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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1858

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1858:  2 Jan.:  A call to wake up the brethren.


of a Meeting held at George G. Lynders Jan. 2nd 1858.

Opened by Prayer by Bro. Haskins

Minutes of previous Meeting read and accepted.

On Motion of Br. E. B. Tripp Wm W. Sterritt was appointed clerk pro tem, Charles W. Moeleer being absent, (Carried)

Br. Haskins then arose and spoke some length of time about the Propriety of the Br. being faithful all things, said the kingdom was firm if they Br. would do everything they were told to do and helped us in the Name of the Lord

Bro. Enoch B. Tripp said he liked to meet with his Brethren in a Quorum Capacity said if the Clerk was here he would give him a talking to in Relation to the Book said many things in relation to the duties of the Presidency in seeming that the Book was right, also to see that every man in the Quorum is right and is magnifying his Calling, and Apostleship said that men might keep saying they would do right and not do it, there is no Salvation for them, there are many Brethren in this City, who are lukewarm, and he wants them to wake up, then he wants to hear the Brethren, and blessed them in the Name of the Lord.”  (Levi Edgar Young Papers, Utah State Historical Society, B12, Box 8, Fd 11, Minutes, 2 Jan 1858)

9 Jan.:  Ordination and appointment.

“ORDINATION–APPOINTMENT.–No man has a right to administer the ordinances of the Gospel without being ordained for that purpose.  Neither can a man be appointed to preside over those who have a right thus to administer, without holding like authority himself.  Ordination and appointment, in the common use of the terms, are separate and distinct.  The one gives man the authority to act, and the other places him in a position where he can exercise that authority.  Many are ordained to the Holy Priesthood, and perhaps for years have the right to officiate in the Gospel ordinances, before they are required or have any particular occasion to exercise that right.  An appointment, therefore, to an active position in the Kingdom of God does not necessarily imply an increase of authority in the Priesthood of God.  Ordination confers upon man certain rights, which are eternal in their nature, and will ever abide with him so long as he does not forfeit them by his own conduct; but an appointment is of a very different character, implying a temporary use or exercise of those eternal powers and prerogatives.  Like fleeting things of earth, subject to circumstances, it may exist a week, a month, a year, or even more, and then come to an end.  But who appreciates or justly estimates this fact?

We write thus because many have not yet learned the difference between position and power.  Some have even attached more importance to their position as presiding officers than to their actual authority in the Priesthood.  An appointment has been to some a stumbling-stone over which they have fallen, and never been able to rise.  Many have lately been appointed to important positions throughout the European Missions, and we trust that such may never be the case with any of them.  The few observations which we make upon this subject are particularly for that class of Elders whose welfare we most earnestly desire, as Presidents and Pastors appointed to watch over the flock of Christ.

Some have felt that they were much superior to others of their brethren because they were called upon to preside over a Branch or a Conference; and they have suffered a spirit of pride to enter into their hearts–a spirit to be jealous of their authority, and have thereby rendered themselves obnoxious to the people over whom they were presiding.  Such a spirit leads to haughtiness, arrogance, and oppression, manifesting itself in partialities in administration–traits of character that are not only inconsistent with the calling of a servant of God, but which are abhorred by every faithful Saint who enjoys the Spirit of God.  When a President has these feelings in his heart, the feelings of all good persons become alienated from him; he loses his influence over them, and consequently his power to do them good.  The few that do obey him and receive his counsel do so from a mere sense of duty, that order in government may be preserved, and themselves saved from the evils of rebellion.  A President can thus make his position a curse to himself, and become an offence and curse to the people–the very opposite to the intent and spirit of his calling.  On the other hand, when a person is exalted, then is the time, above all others, that he should be humble.  Humility is the only road to exaltation.  It is written, ‘He that exalteth himself shall be abased.’  Let no one, therefore, claim honour from his position, but know that honour lies in the diligent and faithful discharge of the duties belonging to that position, and that the reward obtained will be for actual services rendered.

Men betray their feelings in different ways; and the higher their position the more readily are their faults detected.  Some have felt, when once called upon to preside over a Branch or Conference, that they could never occupy a lower position without its being a disgrace to them, or at least a very great condescension on their part.  This view of the subject, however, is utterly inconsistent with the truth; and, when properly understood, a man who is really worthy of an appointment will be just as ready to deliver it up to his superior as to receive it from him, just as willing to preside over a Branch as over a Conference, just as willing to perform the duties of a Teacher as an Elder, and just as ready in his spirit to occupy one position as another, when circumstances require.  The duties of the least office come within the province of his authority, and he should feel as free in his spirit to perform them as those of the highest.  When he feels this way he feels right; he is passive and obedient, and can say truly, ‘Not my will, but thine be done.’  When Elders feel that, because they have been Presidents of Conferences, they cannot officiate as Presidents of Branches, or as Travelling Elders, we naturally expect to hear next that they cannot exercise faith, because it is the first principle of the Gospel, and that they are so far above it, that it would be a mortifying condescension to get so low, although we are told that, when that which is perfect is come, faith will still abide.  Until man, like Jesus, becomes the Saviour of a world, he must not be above condescending as he did to the very lowest estate, and learn that true greatness is displayed in real condescension.

Those Elders now entering upon their new fields of labour for the year will be exceedingly blessed of the Lord, if they will but keep His Spirit with them.  The present is an important period in the history of the latter-day work; and the character and importance of that work will rapidly become more prominent before the nations of the earth.  Men who would be efficient in the service of God and in the defence of Zion need to be filled with the inspiration of God and the revelations of eternity.  The workings of the Almighty will be of that wondrous magnitude that none others can comprehend His goings forth among the nations.  The day of His mighty power is at hand, and but few will be able to abide it.  We rejoice to know that there are many faithful and efficient labourers in the Lord’s vineyard.  Those who have been appointed to preside are not the only ones worthy of similar opportunities.  All faithful Elders shall reap their full reward, if they faint not.”  (Editorial [S. W. Richards, Editor], MS 20(2):24-26, 9 Jan., 1858)

20 Feb.:  Extracts from the Revelations of Jane Leade.


(Translated from the German Edition, 1807.)

It was shown unto me that the different existing modes of worship are nothing more than Babylonian fantasies, and that an angel is commissioned from the Chief Shepherd to make known that all man-made systems of religion must pass away, like a shadow, before the brightness of a day when nothing but the power of God and the Lamb will endure.

The time is not yet come, but it is not so very far off, when the everlasting Gospel will break forth with power that nothing can withstand; and nothing that is from men will be mixed with it; for it is only those that are like children that will confide therein.

To preach this, an agency will come that will bring back all which was lost in the first Adam.  How great the blessing for those that first lay their hands to the foundation of the spotless Church; and how greater still for that man who is chosen from his mother’s womb to be such a remarkable instrument in the hand of God.  He will raise a mighty standard to which the dove-like spirits will flee for shelter.  The trumpet of the Priesthood will be blown, and the children of bondage will hear the call to come beneath the banner of our God.

All from Abraham’s seed groan in slavery; but the Most High will raise up a Prophet that will bring His people from Babylonian witchcraft, and from the tyranny of the Prince of Darkness.  Like as Moses, Joshua, and Aaron were anointed, as types, to lead the way to the rest of the promised land, even so must this Chieftain be raised up as a terror to unblievers and a joy to those who are led back to Mount Zion.

The Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek shall be brought forth, that the way to the Holy of Holies may be made known.  The sign of these Priests will be the Urim and Thummim, and they will have a right to hold communion with God.  And thus will man come back to the state and condition he had before the material world existed, so that he will again have a place above the angels; for to which of them hath God said ‘Thou art my son.’


I saw an ark float through the air, as that of Noah did in ancient times over the water; but from this Ark came a voice, saying, ‘Here is a refuge from the curses that will come like another deluge upon the earth.’  Those that had a lofty degree of faith went in, and endeavoured to bring others therein also.

I was told this Ark was the Church of the gathering from all people; and it floated here and there, and the voice of a mighty angel came therefrom, saying, ‘Come from the mazes of Babylon: here is free entrance.’  Many came from the ends of the earth; and when the Ark was full, it went to a particular land, and then came back to fetch others.  This land was a prepared place to plant the virgin Church, and the beloved Apostle John conducted the very last convoy therein.

Various temples were seen, where the Elders, in long, white, and shining robes, administered in ordinances and with power unknown before.  Some went forth with power from this new found land; and so mighty was their testimony, that many came from all quarters to breathe its pure air, and to enjoy the light of its peculiarly clear atmosphere, which changed even the weakness of the body.

I have written this vision so far as the Spirit renews it upon my mind; but the end thereof I do not remember, as I have lost my manuscripts where it was at first written.

{We have seldom read anything more pointed or expressive of the Latter-day Work than the foregoing.  It is another evidence that those who are spiritually minded, according to the light and advantages they have, can seek after God and learn of His ways–that He gaiveth liberally to all who ask wisdom of Him, and upraideth not.  It is a conviction of this fact that inspired the Prophet Joseph to ask, and in answer to which he received a knowledge of the Latter-day Work and purposes of God, even before he had obeyed any outward ordinances which entitled him to the spirit of inspiration which made him a Prophet and Seer to the world.  Many persons have been inspired by God to do certain works, and proclaim certain truths, who never had an opportunity of embracing the everlasting Gospel.  But how much more should those possess the spirit of inspiration and prophecy who have access to God through His holy ordinances.–Ed. [S. W. Richards]}”  (MS 20(8):124-125, 20 Feb., 1858)

7 Mar.:  Ordination by many men participating: 1st time?

“Sunday 7th A.M. attended meeting in the Tabernacle.  P.M. met in Prayer Circle with some of the Brethren.  Bro H. C. Kimball desired us that were present to lay hands on the head of Howard Egan while he ordained him an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  returned home and done some writing.”  (p. 11)  [Note:  Was this a shift in the manner of ordaining, where several men laid hands on simultaneously, rather than one man?]  (J. D. T. McAllister diary, 7 Mar., 1858)

19 Apr.:  Bishop’s Court.

“Bishops Court.  Bishop & councellors present.  The following charge was presented:

To Bishop E. F. Sheets of 8th Ward.

