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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1853

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1853.” You can view other years here.

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1853:    1 Jan.:  Forthcoming Priesthood reorganization?

“The development, in April next, of the united Councils of the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, and the various Quorums of the Priesthood in Zion, will be the most important, the distinguishing event of the year 1853.”  (“Address on the Opening of the New Year,” [no author noted], MS 15(1):2, 1 Jan., 1853)

11 Feb.:  Elders cursed the Mayor; his fingers rotted off.

“[Report of missionaries to West Indies] The Elders cursed the Mayor, Hector michell, whose duty it was to have protected them in their person and position as ministers, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Subsequently they learned that the mayor’s toes and fingers rotted off and that he soon died with the rot and scabs.”  (Report of Aaron F. Farr, JH 11 Feb., 1853)

12 Feb.:  MP restored by Peter, James and John.

“John the Baptist came forth in this the dispensation of the fulness of times in the capacity of a ministering angel, and laid his hands upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and said, ‘Upon you my brethren, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, * * * and this shall never be taken from off the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering in righteousness.’  But as this Priesthood cannot administer all the ordinances of God’s kingdom, it was necessary for the Melchizedec Priesthood to be brought back also, which was done by Peter, James and John, who conferred it upon others, so that it was not derived from a corupt source, through popes and bishops in apostate and corrupt Rome, but by revelation direct from the eternal worlds.”  (Elder Thomas James Bryceson, “Restoration of the Priesthood,” MS 15(7):104, 12 Feb., 1853)

19 Feb.:  Work on 70s hall suspended.

“To The Seventies.

I wish to say to the Seventies, that owing to the urgent press of public business, and the immense amount of labor required; making improvements, fencing, building houses, and barns in all parts of the Territory, I have determined to suspend operations on the Seventies’ Hall for the present.

As there is a large quantity of lumber in the Cottonwood Kanyon, where the mill is located, for the benefit of that building, I still wish to have that work go on, the road made, and perhaps another mill built, the lumber will be essential, and if it could be obtained now, would become advantageous to the Temple, of not to the Hall.

I propose to the Seventies and all others, who now do, or may hold shares in the Hall, that whatever amount they pay on their shares, to the Tithing Office for the immediate use of the Temple, or otherwise, will be credited to the Hall, and expended on the erection of that building, as soon as circumstances will permit; also lumber, or any other material received from that source, will be so credited, and repaid.

It is my intention, to prosecute the work of the wall around the Temple Block, and the foundation for the Temple, as rapidly as possible; and to this end, I wish to concentrate as much as possible the public labor and means.  The Hall will also be erected and completed in good time; but all things in their proper order, and wisdom seems to dictate that this is the course to pursue at present.

Brigham Young

Feb. 19.”

(DN 19 Mar., 1853)

4 Apr.:  P, J & J restored Apostleship.

“Who ordained Joseph the Prophet and his fellow servant to the preparatory priesthood, to baptize for remission of sins?  John the Baptist, who had been beheaded.  Who ordained our first founders to the apostleship, to hold the keys of the kingdom of God, in these the times of restoration?  Peter, James, and John, from the eternal world.”  (Parley P. Pratt, 4 Apr., 1853; DN 16 Apr., 1853)

6 Apr.:  Concerning the Apostleship.

“Let me ask the High Priests’ Quorum a question, in order to bring out the thing I wish to lay before you.  I ask the High Priests, from whence does the Apostleship grow?  Does it grow out of the High Priesthood?  I will venture to say, if I was not here to-day, and this question was proposed for debate, you would find the Elders in this congregation, perhaps, nearly equally divided on the point.  There would be as many High Priests to say the Apostleship grows out of the High Priesthood, as there would to say it does not.  Let me answer the question.  Now recollect that the High Priesthood, and the Lesser Priesthood, and all the Priesthood there is, are combined, centered in, composed of, and circumscribed by, the Apostleship.  Brethren, did you ever know that before?  If you had read that book attentively, [pointing to the Book of Covenants,] it would have told you the story as I am now telling it to you, yet the High Priests did not know it.

I speak thus to show you the order of the Priesthood.  We will not commence with the Apostleship, where Joseph commenced.  Joseph was ordained an Apostle–that you can read and understand.  After he was ordained to this office, then he had the right to organize and build up the kingdom of God, for he had committed unto him the keys of the Priesthood, which is after the order of Melchisedec–the High Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God.  And this, remember, by being ordained an Apostle.

