cannot be governed by the law of the gospel, is not fit to be called a Saint, and the sooner he is out of the fellowship of Saints, the better; then the law, which is made for the lawless and disobedient, has claim on him as its own, and can lawfully enforce obedience to its requirements.”  (Editorial, DN 1(27):213, 22 Feb., 1851)

22 Feb.:  Re-baptism.

“The above, is a copy of the caption on the General Church Records, concerning baptism for remission of sins, and re-baptism, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; and all Bishops, Clerks, Elders, and Priests, who may be concerned with baptisms in the state of Deseret, are instructed to copy the above caption on their Records, and make returns of their baptisms in the same form as the above Ezra Taft Benson, which is given for a sample; and all those who have records which have been kept in a different manner, will over-haul the same, and correct them, according to the above, as far as possible, which may be done by enquiry of those baptised and otherwise.”  (DN 1(27):213, 22 Feb., 1851)

5 Mar.:  Priesthood “sealed” upon a woman.

“My wife received her Patriarchal Blessing, under the hands of John Smith, Patriarch.  Sister Sarah, I place my hands upon thy head in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and seal upon you a father’s blessing.  And I seal upon you the Priesthood in fulness, in common with you[r] companion.  This is thine inheritance by heirship from thy fathers; for thou art of the blood and lineage of Joseph, and an heir to all the blessings that was sealed upon his children by his father Jacob.  I seal the same upon thee, and upon thy children which shall abide with thee forever.”  (John Murdock journal, 5 Mar., 1851; LDS Archives, Ouellette)

7 Apr.:  Weekly meetings of quorums.

“The First Presidency of the Quorum of Seventies have been in frequent conference, the past winter, with the presidents of their several quorums, enquiring into the situation of their officers, severing from their office all such as have been known to dishonor their high and holy calling, and filling these vacancies with worthy men; also in filling the places of those who have been known to die since the quorums were organized in Nauvoo.  The High Priests’, and other quorums of the Church, have held their weekly meetings in the Council House during the winter, so that the house has scarce been cold since it was so far completed as to be occupied.”  (Fifth General Epistle of the Presidency of the Church, 7 Apr., 1851.  In Clark, Messages of the First Presidency 2:68)

28 Apr.:  Babbitt disfellowshipped for performing sealing.

“These things, drunkenness, and profanity, I with my brethren had covenanted, to endeavor to put down, and these are the things for which I as clerk of the High Council, and as President of the branch of the church at Kanesville had him [Almon Babbitt] cited to appear before the High Council on the 26th inst.  The notice sent to him, his reply and the attendant papers I send accompanying this.  Those were things that as a presiding officer I could not pass by unnoticed, and one thing more, his attending to the ordinance of sealing women to men, which had been strictly forbidden, I considered a matter of serious moment, and required a serious investigation.  I had learned from Brother A. C. Hodge, who confessed to me, and subsequently to Elder [Orson] Hyde and Bishop Bigler, that Almon W. Babbitt had attended to that ordinance for him in the case of Sister Anna Butler.  This case of Brother Hodge with Sister Butler was presented to me for investigations, as a branch matter, by some member of the branch who thought all things were not right, and upon my inquiring of Brother Hodge, which inquiry I made in person, he confessed to me that they had been sealed and that she was in a family way, and upon my pressing the inquiry he informed that Almon W. Babbitt was the one; that he did it for him last summer when he was here.  [Babbitt was currently in Washington, D.C.]

On my presenting this matter to Elder Hyde, which I considered it my duty to do, and thought it unwise to bring it before the branch, in a public manner, Brother Hyde informed me that Brother Hodge wanted he should attend to that for them before he went west last summer, and he refused, and then Brother Hodge wanted he should present the case to you and get a dispensation for him, that he did present it and you refused, saying, let Brother Hodge come up there.  He said that he informed Bro. Hodge of the fact when he returned, and said that Bro. Hodge then insisted upon his attending to it for them, not letting him know that Babbitt had already done it for him.  Therefore, on Bro. Hydes testiony and Bro. Hodges confession, we disfellowshiped Bro. Hodge and Sister Butler, and I send you this report and the attendant paper.”  (“To the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the City of Great Salt Lake, Utah,” from the High Council at Kanesville, by Evan M. Greene, clerk of the High Council and President of the Kanesville Branch, 28 Apr., 1851; JH 28 Apr., 1851)

“This body [Kanesville High Council] at its last session, separated Hon. A. W. Babbitt from the fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: not for any thing immoral or criminal done in Washington.  The Council did not deal with him as the delegate from Utah.  To the people of Utah who sent him to Washington, is he amenable for his conduct as a delegate from that New Territory.  But it was for profanity and intemperance in the streets of Kanesville; and for corrupting the morals of the people here by giving them liquor to beguile them from the path of duty and honor.  Thus prostituting to the shrine of party zeal, his priestly powers, by which to operate upon the low and deranged passions of men: and for ministering by his priestly office, in things that are forbidden.