Dear Sir:  We the undersigned prefer the following charge against Robert Brown and his wife of unchristian like conduct toward us while in the discharge of our official duties as Teachers at his house on the evening of the 13th inst., also of disrespect to the Bishop by insulting us with abusive language, and as he did not care a damn for us or any man on God’s earth, treating us with perfect contempt and utterly refusing to take our council with regard to the case that we came to settle bettwixt him & Margaret Robertson who was formerly his wife.  But we had to use phisical force to prevent him puting Mrs. Robertson out of the house, all of which with the original difficulty we respectfully submit for your consideration.

Burr Frost

Samuel Bringhurst

The Bishop asked Br. Brown if the charges was true.  He said most of them was, but not all.  Br. Frost then gave his testimoney, said the items in the charge was all true and he also used very low and abusive language to Mrs. Robertson.  Br. Bringhurst next testified to the same things as Br. Frost, also said that he had to step bettween Mrs. Brown & Robertson as Mrs. Brown had the same kind of a spirit as her husband.  Br. Brown said with regard to the $19.75 that Mrs. Robertson claimed of him he had concluded to pay it and had bot a coat for her boy.  Said he was willing to pay anything that was just.  Said that he was excited at the time of the visit.  Sister Brown said that the Brethern was mistaken concerning her attempting to injure Sister Robertson.

The Bishop arose and said that he was familliar with the difficulty bettwixt Br. Brown & Sister Robertson, that she had applied to him a number of times and he had counciled Br. Brown to pay her and settle it as he considered the demand not only just but a very small one, but Br. Brown had kept putting it off and refused to do it.  Said he considered the charge sustained and his decision was that Br. Brown pay the full demand soon and in good pay and ask forgiveness of Br. Frost & Bringhurst & Mrs. Robertson, also of the Bishop and his councellors and all present or be cut off from the Church.  After considerable hesitation he complied with the decision.  The Bishop said he should drop him from acting as teacher in the ward until he learned to govern himself better.

Councellors Woodward & Houtz concurred in the decision of the Bishop and considered it a mild one as the case was of such a[n] aggravating nature.

Meeting dismissed by the Bishop.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 19 Apr., 1858)

8 May:  Seer stones to be used only by priesthood.

“Mrs. Rushton visited with us to day  brought a seer stone with her  said her husband had a dream that he would find one by going to a certain place to dig  he went and after diging 9 feet he found it  it is rather a curious looking stone  it is said to be one which formily belonged to Moses  a great many people can see in it.  It has many different sides to look through and it is held between the eye and the light.  Mr [Heber C.] Kimball remarked that those were sacred things & to be used only by the priesthood and when used by others were often led a stray.”  (Mary Ellen Kimball diary, 8 May, 1858)

28 Jun.:  Peter, James and John.

“Harvey Whitlock was then called upon the stand by Brigham Young to speak.  Mr. Whitlock is not a missionary, he was a Mormon with Smith, but left the church during the difficulties in Missouri, but returned to it on the present difficulties being raised.  He recently arrived from California.  The sermon was doctrinal and intended only to convince persons inclined to apostacy, that Mormonism is true.  his discourse merits a brief sketch. . . .

The world knew nothing, comparatively, of the priesthood, until the time of Smith.  The first personage who visited Joseph was John the Baptist, who ordained the prophet with power to the lesser priesthood.  That was not astonishing.  (Should rather think it was.)  The Savior received the same priesthood from John the Baptist, he being the last who held it, alone could ordain Jesus Christ to it.  He maintained that John was not dead, but had been resurrected for this special purpose.  Peter, James and John came down and ordained Joe Smith to the Melchisedek priesthood under the direction of Peter.  Moses had formerly held the Melchesedek priesthood but owing to the sins of his generation was taken up into heaven with it.  Well, Christ had to receive this Priesthood before he could go forth with power into the world; so with Peter, James and John he went into the mountain and was transfigured.  Moses then appeared unto him from heaven, and ordained him in that Melchesedek priesthood.  Well, Joseph received the Melchesedek priesthood from Peter, James and John; he ordained the Prophet Brigham Young in it, and he has ordained others in it.  So they had this priesthood only three or four degrees removed from Jesus Christ.  First, there was Jesus, second John, third Smith and fourth Brigham.

(Reprint of article in New York Herald, JH 28 Jun., 1858)

28 Aug.:  Reformation in the Priesthood.

“ADMINISTRATIVE PROGRESS AND PRACTICAL DUTY MOVEMENT.–The spirit which has burned in the souls of the Priesthood and kindled in the heart of every Saint during the last few years has been that of Reformation.  It took the form of a radical movement, led by the First Presidency, and borne off by the Apostles and Elders generally.  It spread through all the settlements of the Saints in the mountains, extended to this Mission, and embraced every faithful member of this community throughout the world.  The covenants of all the faithful were renewed.  After repentance, humility, fasting, and prayer, they were again born of the water and renewed in the Spirit.  So radical and thorough was the character of this movement, that the Church received something like a re-organization, and the signature of true Saintship was Reformation.

Reformation came to the Mission, crying repentance, waking up every honest Saint to a sense of duty, and demanding a test of membership.  This was its first character.  It was a renewing of the faith, desires, and devotion of the Saints.  But this was only the beginning of the course of Reformation.  The end thereof was not at this point, for it will reach the perfect state of things.  Reformation first came to us in its primitive, moral, and spiritual character.  This is how all reformations of society must appear, to be genuine, radical, and effective.  There must first be a moral and spiritual renewing of man, and afterwards all necessary change and improvement in systems, administrations, and general operations must be made.  The latter will also certainly be necessary, seeing that we start from imperfection, can only advance in the perfect order revealed by progressive steps, and have much inexperience to contend with.  Reformation was, therefore, at first of necessity somewhat abstract in its nature.  It was the renewing of the inner man and the increase of good works, rather than an improvement of administration, a systematizing of Church government, and an organizing and directing of those good works to the accomplishment of the greatest amount of good to the cause, the Saints, and the world.  It came to us as a spirit which would receive an embodiment–as a preparation for a better state of things to come–as a spiritual reform that would be worked out in practical duties and administrative progress.  This is the beginning of genuine and radical reformation, and this was the form in which it first appeared.

Again:  Reformation commenced with the Church in its membership, and a test for that given.  It will be extended to the Priesthood, not merely as members of the kingdom of God, but as officers and rulers.  Here, its highest steps will be taken, its most striking phases appear, and greater strides in its course be made.  It will assume the form of ‘administrative progress;’ and, under its governmental power and wisdom, the practical duties and good works of the Saints will be directed to the accomplishment of the greatest amount of good.

During our administration, we have been deeply impressed with the importance of giving to Reformation this higher character.  We have endeavoured to make the financial and business arrangements of the Mission meet this end, and our editorial labours and general government have also been directed to the same object.  But much yet remains to be done; and we call on all the Priesthood and members of the Mission to aid in giving Reformation this higher form.  We hope to see it extend, and, in the character of an ‘Administrative Progress and Practical Duty Movement,’ become as general as it was in its primitive character.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(35):553-554, 28 Aug., 1858)

4 Sep.:  Efficiency in administration.

“EFFICIENCY IN ADMINISTRATION.–We desire to call the attention of Pastors and Presidents of Conferences to the subject of efficiency, and impress upon their minds the necessity of knowing and understanding everything pertaining to the Church under their watchcare.

Brethren, it is your duty and privilege to be in the constant possession of every species of knowledge and information concerning your flocks; and you must do this, or you cannot be efficient in your offices.  Nothing is more calculated to assist an officer in his presidential duties over a people than a thorough knowledge of everything pertaining to that people.  This knowledge is indispensable, if you would be efficient and profitable in your ministrations.  A few days since, we had occasion to call upon the several Pastors for certain statistical information, which ought to have been in their possession from the Half-yearly Statistical Reports, and which we should have received by return of post.  It was all-important that we should get it without delay; yet, in nearly every case, we were compelled to wait a week, and, in several, considerably longer, for what we ought to have had in forty-eight hours at the furthest; and, besides that annoyance, we were put to great inconvenience and considerable expense.  This information should have been in the possession of both Pastors and Presidents of Conferences; whereas, in fact, it was with neither, but had to be acquired by them from the Presidents of Branches, before they could furnish us with it.

If you would be prompt and efficient in your callings, brethren, be careful to be constantly in possession of every species of information, statistical and financial, as well as moral and religious, respecting your several fields of labour.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(36):571, 4 Sep., 1858)

11 Sep.:  Presidency.

“PRESIDENCY.–We believe that there is not a clling in the Church so little understood and magnified as that of Presidency.  Yet it is the most important and responsible of all.  It is the head, life, and ruling power of the whole body.  The office is the same in kind and spirit in all its administrations, from the President of the Church to the President of the smallest Branch.  The difference is in the degree of its authority and the limits prescribed to its various spheres.

Many who have been appointed Presidents have acted in every office under them down to the calling of the Deacon, but scarcely ever in their own sphere.  They mistake their calling; and, because thereof, they lower and make ‘cheap’ the most exalted office of the holy Priesthood.  Some Presidents of Conferences imagine that they must be the big preachers, Presidents of the Branches, Secretaries, Book Agents, &c.  That they should be ‘all in all’ in their fields of labour, we will admit, but not exactly in the sense they illustrate it.  The Presidents of Branches, in their turn, must open and close almost every meeting, give out all the hymns, and speak before and after every speaker, no matter whether below or above them.  We have known some so zealous to use their spouting capacities, that they would speak more than all the rest in their Branches put together, including officers and members, and estend this system even to the fellowship meetings.  It is in this tendency to much speaking that Presidents most pervert their calling.

Now, we do not so understand the high office of Presidency, nor the character of the men who most magnify it.  It by no means follows that Presidents should be great orators.  Indeed, the master spirits of the world have not been generally endowed with what is termed ‘the gift of the gab.’  The great empire-founders, reformers, conquerers, monarchs, statesmen, and lawgivers have not earned their celebrity by spouting.  If we go higher, we find the heads of the Priesthood, who could commune face to face with God, with their Aarons as mouthpieces.  Even men of science and art, great thinkers, poets, and literary men generally have not been great talkers.  If we go to eminent business men, they have oftentimes almost detested much speaking, more especially when it has been mere spouting.  The master spirits have been renowned for action, schemes, government, ideas, business, and talent.  They have not been the ones to tickle the ears of the multitude and move the rabble, though they have ruled mankind and moved the world.