Could he have built up the Kingdom of God, without first being an Apostle?  No, he never could.  The keys of the eternal Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God, are comprehended by being an Apostle.  All the Priesthood, all the keys, all the gifts, all the endowments, and everything preparatory to entering into the presence of the Father and of the Son, are in, composed of, circumscribed by, or I might say incorporated within the circumference of, the Apostleship.

Now who do we set, in the first place, to lay the Chief, the South East, Corner Stone–the corner from whence light emanates to illuminate the whole fabric that is to be lighted?  We begin with the First Presidency, with the Apostleship, for Joseph commenced, always, with the keys of the Apostleship, and he, by the voice of the people, presiding over the whole community of Latter-day Saints, officiated in the Apostleship, as the first President.

What comes next in the Church?  I will now refer you directly to the building up of the Kingdom of God in the last days.  What do we see next?  Joseph as an Apostle of the Lamb, with the keys of the eteranl Priesthood committed unto him by Peter, James and John.  What for?  To build up the Kingdom of God on the earth.  Next grows out an office pertaining to the temporal affairs of this Kingdom, the keys of which are committed to man on the earth, preparatory to its establishment, preparatory to its spreading, growing, increasing, and prospering among the nations.  The next step we see taken by the Lord, is to provide for the body, therefore some person must be appointed to fill this office, to stand side by side with this Apostle, this first President.  Who was it?  It was not brother Hunter.  Who was it?  It was brother Partridge.  We see brother Partridge was called to fill that place before there was an Elders’ Quorum, or a High Priests’ Quorum, in existence, yea, before the thing was talked of, and also before the Twelve Apostles were chosen, not, however, before the revelation was given to signify there would be such a Quorum.

We see this Apostle with the keys of the Priesthood to build up the Kingdom, to give light to those who were in darkness, to succor those who were feeble, to sustain the trembling, to administer salvation to the penitent, and to be a stay and a staff to those who were ready to fall.  We see this gigantic Apostle thus standing forth, clothed with the authority of heaven, to build up His cause on the earth.  Him the Lord told to call a Bishop.  So the Bishop was the next standing authority in the Kingdom of God; therefore we set the Bishop at the second corner of the building.”  (Brigham Young, 6 Apr., 1853; JD 1:134-135)

6 Apr.:  Must an Apostle first be a High Priest?

“Now will it cause some of you to marvel that I was not ordained a High Priest before I was ordained an Apostle?  Brother Kimball and myself were never ordained High Priests.  How wonderful!  I was going to say how little some of the brethren understood the Priesthood, after the Twelve were called.  In our early career in this Church, on one occasion, in one of our Councils, we were telling about some of the Twelve wanting to ordain us High Priests, and what I said to brother Patten when he wanted to ordain me in York State: said I, brother Patten, wait until I can lift my hand to heaven and say, I have magnified the office of an Elder.  After our conversation was over in the Council, some of the brethren began to query, and said we ought to be ordained High Priests; at the same time I did not consider that an Apostle needed to be ordained a High Priest, an Elder, or a Teacher.  I did not express my views on the subject, at that time, but thought I would hear what brother Joseph would say about it.  It was William E. McLellin who told Joseph, that I and Heber were not ordained High Priests, and wanted to know if it should not be done.  Said Joseph, ‘Will you insult the Priesthood?  Is that all the knowledge you have of the office of an Apostle?  Do you not know that the man who receives the Apostleship, receives all the keys that ever were, or that can be, conferred upon mortal man?  What are you talking about?  I am astonished!’  Nothing more was said about it.”  (Brigham Young, 6 Apr., 1853; JD 1:136-137)

6 Apr.:  P, J & J gave Joseph Apostleship before 6 Apr ’30

“I know that Joseph received his Apostleship from Peter, James, and John, before a revelation on the subject was printed, and he never had a right to organize a Church before he was an Apostle.

I have tried to shew you, brethren, as briefly as possible, the order of the Priesthood.  When a man is ordained to be an Apostle, his Priesthood is without beginning of days, or end of life, like the Priesthood of Melchisedec; for it was his Priesthood that was spoken of in this language, and not the man.”  (Brigham Young, 6 Apr., 1853; JD 1:137)

“Who ordained Joseph the Prophet, and his fellow-servant, to the preparatory Priesthood, to baptize for remission of sins?  John the Baptist, who had been beheaded!  Who ordained our first founders to the Apostleship, to hold the keys of the kingdom of God, in these the times of restoration?  Peter, James and John, from the eternal world.  Who instructed him in the mysteries of the Kingdom, and in all things pertaining to Priesthood, law, philosophy, sacred architecture, ordinances, sealings, anointings, baptisms for the dead, and in the mysteries of the first, second, and third heavens, many of which are unlawfukl to utter?  Angels and spirits from the eternal worlds.