Mr. Babbitt did not appear on notice, but by a note denied the jurisdiction of the Council to try him for fellowship, considered the charges and proceedings malicious, and claimed not to know his accusers when the charges were made by the Council, and under their authority the notice was served.”  (Frontier Guardian, 2 May, 1851; JH 2 May, 1851)

“Elder Orson Hyde and Almon W. Babbitt met before the High Council in G. S. L. City, and mutually agreed to bury all past differences which apparently had arisen chiefly through misunderstanding and jealousy.  (See Decision on file.)”  (JH 20 Aug., 1851)

“Sunday, August 24.  Meetings were held in the Bowery; in G. S. L. City, commencing at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Almon W. Babbitt preached in the forenoon and Elder Orson Hyde in the afternoon.”  (JH 24 Aug., 1851)

13 May:  Seventies’ Hall of Science foundation completed.

“The foundation of the Seventies’ Hall of Science was completed on the 13th inst., [i.e., May 13] ready for the basement story.  It is situated on the west side of first East, between first and second South Streets, and not as represented in a previous number.”  (MS 13(17):265, 1 Sep., 1851)

17 May:  Foundation for 70s Hall of Science.

“The foundation of the Seventies Hall of Science was completed on the 13th inst., ready for the basement story.  It is situated on the west side of First East, between First and Second South streets, and not as represented in a previous number.”  (DN 1(33):260, 17 May, 1851)

24 Jun.:  AP offices should be filled by non-MP adults.

“After removal to the Great Basin, Church leaders continued to believe that lesser priesthood offices ought to be filled by capable non-Melchizedek Priesthood adults.  [Bishops Meetings with Presiding Bishopric, Minutes, 24 Jun., 1851]  But the number of such eligible men proved inadequate for the usual reasons, which were further compounded by the temple endowments newly introduced at Nauvoo:  To marry for eternity or to serve full time Church missions, men now had to receive the endowments which required Melchizedek Priesthood ordination.  Faced with shortages, Church leaders turned to two alternative methods of filling the lesser quorums.  The most popular and practical was to call Melchizedek Priesthood bearers to serve as acting deacons, acting teachers, and acting priests.  In a secondary solution younger boys were ordained and served as apprentices to the adult teachers.”  (William G. Hartley, “Ordained and Acting Teachers in the Lesser Priesthood, 1851-1883,” in BYU Studies 16(3):378, Spring, 1976)

1 Aug.:  Seventies’ meetings in SLC.

“I will just say, that our meetings are organized by the Presidents of the Seventies living in the ward.

We have four houses open–one in each corner of the ward; the Seventies living near the houses take charge of the same; the Presidents going from one meeting to another, and seeing that all is moving on according to the Spirit of God.

On Sunday evenings we have the four houses crowded to excess; on Tuesday evenings we hold two meetings, one in the south-east of the ward, and one in the north-west.

On Wednesday evenings we hold two meetings, one in the south-west of the ward, and the other in the north-east; the houses crowded, and each person anxious to testify of the truth, and communion of the Spirit; and I feel assured, if the same course is adopted in all the wards, that we will feel such an out-pouring of the Spirit of God, as will overcome all desires that are not profitable to the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom, and will convince those who are honest in heart, in our midst, that we can govern and control every action of our lives, in wisdom, and make all things bend to the will and word of our heavenly Father.  It will convince the ungodly that the roots of evil can find no genial soil in this valley; and they will seek some other clime, where they can breathe with more ease, but with less purity.”  (“Homer,” undated from Deseret News; reprinted in MS 13(15):232, 1 Aug., 1851)

4 Sep.:  Ogden Stake priesthood numbers.

“Under this date Pres. Lorin Farr reported that Ogden Stake, Weber county, consisted of 32 High Priests, 54 Seventies, 31 Elders, 2 Priests, 5 Teachers, 3 Deacons and 569 members.  Total 695.”  (JH 4 Sep., 1851)

8 Sep.:  Traveling Bishops.

“President Young said, there would be travelling Bishops, to visit the Bishops in their respective wards, to see that they do their duty, adn if they do not do it, they will be removed out of their place and others put in; when Nathaniel H. Felt, was nominated as one of the travelling Presiding Bishops, under Bishop Edward Hunter–Carried.