The calling of Presidents, from the Great Head of the universe down to the head of a Branch of the Church, is to preside.  The sphere of Presidency is not so much to do the work as to see that it is done.  This high calling is not confined to the narrow limits of any particular work given to be accomplished, but extends to the broad supervision of the whole.  To lay it before our readers in a simple, practical form, we will word it thus:–A certain work has to be accomplished.  In the case under consideration, it is the work of God–to build up his kingdom and bring about the great restitution of all things.  The Lord calls men as his instruments, confers on them the holy Priesthood, and endows them with power from on high.  Out of this Priesthood grows the Presidency in its various spheres of action.  The duty of this class of officers, under the guidance of their earthly head, is to see that the work given be duly accomplished according to its spirit and magnitude and the general laws of God’s kingdom.  The details are left with them to develop.  Each President is supposed to be duly appointed by those above him, his sphere of action marked out, and a work given him, with general instructions.  All in turn devise their plans to effect that part which is severally committed to them.  To put those plans into operation, they are supposed to call around them suitable men from the various branches of the Priesthood, giving each that work to do for which his authority and talents best adapt him, and directing the labours of all where they can accomplish the most good.  The presiding officers are supposed to use the material and talent committed to them to the best advantage, all co-operating with the head of the Mission, and he with the head of the Church, for the same great purpose.  To one man they will say, Go there, and do that; to the other, Go there, and effect the other; and to another, Stay here, and do this.  Having put the whole machinery into operation, their duty is to supervise the whole, watch the general workings of all under them, develop new schemes, perfect old ones, devise means to meet every emergency, and prepare for the advancing requirements and interests of the cause.  This is the calling of presiding officers of the Church.  Is this how it is worked out?  We know it is not done so fully as it should be.

It is the greatest gift of Presidency to be able to choose the proper men and to put every one to labour at that for which he is best adapted,–in short, to use and make the most of all.  It is a gift pre-eminently essential to the Presidential office.  And the fact that it is rarely manifested only shows how few are qualified to preside.  No matter how great a man’s special talents might be–how good the man, or how high his office,–if he has not this talent, he will accomplish but little.  But if he has this gift, though he should fold his hands, figuratively speaking, yet set everything in its proper place and direct the whole, he will accomplish much.  One man in himself, no matter how talented he may be, is but one, and his sphere of action is limited.  But when he efficiently works and guides the many, then his influence is truly great, and he is many in one.

There are men, though very rare, who, if put at the other end of the world, and given the reins of government, with ample communication, will guide a nation far more effectually than others on the spot.  How is this done?  By a judicious choice of men, and by really presiding.  They will see a man in rags, and how that he is capable of ruling a kingdom; they will find another in costly robes and fine linen, and know that he is merely a cypher.  They make their arrangements accordingly.

This gift, to choose the proper men and to set and keep the machinery efficiently working, has been the eminent characteristic of all the great men of the earth.  The power of the first Napoleon was principally based on his judgment of human character.  He possessed the tact and gift of choice, and surrounded himself with the most eminent men of France, giving to each his work.  This was the cause of all the world’s feeling his power and hearing his renown.  Had he been deficient in this gift of presidency, he would have died in obscurity.  This has been also the chief characteristic of Joseph and Brigham.  We believe that scarcely a man has ever lived who has manifested this gift in so great a degree as our present Leader.  We consider him to be pre-eminently endowed in this respect.

Will presiding officers of the Church make their Prophet and Leader their pattern?  Let them especially cultivate the gift of discernment, and properly estimate character, talents, spirits, and men, and then put everything in its place, set all efficiently to work, and preside over the whole, and they will soon find a tangible illustration of the supreme calling and power of Presidency.  With the large number of presiding officers in this Mission, with almost the whole male members holding some portion of the Priesthood at their command, with the sisters as auxiliaries, and our incomparable Church organization, what a great work would be accomplished, if Presidents properly understood and magnified their calling!  How rapid and irresistible would be the progress of the kingdom of our God!  How the power of the Priesthood would agitate and move society, especially in England, where the Conferences and Branches of the Church are numerous!  We believe that, if Presidents were to act according to the above, and cultivated and used all the powers and gifts pertaining to their high calling, several times as much would be accomplished towards the great restitution in the same amount of time.

The speaking of Presidents should be more especially directed to counsel, instruct, and direct the Priesthood, and to comfort, teach, and built up the Saints.  Not that we would have it understood that presiding officers are not to consider it a part of their duty and privilege to preach salvation to the world.  Unto some of them, perhaps, God has given great power and abilities for the preaching of the Gospel.  If they do not magnify such gifts, when needed, they will offend the Giver.  But they should act according to the wisdom of the Holy Ghost, and, as a general thing, call the many talented, godly, and inspired Elders and Priests under them,, rather than devote themselves to proclaiming the Gospel to the world.  They should ever remember that their special and chief duty is to preside, and that, no matter how great their talents as orators, they can accomplish immensely more by government and presiding than they can by preaching themselves; and they can preach in a thousand ways through their instruments.  We know that it is an excellent gift to be enabled to melt, convince, and mould an audience by the power of speech.  But though all the world were converted by a miraculous manifestation of that gift, and then left without the presiding power, it would soon be like that repentance which needs to be repented of.  By no means do we design to undervalue the lesser, but merely to give to it a subordinate place to the greater.  In some of the master spirits, the gifts of oratory and presidency have been wonderfully combined.  Caesar, one of the greatest generals, statesmen, and dynasty-founders, was also an orator and an accomplished author.  Presiding officers of the Church may possess by nature many gifts, and they may obtain, by cultivation, diligence, and the influence of the Holy Ghost, as many more as possible, and use them all to the glory of God and to the best interests of his kingdom; but they should bring the whole of the gifts to magnify the calling of Presidency, and ever remember that their highest duty and greatest influence will be found in presiding.  If the greater gift and calling be not magnified, it will hide and cripple the lesser ones, and the mighty power, wonderful organization, and numerous instruments of the Church will not be able to exert their immense influence and capabilities because thereof.  On the other hand, if presiding officers magnify Presidency in its various spheres, they will soon realize the comprehensiveness and power of the Presiding office.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(37):584-587, 11 Sep., 1858)

12 Sep.:  Bishop’s Court.

“Bishops Court.

Bishop and first Council present.  Some time previous to the trial the Bishop being informed of a difficulty in Br. George W. Piggotts family sent the Teachers to try to settle it, but he would give them no satisfaction and said that they had nothing to do with the case and treated them with contempt.  The Bishop then went to see him and he gave him no satisfaction.  The Bishop then appointed the 12th of Sept. at 5 o’clock at the Schoolhouse to investigate the difficulty.  Br. Piggott refused to attend.  His family attended but as he did not he was cut of[f] from the Church for treating the Bishop and Teachers with contempt and making false accusations against his Brethern and for apostasy.  The decision was sustained by those present.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 12 Sep., 1858)

18 Sep.:  Agency of the Priesthood.

“AGENCY OF THE PRIESTHOOD.–It is not our design in this article to enter particularly into the subject of calling men to the Priesthood.  The order by which men are called of God, and the conditions required to constitute a Divine commission, would itself be matter at least for an article.  Much could be said of callings made by the spirit of discernment and prophecy, and also those blindly, yet legally given.  Much could also be said upon such examples as that of the Saviour calling a John the Beloved and a Judas the Betrayer.  Much could be said of men being entitled to the spirit of their callings and their not possessing that spirit; and much on their power to go in the direction leading to usefulness and honour, and their liberty to travel to uselessness and dishonour.  But in this we merely design to touch upon the border of calling, to bring out the subject under consideration and prevent misunderstanding.

It is a fact that the holy Priesthood has been restored to the earth, with the spirit, powers, and prerogatives thereof.  A communication has been opened between the heavens and the earth, and a channel made through which Divine authority can flow.  It can unreservedly be affirmed that every officer of the Church who has been duly appointed according to the order thereof holds a legal commission.  This being the case, the point of legality should not be made a subject for question.  Upon this all may rest with assurance.

The fact, therefore, that the officers of the Church have received their callings through the proper channel, and are appointed by those holding the authority, should be a ground for due submission to every man in his sphere, and an inducement for all to firmly uphold every arrangement and officer in his place, until removed by those  possessing the prerogative.  Men who have the spirit of the Priesthood will be very jealous on this point.  They would sooner lick the dust of the feet than offer indignity to the Priesthood; and they will profoundly respect in others that authority of which they themselves partake.  The greatest in the Church would humbly bow to a child, if he came in the name of the Priesthood, with a bona fide commission to command.

But there is another principle that should also be realized, and especially would we have it understood by the presiding officers of this Mission.  It is, that God commits to his servants an agency.  They are his stewards and co-labourers, and have all to pass a probationary term.  It is precisely the same in our official capacity as in our private and natural capacities.  Every department of the economy of God turns upon the principles of agency, stewardship, and  co-working.  The servants have to act on behalf of their Divine Master.

Now, all may easily comprehend that this agency and stewardship can, on the one hand, be abused, and men prove unprofitable co-labourers, or, more properly speaking, not co-labourers with the Master at all, in a desirable sense; and, on the other hand, that agency and stewardship may be rendered both honourable and profitable, and those who are called to be servants prove themselves truly co-labourers with their Lord.

But no man with correct views will, because of this fact, have his confidence shaken for a moment in the Priesthood.  One view of God’s order will not make the strong eye of an elightened man blink when he contemplates another side.  It will rather enlarge the compass of his mental vision, make the Divine economy appear to him more grandly systematic; and thus, by extending his sight and increasing his knowledge, he will know where to tread with certainty and possess power to operate effectively.  He will be a staunch, unfliching upholder of men and arrangements while they legitimately remain.  We do not fear, therefore, that any with correct views and the spirit of the Priesthood will make a mistake in this matter.

It is a great truth, that, in the kingdom of God, ‘whatever is, is right;’ not right absolutely, but relatively and circumstantially,–not right irrevocably, but right for the time.  When men stumble because of this, they stumble over their own stumbling blocks and grope in their own darkness.  If they took broad views, they would see no difficulties.  It is a truth that error should exist, right that there should be wrong, and good that there is evil.  God forbid that any Saint should ‘sin, that grace may abound.’  But we do not regret that sin has come into the world, nor that the whole human race have felt its effects.  It is a truth that God’s economy comprehends a Devil; and though God did not make him such, and though we have no desire to help to make devils, we have not the remotest wish that the Devil had not existed.  Bad officers also have their purpose as well as good officers.  The former are not only examples for the latter, but they enhance their value.  Even the black-hearted traitor makes the true man more precious, and the useless man makes the useful one relatively more useful.  God tries men–the bad as well as the good–the unworthy as well as the worthy steward–the unprofitable as well as the profitable labourer.  The world has its period of probation, its day of trial.  The kingdom has also its period of probation, its day of trial.  Were it not so, how could the great balance of accounts be struck?  Were it not so, how could every man’s work be tried as by fire?  Were not their figures and noughts made by men in their day of trial, how could God justly put the 1 of this man with 000,000’s of these to make that 1 a million?