Who revealed to him the plan of redemption, and of exaltation for the dead who had died withoiut the Gospel? and the keys and preparations necessary for holy and perpetual converse with Jesus Christ, and with the spirits of just men made perfect, and with the general assembly and Church of the first-born, in the holy of holies?  Those from the dead!

Again–How do the Saints expect the necessary information by which to complete the ministrations for the salvation and exaltation of their friends who have died?

By one holding the keys of the oracles of God, as a medium through which the living can hear from the dead.

Shall we, then, deny the principle, the philosophy, the fact of communication between worlds?  No! verily no!”  (Parley P. Pratt, 6 Apr., 1853; JD 2:44)

7 Apr.:  Most aged man is president of the High Council.

“President YOUNG gave notice to all the High Councils, that when a High Council is organized in any Stake, the most aged man is the President.”  (7 Apr., 1853; General Conference Minutes; MS 15(30):492, 23 Jul., 1853)

8 Apr.:  What is Priesthood?

“The question, ‘What is Priesthood?’ has often been asked me.  I answer, it is the rule and government of God, whether on earth, or in the heavens; and it is the only legitimate power, the only authority that is acknowledged by Him to rule and regulate the affairs of His kingdom.  When every wrong thing shall be put right, and all usurpers shall be put down, when he whose right it is to reign shall take the dominion, then nothing but the Priesthood will bear rule; it alone will sway the sceptre of authority in heaven and on earth, for this is the legitimacy of God. . . .

The Priesthood as it exists on the earth is a pattern of things in heaven.  As I said in a former part of this discourse, Priesthood is legitimate rule, whether on earth or in heaven.  When we have the true Priesthood on earth, we take it with us into the heavens; it changes not, but continues the same in the eternal world.”  (John Taylor, 8 Apr., 1853; JD 1:224, 231-232)

10 Apr.:  Rights of Priesthood and Lineage of Israel.

“Knowing of the covenants and promises made to the fathers, as I now know them, and the rights of heirship to the Priesthood, as manifested in the election of God, I would never receive any man as an Apostle or a Priest, holding the keys of restoration, to bless the nations, while he claimed to be of any other lineage than Israel.”  (Parley P. Pratt, 10 Apr., 1853; JD 1:262)

11 May:  Moroni told Joseph about priesthood in 1820.

“As Elder D. Carn requested of me, when I was leaving him, that I should give you a sketch of my labours in Germany, under his directions, I hereby comply with his request. . . .

The next day I went to Meiningen, two miles distant.  When I got there the authorities wished to see me.  I found two preachers sitting among them.  The Ferwaltingsomptman asked me in what year Smith saw the angel.  I said that Joseph Smith was born in 1805, that he was fifteen years old when he first saw the angel, which would be in the year 1820.  I told them the circumstances of Joseph Smith’s revelation, that the angel told him that all the religious societies were teaching incorrect doctrines, and that those societies had no true Priesthood.”  (J. F. Secrist to S. W. Richards [MS Editor], 11 May, 1853; MS 15(23):364, 4 Jun., 1853)

14 May:  Cut off for selling guns to indians.

“We have heard that Bishop Clark, of Grantsville, Tooele, has cut off from the church, all brethren who have been selling guns, and ammunition to the Indians.  For the credit of the Bishop, we hope it is true; and if all Bishops would do their duty, in like manner, and then hand the culprits over to the common law officers, to be fined and imprisoned, we should soon hear of less wickedness of the kind.”  (Editorial, DN 14 May, 1853)

21 May:  Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons.


That respect and deference is not always paid to the lower Priesthood, amongst the Saints, that ought to be.  The Priests, the Teachers, and the Deacons, in some instances, are thought little of, whilst an Elder, a Seventy, or an Apostle, is, in comparison, esteemed above measure.  Some members seem to think that the three lowest offices of the Priesthood, and especially the two lowest, are scarcely worth the having, whilst the office of an Elder is a darling object of ambition.  It is not right to think so.  To be ambitious to do good, is good; and to be ambitious to obtain great power to do great good, is better still.  But it is not right to despise a small power, and be at the same time ambitious of obtaining a greater one, neither is such a course the sure way to obtain the greater power.  On the contrary, when we see a man treating the least power or office with disdain, whilst he is seeking after a superior power or office, or even whilst he is rendering honour to a superior power or office, we begin to think it is high time to look after the motives of that man.  His heart is not right with God.  He is seeking power not for the glory of God and the salvation of the human family, but for the aggrandizement of his own dear self.  If he obtain the power he desires, he may run amazingly well for a time, and do a great amount of apparent good, in defending the principles of truth, and convincing those who may oppose, but wherever he goes, he will, though unwittingly, imbue those under his influence, with this same ambitious and proud spirit, which will germinate and expand, and thereby cause much trouble and unhappiness to his co-workers; and much of the fruits of his ambitious zeal will most likely need ‘converting again.’  But this is not all.  His great zeal will flag, as his coveted power satiates him, and by and bye he will count the superior power he has obtained, as a light thin, whilst his still ambitious eye catches a higher eminence in the scale of authority, and then that must be obtained, though all else be sacrificed for it.  Such a man is never satisfied.