John Banks was nominated as another of the travelling Bishops, and carried.”  (8 Sep., 1851, SL General Conference Minutes; MS 14(3):34-35, 1 Feb., 1852)

15 Sep.:  Who can ordain a Seventy?

“Who has a right to ordain to the office of a Seventy?

As the above question has been propounded to us, we propose to answer it in this public manner, that all who may be interested in it may have it at once.  It is the prerogative of the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, or the Presidency of the Quorums of Seventies, to ordain men to the office of a Seventy, if they shall be dictated by the Holy Ghost to do so; but it is not according to the order of the Church, for the Presidents, or Counsellors, of the different Quorums of Seventy, to ordain men into the several quorums, unless instructed to do so by some one of the above mentioned authorities.”  (Editorial [F. D. Richards, editor], MS 13(18):279, 15 Sep., 1851)

6 Oct.:  Appointment of Traveling Bishops.

“B Young said at our Conference we appointed Felt & Banks to be travelling Bishops to visit other Bishops to call them to an account & see that they are Faithful Bishops & you should feed the poor & do your duty untill the spirit of God rest upon you & you hold the keys of the Melechezedek priesthood of the Eternal God & the power of it rest upon you forever.  Brother Banks & Felt were Ordained under the Hands of the Presidency.

Afternoon Prayer by A Cordon.  H C. Kimball says A Cordon is nominated to be a travelling [Bishop].  Carried unanimously.  He was ordained under the Hands of HCK John & G A Smith.  Heber C Kimball sealed upon his head all the keys of the priesthood.  Said the power of God should rest upon his head to preside over other Bishops.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 6 Oct., 1851)

“Elders John Banks and Nathaniel H. Felt wer ordained traveling Bishops. . . .

In the afternoon meeting, commencing at 2 p.m. Elder Alfred Cordon offered the morning prayer and was ordained a traveling Bishop under the hands of Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith and John Smith.”  (General Conference Minutes, 6 Oct., 1851; JH 6 Oct., 1851)

6 Oct.:  1st Home Missionaries?

“Heber C. Kimball then made some remarks, Joseph Young, David Fullmer and Davis Pulsipher were called to travel as special missionaries in Utah Territory.”  (General Conference Minutes, 6 Oct., 1851; JH 6 Oct., 1851)

15 Nov.:  Records of re-baptisms.

“All Presidents, Bishops, and Elders, who have the records of Re-Baptisms in the Valley, are requested to return these records, to my office, by the first day of December next without fail.

W. Richards.

General Church Recorder’s Office,

G. S. L. City, Nov. 15, 1851.”

(DN 2(1):3, 15 Nov., 1851)

15 Nov.:  Duties of Elders.

“There are then the Elders, of whom there are many.  It is their business to preach the gospel in different parts of the earth where they are located, according to circumstances; but they are not bound, as the Seventies are, to go to different parts of the earth, only as their circumstances will admit.  But they have power to preach, to baptize, to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to attend to other ordinances of the Church.”  (John Taylor, from the “Etoile du Deseret,” reprinted in MS 13(22):337, 15 Nov., 1851)

15 Nov.:  Duties of Deacons.

“There are, then, Deacons, whose business it is to assist the teachers and attend to the temporal affairs of the branches where they may happen to be situated.”  (John Taylor, from the “Etoile du Deseret,” reprinted in MS 13(22):338, 15 Nov., 1851)

15 Nov.:  Duties of High Priests.

“There is then a Quorum of High Priests, of whom there are many.  It is their business generally to preside over Churches, and assist on councils as they may be directed, whether at home or abroad.  But a Seventy, or an Elder, can do this in their absence, or when others have not been appointed.”  (John Taylor, from the “Etoile du Deseret,” reprinted in MS 13(22):338, 15 Nov., 1851)