These facts, instead of lessening the confidence of an enlightened man, will give him a higher estimate of God and his economy.  He will have broader views of the order of the Priesthood, and will find cause for gratitude and admiration, that the free agency of man is extended even to a celestial order.  For is it not a glorious truth, that our Heavenly Father does not design to make us machines–no, not even the machines of a God.

The great desideratum is, not that this agency should be destroyed, but that it should be preserved for good–that, in acting uopn it, the officers of the Church should do it with an eye single to the glory of God, and with effectiveness for the success of the cause.  All who belong to the holy order should be devoted to its interests–body, soul, energy, capacities, influence, and means,–indeed, altogether.  It should be the great purpose of their lives to accomplish the work given to the Priesthood to perform.  To this end their every thought and act should tend; and to make their agency honourable and their operations effectual ought to be the sole aim of every servant of God.  As stewards, let them be worthy stewars; and as labourers, truly co-labourers with their Master.

We require that the presiding officers act according to the foregoing, and make their agency honourable and their stewardship profitable.  It is their especial duty to do this themselves, and also to see that all labourers and members of the Church under their watchful care are really co-labourers with the Lord.  They are responsible for the condition of the Mission, for the character and extent of the work that shall be done, and for its management or mismanagement.  We do not look to the Saints and non-presiding officers, but to the Presidents.  Let them realize this responsibility, then; and if they do not honour their presiding agency, we enjoin upon their superiors the duty of displacing them for others more worthy.

This Mission, with all the experience of the past, ought to be more advanced now than in past times.  We humbly acknowledge our own past imperfections, but think it not arrogant to say that the experience gained ought to enable the presiding officers to improve upon the examples, both good and bad, of former times–both those of others, and those of our own.  Unless this is done, it is evident that the Mission is not advancing, but going back; for there is no standing still in progression.  We do not expect to reach perfection and commit no errors; but we feel it our duty to urge the Saints onward.  The part of the officers and Saints now is not to go back to the past, either to its faults or its many virtues, but to take the virtues of their predecessors as well as to show new virtues in themselves.  The point upon which we desire this administration to stand is, that we all endeavour to honour our agency and prove ourselves worthy stewards.  Let none of the presiding officers make their noughts now, especially in calling men to office.  There is a decided objection to such men and such employment at present.  At this particular juncture, the cause is not in need of them, and we have also a distaste for them.  If there are any with a peculiar itching for making noughts, and very clever in such employment, we advise them to wait awhile.  It is one of those undertakings that may be put off till ‘a more convenient season.’  If any noughts should get made, let some official hand rub them out directly.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(38):600-602, 18 Sep., 1858)

25 Sep.:  Priesthood in its double character.

“PRIESTHOOD IN ITS DOUBLE CHARACTER.–Priesthood has a double character.  One is abstract and primitive, the other is governmental and progressive.  The abstract principles of authority and perfection of Priesthood constitute its primitive character.  These have to be embodied in government and unfolded in progression, thus constituting its higher or governmental character.

As an institution pertaining to the earth, Priesthood is a holy order endowed with Divine commission and authority to accomplish a certain work designed in the economy of God.  When it is extended beyond its primitive character, and Priesthood becomes a living, intelligent fact among men, something more than abstract authority and commission is brought in.  Its higher or progressive character is taken, and government commences.  The various administrative or governing bodies of the Church grow out of the Priesthood and act in virtue of their Divine authority and commission.  But an administration properly comprehends more than abstract endowment and commission.  Men, means, and system must be embodied therein.  A proper administration may be considered as a number of the Priesthood in the actual performance of the work given, rendering their authority a fact and carrying on the government of God.

To illustrate the important distinction between abstract authority and authority embodied in government, let us suppose all the members of the Priesthood in England were Elders with equal authority, and the Mission not organized into an administration.  As far as their abstract authority was concerned, all might lay claim to the Presidency of the Mission, all be Pastors of the London Pastorate, and every one President of the same Conference.  Indeed, there would really be no Presidents or Pastors.  Doubtless, however, were our supposition the case, there would be many such claimants.  Were the former to be the fact, the latter would be worked out nearly literally.  Moreover, were the sisters to drink in the spirit of the age, they would not improbably manage to obtain ordination, and divide the Priesthood into masculine and feminine factions.  All might be doing some work, but certainly not the work.  The probability is that nearly every one would be labouring in that for which he was eminently unfit.  Whem wisdom and government are absent, it is a strange trait of human character that the majority will undertake that for which they are not qualified.  The Church would be mismanaged in such a curious manner, and the work executed after such variety of patterns, as to be cause for wonder how the work could be done so cleverly and fantastically wrong.  Men would get in such positions and act in such characters as to cut the most grotesque figures imaginable.  Instead of there reigning an administration of Priesthood, there would be a disorganization of Priesthood.  But, were such the case, though the abstract authority of Eldership would exist, there would properly be no authority for administration whatever.  We are not treating the subject lightly nor far-fetching our illustration by supposing a disorganization of the Priesthood, or, what amounts to the same, the non-reign of an administration.  We are only bringing the matter to its root, and marking strongly the important distinction between Priesthood in the abstract and Priesthood embodied in government.  On these points correct views must be taken; for, unless the fundamental principles of the Priesthood be comprehended, blunders and mismanagement will be the consequence.  If the authority of the Priesthood be not embodied in intelligent government, its power will not be so strikingly manifested, and many of its wonderful developments will be kept back or strangled in their birth.  If its members stand upon its abstract and primitive character, and do not ascend its governmental and progressive scale, they can reach but little towards the purposes of God.  Or, if its two characters are confounded, or the higher not seen at all, there will be little progress made and many blunders and extravagances committed.  But if government, fitness, and efficiency be despised, then is God insulted and the higher character of the Priesthood dishonoured.  Indeed, unless government and the elements of administration be introduced, the state of things imagined in the foregoing would be illustrated.  Even under the reign of an administration, so far as the laws of government and fitness are broken, the same will hold good; and when men do not understandingly move by those laws they will also cut grotesque figures, disgrace themselves, and stand in the way of the cause.

Priesthood should be understood by its members both in its governmental character and in its abstract authority.  Without clear views upon the fundamental principles of the Priesthood, it is evident that the Elders cannot render their calling as effective as designed.  Many of their operations will be uncertain at best, and much of the power of the Gospel, on their part, will be only accidentally developed.  Doubtless God would lead them to the developments of his kingdom, and they would find the effects from being led to obey the causes.  But it is time that the Elders should understand those causes, and walk in the ways of the Lord in the daylight of knowledge, and not be as blind agents, whom the invisible ones cannot trust to run alone.

An organized administration is absolutely necessary to accomplish the work of God and carry on Church government.  The fact of this has been generally realized, and there has always been an administration in this Mission growing out of the Priesthood and acting in virtue of its authority; but the philosophy embodied in that fact has not been so distinctly realized.  Views of the Priesthood in its primitive character and Priesthood acting in its governmental capacity have not always been clearly taken, but oftentimes confounded.  Sometimes the Priesthood in its higher–namely, governmental character has been practically laid aside, or rather not taken up at all, by some of its members; and they have stood on its lesser character–namely, abstract authority.  Government, proper arrangements, pointed operations, and efficient labourers have been disregarded by them; and, though professing to belong to an administration, the fundamental principle of administration–namely, that means and men should be fitted to the work, and its conditions have been slighted.  Men and means should be as it were inlaid in the Mission with exact reference to fitness; and a due regard to the seasons of the work should regulate the operations.  But fitness has been by some not only disregarded, but also treated with profound contempt, and a proper mode of operations and systematic arrangements considered as relics of Gentilism and indicative of a spirit of apostacy.  Such have erred, and neither understand ‘Mormonism’ nor the very first principles of government.  Systematic arrangements, a proper mode of operations, and fitness of men and means constitute government, and should be eminently manifested in the administrations of the Priesthood.  Yet some excellent and talented men have confounded Priesthood in its primitive character with Priesthood in its governmental capacity–have fixed their eye too much on the lesser, and not enough on the greater.  They have settled their view to abstract authority, and not sufficiently taken into account that this authority must be embodied in government, and that government implies fitness.  Acting upon great faith, but a mistaken notion, they have called men to do parts of the work for which they were eminently unfit, expecting that God would miraculously endow them.  For instance, how often are the general preachers of a Branch men who have not the spirit of preaching the Gospel to the world, though they might be qualified for Presidents and masterly to counsel and direct the Saints.  Perhaps, at the same time, there may be many others in the Branch not endowed with the capacity and spirit to preside, but excellent in the gift of preaching and powerful to convince the unbelievers.  A wise President will take advantage of this, but an unwise one will make the fact a stumblingblock, and perhaps would almost feel it sinfully presumptive to call the fitting men, though God has endowed them expressly for the purposes needed.  It is often the case that men seem to act under the impression that through their mismanagement God would manage the Church.  It is a strange doctrine, and must be received with a good deal of qualification.

We are persuaded that there has been a too narrow view taken of the subject of Priesthood, too little attention paid to fitness and government, and that, in carrying on what should have been administration, its fundamental principles have too often been violated.  We hope, however, that the experience of the past has been beneficial, and that all will now aim at fitness, efficiency, and systematic operation.  Let all the Priesthood in this Mission take hold of the thread of administrative progress, and embody abstract Divine authority in practical Divine government.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(39):617-619, 25 Sep., 1858)

Fall:  Rebaptisms in Spanish Fork.

“It was in the fall of 1858 that the Saints in Spanish Fork were catechized by Bishop Butler and their sins forgiven, with the exception of the sin against the Holy Ghost.  I was appointed to catechize the Scandinavian Saints, because the Bishop could not make himself understandable to them, and was given authority to forgive them of their sins.  All of us were thereupon baptized for the remission of our sins and embraced the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, which was in truth given to the Saints in rich measure.  Satan was not remiss, either, in trying out the weak points of the Saints.”  (Svend Larsen autobiographical sketch; in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:50-51, 1959)

3 Oct.:  Rebaptism 3 weeks after excommunication.

“George W. Piggott having confessed his faults and made satisfaction to those he had injured was rebaptised by George Woodward, confirmed by Bishop & 1st councillor.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 3 Oct., 1858)

6/7 Oct.:  Special priesthood conference.