Let us look to our great Master–the Saviour–what did he say upon these matters?  He anathematized the Scribes and Pharisees because they loved ‘the upper-most rooms at feasts, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi.’  He said to his disciples–‘He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted!’

And what saith the Apostle?  When Christ ‘ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.’  What gifts did he give unto men?  He gave the fulness of the Holy Priesthood, which embraces every office and authority in the Church, from Apostles to Deacons.  What were these given for?  ‘For the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.’  Can any of these offices be dispensed with, in the Church?  It is reflecting upon the wisdom of Jehovah, to ask the question.  If they could, would not an all-wise God stand charged with incompetency of judgment, before His creatures?  And who can charge God with folly, or say unto Him, Why doest thou so?  Hear the Apostle again–‘For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the bodyk, is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?  If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  But now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; and those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely parts have no need, but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.’

Here the Church of Christ is likened unto a human body.  All the members of the human body are necessary to its perfect action, and when deprived of many it becomes lifeless.  So with the Church of Christ–every grade of office in the Holy Priesthood is essential to its perfect action.  Take away but one of the lowest offices from the Priesthood, and the Church will suffer, the ‘work of the ministry’ will not be carried on so effectively, the Saints will make slower advances towards perfection.  The Church may have life when deprived of an office of the Priesthood, but the appearance of the Church will be injured, and its working marred.  Men might think we could do without some of these offices, and they have in ages past dispensed with them, but what is the state of the earth, in consequence?  Darkness covers the face of the earth, and gross darkness envelopes the minds of the people–the blind lead the blind, and both fall together into the ditch.  And have the Saints of the present day any security of the favour of heaven, if they treat lightly any member of the Holy Priesthood?  Most assuredly they have not, and those who do so will be cut off, unless they repent and humble themselves, for God is no respecter of persons.

When the Apostles of old first appointed Deacons, they chose ‘men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom,’  Saint Paul says, ‘Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.  And let these also first be proved, then let them use the office of a Deacon, being found blameless.’  They were also required to rule ‘their children and their own houses well.’  The ancient Apostles did not lightly esteem the office of Deacon–the lowest office in the Holy Priesthood.  An office, the candidates for which require such eminent qualifications as the above, must not with impunity be disparagingly spoken of by any man, whatever his station in the Church or out.  Saint Paul assigns a reason for writing as above to Timothy–‘that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.’

But to understand more fully the honour that is due to these lower members of the Priesthood, we will look at the nature of their duties in the Church.  In the Doctrine and Covenants, section ii., paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 11, the duties of the Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, are set forth plainly as follows–

An Apostle is an Elder, and it is his calling to baptize and to ordain other Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, and to administer bread and wine–the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ, and to confirm those who are baptized into the Church, by the laying on of the hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the Scriptures; and to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the Church; and to confirm the Church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost, and to take the lead of all meetings.

The Elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.

The Priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the Sacrament, and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties; and he may also ordain other Priests, Teachers, and Deacons.  And he is to take the lead of meetings when there is no Elder present; but when there is an Elder present, he is only to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and visit the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties.  In all these duties the Priest is to assist the Elder if occasion requires.

The Teacher’s duty is to watch over the Church always, and be with and strengthen them, and see that there is no iniquity in the Church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking; and see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty; and he is to take the lead of meetings in the absence of the Elder or Priest, and is to be assisted always, in all his duties in the Church, by the Deacons, if occasion requires; but neither Teachers nor Deacons have authority to baptize, administer the Sacrament, or lay on hands; they are, however, to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ.

From the above we can obtain a pretty fair idea of the duties of the four offices named.  An Elder’s duties, over and above a Priest’s, are to lay on hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, to confirm the Church by the laying on of hands, or in other words to administer in all spiritual blessings, whether to children or adults.  This is a great office, and requires great wisdom and faith, especially in ministering the blessings of the Holy Ghost, that the new member who has received the baptism of water, may receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Spirit; that little children may receive blessings in the name of Jesus Christ; that, when necessary, adults may receive blessing and strength under the Elder’s hands; that the sick and the afflicted may receive the blessings of health, strength, and soundness, through the anointing of oil and the prayer of faith; and that the meetings of the Saints may ever be under the direction of the Spirit of God.