15 Nov.:  Duties of High Council.

“Having said so much on this subject, we will now speak of the regulations and organization of the Church in the Valley.  President Brigham Young is the President of the Church, and is assisted in his duties by two Counsellors before named.  There is another council there, called the High Council.  This is a council that sit from time to time, and investigate all important matters of difficulty that may exist between brethren.  These are selected from among the High Priests, and their matters are so arranged that one half plead for, and the other against the accused, so as to arrive at the merits of the case.  They are drawn by lot, but it is not known who are to be in favour of, or who opposed to, until the time of sitting, when it is decided by numbers; sometimes one, two, or three, speak on a side, and sometimes more, according to the magnitude of the case.  The president who is the senior among them, gives his decision.  The others are then called upon to vote, which is generally unanimous; if it is not, the persons not voting assign their reasons, but the majority decide.  The courts are governed, not according to any particular laws or technicalities, but according to evidence and the merits of the case.

If the parties are dissatisfied, which is not often the case, there is an appeal to the First Presidency.”  (John Taylor, from the “Etoile du Deseret,” reprinted in MS 13(22):338, 15 Nov., 1851)

15 Nov.:  Duties of Bishops.

“There is, then, an order called Bishops.  It is their business more particularly to attend to the temporal affairs of the Church, and counsel the people over whom they preside, for example: in the Great Salt Lake City, when I was there, it was divided into nineteen wards, over each of which there was a Bishop, each Bishop represented his own ward, and overlooked it and its affairs temporal–gave counsel to those who needed it, and acted as a father to the people.  Each Bishop has two Counsellors, who together form a court to decide upon all matters of small difference that may occur among his people.  He also makes arrangements for meetings, for public worship in his ward or precinct, and presides over the Priests, Teachers, and Deacons in his ward; and to see that the poor, the sick, the widow and the orphan are provided for.

There is then a presiding Bishop, whose business it is to preside over the others, and attend to the affairs of the whole Church assembled in Zion temporally.”  (John Taylor, from the “Etoile du Deseret,” reprinted in MS 13(22):338, 15 Nov., 1851)

15 Nov.:  Duties of “President over city” [Stake Pres.?].

“There is also a president over the city, who has two two counsellors.  It is his business to superintend all the affairs of the city and its environs: those affairs which do not come under the direction of the Bishop.  He presides over the HIgh Council in cases of difficulty, regulates the public meetings for the city, and attends to a variety of other affairs for the general public good.”  (John Taylor, from the “Etoile du Deseret,” reprinted in MS 13(22):338, 15 Nov., 1851)

15 Nov.:  Law of Common Consent: sustaining of officers.

“The First Presidency and the Twelve, are presented before all the Church in all parts of the world, for acceptance or rejection, twice every year in the several conferences; and any members of the Church has a perfect right to arise and testify, if he knows anything objectionable against these persons.  The above rule applies to all other officers, whether at home or abroad.  The only difference is, that they are more circumscribed in their limits, and are voted for by the people over whom they preside.  The High Council, Bishop, President of the stake, and his council, are voted for by the whole Church assembled in Zion, but not by any branches of the Church; while the presidents of conferences and branches are voted for by their conferences or branches, and not by the people in Zion.  When a member of the Church leaves England, the United States, or any other nation, for Zion, he takes a certificate with him of his membership, or the office he holds: until then, he is not known there.”  (John Taylor, from the “Etoile du Deseret,” reprinted in MS 13(22):338, 15 Nov., 1851)

30 Nov.:  Take High Priests to be acting AP.

“If there be no members of the Lesser Priesthood in the Wards to act as teachers take High Priests or seventies or any other wise man.”  (Bishops Meetings with Presiding Bishopric, Minutes, 1849-1884, entry for 30 Nov., 1851; quoted in Hartley, “Ordained and Acting Teachers in the Lesser Priesthood, 1851-1883,” BYU Studies 16(3):390, Spring, 1976)

3 Dec.:  Questions regarding lesser vs. greater priesthood

“Dear Sir:–There is a subject resting upon my mind, involving inquiries respecting the powers and authority of the greater and lesser priesthoods.

Query 1. The bishopric being an appendage of the Melchisedec priesthood, is the power and authority therein vested to administer the spiritual blessings of the church through the ordinances of the Melchisedec priesthood?  That is to say, has a bishop a right to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost by virtue of his office, if he be not also endowed with the authority and power of the Melchisedec priesthood?