“At 10 a.m. a conference of the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assembled in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City.  It was the first meeting held in that building since the move.  The bishops and their counselors were requested to be seated by themselves and the other quorums in like manner so that the number present could be ascertained.  Following are the minutes:

Minutes of a council of Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, assembled in the Tabernacle, G. S. L. City, commencing Oct. 6, 1858, 10 a.m.

Pres. Daniel H. Wells presiding.

The body of the Hall was occupied by the Bishops, their counselors and the presidents of the Seventies, the presidents of the lesser priesthood, presidents of the High Priest, High Councils, etc.

Pres. Daniel H. Wells (Watt reporting) requested the bishops and their councillors, to take seats in the north part of the house, the Priests of the High Priests [sic] to set mext to the Bishops; the member of the High Councils next, the presidents of the lesser Priesthood next, on the east of the building; the presidents of Seventies next, and the presidents of stakes next, with their counselors.  The authorities being seated, according to the request of Pres. Wells, he remarked that the meeting was to be composed of those quorums, and if there were any others, he wished them to arrange themselves on the south of the hall, so that it might be known who they were.

In continuation Pres. Wells said that perhaps the brethren might suppose there was going to be some awful secrets advanced, but he did not know of any.  We have met to transact business, pertaining to the Church, and get instructions, and to find out how things are through the territory, so far as this notice has had a chance to spread itself. . . .

[Geo. A. Smith] Spoke of the brethren selling their grain and said it was the duty of every president and bishop to be a father to his ward. . . .

[Daniel H. Wells] We expect there are some who will be a law to themselves and go whoring after the things of the world.  It is time for the quorums to trim themselves of such branches, and see that Israel is cleansed in regard to these matters.

2 p.m. Elder Orson Pratt (Watt reporting) showed that it was necessary for the iniquitous to be in our midst in order for the purification of the saints, and that the circumstances by which we are surrounded are but the preludes to the great blessings and glorious promises to the faithful in Zion. . . .

Pres. Daniel H. Wells (Watt reporting) inquired if a teacher could conceive he had no duty to perform without being told by his bishop, or if there was a man in the Church who could stand on his own responsibility. . . .

Adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m.

[7 Oct.] Council met per adjournment. . . .

Elder Wilford Woodruff (Long reporting) spoke on the importance of this people listening to and obeying the counsel of those who are set to lead. . . .

[Daniel H. Wells] He felt like adjourning this meeting until Presidents Young and Kimball could meet with us.

On the vote being taken, it was decided to adjourn until Sunday, Nov. 13, 1858, at 10 a.m.”  (JH 6/7 Oct., 1858)

9 Oct.:  “A Real Representative of the Most High.”

“Concerning Jesus Christ, who may be termed his Father’s disciple, it is said that through him was the Father ‘manifested‘ to the world.  In other language, the virtues, the disposition, and the character of the  unseen Father were manifested in the life and conduct of the Son, who had studied him, practised him, and was then acting him out; so that all who wanted to see what kind of a person the Father was could behold him in the words and actions of the Son.

For this same purpose were we ordained before the foundation of the world, when many of us received the Priesthood by ordination, and by decree the promise that we should inherit it in the flesh.  In this promise was conveyed the condition that we should walk not merely in the authority of the appointment, but in the virtues and qualities that are its necessary accompaniments.

The ages of our probation in the spirit world have rolled away: we are inhabitants of the flesh; and, according to promise, the Priesthood has descended upon us, through the hands of our brethren, who led us once before in heavenly councils above.  The authority to be the Father’s representatives has been given us, and the legality of our administrations has been acknowledged on high.  But whether we are the Father’s representative beyond holding his authority remains yet to be seen.

One thing is certain–Divine Authority alone is not sufficient to make us representatives of God.  Some men possess that, but nothing else.  There is scarcely an attribute of Almighty God about them.  They walk in the authority of their appointment, but not in the virtue, the grace, or the righteousness of it.  Strip such men of their authority, and there is nothing of God left to be counted.  They may be successful managers, wise economists, and excellent teachers of the things of God, because the faith of their associates and the Saints draws the Spirit down upon them; and yet, otherwise, they have scarcely an enduring quality of righteousness in their possession.

Why, then, are they called to fill certain positions in the Priesthood?  For a very good reason: God requires a certain kind of business done, and they are able to do it.  They are taken on trial: but it is not thereby proved or affirmed, because they have certain gifts and powers, which it suits the Lord to use, that therefore they are really representing the Almighty, or advancing themselves towards celestial life.  It may suit a gentleman to employ a man to preside over his workmen who are building him a house; but it is not thereby shown that that man, as a necessary consequence, is getting sufficiently refined or educated to live and associate with that gentleman in the house, after it is finished.

Neither does faithfulness or energy in carrying out the external duties of our calling prove we are getting much nearer the Almighty, or progressing towards celestial perfection.  Fidelity in carrying out any Church business that may be entrusted to us is an indispensable requisite; and a man would be damned who did not possess it; but, indispensable as it is, it is not a very wonderful acquirement.  It is so little an affair, that, viewed in the light of celestial principles, a man would be scouted who did not possess such a very, very first principle of Gospel life, and many other good qualities into the bargain.  Any sectarian–any member of a mere party in politics would consider himself a poor tool, if fidelity to his party and energy in the business belonging thereto formed his greatest acquirement.  Anybody and everybody worth mentioning in any little system is supposed to be capable of that.  Shall, then, the Priesthood, whose aim is endless life–whose ambition is the perfection of the Godhead and its glories,–shall they consider that they meet the demands of God upon them, simply because they are faithful to truth, obedient to orders, or willing to support by their means the religion of their choice?  As God lives, we may do all this, and have it done apparently well, too, and then be no better than any sectarian who sincerely believes his faith and earnestly upholds it.  The highest principles of righteousness, that give grace, beauty, and dignity to the character, and that live and burn in our exalted Father, may have to be begun in us after this is done; or, if begun, the foundation only may be laid.  If we came into the Church aright, with a reformed character, of course we laid a foundation: but what is the use of that, except as a foundation?  We are called to be exemplifiers of the very virtues of the eternal God.  Jehovah’s principles should shine in us, so that, seeing us, He may be seen.  If we are content to be less than this, we are shams, instead of a royal and holy Priesthood.  He who only represents God’s authority, bare of his goodness and his truth, is but a poor apology for a Priest of the Most High God.

When a man is called to the Priesthood, he is then and there ordained to put down evil.  He is not merely called to form part of a splendid organization.  That organization is principally valuable because it is so well adapted to enable the Almighty and his servants to spread and keep alive the influences of the Holy Ghost, communicate their will to men, and carry out their purposes.

We are not called simply that God may have a number of men called Priests upon the earth.  No.  The holy Priesthood has been conferred on us for the express purpose that the Father and the Son may have representatives of their Spirit and their actions upon earth.  We are ordained and appointed to act them out.  The world are to comprehend God through us.  As God was said to be ‘written in the face of Jesus Christ,’ so he is to be told out and made plain in our words and ways.

Godliness is not going to be loved, understood, or appreciated by the world, by the preaching of a cold theoryi of its nature.  We have got to make them feel God by the force of his very nature diffused in us.  ‘Holy Father,’ said Jesus, ‘the world hath not known thee;’ but, says John, ‘the Son who hath dwelt in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.’  Such is our position in regard to God, if we really possess the Spirit as well as the authority of the Priesthood: we also are declarers of the Most High.

The heavenly authorities of the upper worlds, whose glorious characters shine white, and pure, and free, and innocent, and whose virtues have lifted them up to their high estate, have stooped to attach us to their ranks.  They have delegated us to stand and speak for them, to impersonate them, and to establish their order of society among men.  Shall we not, then, be true and pure?  Since heaven is made by the working of heavenly laws–by the practice of principles that work peace and goodwill within the bosom, they have called us not merely to preach principles, but to let their principles live in us.

To carry out these views, Eternal Wisdom has devised a glorious Church organization to exist among men.  Some men actually seem to think that to get working this grand system of powers and authorities on the earth is the principal thing aimed at by God, and the principal thing worth rejoicing about.  Hence they glorify themselves immensely over the wondrous power and increasing influence of the organization.  They are very proud of it, and are anxious to roll it on.  But they do not seem to care a straw about the internal principles of their religion, and scarcely appear to know that they exist.  They do not appear to see that this glorious order of Priesthood, with the authority accompanying it, is but so much machinery created to bring forth, cherish, and establish on earth the virtues and characteristics of the upper worlds, and that the Priesthood is established solely, wholly, and entirely that it may work to that end.

And as, in the establishment of the latter-day dispensation, the great thing aimed at was not merely the erection of a gigantic, almighty organization, that should awe the world and rule it with an iron rod, so, as far as we are individually concerned, the great thing, the ruling desire with us should not be merely the getting distinction in that Priesthood, either by ordination or appointment, only so far as we make that a means towards the same great purpose that exists in the Almighty–namely, the celestialization of the world by the introduction of celestial practices in ourselves and others.  We cannot think that our ordinations or appointments have necessarily advanced us one particle towards celestial life, only so far as we have made them do it, by taking advantage of the rich opportunities they have put within our hands to learn and get an insight into the real sources of celestial life.  Ordinations do not celestialize; appointments do not elevate: they only authorize us to be channels of light to others and to ourselves, if we will.  Our present standing in the Priesthood, therefore, does not necessarily represent our progress in salvation, although there will come a day when it will; for eternal authority will, finally, only be vested where the eternal attributes of God exist.  But under the present state of things, if the whole world were ordained Apostles, that in itself would not make it a whit more heavenly; that alone would not bring it forward towards celestial life: it would only put the means within its reach.  It takes intelligence, ruled by meekness, benevolence, justice, mercy, and uprightness in spirit and in deed, to celestialize.  They will refine; and refinement of this class is celestialization.  The Priesthood, with its authority and order, is a glorious framework, destined to guard and nourish these principles, and to bring them to maturity and perfection. 