The Elder, being higher in office than the Priest, Teacher, or Deacon, has authority to act in all the duties which pertain to these offices, but his own duties being so onerous, the lower officers cannot be dispensed with.  One of the most important duties of a Priest is, to ‘visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties.’

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

The Deacon’s duty is to assist the Teacher, and it generally happens that the Deacon’s chief duties are to attend to the temporal and physical well being and comfort of the Church.

It will be understood that Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, all have authority to privately visit the members of the Church, and instruct them in all their duties.  But as the Elders and Priests are expected, when called upon, to travel, preach the Gospel, baptize, &c., the Teachers and Deacons, not being under the same responsibility to do this, are ‘appointed to watch over the Church, to be standing ministers unto the Church.’–Doc. and Cov., sec. iv., par. 22.  As the duties of the Elder are more numerous than those of the Priest, it generally occurs that the Priest has considerable time for the purpose of watching over and visiting the members of the Church, but he may not have so much time for this as the Teacher, and as the Deacon is generally charged with the care of the physical and temporal comfort of the Church, especially in their assemblies, it naturally follows that the chief burden of visiting, watching over, and teaching the Saints, lies on the Teacher.  Hence the revelation says that the Teacher is ‘to watch over the Church always, and be with and strengthen them.’

We now can see that the offices of Teacher and Deacon, the lowest in the Priesthood, are offices of very great responsibility, and of vital importance to the Church.  The Apostle says–‘They that have used the office of a Deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.’  So we believe, and we will say further–they that have used the office of a Teacher well, purchase to themselves a higher degree, and are calculated to honour any office to which they may be called in the Church.  Most young men can win over to themselves the affections of some young woman, but a far less proportion of young men, when they assume the character of husband, can increase or even retain the affections of the young woman, which affections they so easily won.  So it is in the Church.  Most of the Priesthood can win some over to a love of and an obedience to the first principles of the Gospel, but fewer of the Priesthood are qualified to increase the love of the Saints to the Gospel, or even to retain it so warm as at first.  It is easier to conquer than to govern.  There are more conquerors than Patriarchs in the world.  The conqueror subdues by might.  The Patriarch governs by love.  And the Teachers have to act in many of the duties of a Patriarch, for they have to act as fathers to the Saints.  And we would say, as far as practicable let those who are ordained Teachers, be men of wisdom and experience, elderly men, and fathers of families, that have the love, respect, and confidence of the Saints, and that understand, better than young men, the thousand-and-one varying circumstances in which the different members of a family may be placed.  Such men will be more thoroughly qualified to appreciate the conditions of differing parties, and to reconcile the parties, and also to give a word in season, whether of council, exhortation, or reproof.

Elder Orson Pratt, in Star, Vol. xii., No. 4, pages 58, 59, says, 

‘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 the use of every other thing that is calculated to defile or demoralize 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 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 give them {the Saints} 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 heartily indorse [sic] the above, and we will say that in many cases the Priests and Teachers visit the Saints weekly, and much benefit is derived from it by the Church.  And, indeed, it seems that a week is quite long enough for the Teacher to be away from the Saints.  Not that they have it in their hearts to work unrighteousness, but in these old countries there are so many temptations for Saints, so many things to draw their attention from the work of God, and oftentimes so many things bearing heavily upon them, that they are apt to grow cold in their spirits, and slack in their attendance on the ordinances of the Lord.  And when the things that pertain to salvation are neglected, Saints become a prey to every wind that blows, they are unable to detect the wiles of Satan, to resist his temptations to evil, or to discern the vileness of the apostate’s tongue, and the sophistry of his fair and flattering speech.

A word upon visiting and teaching the Saints.  When the Priests and Teachers visit the Saints, that is, officially, they should as far as possible, see all the members of each family, and inquire into their several states and conditions, giving counsel and instruction as their varied circumstances may require, praying with and for them, reconciling all differences, removing all hard and unpleasant feelings, inspiring the Saints with cheerfulness, courage, and boldness, exhorting them to faithfulness in the discharge of all duties, whether public or private, expounding to them any point of doctrine which may seem a stumbling-block to them, and, in short, doing everything that the Spirit may suggest to save them from transgression and to cause them to persevere in the work of God, that they may ultimately be exalted in His presence.  In their official visits, let not the officers spend their time in frivolous, common-place conversation, about the weather, the crops, politics, trade, &c., further than the great object of visiting–the temporal and spiritual welfare of the Saints, may demand.  But let their time be occupied in their real duties.  Then will the Saints realize the benefit which they need.