Q. 2.  Again, I have heard it announced that a Melchisedec priest has not the power to give the Holy Ghost in the administration; but that it may be received in answer to prayer.

Q. 3.  Further, cannot an elder be clothed with the authority of the priesthood of the Son of God, and at the same time be destitute of the power? or does the power constitute the essence of that authority?

Q. 4.  I hear much of late in regard to the authority and consequence of the bishopric and lesser priesthood, (I also being a member of the same,) but is not a man greater in the sight of God who has attained to the power of magnifying the Melchisedec priesthood and administering spiritual blessings, than the individual who has only attained to the power of being faithful in the Aaronic priesthood? wherein consists the difference?  If you consider these inquiries worthy of notice, you will confer a favor on a 


Dec. 3, 1851.

Answer to Query 1.  No!  The bishopric pertains to, or rather, is the highest office in the Aaronic priesthood; the authority of which, is to administer in temporal things; take charge of the Lord’s store-house, which includes the administering the necessaries of life to the poor; preaching the gospel; baptizing believers; administering the sacrament; seeing that there are no divisions or difficulties in the church, and settling the same if there be any; or, in other words, acting as judge in Israel; being controlled, in all tings, by the Melchisedec priesthood; but the priesthood of Aaron has no authority to lay on hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, or confirmation in the church; nevertheless, when a son of Aaron is not found to hold the priesthood of his father, or the Aaronic priesthood, a man may be ordained a high priest after the order of Melchisedec, and then legally receive the bishopric and administer in all the ordinances pertaining thereunto; and this is the situation of all the bishops in the church, at the present time, so far as we know; there not having been found, as yet, the believing sons of Aaron, on whom the presidency of the church has seen fit to confer the bishopric; consequently, all bishops, now existing, having been first ordained high priests, have a right to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, not by virtue of their bishopric, but by virtue of the high priesthood conferred upon them before they received their bishopric; and the same principle is applicable to bishops’ counselors; who also should be high priests.

Ans. 2.  A Melchisedec priest is a high priest after the order of Melchisedec; or, in other words, a Melchisedec priest, and a high priest after the order of Melchisedec, are synonymous terms or names; meaning the same thing.  God has the right and power to confer the Holly Ghost in any way he pleases; but if he has promised to confer it in any way except by the laying on of the hands of those ordained to that authority, he has not seen fit to reveal it unto man.  Many, in different ages, have tried hard to get the Holy Ghost sealed upon them by prayer, without the laying on of hands; but, in the end, they will find that they labored in vain; if they have not already, they will hereafter meet with a disappointment that has no remedy.

Q. 3.  If an elder, who has no faith, should ordain a man who has not faith to be an elder, it might truly be said of both, whatever is not of faith is sin; and all such administrations had better be let alone before they are meddled with; and it mattereth not with us, whether it be said that the power constitutes the essence, or the essence constitutes the power, or both constitute each other, or both essence and power are one and the same, the two are alike to us, so far as we understand language, and if ‘Reader of the News’ or any body else, can show [several words cut off in microfilm copy] glad to look at it, provided our correspondent understands essence to mean a preparation from essential oil, as we do; for it always takes more or less oil to make essence, oil being the base, or foundation of the essence; but a man may receive all the forms and ceremonies of the AUTHORITY of an ordination, the same not being mixed with faith, in the giver or receiver; and he may be said to have the authority of the priesthood, but he will be destitute of the power or essence thereof; the essential oil will not be there; and this is the reason why so many elders have apostatized, and gone to hell; they lost the faith they had, and with it, the power or essence of their calling, and there was none of the essentil oil left in their lamps to save themselves, or light others to celestial glory.

Q. 4.  God is no respecter of persons; his children are equally dear to him; but he loves the one the most who regards his law the most perfectly; for his works’ sake and not for his person; and when he confers the higher offices of his priesthood upon men, he does it because he knows they have the ability and disposition to magnify that calling the most perfectly; and when they cease to act through death or apostasy, he confers the office on the next most capable, and he honors that man, according to the magnitude of his office, and the responsibilities thereunto attached, and the faithfulness with which he executes those responsibilities, regardless of the person who holds the office; therefore, the man who sweeps the kitchen, is just as good as the king on his throne, provided he honors the broom he wields, as highly as the king honors the crown he wears.