The Almighty, then, has only given to us the naked Priesthood.  The virtues, the graces–in a word, the power of it, we have to get ourselves.  We have to clothe it and make it beautiful.  A plentiful store, however, through the intelligence revealed, lies close to our hands to do it with.  Let us arise and shine, and let old sterile priestcraft and those that live under its influence see our light.  And let us live so in the purity of our religion–in the immaculate integrity of all its principles, till our very presence is as poison to the wicked, and misery to the corrupt in heart.  No testimony against evil can be given with power by any man who is under the influence of that evil.  A heart that is pure from selfishness or greed can roll out thunders against those particular sins; and so with all the rest.  Appointments and ordinations cannot confer ability to testify properly against the popular sins of this generation.  To be a real disciple and representative of Jesus Christ, bearing witness against the sins of the age, we must be clean every whit.  Then from the depths of a pure soul will come a testimony that will burn where it goes, and condemn where it is rejected.

This, then, is true Priesthood–to be images of the living God, exhibiting in our characteristics his brightness and his strength; to be girt and endowed with the purity of his nature; to be unsullied in heart and mind; to stand by the strength of redeeming, saving qualities; to bless, and bless, and bless again, notwithstanding ingratitude in some,–building, sustaining, and protecting all the time; to fight all spirits of division and all principles of death; to help the weak, the down-trodden, and the helpless, till helping becomes our natural food,–working on all principles that yield nourishment, support, and strength,–till our very presence is as the sun, cheering and blessing all.  So shall God increase within us, refreshing our own spirits, and watering all around.  And the characteristics of the holy Priesthood will grow out from us like the branches of a fruitful tree that yield shelter, shield, and fruit.

Let a man do this, and he shall be a Priest indeed.  His authority shall be like a two-edged sword.  It shall be confirmed on him for all eternity; for God shall love him and shall bless him.  His heart shall increase in richness, and his mind shall grow in strength.  No good thing shall be withheld from him.  He shall save and gain influence over the hearts of men.  He shall be as God among his own; and they shall feel the attributes that live within him, till their hearts are stolen from them and linked to him for ever.  So shall he gain dominion, and increase in strength, and be really, truly, and eternally a representative of the Most High.”  (“A Real Representative of the Most High,” E. T. Harrison, MS 20(41):641-644, 9 Oct., 1858)

9 Oct.:  Reformation of meetings.

“REFORMATION OF MEETINGS.–Church government and administrative progress will continue to command our attention; and we believe that the Elders and Priesthood generally have begun to drink deep into the spirit and necessity of reformation among those called to be the servants of the Most High and overseers of the Church of Christ.  But while improvement and growth of the administrative body of this Mission in power, spirit, knowledge, and efficiency deserve our chief attention, we must not be unmindful of the general wants and enlightenment of the Saints.  Neither must we be unmindful of the public; for all the Priesthood and also the Saints have obligations pertaining to the world–especially towards the honest and righteously disposed.

Reformation and progress can and must be extended to our meetings.  There is much connected with them that can be improved.  Advancement might be made, and a better state of things introduced.  To correct all the errors in regard to this matter, to give every view upon the subject, impart all due instruction, and bring about a proper state in the various meetings belonging to the Church, must be a work of time and a subject of many editorials.  Progress and improvement are states of growth, and experience teaches that the road to perfection is a gradual one.  Moreover, to place too many views and subjects before the mind in a heap prevents any one of them from being properly and fully taken and digested.  Therefore, though we could touch upon the various classes of meetings in one editorial, we should neither reach our end, say one-tenth as much as we design, nor write to much effect; for each class will afford subject for much ground, and will be found interspersed in future with other matters.  Our object in this is more particularly to call attention pointedly to the fact that there is a great reformation necessary in the various meetings.  Let all, therefore, be interested in this matter, and endeavour to improve and prepare themselves to digest what shall follow.

If in this we succeed in impressing uopn the minds of the Priesthood and Saints generally the fact that great improvement and progress can be made,–when they get the idea fixed in their minds tha there are many errors connected with these meetings, and that it has become necessary that they should be cleared away, and reformation carried into these as well as other matters, they will be watchful.  They will be on the look-out to discover what is wrong–where it can be remedied–how much advance can be made, knowledge acquired, and excellency gained.  If our present remarks only produce this effect, much of the work marked out for the future in this direction will be accomplished; for, after all, people must do most for themselves in self-improvement; and more depends on the state of their mind to receive light and wholesome instruction than on their teachers, in their understanding and digesting the food supplied.  It is they that must see–they that must advance–they that must comprehend.  All that we can do for the Saints and officers is to give hints, present some views, and flash out a few rays of light.  The greater part of this desired reformation will depend on those who preside over and take part in those meetings.  It is true that a great deal depends on errors being pointed out, correct views presented, and good instruction given; but much more depends on the willingness, power, and preparation of the Saints to see and appreciate them.  To illustrate the greater effect and importance of self-sight to every individual than that of having views presented, let us take a blind man for example.  Nature presents many objects and much instruction to him as well as to those with the gift of sight, and the daylight discloses kmany errors and imperfections; buit he is destitute of the seeing power, and they remain hid from his physical sight.  Again, how much valuable instruction and many glorious principles are given at our meetings, which cannot be seen by the blind unbeliever, nor be understood by the blind members of the Church?

The most important point, then, is to succeed in opening the eyes of the Elders and Saints to see this necessity and matter in question.  If they receive the impression which we wish to give–namely, that there are errors to clear away and much improvement in meetings needed,–if they will but look about to find the one, and enter into the spirit of the other, they will discover much that we wish them to see, do of their own accord much that we would have them do, and be prepared for all that shall appear connected with the subject of ‘Reformation of Meetings.’  Unless this be the case, our efforts will be to a great extent lost on them.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(41):648-649, 9 Oct., 1858)

16 Oct.:  Preaching meetings.

“PREACHING MEETINGS.–The great God and Father of the human family has commenced in this age his most glorious, comprehensive, and important work among the children of men.  In its progress it will surpass all other works performed upon the earth, and its destiny will absorb all other destinies.  This work is none other than the ‘restitution of all things.’  It is of such importance in the economy of God, that Peter declared it to have been a theme of all the holy Prophets since the world began.  Moreover, he also informs us that it would be connected with the glorious second coming of the Son of Man, thus classifying it as the crowning work of the Almighty in the probationary course of the earth.  A new dispensation has been opened, and the keys thereof committed to man.  It is none other than the ‘dispensation of the fulness of times,’ or the times when the great work of restitution would be accomplished.  Paul, speaking of this dispensation, marks its importance and comprehensiveness by intimating that during its course God will ‘gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth.’  That everlasting and universal kingdom typified in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and which the interpretation of Daniel reveals to us as the great work of God in the last days, has been commenced.  The germ of that mighty empire has been planted, and its embryo will ere long receive birth, start into national life, and grow until it shall ultimately fill the whole earth, and all dominions shall serve and obey the Lord.  There are many details growing out of these great facts referred to, many of which have already been fulfilled; but the majority are in the future, or only partially fulfilled.  Some of those details are as follow:–The Almighty has raised up his great Latter-day Prophet, and committed to him the keys of this dispensation of the fulness of times, for the accomplishment of the restitution of all things.  That Prophet is Joseph Smith.  Tens of thousands have believed in his Divine mission, and have embraced the work which he commenced, to whom the Spirit bears witness of the truth.  Zion and the people of Zion have to be established: the Latter-day Saints have been engaged in bringing to pass this event for more than a quarter of a century.  There has to be a great gathering together of a people from all nations in the last days: the Saints have been fulfilling this these twenty years.  This people also have already a remarkable history filled with striking events.  To trace out and do anything like justice to the events which will transpire would require a thousand times more time and space than are at our command.  We will add, however, that, connected with this comprehensive work, there have been revealed such a mass of principles, such a flood of light, and such a perfect system, that make the religion of the Latter-day Saints the grandest ever possessed by the human family.

Seeing that the editorial department of the Star is specially designed for the benefit and instruction of the Saints, perhaps some of the Elders and others have begun to wonder why we are glancing at things with which they are so familiar.  They know immensely more than we have been able to hint at in the foregoing, both of the generalities and details of the work which the Lord has commenced upon the earth, and the mass of principles and light which he has revealed to the Church.  Now, in this instance, that is the very reason why we are bringing the subject up and endeavouring to unlock, by a few key-remarks, the vision of their own knowledge and experience.  The object is that we may bring the matter more forcibly home.

It is of vital importance that the world should hear fo the great things that God is bringing to pass, and that the ears of the honest should be saluted with the sound of the Gospel and the wonders of the latter-day work.  This is self-evident.  The ends of the earth should hear of it: every nation, kindred, tongue, and people should have a sound of the warning and proclamation.  The hearts of hundreds of thousands more must leap in ecstacy of faith and gladness, and their tongues send the glad tidings along, until every living ear shall have heard, and every knee have powed in homage to the power that has commenced to reign.  Again, the very fact that the Saints do know concerning these things, makes it imperative on them to endeavour to communicate their knowledge to others.  Herein was our object in calling up their knowledge–namely, to bring before them their duty, and bid them lay the two side by side.  We are persuaded that many will be ashamed, and the best of us humiliated, by the following questions:–

Have we done our duty to God and mankind in this matter?  Have we sufficiently manifested our gratitude to him who has blessed us so much in the revelations and knowledge of the Gospel, and our appreciation of those blessings, by spreading the tidings thereof among the children of men?  And lastly, have we done justice to our most holy and grand religion, by givine the proper views, principles, testimony, evidence, and arguments connected therewith?

To effect the above as far as possible is the design of our public or preaching meetings.  At those meetings, the honest in heart and also the public generally should always be able to gather views, principles, arguments, evidence, prophecy, history, warning, and testimony connected with the great work which is being brought to pass.  They are not designed for Presidents and others of the Priesthood to show off, ‘gab,’ ‘talk,’ and ‘spout.’  Neither are they designed for the repetition of the same or very nearly related speech over and over again, until it has become like an often-told tale–very tiresome to hear, or like an instrument with only one chord in the hands of a man with only one idea.  But they are designed, and must be held for the purpose named.  To them the Elders and Priests usually called to preach in the Branches should all go well prepared with principles, arguments, evidence, testimony, and views concerning their religion, so that they may deal out by the Spirit what is suitable to the requirements of the occasion and the character of the hearers.  None others should be called to preach to a public assembly.  Above all other places, at these meetings justice should be done to our glorious and holy religion, and correct and broad views given of that work which has fired the souls of all the Prophets with inexpressible inspiration.  They should be of such a character, that persons visiting them with a desire to understand should in a dozen meetings have presented to them a moderately extensive, living compendium of ‘Mormonism.’  (We use this cognomen for brevity and significance.)  At these meetings, though some should admire, believe, and rejoice, while others tremble, rage, and shudder as a flash of light passes over their dark, superstitious minds,–or though some, from perverted tastes and warped judgment, should be offended at the truths advanced, none should be bored or disgusted by the stupidity, mannerism, or incapability of the speaker.