The Saints should ever honour the Priesthood.  When the visiting officers enter a house, the head of that house should immediately show his respect to them by causing his family to lay aside, as far as they consistently can, any business they may be engaged in, and by assembling them together to receive those instructions the officers may be inspired to impart unto them.  When the head of a family does not do this, the officers should request him to do it.  But we trust there are few Saints who are heads of families, who would need requesting to do this.  If there be any, such persons have received from the Lord blessings they do not appreciate–even their families.

There is not always that frankness, familiarity, and confidence manifested between the visiting officers and the Saints, that ought to be manifested.  If the officers are to benefit the Saints when the Saints are in trying circumstances, the officers must make themselves acquainted with those circumstances.  And in order to do this the officers should be free in asking of the matters, and the Saints free in unfolding them.  Undoubtedly this would induce many delicate disclosures, and the officers would require great prudence and much of the Holy Spirit that they might wisely investigate and righteously adjust such cases.  But what do the officers interpose in such cases for?  Merely to probe the wounds, that they may apply the balm that will heal them up, instead of their being allowed to fester and break out, in public, to the shame, confusion, and everlasting injury of all concerned.

It may be said that, by adopting the above course, facts and circumstances concerning certain members of the Church may be revealed to the Priests and Teachers which they might communicate to other members, and thus great injury and mischief be done.  Priests and Teachers might do so, but any Priest or Teacher that so far forgot the respect due to his office as to act so foolishly, would deserve to have his office taken from him, for he would thereby become not a peacemaker, but a mischief-maker–he would become an enemy to his brethren and sisters, and an enemy to his God.  No Priest or Teacher has any shadow of right to betray the confidence reposed in him by virtue of his office.  A tatler or busybody will do more harm than good in visiting the Saints.  Those who are appointed to visit, should in all cases of difference be swift to hear, slow to speak–when they do speak, the law of kindness should be on their tongues, charity, that hides a multitude of sins, and saves souls from death, should be manifest in their discourse.  Most people understand the principle on which railway car ‘buffers’ are constructed–receiving shocks but transmitting none.  The Priests and Teachers should act on this principle.  Their minds should be ready to receive all the shocks which a relation of grievances can occasion, but they should not transmit the shocks to others.

Priests and Teachers can exert a vast influence for the well-being and stability of the Church.  The higher officers lay down principles for the Saints to walk by, the Priests and Teachers show the Saints how they can develop those principles in their daily walk and conduct, and how they can apply them to advantage in the varied circumstances of life.  Is a member in the back ground, absenting himself from the assemblies of the Saints?  The Teacher seeks him, and represents the true condition he is in, and persuades him to retrace his steps, and recover his lost position.  Were there no Teacher, that soul might be lost.  Does a Saint stumble at an item of doctrine, until his mind is bewildered?  The Teacher expounds the doctrine to his understanding, and restores his mind to its proper balance.  Is a Saint overcome in a fault, and his mind darkened?  The Teacher shows him that it is his duty to acknowledge his fault, and seek forgiveness of those concerned.  Is a member or even an officer neglecting his duty?  The Teacher strives to bring him up to working order again.  Have two or more Saints fallen into contentions?  Like a father do the Teachers reprove the transgressing, pacify the excited, and reconcile the belligerent, parties.

When the Holy Priesthood in all its members, is in full and healthy operation, it is an Almighty instrument on the earth, for the ‘work of the ministry, and the perfecting of the Saints,’ yea, for the salvation of the human race.  But every member is necessary for this purpose, not one can be dispensed with, no, not one.  Those members which some may feel disposed to lightly esteem, are absolutely necessary to maintain the Church of Christ in a healthy state.  If any Saints are disposed to speak evil of dignities or powers, however humble those dignities or powers may be, let such Saints beware, or their haughty spirits will meet a fall.