But in all governments there must be responsibility; and God honors the man on whom he has placed that responsibility, in proportion to the responsibility placed upon him, (provided he is equally faithful in his calling,) with others on whom he has placed a less responsibility; hence, if a man would be honored of God, he must honor his office; and all saints will honor him in like ratio; for where there is the most given, there is the most required; and that requirement faithfully executed, calls forth the greater honor, for the faithfulness of the execution and not for the person, for God is no respecter of persons; therefore, let no man strive who should be the greatest only by his good works, that he may thereby become Godlike, even like a little child.

The Melchisedec priesthood administers in spiritual, and the Aaronic in temporal things.  For further particulars, we refer the reader to Life of Joseph Smith, Revelation, 6th No. 2d Vol. News, and Doctrine and Covenants.”  (DN 24 Jan., 1852)

4 Dec.:  Weekly meetings of 27th quorum of 70.

“Editor of the News–Sir:–I feel it a privilege to have the liberty of writing for your valuable paper, an account of the 27 Quorum of Seventies, over which I have the honor of being counted as one of the presidents.

At the last October Conference, the Presidency of the several Quorums were invited to give out appointments, calling the members of their several Quorums together.  I accordingly gave out one for the members of the 27th Quorum to meet at my house, and I am happy to report that we have kept up our appointments regularly, every Wednesday evening to this date.  Those of the brethren who meet with us, feel that the Spirit of God is blessing us, and we separate at night rejoicing in the privileges granted, giving food for meditation, for the week to come, and a continual looking for of blessings ahead.  Some of the brethren come a distance of eight miles to enjoy their privileges, and feel it a pleasure to ride home in the still hours of night enjoying peaceful reflections, and the comfortings of the Holy Spirit.

It may be well to give a report of the location of the several members, so far as we have obtained a knowledge of the same.

[15 in S.L. County; 4 in Weber Co.; 1 in Davis Co.; 6 in Utah Co.; 4 in Iron Co.; 1 in Los Angeles; 10 in Iowa; 2 in St. Louis; 1 on a mission to Scotland; 1 on a mission to the Sandwich Islands; 1 “with Elder Parley P. Pratt”; 1 on a mission to New York; 23 named but unaccounted for.  Of the presidents, 4 in S.L. County; 1 in Weber Co.; 1 in Iowa.]

Since the cruel persecutions which drove the saints from their Temple in Nauvoo, and scattered them to the four winds for safety, many of the above have not met with us.  We now call upon them to come home, to again enjoy the blessings of our Father’s House, and prepare themselves by receiving the necessary instructions to qualify them for usefulness in the vineyard of our Lord, and may the peace and blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ, be and remain with you forever, is the prayer of your brother in the Gospel of Peace.

Thomas Bullock.

G.S.L. City, Dec. 4, 1851.

{The above example is worthy of imitation by all the Quorums in the Church.–Ed.}”  (DN 27 Dec., 1851)

15 Dec.:  Duties of Elders, Priests, Teachers, Deacons.

“So great has been the call for Elders to carry the Gospel into new places, and so general and powerful have been the efforts of the Church to add to their numbers, that the duties of the Priests, Teachers, and Deacons–the standing ministry to the Church–have in a measure been overlooked.  While members have been added by thousands, the Church itself has lacked that diligent, faithful instruction in daily, practical duty, which the laws and ordinances of the Church contemplate.  This is mainly accounted for by the fact, that the numerous calls for Elders hav induced the ordination of faithful Priests to that office.  The faithful Teachers has been promoted to the office of Priest, and the Deacon who magnified his calling, has been ordained a Teacher; and thus have these standing officers in the Church–the main helps in government–been rendered so transitory as to become measurably ineffectual in their callings, which has caused them to be lightly esteemed in many instances.

What is the ostensible object of an person in joining the Church of Christ?  Is it not that their sins may be washed away by baptism, that they may obtain the aid of the various officers and ordinances of the Church, to enable them to overcome their evil propensities, and lay aside the weights and sins that easily beset them; that they may, through the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the Truth, be cleansed and perfected from all their sins?  Most certainly! this is the great object of a membership in the Church of Christ; and most effectually has kind heaven provided for this, by instituting the offices of a Priest, Teacher, and Deacon, in the Church.

The Priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, baptize, administer the sacrament, visit the house of each member, exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties.