It is the duty of the Presidents of the Branches to make the preaching meetings answer to the character which we have described.  Their arrangements must be such as to accomplish that desired end.  They owe it to God, they owe it to their religion, they owe it to the world; and, having the important obligation to discharge of faithfully watching over the best interests of the work in these lands, we feel it our solemn and imperative duty to demand of the Presidents to bring about such a state of things as far and as fast as possible.  Let the Presidents of Conferences and Pastors also seriously attend to this matter, and especially see that they themselves answer to the spirit of our remarks.  We hope by this time all the presiding officers understand that they have assistants among the Elders and Priests for the preaching of the Gospel to the world.  We hope they have not to learn, after all we have said, that, though it is one of their privileges and duties to preach, it is their special duty to preside, and, by wise arrangements and solid and penetrating judgment, accomplish such tasks as the one which we now give to them in the name of the Lord.  We do not expect perfection yet; but we feel it our duty to urge progress and approximation towards that state, especially when it deeply touches the interests of the cause, and is not a personal matter.  Neither do we demand of the Priesthood to be in this or any other matter what they cannot, but what they can be.  Nor do we believe it within the capabilities of all the human race now on the earth to bring sufficient eloquence, language, logic, arrangement, argument, ideas, illustrations, evidence, principles, testimony, power, and spirit, to tell the fulness of the Gospel and do justice to the work of restitution, with its connections.  It is not within their present power to grasp, nor the compass of language to express it.  Indeed, the heights, depths, length, and breadth never can be told in any written or oral language, nor can eloquence, logic, evidence, testimony, &c., lay it fully before the mind.  It may be comprehended, but not told.  It may be realized and seen in the vision of the spirit by perfected beings, but never embodied in any of those partial signs, forms, or methods named.  If there are any who have foolishly imagined that they could do too much justice to the work, or fill their discourses too full of ideas, argument, illustration, arrangement, eloquence, and proof, they may be surprised at these remarks.  Let it be a relief to them to know that there will come many things that will surprise them before they realise the comprehensiveness of the Gospel and the magnitude of this work.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(42):664-666, 16 Oct., 1858)

30 Oct.:  Proper Officers.

“PROPER OFFICERS.–There is perhaps not a faithful man of any length of standing in the Church who is not also a member of the Priesthood.  In a general sense, it may therefore be emphatically said that there are in the Church good and suitable officers.  But between the facts of there being such men in office and the Mission being properly officered there is an immense difference.  It is possible for all the officers to be good and intelligent men, yet every one to be in the wrong office and labouring at a general disadvantage, and perhaps to the positive detriment of the interests of that community.  A nation might be full of vital energy, but yet the national pulsation weak, because of its functions being feebly or improperly worked by a diseased heart and an imbecile or deranged brain.  It might abound with administrative capacity, and yet its arrangements be non-adapted to the wants of the people and the spirit of the times, and the action of its administrative body be impotent and fitless.  The nation might contain the men capable of making the best officers in the world, and a sufficient number of them to officer the whole world, and yet be itself the worst officered of all nations.  It shall overflow with talent and be thickly sprinkled with large minds and gigantic characters–it shall possess such an amount of soul-force as to be sufficient for the moving, not only of itself, but many nations besides, and yet itself be ruled by incompetent rulers, and nearly ever man be in the wrong place, and its affairs be ingeniously mismanaged–a body with all the faculties, senses, and means of life, yet most of them performing the wrong functions, and the body languishing for want.

For a nation to be properly officered would, in the full sense, imply that it was properly organized and governed.  Such a condition involves the whole science of society.  That science, considered in its various classifications, embraces the domestic, social, religious, and political organizations, states, and conditions.  National existence takes in all belonging to this classification,–in other words, takes in the whole science of society.  Therefore, the properly officering a nation involves the whole of that science.  And it is obvious that to affirm in the full and perfect sense that a nation is properly officered would be tantamount to affirming that it is properly organized and governed; for with such an administration carrying on its functions, such a state of things would necessarily be implied.  But we will not dwell upon the immensity of subject involved in the perfect affirmation of the fact of a nation’s being properly officered.  We shall speak now of the fact itself and its immediate connections, rather than of all the conditions and extent of subject which it involves.

That nation or community which, it can be affirmed, is properly officered will have reached comparative administrative and gaovernmental perfection; that is to say, it will have reached a proper state and condition of things according to its sphere of government, stage of development, and order of being,–what in the Scriptures is termed ‘perfect in its day and generation.’  There is no other sense in which anything or any being can reach perfection, from a nation to a universe–from a man to a God.  When a nation or community has become properly officered and is carrying on all its functions of government, it has reached the perfection of its sphere and day.  For a community to be properly officered, therefore, is the great desideratum in its organization and administration.

Of course, such a state of things is a great desideratum in the administration of this Mission.  To properly officer it and properly carry on its functions of government should be the aim of its administrative body.  In fact, this is comprehended in the work of administrative reform and progress in which the Elders and Priesthood generally have of late been so zealously and successfully engaged.  But that work will not be completed until the Mission is properly officered and all its functions are healthful and perfect in their action–indeed, until it has reached that condition where it may be said to be perfect in its day.  Until this is brought about, not only in the business department, but in all its branches of government and operations–until everywhere throughout the Mission proper officers shall be properly acting in every department of our Church system and properly embodying the principles and spirit of our holy and perfect religion, it will be necessary to urge administrative reform as well as general progress.  It is the duty of all the administrative body, and particularly the presiding Elders, to travel as fast and as near as possible to the desired state of things; and we especially warn the latter not to stand in the way themselves.

Taking up the subject where the administering of that part of the system of perfect government applicable to this Mission begins, the first condition we come to, for the Mission to be properly officered, is, that there should be proper officers.  And here we are brought to the very interesting and important consideration of the conditions constituting a proper officer of this Mission.  The first is that he should be legally called and ordained.  This point is generally understood, but many others connected with it are not.  The second condition is that he be a suitable man for his calling.  We are now speaking of the fundamental offices of the Priesthood belonging to this Mission.  Out of these grow other branches and departments in our Church government and operations.  Not only does it come within the sphere of the administrative body to call and ordain men to the offices of Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, but the administration has also to assign to them their special departments and to set them to work.  The Eldership, for instance, has a large scope in which it can legally administer; but in that scope there are many departments and portions of the work to be performed.  A man may be suitable for and worthy of the office of an Elder to act in some given part of its many callings and duties; but that does not say that he is adequate to the duties of a Pastor, a President of a Conference, a preacher, a clerk, an editor, an author, or other departments belonging to that office.  All these are comprehended in the sphere of Eldership.  The administration, therefore, has to grapple with them all, besides the other offices and the departments which grow out of them.  We have, then, to take into consideration the parts of the work as well as the fundamental offices.  This point has not commanded the discriminating attention which it deserves; and this is a matter to which we call the attention of presiding Elders in their future operations.  For a man to be a proper officer, it is necessary not only that he should have the authority to act in any of the various duties of his Eldership, &c., but also that he be suitable for the given department and work.  For instance, a Pastor should be suitable and qualified by authority, endowment, experience, gover[n]mental capacity, worthiness, and every other element necessary to constitute a proper Pastor.  If he is not such, he is not fitted for that office, and we should feel at once justified and bound to remove him to some other and perhaps equally honourable and important position in the sphere of Eldership, where he would be truly a proper officer.  The same would apply to the President of a Conference.  Again, in sending out a Travelling Elder, a man should be chosen who not only holds the office of an Elder, but who is also suitable and likely to be efficient and to do good in that sphere.  Moreover, it should be considered if circumstances and wisdom justified it.  If a business man be the one in requisition, a person should be selected whose peculiar talents, habits, opportunities, and avocation of life render him fit for that department of the work.  If it is to preach the Gospel, one should be set to do that part who is ordained, gifted, and prepared for that branch.  In giving invitations to our readers to contribute for the Star, we should expect those whose turn of mind, abilities, time, and duties rendered them serviceable, to engage in that department; and those who attempted poetry, we should expect to have the gift and inspiration of the poet.  All these and like conditions are comprehended in the idea of proper officers.  We hope the presiding Elders will act upon the principles involved in these considerations.

The second principal condition necessary to be observed in properly officering the Mission is, that every department should be filled, and every part of the work belonging to this administration be in active operation.  Those departments must also be properly filled, and those parts properly done.  And to accomplish this, those men who are proper officers by authority, capacity, experience, fitness, and worthiness should be placed in those various departments: in other words, the right men should be in their right place as regards both their authority and their fitness.

The third principal condition is, that every one of these proper officers should be set to work, given their proper parts of the work, and made responsible for its being properly done.  Out of this grows the fact that each should be operating in his due order and be subject to those above him.  Every department and part also must be under a proper supervision; and each presiding man must not only do his own particular work, but see that those under him properly do theirs, and moreover see that every particle of work given to his charge be in active operation.  Now, doubtless, this Mission has, on the one hand, every proper office and function of government pertaining to it, and, on the other, proper men to fill those departments and carry on those functions; but between this fact and the one that those departments are filled and those men carrying on those functions, there is an immense difference.  There is plenty of work and to spare needed to be done, and needed to be done properly; but between this fact and the one that every person in office has plenty of work given him to do and is doing it properly, there is also an immense difference.  The first facts we have never doubted; the second we are not so sanguine about.  When both answer together, then the Mission may be said to be perfect in its day.  When all its departments and callings are thus filled with the proper officers, and all its functions are thus brought effectively and perfectly into action, then it will be properly officered.