The great difference between the Church of Christ and the Churches of men, lies in the potency and efficiency of the Holy Priesthood, which is given to the former.  The churches of men have Priesthoods, but they are spurious ones.  Men have turned away from themselves the power of the Holy Priesthood of the Son of God, because they sought to pervert its offices, or do away with some of them.  But now it is restored again to the earth, ought not the Saints to prize it as a long-lost, precious treasure, that could not be purchased at any price?  They ought, and if they do, they will honour the humblest individual that has it in his possession.”  (Unsigned lead article, MS 15(21):321-326, 21 May, 1853 [Samuel W. Richards was MS editor at this time])

30 Jun.:  Roster of British officers.

Branches:  737

Seventies:  40

High Priests:  10

Elders:  2578

Priests:  1854

Teachers:  1416

Deacons:  834

Total Members:  30,690

(30 Jun., 1853; MS 15(31):510, 30 Jul., 1853)

“The statistical report of the British mission for the half year ending June 30, 1853, showed 53 conferences, 737 branches, 40 Seventies, 10 High Priests, 2578 Elders, 1854 Priests, 1416 Teachers, 834 Deacons, 1776 excommunicated, 274 dead, 1722 emigrated, 2601 baptized, total members and officers, 30,690.”  (JH 30 Jun., 1853)

24 Jul.:  Peter, James, John and the MP.

“. . . and by that means find out that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of the Lord, that an angel from heaven administered to him, that the Latter-day Saints have got the true Gospel, that John the Baptist came to Joseph Smith and committed to him the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood; and that Peter, James and John also came to him, and gave him the keys of the Melchisedek Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God.”  (Brigham Young, 24 Jul., 1853; JD 1:244)

6 Oct.:  Power to quorums following endowment in Nauvoo.

“You, brethren, who received your blessings and endowments in the temple that was built in Nauvoo, have been made witnesses of the wisdom and power that have gone forth to the nations of the earth from that place, and of the power that was realized in the quorums of the priesthood; no tide of oppression could be raised powerful enough to bear down the authorities of God’s kingdom; [Compare to the rhetoric following the Manifesto.] we see the wicked who came to rule us turned back to their own place, and the Priesthood appears greater than the powers of earth.  The powers of the Priesthood must be made manifest before the eyes of all the world, and become transcendently above every other influence.”  (Franklin D. Richards, 6 Oct., 1853; JD 1:321)

6 Oct.:  A call for rebaptism.

“Says one, ‘I did not know that I could possibly come here with unruly cattle, without getting wrong in my feelings;’ or, ‘this brother did wrong and marred my feelings; I was irritated, and the cares of the journey bewildered my mind, and hurt me so that I do not really know whether I have got to where I stared for, or not; things are different here to what I expected to find them, &c.’

This is a representation of the feelings of some who have crossed the plains this season.  My advice to you is, go and be baptized for the remission of sins, and start afresh, that temptation may not overcome you again; pause and reflect, that you be not overcome by the evil one unawares.

In the first place, if you are re-baptized for the remision of sins, peradventure you may receive again the spirit of the Gospel in its glory, light and beauty; but if your hearts are so engrossed in the things of this world, that you do not know whether you want to be re-baptized or not, you had better shut yourselves up in some kanyon or closet, to repent of your sins, and call upon the name of the Lord, until you get His Spirit, and the light thereof, to reflect upon you, that you may know the nature of your offences, and your true condition; that you may realize and appreciate the blessing you enjoy in being here with the Saints of the Most High.”  (Brigham Young, 6 Oct., 1853; JD 1:324)

8 Oct.:  Excommunication by vote of General Conference.

“President YOUNG moved that Joseph A. Thompson be cut off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and be turned over into the hands of his master, the devil; and all persons who want to walk in the same steps as he has done, we will serve in the same manner; and let all Israel say Amen.  The congregation responded, AMEN.”  (8 Oct., 1853, General Conference Minutes; MS 16(3):45, 21 Jan., 1854)

8 Oct.:  All nations will yet submit to the Priesthood.

“Brother [John] Taylor then reviewed the rise of the Church, and its progress to the present time.  The Priesthood is the only legitimate rule upon the earth, and all the nations will yet have to submit to it, for the kingdom of God will have to be extended over the whole of it, not by sword, nor bloodshed, but with wisdom, knowledge, the principles of truth, the revelations from the eternal worlds, and the power of the Priesthood.”  (8 Oct., 1853, General Conference Minutes; MS 16(4):49, 28 Jan., 1854)

15 Oct.:  Extent of re-baptisms.

During the period from October, 1852 to October, 1853, of a total of 11,972 members of the Church listed in Utah Territory, 2,081 were re-baptized (17%).  Of 54 wards, 5 reported no re-baptisms during the period; 1 (Grantsville Ward, Thomas H. Clark, bishop) reported 100% (159/159 members re-baptized).  (DN 15 Oct., 1853)

Oct.:  Definition of Priesthood.