The Teacher’s duty is to watch over the Church always, to be with and strengthen them, to see that there is no iniquity in the Church,–neither hardness with each other,–neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking,–to see that the Church meet together often, and that all the members do their duty.

The Deacon is to assist the Teacher in all his duties, if occasion requires.”  (F. D. Richards, “Epistle to the Saints Comprising the British Conferences,” MS 13(24):370, 15 Dec., 1851)

15 Dec.:  Priority of ordained Teachers.

“Seeing, then, that the life, the health, the stability, the energy, and the purity of the Church are, to so great an extent, resultant from a faithful performance of the duties of these offices, but especially those of the Teacher; it is highly important that these officers should be humble, faithful men, full of the Holy Ghost and good works; men of experience in the knowledge and power of God; men who are apt to teach by their example, as well as by precept, the care-worn sons of men, how they may work out their salvation, and overcome the evils that are in the world.

The Presidents of Branches and Conferences, and particularly the American brethren, are instructed to give their attention to this subject; let good and faithful men be selected from among the Branches, men of good reputation, of exemplary conduct, such as rule well in their own houses, men of experience in the work of God, men of sound minds; if they are men of years, and are parents, so much the better, that they may teach and be honored as fathers, that their presence and their counsels may command reverence in the Church of God; and if the persons who are best adapted to the performance of these important duties are Elders, no matter, let them be set apart to the higher and more important duty of instructing the Saints.

It requires but little experience in the work, comparatively, to preach and defend the first principles of the Gospel successfully before the world; but to be an able minister to the Saints requires a man skilled in the words of life, full of faith, and the spirit of revelation.

Let no man despise this office, but let him that is wise honor the calling, and add grace unto it, that while the Gospel is preached with diligence unto the congregations of unbelievers, the Saints may get their portion of meat in due season.”  (F. D. Richards, “Epistle to the Saints Comprising the British Conferences,” MS 13(24):371, 15 Dec., 1851)

21 Dec.:  Markham elected president of Spanish Fork Branch

“December 21, 1851, a branch of the church was organized at Spanish Fork, Utah county, by electing Stephen Markham President, who chose John Holt and John H. Redd for his counsellors; John H. Redd, Clerk of the branch, and William Pace, Bishop; John Berry and Lauren Roundy his counsellors.”  (DN 24 Jan., 1852)

27 Dec.:  Conditional nature of promised blessings.

“In revising the Life of Joseph, published in this paper, the question so often asked by the saints presented itself; to wit, what shall we do with these promises, there are no conditions in the blessings given to the Twelve, they were blessed to do a great work even to the coming of Christ, and several have apostatized; how shall we account for these failures?

All blessings promised by the Priesthood, which has come down from the heavens, are conditional, no matter whether expressed or implied; conditions are often spoken in blessings, which are not written, and for a good reason; the church has not always been blessed with ready writers, they could not write all that was spoken, and being obliged to leave a part unwritten, the writers have left that portion which they truloy understood to be universally acknowledged by the Priesthood, namely, that faithfulness on the part of the receiver of blessings was requisite to ensure the blessings promised.

Let any man who has the spirit of truth abiding in him read all we have published in this paper, and he will see the conditions in President Cowdery’s communication to Parley P. Pratt, and that these conditions were necessary for him to observe, or else he was liable to lose his crown, and his office be taken and given to another; and the same conditions were equally applicable to all the quorum of the Twelve Apostles, whether expressed or not, they were implied to all; and whether written or not it mattereth not, they were understood if they were not spoken; and this is the case with all blessings through the Priesthood to all saints, except the eternal decrees of the Father, made manifest through the Priesthood by special revelation, with which the present generation has very little to do, and consequently need give themselves no trouble concerning it, they will be sure to know it when it comes.

Many have wondered why their friends have been cut off, and laid in their graves, when it was said in their Patriarchal blessing they should live to the coming of Christ, if they continued faithful; but this brings us particularly to the principle of faith, which is largely treated of in the Doctrine and Covenants, and to which we refer the saints for information, for the present, which read and be wise.”  (DN 27 Dec., 1851)

ca. 1851:  I suggested a better man for bishop.

“I was now called by the Presidency, to be ordained Bishop of the 16th Ward but as I suggested Brother Shadrach Roundy as an older and better man, he was ordained.”  (Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review, n.p., n.d.; pp. 132-133)