Now, this kingdom does largely possess the men capable of becoming the best officers.  It is full of administrative capacity, thickly sprinkled with large minds and characters capable of making striking marks among the wonderful events of the last days; and as for energy, will, perseverance, powers of endurance, and, indeed, every quality of soul-force, no people have equalled them.  It is true that many of these men are as rough diamonds, but still they are diamonds.  They can be polished and properly set; and while their polishing and setting will bring out and enhance their qualities, they will throw the glory of those qualities around and give a dignity to the administration in which they are inlaid.  They can be put where they can obtain the polish of experience and can labour efficiently–where they can honour their calling and prepare themselves for the more responsible positions for which God designs them.  Is this fact–namely, that the Church does contain such men, duly appreciated and taken advantage of in this Mission?  Having the material for the best officers, is the Mission properly officered with those fitting men?  If it is not, let it be distinctly understood that we would have it so, and that we expect the presiding Elders throughout these lands to labour in that direction–to find fitting men for every work given, and to properly officer the Mission.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(44):696-699, 30 Oct., 1858)

2 Nov.:  Which greatest:  Bishop or [Ward?] President?

“John Taylor asked who is the greatest the President or the Bishop.  Presidet Young said the Bishop should attend to his own business & let the Presidents alone & the Presidents should attend to his Business & let the Bishops alone.  But they should [sic]  The President should say to the Bishop can I do any thing for you & the Bishop should say to the President can I do any thing for you & they should mutually help each other.

President Young asked Can a Bishop try a President?  Answered yes.  Can a Presidet try a Bishop? John Taylor thought there might be Cases whare a President Might try a Bishop.  Presidet Young said A Bishop Migh try an Apostle & Cut him off whare he Committed any outrageous Act in his ward.  G A Smith said a Teacher might do the same as far as his authority went But of Course he Could Appeal.  President Young said a man Cut himself off or on just as he pleased by his own acts.  But any one of the Twelve while officiating in his office in any part of the world are the Presidency of the Church the same as we are a home.  Their power is the same as ours & they should investigate & regulate all matters appertaining to the Church, without any regard to whatever instruction they may have received.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 2 Nov., 1858)

13 Nov.:  Several cut off in Priesthood conference.

“The conference of the Elders of the Church which was adjourned Oct. 7th, to meet on November 13th convened this morning at 10 a.m. in the Tabernacle. . . .

Orson Hyde said, if any of the bishops know of any who have apostatized, they were to bring forward their names, that they might be dealt with according to the law of the kingdom of God.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent in hearing the evidence against several persons and cutting them from off the Church; after which meeting adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m.”  (JH 13 Nov., 1858)

20 Nov.:  More concerning “Preaching Meetings.”

“In Number 43 of the Star, in an editorial on ‘A Proper Spirit,’ we proposed to our readers the following question–namely, ‘Do our preaching meetings answer to their design and show the character which properly belongs to them?’  We presume that all those whose business it is to answer are ready to compare their views with ours.  But, in order that we may better realize the full meaning of the question, let us give it an amplification and detail.

In treating on ‘preaching meetings,’ we have in view those originally intended expressly for the preaching of the Gospel to the world.  Circumstances and wisdom must determine when they should be held, for the customs and manners of every place are not the same.  In England the Saints have generally found it most convenient to hold their preaching meetings in the evening.  Be that as it may, the points to be laid down are, that preaching meetings legitimately belong to the Mission–that they should be held in every place where it is expedient, and at such times as wisdom and circumstances may determine.  We believe that at the present time there is not a Branch of the Church in the British Isles holding a meeting room that cannot, by judicious management, devote a portion of their religious services to the preaching of the Gospel.  Having made these remarks to ensure a proper understanding of the subject, let us resolve the question already proposed into the following:–

1st.  In every Branch possessing the opportunity, is there a meeting expressly devoted to the preaching of the Gospel?  In some cases, are they not devoted to anything but that for which they were originally designed?  Can there not generally be heard at these meetings, in some Branches, three or four speakers making a testimony meeting of the occasion, and of such a nature as neither to inform, interest, nor convince the unconverted, no matter how honest in soul.  Or, perhaps, in such cases, even when strangers are present, is not the time taken up in ‘talking’ to the Saints, and sometimes about matters and in such a style that at least none but the speaker can understand?  Or, as it may happen, is there not some business to be taken up by the President at that particular period, to do which he cannot find any other occasion?  Or has he not some Church affairs to ‘talk over,’ or some vital and immediate counsel to give, thus wretchedly burlesquing the sage proverb, ‘Procrastination is the thief of time?’

2nd.  Are wise and approved arrangements made and consistent efforts used to assemble the public to hear the proclamation of the Gospel and the service rendered instructive, profitable, and full of power?  Or, on the other hand, are not the Saints too often indifferent and negligent about gathering the honest in heart to hear the glad tidings?  And if any happen to attend, do they not find the meetings senseless, uninstructive, and dead, excepting the noise made by the speaker?  And are they not too often of such a nature as to effectually keep sensible people from coming again, instead of affording them an inducement to return and bring with them their neighbours and friends?

3rd.  At our preaching meetings, can the public gather views, principles, arguments, evidence, prophecy, history, warning, and testimony connected with the great work of the last days?  At these meetings, is justice done to the grand and holy religion of the Saints? and are broad and correct views given of those stupendous pruposes which God is bringing to pass?  Are they of such a character that those visiting them, if possessed of a humble, truth-loving spirit, may obtain, in a brief space of time, a living compendium of ‘Mormonism?’  Or, on the other hand, do they not too often answer to the description already given? and are they not generally too far from the design and character marked out as properly belonging to them?  Can there not be much improvement made in nearly every instance, and preaching meetings made more instructive, powerful, convincing, and productive?

4th.  Do the Presidents of Branches call those qualified and suitable to address their congregations?  For the preaching of the Gospel, do they choose men full of the Spirit and full of faith and zeal in their religion, fruitful in principles and ideas, and endowed by God with the gift of that calling?  There are men with natures of that peculiar organization that are keenly sensible to the mysterious law of sympathy.  Their fine instincts feel the action and sympathy of the minds of others, and will vibrate at a touch like a fine-strung instrument.  When such a one stands up to preach, if the Saints exert their faith in behalf of the speaker, their confidence will bear him up like a fragile barque on the gently heaving bosom of the deep; and as the prayers of the faithful ascend to heaven to bring down blessings and Divine strength, his soul will kindle with the fire if inspiration, and he will pour out such a torrent of principles and inspired eloquence, as will spell-bind his audience and make them tremble under the power of God.  These are the men who should be chosen to speak at our preaching meetings.  In every Branch where there are a number of young men and men who have not passed the freshness of life and enthusiasm of manhood, there are some more or less thus endowed.  If they are not known, it is because the presiding Elder lacks the spirit of discernment and presidency; and if they are covered over, it is because his course has covered them.  We say there are such men at command in nearly every Branch with a moderate number of the Priesthood.  Do the presiding Elders call these men thus endowed to proclaim the Gospel at our ‘preaching meetings?’  On the other hand, do they not too generally call those to preach the Gospel to the world who are not qualified, suitable, or endowed with the gift of that calling?  Do they not too often introduce their pets and favourites, without any reference to those essential conditions which we have named?  Are not many in their choice insensible to those peculiar natures adapted especially to the preaching of the Gospel? and are they not too generally ignorant of the philosophy of this matter and filled with the conceit that any one whom they please to call will do to preach the word of life and salvation?  They ought not to be thus ignorant, seeing that they have to choose the men to perform the various parts of the work of God; and they must be given to understand that it should not be their call, but the call of the Spirit, and that their appointments should be in agreement with that call.  There are good men capable of presiding over Confernces, but of cold ‘heavy metal’ minds, or perhaps with spirits of great directing capacity, but not endowed with the gift of speech even in an ordinary degree–men capable of almost anything except preaching the Gospel to the world.  Do not the Presidents too often mistake and call such men to do what God has fitted others to do?  And–what is worse still–are they not sometimes, in their stubborness and self-importance, determined to do just as they like, whether in speaking themselves or appointing others to do it?

5th.  Do the Elders and Priests usually called to preach go to the meetings well prepared with matter, so that they may bring out of the treasure things old and new, as led by the Spirit, to suit the occasion and the character of their hearers?  Or do they not in many cases go empty and unprepared, so that there is nothing in the treasury, either old or new, for the Spirit to bring out, to suit any occasion or really profit anybody?

6th.  In proclaiming the ‘glad tidings of great joy,’ do not our Elders clothe them in such a manner, that for ‘glad tidings’ they look exceedingly suspicious?  And do they not, instead of proclaiming the glorious principles of the Gospel and building up true systems, commence to pull other people’s houses about their ears, and with their tongues persecute every one who comes within the sound of their voice?

7th.  In some cases, are not the preaching meetings of such a nature that Saints with judgment and admiration of their religion are pained when honest lovers of truth are present, because the truth is shockingly distorted by the preachers, and our religion made to appear anything but grand, rich, and loveable?  Would they not endeavour to counteract the bad impression by private conversation and by lending books to such, or taking them again when some Elder who does properly represent our religion is appointed to preach?  Should such be the case?  No.  And such must no longer be the case.  Let the presiding Elders look to it.

We have endeavoured to so frame our questions and remarks as to show what ought and what ought not to be.  Doubtless all concerned will now be able to answer the question, Do their preaching meetings answer to the design and show the character which properly belongs to them?  We answer, that the preaching meetings in some cases are far from the mark; and perhaps in every case there can be improvement made in this matter.  We hope, brethren of the Priesthood, that you will faithfully attend to this; for you owe it to God, to your religion, and to every truth-seeking soul.”  (Editorial [Asa Calkin, Editor], MS 20(47):744-746, 20 Nov., 1858)

22 Nov.:  First 6 members of the Church.

“At Pres. Brigham Young’s request Geo. A. Smith took him the names of the first six persons baptized into the Church.  Oliver Cowdery by Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith by Oliver Cowdery, Samuel Smith by Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith by Joseph Smith, David Whitmer by Joseph Smith, Peter Whitmer by Oliver Cowdery.”  (JH 22 Nov., 1858)

13 Dec.:  Premonitions of becoming apostles.

“G. A. Smith said that while He was on a mission in virginia in 1837 it was manifest to him that He would be appointed One of the Twelve.  These thoughts worried him & he thought it was an evil impression but it afterwords proved true.  He also said I had been 3 days in the Snow & Cold & was Chilled through & while the man Zimri H Baxter in Nephi City went to take care of my Horses & Sister Baxter to get a pan of milk I felt impressed to lay hands upon their Sick Child which they had given over to die.  I done as the spirit directed & the Child was healed instantly. . . .

Elder John Taylor said it was revealed to him he would be one of the Twelve.  F. D. Richards said it was revealed to him that He would be appointed one of the Twelve.  W Woodruff said it was revealed to him while on Fox Islands that he would be appointed one of the Twelve before he got a Letter Notifying him of his appointment.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 13 Dec., 1858)