“The Priesthood of God is the great, supreme, legal authority that governs the inhabitants of all redeemed and glorified worlds.  In it is included all power to create worlds, to ordain fixed and permanent laws for the regulation of the materials in all their varied operations, whether acting as particles, as masses, as worlds, or as clusters of worlds.  It is that power that formed the minerals, the vegetables, and the animals in all their infinite varieties which exist upon our globe.  It is that authority that reveals laws for the government of intelligent beings–that rewards the obedient and punishes the disobedient–that ordains principalities, powers, and kingdoms to carry out its righteous administrations throughout all dominions.  The Kingly authority is not separate and distinct from the Priesthood, but merely a branch or portion of the same.  The Priesthood authority is universal, having power over all things; the Kingly authority until perfected is limited to the kingdoms placed under its jurisdiction: the former appoints and ordains the latter; but the latter never appoints and ordains the former: the first controls the laws of nature, and exercises jurisdiction over the elements, as well as over men; the last controls men only, and administers just and righteous laws for their government.  Where the two are combined and the individual perfected, he has almighty power both as a King and as a Priest; both offices are then merged in one.  The distinctions then, will be merely in the name and not in the authority; either as a King or a Priest he will then have power and dominion over all things, and reign over all.  Both titles, combined, will then not give him any more power than either one singly.  It is evident that the distinctions of title are only expressive of the condition of things prior to the glorification and perfection of the persons who hold the Priesthood; for when they are perfected, they will have power to act in every branch of authority by virtue of the great, and almighty, and eternal Priesthood which they hold: they can then sway their sceptres as Kings; rule as Princes, minister as Apostles; officiate as Teachers; or, act in the humblest or most exalted capacity.  There is no branch of the Priesthood so low that they cannot condescend to officiate therein; none so high, that they cannot reach forth the arm of power and control the same.”  (Orson Pratt, “Power and Eternity of the Priesthood,” The Seer 1(10):145, Oct., 1853)

Oct.:  Priesthood sent through Peter, James and John.

“It is here, in this land of freedom and equal rights, that the eternal Priesthood with its keys of power and glory, has been sent down from heaven by the hands of Peter, James, and John; it is here, where the proud eagle spreads forth her wings for the protection of the rights of conscience, that the legal power of heaven has once more revisited this rebellious creation to assert its heavenly rights among the hosts of men; it is here, under the broad folds of the American Constitution, itself of divine origin, that a more glorious government has been established . . .”  (Orson Pratt, “Power and Eternity of the Priesthood,” The Seer 1(10):148-149, Oct., 1853)

Nov.:  Regarding “Baneemy.”

“If you find any persons advocating the wicked impositions of Gladden Bishop, of Charles B. Thompson in regard to Baneemy, or of Strang, seek in the spirit of meekness to reclaim them, and if they will not repent excommunicate them from the Church, and God will soon show you the wickedness of their hearts.”  (Orson Pratt, “Second Epistle of Orson Pratt, To the Saints scattered throughout the United States and British Provinces,” The Seer 1(11):167, Nov., 1853)

26 Dec.:  The responsibilities of Teachers.

“We are informed in the commandments and law of the Church given unto us, that ‘It is the Teacher’s duty to see that the Church meets together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.’  Do this people do this?  No.  Our children are or should be all members of the Church, for they should be baptised at eight years of age; but do they meet together often to pray and speak one to another, or even all the parents of children?  They do not.  Then they do not do their duty.  All officers in the Church are Teachers, except the Deacons, and they are Assistant-Teachers.  Who should be exempt from meeting together often, if any exceptions should be made?  It should be the mother with her nursing infant, who cannot go.  All other should meet together often; and when they come together, the Teacher that presides should see that each one takes a part in their turn and to their duty.  Can the Teacher find any member, either parents or children that don’t pray.  If so, he can find those that do not do their duty; for when you were baptised you covenanted to keep the commandments of God, and he has commanded us to pray.  Yes, each member should take a part.  Which of you can find a teacher in our schools that would spend all his time in hearing one or two children say their lessons and all the rest remain idle?  You would turn such a teacher out of doors.  The Lord is not less wise than man.  He has so arranged the school for his children that each one is required to do his duty.  As all officers are Teachers, it should be the duty of some one–the Bishop, or some one under his direction, to see that the children and youhg people, as well as all the others in each Ward, are collected together, and that they be taught to pray and to speak, and be instructed in all things that are necessary; for we and our children should learn and understand, and improve upon every branch of science, knowledge, and duty that is necessary for us, as well as to confine ourselves to any one of those branches.”  (Parley P. Pratt, 26 Dec., 1853; JD 6:250-251)

31 Dec.:  Roster of British officers.

Branches:  726

Seventies:  49

High Priests:  13

Elders:  2687

Priests:  1849

Teachers:  1496

Deacons:  815

Total Members:  30,827

(31 Dec., 1853; MS 16(5):78, 4 Feb., 1854)